Monday, October 18, 2021

Preciousness


 Lily texted this morning to tell me that Maggie was refusing to eat breakfast until she got to our house. I think she wanted our eggs although the eggs in her house come from my hen house too. But I understood and only laughed at that bit of sweet ritual for her. Before she ate she wanted to go out to check for eggs and she grabbed her little basket where I keep it on a low shelf and although we only found one egg, she was happy. It was warm and as fresh as an egg can be and her brother Gibson mixed it up with another for her breakfast. Owen peeled her apple and cooked the eggs and I toasted and buttered sourdough for us all. Everything was proclaimed delicious. 

I had such a good time with those children today. They were sweet and funny and played pretend games and Lincoln Logs and didn't fuss or fight. When it came time for meals they set the table without being asked. I was SO impressed. One of the main things they played was "Business." This was inspired by the old fashioned telephone they love to play with and although I am not sure what all "Business" entailed, it seemed to involve some Lincoln Log products, and the rating of various stuffed animals. I gave Maggie a pad and a pen to take notes and she was an excellent employee, I think. 



They also took turns being boss. 

Maggie and I got out the paper dolls that May gave me years ago and I cut out some of the dresses and Maggie dressed the dolls. 


This did not hold her attention for too long but it was fun while it lasted. 

The best thing, I do believe, was the Go-Kart rides. 



I did not, unfortunately, get a picture of Gibson on his ride but he loved it too. That little thing goes fast! 

There was also sitting-on-the-swing-porch and reading a few books and talking about memories. I apologized to Owen for once trying to get him to take a nap by letting him cry it out in the Pac'n'Play. I doubt I let him cry for more than three minutes but it still breaks my heart to think of it. I was never any good at letting a child cry it out. But I remember him, probably about eighteen months old, standing up in the little bed, crying and calling out, "Mer! B?" 
I always said, "BRB! Be Right Back!" when I had to leave the room for a second and I think he was asking why I wasn't being right back in the nap-incident. 
I almost cried, telling him the story. He laughed. Of course. 

Maggie made ME laugh with some of the things she said today. At one point, she noticed that Boppy had made the bed and I thanked my husband for doing that- I usually do it. "Boppy- you are so sweet to Mer!" she said. "You are doing her chores!" 
She gave us both pictures of hearts that she drew with her name on them. She told us at lunch that her name really is Magnolia but she likes Maggie better because she can't spell Magnolia. 
I understand. She also likes the fact that both Maggie and Mary start with the same letter. She's a smart little child. 

Lunch was a big hit. Maggie wanted cheesy noodles because she always wants cheesy noodles at my house. The desire for ritual is deep in children. I also baked the pizza I made last night for them and cut up cucumbers. 


The pizza I made for them was plain cheese pizza whereas the one I made for Mr. Moon and me last night had ALL the stuff on it. Both were good in their own ways. And there's not a bite left of either. 

When it was almost time for Lily to get off work I asked them to clean up their toys and they did. And then we played matching game and Battle until Mama got here. She got about fifty hugs and kisses or maybe more. I got a few hugs and kisses myself before they left. 
It really was just the sweetest time with them. 

Mr. Moon finished the mulching in the garden and now the sprinkler's on. In a few days the miracle of those tiny seedlings breaking ground will happen. 

The chickens have been very quiet all day. Although I know that there is no way that they understand the changes that have taken place in their world lately, I am sure that they recognize that there have been changes. And my math was wrong! I am down to thirteen chickens! Which is good. Jessie reports that they now have four roosters in the freezer and one in a pot and that all went well and painlessly. Mr. Moon has gotten his smoker out and is just now putting the duck sausage in it. 

Liberace has just brought the girls in to forage under the feeder and around the camellia bed. I've hardly heard him crow at all today. I so admire the way he stands tall and watches so vigilantly as his sister-wives go about their evening feeding. They are talking amongst themselves in their soothing cluck language, rustling through the fallen pecan leaves. 

For just this moment, at least, everything seems peaceful and as it should be. Even my very old hen, Little Violet, seems more at ease now that the other roosters are gone. I am hoping that Fancy Pants is enjoying his own very small flock of ladies with a sense of pride. He finally has an outlet for his rooster yearning to protect and defend, to tid-bit and, yes, love. By which I mean have sex with, of course.

I am a contented wife, grandmother, and chicken tender tonight. 
Hell. Maurice even let the children scratch her head today without biting them. The fact that she didn't leave her cozy nest on a soft blanket on the couch when they came in the room is a sort of miracle and I'll take it. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Only Sunday Blues Today Was The Shade Of The Sky


 Although my bread did not get as high and mighty as I had hoped, it still had a lovely crumb, as Paul Hollywood says on The British Baking Show. Plenty of nice airy little holes and the crust is good and crusty but not inedible as so many "artisan" bakers seem to be believe it should be. The video I watched even mentioned the "char" at the bottom as adding extra flavor and I was like, "Uh, that's burned, baby. Char as in charcoal."
But you know, each to his or her own. 

