Thursday, May 13, 2021

Soul Rest

So, that's a little better, right? It's still got too much beige in it but at least it also has blues and reds and the fact is, I was not going to come home yesterday without a new rug so there you go and there you have it and it's nice and thick and feels good on the feet. Supposedly it's handwoven although I can't imagine that what I paid for it would even cover the cost of shipping it from India which is also supposedly its country of origin, much less the wages of some poor six-year old child who theoretically wove it. 
I am not making light of child labor, I promise. Just add this to the long list of things I feel guilty about. A long, long time ago I realized that guilt and shame are my default emotions and this little verse came to me which sort of sums it all up:

Guilt and shame,
Guilt and shame.
These two words are my middle name. 
Come on, come on and dance with me.
I'll share my guilt and shame for free.

I know I often sound like someone who doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks of me but I'm not in the least. Now I will admit that I'm not as bad about it as I used to be but there's always a strong streak of what may be imposter's syndrome in me- if you really knew me, you wouldn't like me. 
I guess that's why I adore my closest people so much. They DO know me and they still seem to like me okay. I don't take that sort of thing for granted. EVER.

It's been a strange day, weather-wise here in Lloyd. I woke up this morning and got dressed in my summer outfit which is the ever-charming short-alls combined with a ten-year old tank top. 
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, okay?
Anyway, I realized I felt chilly and went to turn down (up?) the AC which had been set in the low seventies to see that it was 69 degrees in the house. What?!
I went outside and it was so cool that I went back and changed into my winter outfit which is a pair of long overalls and a long-sleeved shirt. And that's what I'm still wearing. Hell! I even put socks on! 
It's been gray all day and damp as SpongeBob SquarePants' underwear. Not a day conducive to great activity. I finished the mask I was working on and I did a little more sewing on my dress. I also finally cleaned the hen house. I went through Miss Darla's nest and took four more eggs out of it that were unmarked. I hope I'm not messing up her process. I know the eggs cool every time I take her off the nest and she has them arranged exactly as she wants them and I do disturb that. 
Another thing to feel guilty about. But not very. 
Do any of y'all remember when I found tiny Miss Violet sitting in a hidden nest on a veritable mountain of eggs? She could barely balance on top of it. I remember showing her to Owen who was a little guy then and he said, "She's having birth!"

In random news (as if any of this wasn't), Mr. Moon and I rewatched "Frida" over the last few nights. If any of y'all haven't seen that, I do recommend it. It's a fine movie in my opinion. In a related note, if any of you haven't read Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, please do. It's related because Frida Kahlo is a main character in the novel although the book is not about her primarily. 
I guess those are my hot tips for the day. Recommending an old movie and an old book.
We just can't seem to find anything we want to watch together. We tried some other movie a few nights ago that we hadn't seen. Crazy, Stupid Love. 
Well, it was crazy and it was stupid and we didn't love it and we didn't finish it. 
And why do people think that Ryan Gosling is cute? 
I do not get that. At all. I don't even believe I'd think he was cute if I was forty years younger. Definitely not MY type. 

As you have probably gathered by now, I don't really have anything of importance to say today. It wasn't a bad day at all but I've had no adventures or epiphanies. I've just dawdled around and stayed cozy, being sweet to my husband who has been sweet to me. I've watched the birds at the feeder and observed a male cardinal taking a little splash bath in a tiny puddle. I've been thinking about Gibson spending the night tomorrow and hoping that he has a really good time with me and his Boppy. 
And there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with any of that. In fact, it's been rather delightful. 
Perhaps the best part of it is that I do not feel a bit guilty for having such a slow, sweet day. I just feel relaxed. 

Carry on. 

Love...Ms. Moon



Wednesday, May 12, 2021

I Was Blind But Now I See

Okay. This is the old rug. Can you believe that I have allowed that to exist in my house? 
Here's the thing. 
You get used to shit. 
It's like that old story about the frog in the pot of water on the stove. He's fine, the water starts to heat up, nice, it's warm, great, and then it gets hotter and hotter and before he realizes he's past the point of no return and he's a boiled frog. 
That rug is as ugly as a boiled frog. In fact, I think a dead animal on the floor might look better than that rug. Depending on what the animal was and how recently dead it happened to be. 

ANYWAY, I started out this morning stressed as hell because we've been trying to find a place to stay in North Carolina this summer when we go up to visit the Weatherfords and although there are literally hundreds of Airbnb's and VRBO's available, you have to have your dates, you need to figure out what you can and cannot live with or without, and so forth. You might find exactly what you think you're looking for but then you see that the bed has a footboard and when your sleeping partner is over six and a half feet tall, that simply will not work. Or you find the perfect place and are ready to reserve and then you realize it's actually an apartment stuck on to another house and that won't do either because some of us don't want to be that close to other people and besides, two little boys may be coming to stay and they can make noise and so...
Or there's no stove. 
Or no cell service.
Or you need 4-wheel drive to get down the driveway.

Or, or, or...

So I finally just left the house to go to town to do my shopping and went back to the same place where I found my bathroom rug which I do love, and found another rug that would do. It's not the perfect rug but it's an another universe of better than the one laying there now. 
So I bought it. 
We haven't it laid it out yet but that's next on the agenda. 
Picture to follow.

Then I went to Costco and THEN I went to Publix. 
You know all that mess about people lining up for gas? It's true. And get this- Florida isn't even dependent on the pipeline that was compromised. But I swear to you that people were lined up in their cars waaaaayyyyy down the road, waiting to get gas at Costco. 
Fucking idiots! It's not this bad before hurricanes. 
Then, to top it off (see what I did there?) there were people in Publix with no masks on. They still ask you to wear masks but our horseshit governor who thinks Trump's ass tastes like roses, has declared that there is no longer a need for a mask mandate. 

One guy was walking around the store with at least four kids hanging off the cart and none of them were wearing masks and I swear, he wasn't even shopping. He was just...walking up and down the aisles with his well-dressed kidlings like it was a damn ride at Disney World. 

What is wrong with people? 
Well. I should talk. Look at that rug again. I will say though that as ugly and no doubt filthy as that rug is, it does not have covid, can not catch covid, and will not spontaneously combust if it is in the wrong container. 
I think. 
I could be wrong. As always. 

We have now reserved and paid for a place to stay in NC in July so that's good news. I'm sure there will be something about it that we don't like but we'll have a bed and a bathroom and a stove and a place for the little boys to come and hang out. It's always an adventure. Remember that time Mr. Moon and I stayed in a basement apartment in Asheville that had the couple's college "artwork" all over the walls and also, a printed directive on the bed telling us that they certainly did not mind if people made love in the apartment and in fact, expected that they would, but to please, please, take the lovely comforter off of the bed before proceeding? 
Holy shit!

I'll never forget that. 

No matter how much I'd like to.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Warning: Profanity Ahead, Plus Bitching Galore

Well, there's the rest of the carrots. I pulled them all except for one that had what I think was a monarch caterpillar on it. They're in a bread bag in the refrigerator right now. I cleaned out that refrigerator today. I didn't do the kind of clean-out where you take everything out including the shelves to wash them all down and then put them all back in and reorganize everything. But I did take everything out, shelf by shelf, and wiped the shelves down and I threw out a lot of stuff. 
I was in the mood to throw out stuff. I've been in that mood all day. It's an angry, bitchy mood. Everything is frustrating me. Why do these moods suddenly come upon us? I sent the kids a picture of the rug in the Glen Den and wrote, "I can't take this thing for one more week."
And I meant it. It's the most hideous rug you've ever seen. It wasn't so bad when we bought it. It was stain-free at that time, of course, being brand new and I cannot imagine that I would buy a rug made of such horrid colors so obviously it's faded or something. It's now a sort of beige with highlights of brown and orangey brown. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times- LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR BEIGE! And brown? Well, there are some rich browns that don't offend me but these are not those. I won't even comment on the orangish shades. 
So- rug buying is back on the agenda because I AM going to throw that motherfucker away. I would not even insult anyone by asking if they wanted it. 

I was going to clean out the hen house which desperately needs it but the cart I use was filled with potato vines and I didn't have the energy to call Mr. Moon, who was in town, to ask what he wanted me to do with them. I would rather just be slightly pissed off at the inconvenience than actually do anything about it so it's still filled with potato vines and the hen house is still poop-filled. Rather unbelievably, I did not throw any of Darla's precious eggs away. Lucky for her, or maybe unlucky for her, depending on how you look at it. I did take her off the nest and set her down beside it and went through all of the eggs and removed the ones that I hadn't marked. Three since yesterday. Dang hens. As Mr. Moon said, those other hens are saying, "Since you're already on the nest, let's make it worth your while." 
That's exactly what they're thinking although probably not really because I'm not sure chickens think that way but that's what their instincts are telling them to do. 

I really don't know shit except when it comes to chickenshit and that I DO know when I see. 

It's rained on and off all day and that too has been frustrating because we need real rain. The kind that comes and stays, not the kind that flirts and leaves. A steadfast rain. A faithful rain. A loving rain of adequate proportions. 