The Big News today was that when I woke up, it was in the fifties which practically shouts "Goodwill cashmere!" around here. We're not really that delicate but it was sincerely a shock. I had to change clothes! I'd put on my regulation T-shirt and overall shorts and exchanged those for a long-sleeved T-shirt with the turquoise flannel dress I made last year (the year before?) over it. And I've been comfortable all day long. It's such a glorious relief when the heat breaks and the humidity goes down. And it's been as bright and blue as a Norwegian saint's eyes today. So that has all done a good job of hacking away at the Sunday curtain of gray despair that usually falls and I have felt good. Good enough that I didn't feel as if I had to do a damn thing I didn't want to. Funny how that works. We opened up the hallway doors to the outside and let the air and light flood the house and the air conditioner is not heard in the land. 
Or anywhere else.
I did have to deal with my airpods because the left one was not working and I'm sorry (not sorry) but if I can't listen to an audio book or a podcast while I'm going about my day, I'd just as soon go back to bed. I do realize that this isn't exactly healthy but it's how I live my life these days. So I struggled along with only one airpod in, listening to mono audio while I made us some poached eggs on sourdough and then I tried to figure out how to get my other pod working and I won't go into details but I will say that I ended up calling Apple again and also again, was instructed to do a system update which took half the day and then I used a little brush to clean out the charging case and something worked because now I'm back in stereo. 

I swept and tidied my front porch because now we can sit on it without dying of the heat and also because it needed sweeping and tidying very badly and it brought me happiness to make it pretty again.


Now isn't that nice? 

While I was piddling around doing not much of anything, Mr. Moon was back out in the garden. Talk about nice. It looks so beautiful! I took this picture of one his rows with his handprints in it where he patted down the kale and chard seeds. 


He's such an intentional planter. 
I think I'm going to have to get in there and plant more arugula in a few weeks because that is my favorite green. 

Now he's at the house of one of the guys he went hunting with and I think they are making duck sausage. 
Do not ask me. I do not know. But talk about artisanal! 

Jessie says that the hens woke up excited and ready to explore their new surroundings which in this case meant that they flew over a fence and explored their neighbors' yards. Fancy Pants seemed very happy but could not get over the fence and so he was alone again. 
Naturally. 
Poor little man. 
They're going to keep the chickens in the coop for a few days to get them used to where home is. Meanwhile, Vergil and Mr. Moon got the rooster sons of Darla shut up in the coop this morning and Jessie's coming out this evening to try and catch them to take home for what we call "processing." I am pretty happy and excited myself at the thought of only having fifteen chickens instead of twenty-one. Perhaps I can now finally name them all. I do not like having so many that I don't feel a connection with all of them. And now Liberace will be the one and only rooster which will be a huge relief to him and an even greater relief to the sister-wives. 
Plus- less poop. 

So it's all pretty good today. I'm making pizzas tonight. Tomorrow Lily is bringing the Hartmann Trio over for me to watch for a few hours because she's working and it's a teacher planning day or something. I'm looking forward to that and it will be nice to have pizza for them to eat. I'm also looking forward to sleeping with the windows open. It's not quite time to un-bag the duck yet but soon maybe.
Soon. 

Meanwhile, here we are and I am grateful. 

Love...Ms. Moon

 


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Got No Title


 I think we can safely say that if my bread is not rising now, it is not the fault of the starter. Would you LOOK at that? It not only doubled in size, it quadrupled. I think this is the most active starter I've ever had. 
Yay, Lloyd wild yeast!

Oh god. What a day. I mean, it's been fine. I just haven't felt that well and have let Mr. Moon do all the outside work, meaning that he's been planting the garden all day. I just stayed out of his way. We have differing opinions on garden planting plus, as I have pointed out before, his rows are straight and true and mine are crooked and drive him crazy. So I've been playing around with another loaf of sourdough, trying to incorporate the methods found on this video. I mean- what else do I have to do all day besides fold sourdough dough? And I have to tell you that my dough does not look or handle like her dough. And I think she's about twelve years old so that doesn't make me feel very secure within myself concerning my hard-won skills and knowledge. BUT, my dough is actually looking beautiful in its own way and making bubbles even if it doesn't look exactly like hers and I am learning. I freely and joyfully admit that I still want and need to learn. 

A beautiful thing that happened today is that a very old friend of ours, a man with whom we have shared some extremely emotional and important experiences in our lives, came by for a visit. Our relationship with him became very complex for many years and our lives diverged sharply. I had honestly thought that we might never reconnect but...today we did. And it was like seeing and hugging a brother. Someday perhaps I will write some of the story of how our paths joined but it is a deeply emotional and complex story. Suffice it to say, it was terrific to see him, catch up. He and Mr. Moon and I sat in the kitchen and talked and laughed. We did no reminiscing and that's okay. It was not the time for that. It may never be. Some things do not need to be discussed because they are so deeply engrained in all which makes up the now. 