I did do some sewing today but not on my dress. My husband showed a mask that I'd made to a friend of ours and she admired it and so of course he said that I'd make her one. So I did make her one but it's too big for a woman and that was frustrating too. I started over with a smaller template but I haven't finished it. The pattern is so easy that after I start one I think, "Oh man. This'll be done in fifteen minutes!" and then for whatever reason, an hour later I'm thinking, "Shit. I forgot to put the nose wire in." 

Now see? This day has not been any different than any other day. These are the sorts of frustrations that we all encounter daily. They are just life. But today I have taken every one of them personally and cursed myself, the universe, the colors brown and beige, and a few other things and beings that I am not going to name here. 

Here's something pretty. 

I have a few gladiolas blooming and this one had lost its will to stand up and had fallen over so it was all bent up and I figured I might as well pick it and bring it in to admire and enjoy. So I did. 
Of course I'm a little bit pissed that the darn thing laid down on the job. What the hell, gladioli? You had one job and you blew it! 
Okay. Not really. Its main job was to bloom and it did. 

I can't really think of anything else to bitch about. 
Oh wait! Another Adventure in Aging! 
I'm wearing a giant bandaid on my right arm because yesterday, while the boys were here, I was scurrying around, heating up spaghetti and I left the door to the microwave open and then ran into it with my arm and because my skin is ancient and I've spent my life in the Florida sun, it just peeled back and bled. 

And this is the part where I feel compelled to list all of the things that despite my frustration and general pissed-offeddness, I am so very, very grateful for. 
Yeah. You've heard that list before. 
And I still am incredibly grateful for all of them but fuck it. 

It's just one of those days. We all have them. I guess I'm just leaning into it and sitting with it. And by the way, those two phrases make me want to punch someone. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 10, 2021

All Kinds Of Foolishness

 Remember when I told you that hens will add their eggs to a broody hen's nest? Well, here you go. If you look carefully, you can see poor Darla's tail feathers in the very back while Alice and Annie are piled up on top of her to donate two more eggs to the mother load. 
Quite literally.
When they were done and had left the poor brooding hen alone, I went and further tortured her by lifting her off the nest, taking the two eggs I THOUGHT were the Barred Rock eggs, and then proceeded to mark the seventeen eggs that were left. 
And trust me- if all seventeen hatched, fourteen of them would be roosters and three would be hens. I seriously doubt that they'll all hatch and I may pull up my big-girl chicken-tending panties and rob the nest of a few more eggs because honestly, that's ridiculous. And I'm going to keep track every day of any new, unmarked eggs and those will definitely be removed. 

Ooh boy. I hope that Darla doesn't have anything on her calendar for the next few months because she is apt to be busy. 

There's a magnolia blossom on one of the lower branches of the giant tree in my backyard. It is at least fifteen feet in the air. Not the tree, the lower branches. It is definitely magnolia blossom time here in North Florida. There are some things that never, ever lose their charm for me and which awe me at each sighting. Magnolias and dolphins in the wild are two of those things. Each time seen a blessing. Each time seen a spark of the divine travels up and down my spine. 

Today was a busy day. Jessie brought those boys out to the house so that she could get some work done. We had a spectacular time. Well, it wasn't that exciting, truthfully, but it was fun. We read some books, one of them a coffee table book about mermaids that I've discussed before. They love the pictures of all sorts of mermaids (every culture seems to have their own version) and they are doing this thing now, the boys that is, where they want me to tell them what everyone in the picture is saying. 
With mermaids, sometimes what they are probably saying (especially to the sailors they are trying to lure into the depths) is rated X but I kept it age-appropriate. The fact that most of the mermaids have bare breasts doesn't bother them in the least. 
"Pretty," they say. 
How I love their little boy innocence. 

We moved on to the book that Gibson wanted yesterday- The Chicken of the Family. Although this is not the longest book in the world, it took us a good forty-five minutes because I was instructed to voice every chicken, every child, every dog, every duck, every bird, every cat, every bunny, and every horse depicted on the pages. Oh. I forgot to mention every flower and most of the clumps of grass. 

Of course at this point, they were just testing me to see if I'd do it. And why not? I think there was a worm in there at some point too. He was mostly begging for his life. 

And then there was lunch and TV and they ate a good amount of spaghetti and home made applesauce and got a cookie. After the TV time was deemed over, they thanked us politely for letting them watch. 
What good boys!
Next came jigsaw puzzles. First one of Noah's Ark. 

One of the pictures in the mermaid book had been a very old woodcut  of a Noah's Ark print which oddly had a mermaid in it (I don't remember that from the Old Testament) and I told them the story. We have a very cool puzzle depicting the loading of the animals and so that was fun. Levon lost interest but Boppy asked him if he wanted to help him dig potatoes. 
Dig? Are you kidding? 
So August and I finished that puzzle and then we moved on to another one with TWO HUNDRED PIECES. It's really interesting to see how his skills have developed into what I would call adult level in the past six months when it comes to jigsaws. We were working on that when Boppy and Levon told us to come outside and see what they'd done. 

 And oh, y'all- this is not nearly the total of potatoes Mr. Moon has harvested and has left to harvest. Here's a picture of what he's dug so far, curing on the porch. 

Potatoes galore. It's a very good year for spuds. 

So that has been our day. The kids have cracked me up a lot. August, especially. I put on a Keith Richards CD while we were doing the two-hundred piece puzzle and he said, "This is not pleasant."
I mean, really. 
He has no respect. First BB King and now Keith Richards. He better watch his mouth, that child. 
And then he was telling me a story about the hugest shark ever and how fast it could swim (500 mph) and I said, "You're making that up." Then I said, "Do I ever make anything up?" 
He thought about it for a red hot second and said, "Yes. Sourdough bread. You make up sourdough bread."

Levon and Jack sharing a moment. 

Lily reports that cars are lined up to infinity to get gas. I guess it's because of the pipeline hacking thing. 

Here we go with the whole hoarding-toilet-paper thing. Except that when people hoard toilet paper, the risk of explosion is statistically very, very low. 

I think I'm going to go cook some potatoes. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 9, 2021

A Terrific Mother's Day In Lloyd

 Now if that isn't what Mother's Day is all about, I do not know what is. Ms. Magnolia June painted it for me and presented it so very proudly in a Jingle Bell gift bag, leftover from Christmas and I could have cried with the sweetness. My very own little unicorn bank, glittery and rainbowy, perfect in all regards. 

It has been a very nice day. Mr. Moon offered to make me breakfast and I said, "Hmmm...that's okay. I'll make some for us." And I did. But he cleaned up the kitchen. I made leftover mashed potato biscuits with cheese and they were superb, along with eggs so fresh that as my husband said, the hen would have had to lay them directly into the pan for them to be any fresher. 

And then Lily brought her brood over and things got crazy, crazy and I didn't even take one picture. I told Owen that his granddaddy sure had bragged on him and that he's looking forward to Owen helping him get the house on Dog Island fixed up. "He said that you're plenty strong enough now," I told him. And he is. The boy is already starting to be the angsty teenager at times but Mr. Moon said he didn't see a bit of that this weekend. Just a very helpful, sweet kid. 
Maggie wanted to find her basket and go look for eggs which we did. I showed her Miss Darla, sitting so bravely and still on her eggs and told her that soon, hopefully, we will have little chicks for her to hold. She liked that idea. I know she's going to want to take some home if they do hatch. And Lily would love to have chickens but they aren't set up with a coop yet and they have so many wild critters there that they need a good and protective place for them to at least roost at night. I see that coming up eventually, though. 
And Gibson? Oh, he just hugged me and hugged me. That boy is pure sweet. He wanted me to read him the book The Chicken of the Family, which I did. Actually, he read some of it to me. He's going to come spend the night by himself next weekend and we have already determined that he wants spaghetti and meatballs. It will be good to have him all to ourselves. It's hard being the middle kid, especially when the youngest is the only girl. So we shall treat him like a prince. 

Lily brought me some just-rooted plants and a big pot of strawberry begonia. They're all in the plant nursery now. And Lauren sent me pastry she'd made with my favorite- guava filling! I love that woman. I'm so lucky. 

Hank just left. He dropped off a card and some cookies that Rachel baked. She's starting an internship for her MSW program tomorrow at Elder Care Services and I know that's stressful, not having been around people for a year or in an office and then to suddenly be thrown into that situation is hard. She'll be fine but I have a feeling she's not going to sleep much tonight. Hank was going to pick up Chinese food to take home so she doesn't have to cook. He loves her so. And I'm so glad because we all do. 

May had to work but sent me sweet texts and Jessie is working with Vergil on getting ready to leave and she sent me sweet texts, too. I'll see her tomorrow because she's bringing the boys out so she can actually get work done. 

So it's been a beautiful Mother's Day and I'm just grateful as hell that all of my kids are happy and healthy and that we all love each other the way we do. Watching the way Jessie and Lily mother their own children is one of the most profound joys of my life. 

My babies and some of their babies. How I love them. 

My foot is much better today. I am thinking that perhaps something bit me but who knows?  