******************************

And now it's almost 9:00 pm and since I wrote that we have had supper with Jessie and Vergil and the boys who came over to get two hens and Fancy Pants to take home, which they did. I made a nice pot of chili and a good pan of cornbread which we ate with butter and cane syrup. 




The boys took their baths here so that if they fall asleep on the way home, they are ready to be transported directly to bed. When their parents had finally corralled them and somehow, miraculously, managed to get them into their pajamas and their teeth brushed and then taken to the truck, Jessie and Mr. Moon and I went out in the moonlight and each of us picked up a chicken to put in the box Jessie had brought for that purpose. Fancy Pants is going to have his own flock of ladies and two of our hens will have a new and wonderful home in Tallahassee. As we went about our chicken transfer, we heard and then saw pretty dang professional  fireworks going off right to the east of us and I have no idea what that was about although I suppose it may be someone's birthday. 

I baked my loaf of bread and it is rather disappointing. I thought it would rise much higher than it did. I'll cut it tomorrow to see what it looks like inside. 

Sigh. 

It's been that sort of day. One unexpected and unplanned event after another, ending in fireworks. 

But Mr. Moon got everything planted except for the kale and rainbow chard which is not exactly surprising as those two are not his favorites. But they will get planted and I am so damn glad to know that seeds are in the ground and have been watered in. 

It is so weird and so odd to think that three weeks ago, right now, I was being transported to the hospital to get surgery. Has anything been normal since that pain in my belly started? 
Is anything ever normal and if so, what does that mean?

I do not know. 
I don't know shit. 

As always...

Love...Ms. Moon


Friday, October 15, 2021

I Am Good Tired


Since I knew I was going to take a very short walk this morning, I decided to do a little loop light here in the burgeoning center of Lloyd. 
That's a joke. There is nothing burgeoning in Lloyd. There is also no true center in Lloyd because honestly, there is no true Lloyd. I mean, we can be found on a map but as I have said before, in the entire county of Jefferson, here in North Florida, there is only one real town and that is Monticello which lies somewhat northeast of here a few miles. This is what Jefferson County looks like. 


Geographically, it is a large county, its borders reaching up to Georgia and down to the Gulf of Mexico. 
As you can see, however, it is not a densely populated county. I mean- I've lived here forever and I'm not even exactly sure where Waukeenah is and quite frankly I don't know that I've ever even heard of Cody before. We have lots of farms and pasture land and wildlife areas. We have rivers and forests, lakes, swamp, and the cut-up remains of old plantations and the descendants of people who lived and worked on those plantations. There are a few incredibly wealthy people who live in Jefferson County and there are many, many people who live below the poverty line. 
Our tax base is for shit and the schools are so bad that young families who would naturally be attracted to the area to live in while working in Tallahassee, do not move here. 
That's just the facts. 
Amazon is building a huge, huge distribution center right off of I-10 in East Tallahassee and I wonder if that will affect our situation here in Lloyd. I do not know. 

Anyway, there's your little lesson about Jefferson County, Florida today. For old retired people who aren't raising children and who feel comfortable in a rambly place with a very mixed population with an extremely rural feel and who love giant live oaks, it's a great place to live. And when I say "mixed" I do not just mean by race or income, but also by political, artistic, educational, religious, and philosophical differences too. Some of the most raging liberals I've ever met live here and of course my next-door neighbors still have their Trump signs up. 

Somehow we all seem to be able to fit in and mostly the attitude I find is "I'll mind my business and you mind yours."
And yet, the people are friendly for the most part, polite when we meet up at the post office which is the only place to meet up in Lloyd except for the dump depot. 

So I took my little stroll around this part of the county today, 



ending up at said Post Office and collecting my mail and coming home. After I'd cooled down a bit and done some laundry (sheet day!) I did what I said I'd do and got that garden almost 100% weed-free. It is now ready for planting and mulching. 


I left the still-bountiful pepper plants along with the volunteer sweet potatoes and regular potatoes. Also, a few volunteer zinnia plants which popped up from reseeding that I can't bear to pull. 

I had to work in two different time shifts today as it got up to almost 90 degrees. It hasn't rained in quite awhile and the dirt was as hot as asphalt in the sun. But. I did it. And it feels very, very good to have it done. It is now ready for planting and mulching and watering and watching the magic begin anew. This year I vow to thin my seedlings with more abandon and less personification or concern about the possible sentience of microscopic kale and carrots. 
We shall see how this goes. 