Happy Mother's Day to alla y'all. Even you men. We all nurture something whether human babies, plants, dreams, friends, pets, aging parents, students, sweethearts ... the list of things we cherish and take care of is long, and it is the nurturing love that sustains us and keeps the planet running. Without that mother energy it wouldn't be a world I would want to live in. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Ramble, Ramble, Ramble

I talked to Mr. Moon and Owen just a few minutes ago. They are on their way home. They did have a good time despite the fact that they couldn't go offshore due to wind. 
Safety first!
They went over to the island and checked out the house. Mr. Moon said that there's more that needs fixing and repairing than ever and that of course all the food has expired. Dog Island is never easy and we've absolutely let it get away from us. The washer and dryer which are under the house, which is on stilts, got flooded during a hurricane and need replacing. I think the oven does too, just from age. The stove top works but it's never worked very well and I doubt that it's gotten any better lately. He reported that the AC works and I think we still have water. For any of those who are newish here, we have a little cabin on a barrier island not far away to which there are no bridges and no regular ferry service. One has to haul everything that may be needed from drinking water to appliances and furniture and food and- well, everything- on a boat. And then haul the stuff from the boat to the house. There is nowhere to buy anything at all on the island. No commerce whatsoever. So you bring it or you do without. 
When I talked to Owen he said that just being out on the boat was so much fun for him. I asked him if being at the Dog Island house brought back any memories. 
"So many," he said. I remember him there as a little boy, running wild and playing in the sand and in the bay. I hope we can get the place back up and running because all of the grandchildren deserve to visit there, to experience Florida as it really is, or at least was, mosquitos, snakes, gators, raccoons, and all. To hear the wind singing through the pines, to learn to catch supper out of the bay, to have absolutely nothing to do except read, nap, take walks, swim, and play cards. 

I've had a very quiet day and have done essentially nothing. I spent hours and hours looking at Airbnb and VRBO to try and find a place for Mr. Moon and I to stay when we make our visit to North Carolina this summer to visit Jessie and Vergil and the boys who will be staying on their property up there in their new (to them) RV. 
God knows we can't make it an entire two months without seeing them. I am so glad they get to go, that they get to visit with Vergil's family, that they can work on the house that they are building. The boys have their mountain cousins, their mountain grandmother and grandfather who all love them. Their other grandmother is a musician and teaches them to play instruments and she is an amazing artist and a true master gardener. And how beautiful that they can hike around the mountains, go swimming in the cold rivers, stand under waterfalls and  visit the cool towns of Black Mountain and Asheville? 
Having said all of that, Mr. Moon and I are already pre-grieving. Thus, the need for a plan to visit. 
I still don't have a place for us to stay. There are literally hundreds of "cozy cabins" and "cozy cottages" to rent and my head is reeling. My main problem is that I am awful with maps. Is this seemingly perfect place ten miles from where Jessie and Vergil are or is it twenty-five? I have no idea. I need help. 

I did manage to pull the rest of the collards and kale. They were beyond bug-laced, giant and tough. Here's what I saved for our last meal of greens from our garden for the year. 

Such sorrow to see them all go. But soon, with some luck and a lot of work, we'll be eating tomatoes and cucumbers, peppers, and squash, field peas and okra. And the potatoes are definitely ready to dig. I think we're going to get quite a few of those. I need to pull the rest of the carrots. And celery? 
Oh, honey! It is getting big and is still tender so my hopes are high. 
But how much celery can one eat? That will be the question. 

The mulberry preserves I made yesterday are far from satisfactory. I think I really should have used more sugar. I've created mulberry syrup. Well, it will be good on pancakes. 

So here's a mystery- remember my foot that I self-diagnosed as being afflicted with plantar fasciitis? The bottom of my foot hurt then and it has been getting better and better. And now, all of a sudden, the TOP of that foot hurts like hell. It just suddenly started hurting last night and I've done nothing to injure it. In fact, a few days ago I was searching for Flonase in my bathroom and pulled out a drawer in the old wooden cabinet that holds my sink and all of my stuff 

(This drawer, to be specific)

and as I have done several times before, I yanked too hard and the whole thing pulled out and landed on my OTHER foot which is slightly swollen and appropriately tender but it's the seemingly uninjured foot that really hurts. 
WTF, people?!

So I'm limping around like an old nag ready to be delivered to the glue factory, feeling extremely elderly. Jessie was telling me the other day that she'd seen the man who had been our next door neighbor when she was very young and they'd talked and he kept saying how weird it was to be getting old and how so many people he knew were dying and I said, "You know why old people talk about all that so much? Because it IS weird and we never really expected it!"
We knew logically that old age is something none of us escape unless we die before we get there and we were aware that old people bitch about physical complaints all the time but somehow we all think that either 
A. It won't happen to us somehow, or 
B. If it does, we won't go on and on about it. Who wants to hear about the decrepitude of old age? 