So. It is Friday. I have done some things and gotten some things accomplished. I am marinating a venison backstrap. I watched an actual cooking video today demonstrating one chef's method of making a loaf of sourdough bread as my bread has not risen worth shit lately. Thinking it was my starter, I rejuvenated it this week but I don't think it needed it. I am just not making my dough properly. The video I watched recommends a very labor-intensive method of having to tend to the dough every half hour or so for hours and hours and that just doesn't seem practical to me. I may, however, try it. One must know the rules in order to break them, as it were. Perhaps I have gotten way too laissez faire in my bread making out of a sense of an egoistic belief that I know what I am doing so shut up your bad self with your fancy techniques
Again- we shall see. 

Martinis have been made and are being sipped. Clean sheets are on the bed. Chickens are out by the hen house, eating their last tasty dirt treats before roosting. Oh wait! They heard Mr. Moon opening the bag of wild bird seed and are now rushing the feeder. They love routine but do not hesitate to take advantage of an opportunity. 
I wish I could say that about myself. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Thursday, October 14, 2021

Things That Are Good For The Body And The Soul


In my rather gentle attempt to feel better, I went for a walk today. As motivation, I thought about the lovely wildflowers I've seen blooming on the side of the road. Also, I am finally listening to a decent book which always helps. I decided a few days ago that life was too short to listen to crappy books and sent the Amanda Quick one back to the library and borrowed another one- a tome that I don't even remember the name of, some sort of historical novel involving a sixteenth-century  girl in London who was a scribe for a blind rabbi and after I'd listened to a few hours of that, I sent it back too. 
I just did not really feel any connection or sympathy with any of the characters. 

The one I'm listening to now is a very dear novel, "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," a debut novel by a woman named Gail Honeyman. Hard to believe it's the author's first book. From the very beginning I had that lovely feeling of being in good hands. 

So I took off down the road to where I knew the wildflowers were and I was not disappointed in them. 


The yellow and purple flowers bloom profusely this time of year, a sign for sure of coming fall. 
I stopped to talk to Pinot who was sitting on the front porch of the man who ambulates in his motorized wheelchair. 
"How are you?" I asked Pinot.
"I'm tired," he said. 
I can so relate. 

I had planned my day so that when I got back from my walk, cooled off and had a shower, I would go do a little bit of grocery-store foraging and then shell the peas I picked yesterday. And that plan was indeed executed. 


They are simmering away on the stove with onions and will be part of tonight's supper, the last batch of fresh (not frozen) garden field peas for the year. I have noticed the chickens pecking over the vines that I pulled and put on the burn pile two days ago. There were plenty of over- and under-mature peas for them to eat and I had hope they would find and enjoy them and so they have. 

I'm tired but feeling okay. Tomorrow I plan to do a very short walk and then get back in the garden. I have things I absolutely have to get in the ground. They are just sitting here, radiating their guilt aura at me along with all of my unread copies of The New Yorker and other various magazine. But of course, the seeds and plants take precedence.



And Lord, do I want some baby salad greens. 

That's my Thursday. 

Love...Ms. Moon





Wednesday, October 13, 2021

I Didn't Die Trying


Well, sorry to have to say this but my advice about buttermilk-brined chicken is to save your buttermilk to make biscuits with. It was okay but it didn't rock my world. Sometimes the simplest things- like a roast chicken- should just be what they are in their simplest forms. 
Take a chicken. Salt it. Put it in an iron skillet or other baking dish. Put it in a 425 degree oven and cook it until it's done. 
You can do a lot of other fancy things to it but it's hard to improve on that. 

I have not been feeling that well. I don't know what's wrong with me. I just haven't had any energy and part of me wonders if it's because I've just let myself stagnate. I haven't been taking my walks or really working outside, mostly because of the heat but then there was the appendectomy and the less I do, the less I want to do. 
Big surprise there, eh?

So today I was determined to get outside and get some shit done. And I did. I picked all those peas and peppers you see and I weeded and pulled all the pea plants. I cleaned out maybe a quarter to a third of the garden but the rest of it isn't going to be that difficult. It's still hot and is going to be hotter the next two days but by Sunday it's supposed to cool down some. 

I did laundry and hung it on the line, folded it when it was dry and brought it in and put it away. 

I also swept and mopped the kitchen, pantry, and a bathroom which requires moving chairs and bins and baskets and so forth into the hallway so I can get underneath things. 

And now I can hardly walk. 
That was NOT that much work and don't try to convince me it was. I do, however, feel as if I've accomplished something for the first time in quite awhile. I have got to get moving more, and more regularly, too. 

Mr. Moon went to town again to work on a contract so he's been gone most of the day. I hope that when he gets home he'll recognize the smell of Fabuloso and vinegar and realize that I haven't been sitting on my fat ass ALL day long. It was so much easier when he was gone to simply say, "Well, I'm on vacation too and I don't give a damn about the cleanliness of the kitchen floor." And it's not that he's ever ONCE in all of our years suggested that perhaps I should mop a floor, there's a part of me (the part marinated in guilt and shame my entire childhood) that remembers he grew up in a house with a mother who did very much care about the cleanliness of her house, along with two older sisters whose every Saturday was spent in ensuring that the house was indeed very, very clean. 