It really is rather shocking, the changes that occur. Not to mention painful and embarrassing. Yes. Embarrassing. You think we'd wear these age spots and wrinkles and saggy skin if we had any choice? 
These are not things that our culture approves of. 

Well, that's enough of that. I do want to mention that the picture I posted yesterday of the stained-glass cloth hanging on the line was actually a napkin. It was one of the set I found AT THE DUMP that day I found the little Fiesta Ware pitcher and the beautiful cake stand. Which makes the picture even more of a good illustration of the small and prosaic miracles we encounter daily. 
I'd also like to say that Mr. Moon told me that Owen is a good boy which is high praise. And also that Owen thanked me for the cookies. He IS a good boy. 

All day long I've thought it was Sunday. It's going to be shocking for me tomorrow when I wake up and it's still Sunday. And oh yeah, Mother's Day. I've told my kids that I know they love me and to enjoy their lives and that would make their mother happy. 
And I mean it. 
I am quite aware that I am a mother. It's not something I'd forget. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 7, 2021

One Day In The Church Of The Batshit Crazy

That was the sky through the pecan leaves this morning. The color was that blue and true, the green that new. 

I needed something so clear and sharp this morning to bring me back to this place and time and life. I slept late and had dreams that caused the tears to spill down my face while I sipped my coffee. Some of the dream was as tender and beautiful as anything I've ever dreamed. Some of it was like a peek into what my life would be like in a parallel universe if I had made that choice and not this one, had become that woman and not the one I think I am. 
Perhaps we really do contain multitudes and even the dream women are me, whether I know it or not. 
The tender part involved seeing Chloe. I was in Cozumel and suddenly- there she was. I find it fascinating how our brains work things out for us as they tell these stories, both the ones we want to hear, and the ones we don't. Chloe was as surprised to see me as I was to see her but we got over the shock immediately and we hugged so tightly and for so long. It turned out that she had faked her death to move to Mexico and leave the craziness of this country behind and although she did not want her deception to be known, she was as glad to see me as I was to see her.
And then she braided my hair. 
That is the part of the dream that broke my heart. As a mutual friend of ours said, she was an earth mother. And that is exactly what she represented to me. 
There was so much more to it all, the parts where I had stepped into a rapidly flowing tributary of what is perhaps the matrix. 
Who knows? Not me. 
But I have been emotional all day long. 

It's very, very quiet in my house this evening. Mr. Moon left this afternoon to go pick up Owen and head to the coast to spend the night so that they can get up early and go fish for grouper. I am so thrilled for them. Mr. Moon has been waiting for this moment since Owen was born. I hope the boy has the fishing gene. Lily and Jessie surely do and they are all talking about a father-daughter fishing trip and I hope that happens. Both of those girls love to fish and they surely did not get it from me. 
I did my part for the Owen-Boppy adventure by making cookies for them to take. I saved a few back because Jessie was going to bring out her boys for a little while. And she did. And they spied those cookies right off. We had a very nice visit. I was slowly getting it together to make mulberry preserves while they were here. I got out my jars and canning kettle, the jar lifter, the canning funnel. I measured out my mulberries- twenty cups! I added almost all the sugar I had and set it all to cook very, very slowly in my big jam pan while I sterilized my jars. I grated in lemon peel and squeezed a little of the juice in and cooked it down for awhile. This time I added two packets of liquid pectin and I am not seeing any signs that those preserves are going to gel at all but we shall see. I probably didn't add nearly enough sugar and not enough of the pectin either. 
But while all of this was going on the boys were playing and we were all cracking jokes and there was some lunch eating although as I think about it, I never did really eat lunch. This is a first for sure. 

Besides being emotional all day, I have been hyper-aware of the beauty of the day with its light and brightness, it's strange but lovely coolness, as well as the beauty of the forged love-links of my family. It's almost as if my dream about Chloe lifted the veil for a moment between life and death and I have been more finely attuned to that which is what we call life on this earth while being quite aware that one day we will not be here to see it, live it, revel in it. And the day has certainly lent itself to that as if showing me all that there is to wonder at, to be amazed by, to enjoy. 

Turns out I was wrong about Dottie. She is not sitting on eggs. She was just laying, I guess, when I thought she'd settled into her own nest. But Darla surely is. She is puffed up to at least twice her size, keeping the eggs beneath her at the perfect temperature. It's supposed to get down to the forties tomorrow night which is unheard of for this time of year in North Florida so she has her work cut out for her. I have estimated her due date, or rather, her hatch date, as May 24 which is my May's birthday. Wouldn't that be sweet? Again- we shall see. I was reading "Make Way For Ducklings" to the boys today and Levon told me that he wanted to hold a baby duck. I said that if Darla's eggs hatch, he can surely hold one of those. He was happy about that. I hope it can come true. I know that Maggie would love to hold one too. 