Ah well. Obviously he's learned to accept the fact that his wife will always cook him good meals, make sure his clothes are cleaned and sometimes his shirts are ironed, and that the house is, well, at least tidy to a degree even if you wouldn't dare to eat off my floors.
Which leads me to ask- why would anyone want to eat off their floors? 

Okay. Here's a picture of a Georgia Thumper, aka Eastern Lubber Grasshopper.


See the knife there in the background? I know I've posted pictures of these insects before but here's another just in case you missed those. These motherfuckers will tear UP a garden and a yard. They love ornamental foliage and your collard greens too. They are, as we say around here, a damn mess. The most zen, kind, loving woman I know will smash one of those monsters in a heartbeat when she finds them on her beloved plants. When I saw this one though, I just didn't have the energy or the heart to smush him. I should have though. 
I remember the first time I saw one as a child and it scared the daylights out of me. All these years later they still sort of shock me with their size and alien-warrior armor. 

I hope I can get out of bed in the morning. There is plenty more to do around here.

Love...Ms. Moon





Tuesday, October 12, 2021

It's Good To Have Him Home


I'm not quite sure who was happier to see Mr. Moon pull up in the yard- me or Maurice. 
Okay. I probably was. But Maurice was happy too. She would not leave the room he was in and as soon as he sat down, she jumped up on his lap and told him all about the things she'd done while he'd been away. It was actually quite charming and sweet. She only bit him a little bit. She was carried away with love, I'm sure.

He and I caught up with lots of hugs and no biting. He was exhausted but also somewhat exhilarated by the long, long two days of driving after his days of tromping around the woods in Canada. I made him a corn chowder with sourdough bread for his supper and I think he was very happy. Our lights were out by eleven and he slept a good, long sleep. I woke up several times, just to make sure he was there, right beside me, and he was. 

This morning he started to unpack and get to the things he needed to do around here but when he heard that I was meeting Lily and Jessie and August and Levon for lunch he changed his plan and decided to do some of the chores he needed to do in town after eating with us. The boys and the mamas were happy to see Boppy and we ate outside at a barbecue place that was very good. And then the women and the little boys went to a local plant nursery where we walked around, both boys pulling carts even though the only things bought were two tiny plants and a bag of fertilizer. I made the boys pose by the dinosaur. 

August is going back to school tomorrow which will be like another first day, I think. And Levon will be going to his school tomorrow too. What WILL Jessie find to do in that three hours that she will be child-free? I have a feeling she'll figure it out. 

There's a greenhouse at this nursery which has the most beautiful indoor plants which make us all crazy with lust. There's also a little pond with koi in it and a bridge over it. Children, if they ask nicely, are given a little fish food to throw to the gorgeous fishes. 



Such a pretty place. 

And then I came home and finally cleaned the hen house and pulled the zinnias which is always a bit heartbreaking but it must be done, and a few weeds too. 

And that was my day. I'm making a buttermilk-brined roast chicken tonight, a recipe from the NYT's adapted from Samin Nosrat's series, "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat." I hear it was inspired by her observing how southern ladies soak their chicken in buttermilk overnight before frying it. I hope it's good.

May all be well with you and yours.

Love...Ms. Moon




Monday, October 11, 2021

He's Just About Here

The doctor's visit went fine today. It took approximately three minutes for him to check my belly, pronounce it fine, tell me that "these things come out of nowhere but the good news is, appendixes don't grow back," and that I had no need for any restrictions any more, and then for me to tell him how grateful I was at how easily and smoothly it had all gone. I reached out to shake his hand and he shook my hand with a very strong grip, not holding back a bit due to my age or sex. 

I liked that. I liked him. I remember when the ER doctor told me that he'd already spoken with Dr. Ruark, and that he'd be doing the surgery. I had at least enough presence of mind to ask if this Dr. Ruark was any good and the ER guy told me, "One of the best. I'd let him operate on me and I don't say that about all of them."

Now. What else was he going to say? But then as I had mentioned before, our friend who is a scrub tech gave him the same rating which I trusted a great deal more. 

Oh- here's a funny thing that happened today- I didn't have to undress for the brief exam but the nurse gave me a sheet of paper with which I could cover whatever I wanted to cover and there was a brief moment when the doctor went to lift up my dress where he sort of attempted to put the paper over my already covered loins (I was wearing underwear, for goodness sake) and I said, "Oh please. You've seen my guts."
He laughed and we forgot the paper. 

So that was that and then I went off to a nursery to buy seeds for that O! Promised Day! when we get the garden cleared and they didn't have any collard or mustard seeds left so I bought twelve collard plants and six mustard plants and all the seeds I could need for about four gardens. At least. Then there was a quick dash to Publix and home again where I tackled a problem that began last night with my Mac which was that everything on my desktop disappeared except for my dock (if you have a Mac, you know what I mean and if you don't then it doesn't matter) and I called tech help and the woman helped me and one thing led to another and now I'm downloading a huge update which should only take another few hours or so. 
Geez.
I had somehow managed to allow my desktop to be shared with my other Mac which I do not have and how that happened I have no idea. Is there a ghost in the Mac? Whatever. If it's fixed, it's fixed, if not then I'll call them back. 