From all of my hours and hours and hours of listening to the Mormon Stories podcasts, I've learned that Mormons are taught that the feeling they get sometimes of being overwhelmed by the spirit is where they get the testimony that their church is true. It is their proof. 
"I know..." they say, when they give their testimony in church. And when people lose their faith, one of the things they discover is that people from all religions have their spirits overwhelmed. Even atheists feel this. It is not an emotion confined to Mormons, it is a human emotion. 
I've felt that today myself. And of course I have no need to attribute it to a god or a belief or a religion but simply (amazingly) to what is here before me, around me, within me. No need to worship a creator but a deep need to be able to take it all within me with deep love and appreciation for what is here. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Out Into The World We Creep

 Bendy Guy was making an appearance at El Patron today and the boys were delighted. So was I. Bendy Guy never gets old for me. Each one of his dance moves delights me. 

He is John Travolta, he is Rudolph Nureyev, he is that guy at the senior prom whom we secretly have a crush on because he's so goofy and we can't help but love him. He twerks, he does the jerk, he preaches, he reaches, he bows and he does backbends. 
And he never stops smiling. 

It was so crazy to be in a restaurant, even if "in" was actually out on the deck. None of us really knew how to act. What? They give you a menu and you can choose whatever you want to eat and they will cook it and bring it to you? You can ask for more salsa and they will smile and bring you more of that? They come around with pitchers of ice water and refill your glass without even being asked?
Get out. No way. 
It happened. 
I took a sip of my ice water with lemon in it and I sighed and said, "That's the best water I've had in over a year."
Probably about the first water I've had in a year that wasn't in a Yeti cup. Not that there's anything wrong with a Yeti but sometimes a glass made of glass just feels so classy. Am I right? It wasn't even a mason jar! 
August and I were reading a book about honeybees when we first got there that was absolutely fascinating. I learned more about bees from that kids' book than I've ever learned before in my life. August and I seem to be on some sort of mind-meld lately. I was reading about the queen who was described as "only laying eggs" and never having to work. August piped up and said, "Can I say something?" 
"Of course," I said. 
"That sounds like a lot of work!"
I had been thinking the exact same thing myself. 
Boppy got to meet us there and although it wasn't one of our usual normal huge family get-together lunches, it was sweet. Our server gave the boys those red balloons. 

I left her a very fine tip. Why not? I haven't tipped a server in forever. 

When we'd finished lunch, we still had time to kill before the physical exams so Jessie drove us to a Goodwill bookstore. Not the same one we go to after we eat at the Indian buffet. A different one that I'd never been in. The boys found the games and puzzles and the fun commenced. They ended up picking out a game of Mouse Trap and one of that fishing game, whatever it is, where you try to catch those little fish who go round and round with their mouths opening and closing. Jessie found August a book about a little boy inventing a car and Levon a book about some sort of heavy equipment. They were so happy. 

And then on to the doctor's office and all went well there. Both boys were deemed fit to attend school next year. 

Levon is in the fifty percent range for height and weight and August is in the ninety percentile for height and fifty percentile for weight. 
No surprise there. 
He's like his Boppy. 
August had to get his tetanus vaccine and although he did ask if perhaps he could get it tomorrow or the next day instead of today, he was very brave and looked at a picture in his book while he was getting the shot and didn't make a fuss at all. Neither boy made any fusses and I told them over and over again how proud I was of them. 
And I was. 

So that was our day and now I'm home with soup simmering. I started cooking the chicken carcass this morning and I've added celery, onion, garlic, carrots, kale, collards, chard, cabbage and tomatoes to the broth. I have some leftover rice and peas I'll throw in there with the chicken I take from the bones. The oven is heating for sourdough that I started yesterday. 

And just as I was about to toss the spent magnolia blossoms Mr. Moon had brought me, he walked into the house with these.

My heart!
And there is a plan in place for grouper fishing on the Gulf this weekend and Owen is going to be able to go. I have promised to make cookies. My husband is so very, very happy and excited. I had just told Jessie today that her daddy really needed to go fishing. So I am very happy too. 