And then instead of doing something productive like pull weeds or clean out the hen house which needs doing again, I took a nap. 
I guess my appointment wore me out with the inevitable anxiety. 

And now I am waiting on Mr. Moon who, in a text this morning told me that he should be home by supper time. So...
I'll mighty happy when I lay eyes on him and can actually hold him close again. 

Just got another text- he's about twenty minutes from the guy's house that he drove up with and where he left his truck. They'll unload everything and then he'll be home. So in about an hour. 

In a way, it's hard to believe he's been gone and in another way, it's hard to believe he'll be back. If experience tells me anything it's that I will be at once thrilled to have him home and also wondering who in hell this giant human in my house is and why he's putting his giant clothes in my laundry basket? 
I wonder what the cats will think. Last night they both slept with me again. Jack was on his towel-covered pillow by my head and after I turned out the light, Maurice stealthily jumped up on the bed and settled down right next to me. Then she proceeded to growl and complain for a minute until she felt, I suppose, as if Jack had been duly warned what would happen if he moved even a whisker, and then she settled down and we all slept. Right around dawn, she jumped off the bed to go do who knows what.

My fierce familiars, my little guardian sphinxes, my loyal tiny lions. 

Off to make the supper for the man. 

Love...Ms. Moon






Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Passing Of Time, The Respectful Maintenance Of The Beloved


Kitchen Decor

Oh, Sundays. 
Even when they aren't terrible, they can hold a sort of heaviness that mashes down the soul, can't they? Even on the brightest, most beautiful of fall days, Sundays can bring their own darkness. 

I think that knowing that "real" life begins again the next day has something to do with the somberness of a Sunday, even if we don't go to a regular job. It's a holdover from when we did or even when we were in school, just as there are the those days in late summer, early fall, when we feel compelled to go buy new notebooks and pencils, pens, and folders, saddle shoes and a few brand new dresses. 
Well, you know what I mean. 

But Sundays- did you get your homework done? Oh god. I hope there's not a quiz in algebra tomorrow. 

Tomorrow I have my appointment with the surgeon who did my appendectomy. I was so hoping that my really very overall positive experience with the medical establishment would help me get over my neurosis when it comes to all things doctor and medical. 
I am afraid that it hasn't. 
I dread going to the appointment although I think he's going to tell me that everything looks good. The appointment was supposed to be made for three weeks post surgery but when I called to make the appointment, tomorrow is the date the receptionist gave me even though it will only have been two weeks and two days. I did point this out to the lady and she got a bit defensively flustered and insisted that this date would be fine. 
Whatever. 
But if the doctor says anything about it, I'm throwing her under the bus. 

So that's probably been a niggling worry in my mind, part of the heaviness I've felt. 

Look what I got at the dump today!


When I took my trash, there it was, a monstera deliciosa, just sitting there on that plant stand. I asked the attendant if the plant was up for taking and he said it was and why not take the stand too? 
The stand isn't much and I didn't really feel a great need for it but I do like to put my plants on stands when I can due to the fact that my chickens love to nibble and sometimes devour my potted plants. Especially begonias and maiden hair ferns. 
Two of my favorites, of course. 
So I took it and the plant and when I got home, I separated three different parts of the monstera, put two in new pots and am rooting the third. Wish me luck. I've got the fairly lame plant stand on the kitchen porch with some hen and chick plants that I've had in pots on the back porch where they have not gotten enough sun, along with some potted up Swedish Ivy that I've rooted, and the rooting monstera. 



 It may get too much sun there this winter as the bananas die back and the pecan trees lose all their leaves. We'll see. I've noticed that when one new plant moves in, or one rooted plant gets potted, everything has to shift and move around. It's like that thing where if you change out the doilies on an end table, before you know it you're refinishing the piano and putting in new windows. 
Which is why I usually don't get new plants anymore or change out doilies either. I'm too old for that sort of craziness. But I simply could not pass up that plant at the dump and I plan on sharing it with some of the plant lovers in my family as it takes root and multiplies.

Another thing I did was finish watching "The Dressmaker" which both May and Jessie recommended. Now I am recommending it too. It's...strange. And rather lovely. Kate Winslet. Set in Australia. While I was watching, I was also working on the endless patching I'm doing on a very old and faded dress that I adore. I wore it to at least four and maybe five of my grandchildren's births. 


Owen's Birth Day



August's Birth Day

I got it at a Goodwill to begin with- blue linen- and it's so worn now that in many places it is as thin and insubstantial as a peacefully sleeping newborn's breath, a fragile, faded gauze. I'm doing a sort of wabi-sabi mending which is an intentionally visible mending meant to be imperfect which- you know- is absolutely perfect for me. Mostly I am doing it merely to preserve this old, adored dress while at the same time, letting me entertain myself with embroidery thread and a needle. 