What a big day! I am so grateful for all of it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

 I took this picture by accident and it's the only picture I took today so there you go. As you can see, I was in Costco. I did not have a very long grocery list today but as I said to Jessie in a text, "I need what I need," and I did so I went ahead and shopped. Tomorrow I'll be in town again because I am going to go with Jessie when she takes the boys to the doctor for their next year school exams. I think that's why we're going. Whatever. I'm going to go so I can help wrangle and corral those two wild cowboys of hers. 
They're not really that wild but two boys getting exams at one go can require extra help. 
We're going out to lunch before the appointment! We're going to El Patron where we haven't been for over a year and we'll sit on the deck and eat chips and salsa and be reminded of what life used to be like. I'm sure they've missed us. 
So that is going to be hugely exciting. 

My goal today was to get the shopping done early and come home and sew. Haha! I didn't get the shopping done THAT early and when I came home I realized that if I wanted more mulberries, I was going to have to pick them. So after I put away the groceries and ate my lunch I went out and picked for quite awhile. By the time I'd finished it was four o'clock and that was too late to start jam so I got a little bit done on my dress but not much. I got stuck making pockets. The pattern calls for pockets on the front of the dress but I want to make side-seam pockets. Big ones. So I used another dresses' pockets as a pattern and I know damn well how to make this work but I have never had any spatial ability and it's getting worse all the time and I just didn't have the patience to sit there and figure it all out. I know I can do it and I will but I finally just turned off the machine's light and made a cup of coffee. 

Our weather here has been, if not abysmal, then at least a little miserable. The air is as full of water as if it were pouring rain but it's not pouring rain. We're just getting a little drizzle now and then. Yesterday I woke up and the ribs that I broke last July were aching. I've felt them a bit now and then before it rained since they've healed but this was significantly worse. I texted May to ask if her leg hurt. She broke it badly in high school when she was hit by a car (yes- a mother's worst nightmare, god almighty, I can't stand to think about that day) and she said that yes, it was. We discussed the fact that we should get barometers to see if there's a definite correlation between atmospheric pressure and pain from former fractures. 
Do any of y'all have thoughts on this? Experiences? 
The only other bone I've ever broken was a wrist and it hurts or bothers me, at least, all the damn time so I can't really use that to judge the effect of the weather on it. 

So. I do believe that Miss Dotty is sitting on a nest now too. At least she was sitting on one when I went to gather eggs and when I reached out to stroke her, she appeared to be in that broody near-coma. Darla's egg count is up to about thirteen now and that is enough for one hen. 
Listen to me- like I know how many eggs a hen should be allowed to sit on. If there's one thing I've learned about chickens, it's that the less I interfere with them, the better off they are. But dammit! Humans just do like to think we know how shit should be done, don't we? 
Since we can no longer define humans as "the toolmakers" due to the fact that we are definitely not the only ones to make and use tools, perhaps we should just call ourselves "the opinionated ones." 
But then again, cats are about the most opinionated creatures on earth as far as I can see so that probably wouldn't work either. Or perhaps they are simply judgmental which Jessie tells me I am and I always say, "No I'm not. I'm just opinionated." 

She's probably right but then again, that's just her opinion. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 4, 2021


This morning I could not think of one good reason not to take a walk but I could think of many reasons why I should (including my morning existential angst being up in the red zone), I got off of my lazy buttocks and walked to the county line and back. I saw No Man Lord and we waved and I saw the sweet man who has the motorized wheelchair in another neighbor's yard and we all waved, and I saw that plant you see above. Sorry that the picture is not very good but you can get a feeling of its brilliance. I used my plant identification app on it but I didn't really check it closely and when I got home I found out that it had NOT properly identified it but I'll try again soon. 

The magnolia grandifloras are blooming and yesterday evening my sweetheart brought two of the magnificent blossoms home for me. He tries to find some to pick for me every year around Jessie's birthday because the day she was born we had taken a walk around our neighborhood and he had picked me one which was in a vase of water in our room when she was born and I like to think that one of her first impressions on this earth was the scent of that magnolia. If so, it could explain some of her sweetness. 

I took this picture this afternoon and they have already passed their prime, having already let go of their tiny matchstick stamens. Their scent, however, is still strong and I had them on the little altar table in the hallway but I moved them into the kitchen where I spend so much time in order to enjoy every last molecule of their deliciousness that I am able to. 

It's been a rather lazy day for me, aside from my walk. The only thing I picked was a small head of cabbage which I used half of to make a sort of pickled slaw to go with the chicken enchiladas I am making tonight with leftovers from last night's roasted chicken. And oh- the roast function worked quite well! I was pleased. I've made up the filling to roll into the tortillas but I'm still not quite sure whether I am going to use corn or flour tortillas, salsa verde or salsa rojo. Because I am being lazy, neither one of those sauces will be homemade. I am not feeling the gourmet love tonight. 
Maybe tomorrow I will. 
And since we're talking about food (when am