This is the bit I'm working on right now and no, I cannot sew a straight line. 


So that's fun and then I went out and pulled a few weeds. Next week we have got to get the fall/winter garden in. The volunteer sweet potatoes are doing their thing which I love to see every year. 


The gift that keeps on giving. 

Big News! 
Mr. Moon wrote me today that he is thinking they will be home tomorrow night. 
Man. That's some fast traveling. 
I'm pretty excited. I wish I'd gotten a little more done while he was gone like clearing out more of the garden and mopping the kitchen but the sheets are clean on his side of the bed and his wife still loves him very, very much. The cats and chickens are all alive, there will be good meals to eat, and many hugs and kisses to give and receive. 
That'll do, right? Like wabi-sabi, imperfect but done with love and intention. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Saturday, October 9, 2021

And So It Is


Today was another stay-at-home day. I had invited Hank and Rachel to come out for shrimp salad this afternoon so I got started on that fairly early. I boiled the eggs for it last night. The shrimp salad I make is based on one that our beautiful friend from Norway used to make. Her name was Anne-Helene and we met her in Cozumel and she came and stayed with us for six months, I think. 
She saved my life. Lily was two then and more of a handful than I could imagine a child could be. Also, I had just taken a job at the Birth Center as a birth assistant and so was on call for various stretches of time weekly and because of Anne, I could go off in the middle of the night or whenever I was needed, knowing that she would get the children off to school, fed and clothed and safe. She immediately bonded with Lily who fell in love with her. They would sit on the back steps and listen to Reggae music (Anne-Helene's favorite) and Lily would dance. They would walk to the mall together which was at least a mile away. Lily would listen to Anne and do what she said. She adored her. We all did. 
She became sister, friend, blessed angel and was a wonderful cook and I still make her shrimp salad. 


I've talked about it here many times, I'm sure. I make a dressing for it which is like the one my grandmother made to go with crab claws. It's nothing more than mayonnaise, a little Miracle Whip, and Heinz chili sauce. When we'd been in Cozumel (and that had been our first trip there), Anne and I fell in love with a shrimp-stuffed avocado served in a restaurant we liked that had basically the same sauce on top, strangely enough. And so it became the shrimp salad goop, as I call it. And I do add avocados to the salad because...of course! I just had not put them in yet when I took that picture. 
And I JUST realized that I forgot to put the corn in the salad! Anne would always say, "And a box of corn!" 
So- ingredients- lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, a little cooked pasta (I usually use the seashell type but did not have any today), black olives, cubed cheese (cheddar or Havarti are both very good), the shrimp, the eggs, and avocado. And corn. A small box of corn. I think Anne meant can. 

But of course, you could make it with anything you like. Hard to go wrong with shrimp and vegetables. It is one of Hank's favorites. He has asked for it on his birthday many times. The other day he was feeling down and I could not think of a thing to say or do to make him feel better so I said, "Come out and I will make you a shrimp salad."
And so that's what happened. 
He was already in a better mood by today but I am sure that he appreciated the salad. 

We ate and chatted and then chatted and chatted some more. We talked about all the things and it was most pleasant and I was so glad to see my boy and his lovely, beloved love. I sent them home with eggs and the rest of the salad and goop, except for one little bowl of salad for me to eat later, and the remains of a loaf of sourdough that we'd eaten with lunch. 

And that is all that I have done today except to pack up and wrap another box to send in the mail. It's crazy how much I'm enjoying making up these boxes with brown paper and packing tape, and old calendar pictures. I will get this box in the mail on Monday, hopefully. 

Mr. Moon is on his way home. He's already back in the US. He doesn't have an ETA yet, but says that they are stopping tonight and will drive as much as they feel safe doing. I figure he'll be back Tuesday or Wednesday so not really two weeks worth of being gone. It was two weeks ago today that I was in the hospital, telling my husband that no problem, he would definitely still be able to go to Canada and here it is- almost time for him to come home from that trip. 
I know he's had a wonderful time. He's told me. And I know he'll be happy to come home to his wife and comfortable bed because he's told me that too. And I will be well-pleased to have the man home. 

Today is John Lennon's birthday. He would have been eighty-one today. 
Eighty-one years old. 
His son, Sean, with whom he shared a birthday, is forty-six. 
My world cracked and tumbled when John died. I am not being dramatic here. It did. His life and then his death formed, informed, and changed me in ways I doubt I'll ever fully know. 


And I love this picture more than anyone can fully know. 

Dear John. Dear Sean. Dear Yoko. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, October 8, 2021

Another Love Letter Of Sorts


Well, there you go. I pulled out the canning kettle and my tiny jars and organized my washing/seeding/chopping area and got to work. 


That's the knife that my husband got me for Christmas. He keeps it sharp as a razor and I love it to an almost inappropriate degree. But even with the Wonder Knife, I sliced open, seeded, cut up, and food-processed peppers (and two apples) for what seemed like hours. I was not keeping track. All I know is that suddenly it was 2:30, I hadn't eaten lunch, and then it was 4:30 and this is what I had managed to produce.


And I swear that this is the last batch of pepper jam I am making in 2021. 
Or perhaps ever. I don't know. 
I put extra red flame peppers in it but it's not that hot. The devil will not fuck your mouth on this stuff. Maybe give you a tiny bit of a french kiss tongue tip. 

And now I am weary and part of that is because I just haven't felt great today. A little off. Also, my right eye seems to have a tiny broken blood vessel in it which is off-putting. Is my body just breaking down all of a sudden? Are all the systems starting to truly show their age and usage? I do not know. 
You know what I do know? 
That I really do not know shit. 
But you knew that already. 

Still, I have managed to wash the sheets and remake the bed and clean up the kitchen which looked a bit like a pepper factory had exploded in it when I finally got the jam in the canner. 

Okay. So I want to talk about the dream I had this morning. I didn't really sleep very well last night which may have something to do with how rough I feel today. I woke up at six and almost considered just getting up but then I came to my senses and went back to sleep and had another epic dream which seemed to represent some sort of grading system for masses of people. I'm a little iffy on all of that. But I do know that only women and gay men were allowed to be part of this...test? 
My brain could not seem to make up its mind what it wanted to dream about, if you know what I mean. 
But I remember a few things about the dream that make me laugh, one of which was that I told Oprah Winfrey that if she wanted to ever be a good interviewer she needed to actually listen to her guests. Now this is a thought that I can never consciously remember having but I suppose that somewhere down in the mucky pulp which is my brain matter, I must think that. 
Oprah did not seem bothered by my remark because 
A. She is Oprah, and 
B. She wasn't listening to me. 

Another thing I remember was telling a man (not gay) that I was a staunch advocate for women and the queer community! 

I also remember the best thing I said but it is not appropriate for this blog and that's saying a lot. Let's just say that I was testing a guy on whether or not he really was gay AND HE WASN'T! 
It was actually quite clever and I'm rather proud of myself. 

So maybe that dream wore me out. 

Other than all of that, everything is fine around here. My husband sent me a very, very sweet picture of himself this morning telling me he was thinking of me and of course I loved that. I got to talk to Lis on the phone and she reminded me that it has been over SIX YEARS since we went to Cuba and I am absolutely gobsmacked. I swear- if you'd asked me how long it had been I would have said, three, maybe four years. 
I still cannot believe I did that and if Lis ever doubts my love she can just remember that I went to Cuba because she asked me to go and of course it was fabulous and something I will always be so very grateful I did. I remember the silliest things- the fact that I had read that toilet paper was hard to come by in Cuba and so when Lis and I split a sandwich in the Miami airport, I grabbed a handful of napkins and those napkins came in very handy for hygienic purposes. I remember all of the "young people" in the tour going out and staying out half the night after they'd all played at the Fabrica del Arte 



and Lis and I going home to our little room and putting on our nun nightgowns and falling fast asleep after giggling our mojito-fueled giggles. We had so much fun together. 



I remember most of all the people of all shades of humanity who were making their lives the best they could under such difficult circumstances. 


Long time friends reunite.


The sweet, sweet man who was sort of the dressing room body guard at Fabrica de Arte.


The man who had an amazing tattoo. 



The artist who asked me to pose for a picture for his next installation. 


I don't remember! Perhaps a musician. With Lis, of course.


Two simply gorgeous people. 



And another. 



Bartenders! 


Guy whose hair I loved. 

I remember how if I asked in my horrible Spanish if I could take a picture of someone, they would always think that I was asking them to take a picture of me. 
As if. 

So okay. I am now steeped in memories of that trip. There is so much more I remember. Ernest Hemingway's home, the most delicious foods, the man who hooked up with one of the musicians on the tour who was absolutely the sweetest guy ever. When I was overcome with sobs at some of the pictures in the museum we had just visited, he said, to me, "Don't cry, Mary. It's okay."
There was very little that a tourist could buy in Havana then (and probably less now) but the museum was selling prints and two of them live in my house. Here is one of them. 



That was the year that Obama had visited Cuba with his family and that a few days later, the Rolling Stones played a free concert for half a million people in Havana. 
I can't imagine a better time that we could have visited. There was hope, there was a sense of possibility and opportunity in the air. 
And to be honest- knowing that Keith Richards had been in Havana a few months before us gave me a huge sense of rightness. 
When we went to Fabrica des Arte where our musicians were going to play, I saw this on the wall. 



As I said on my blog then- my spirit totem animal. I knew all was well. 

And it was so much more than that. 

But that is certainly enough for now. 

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon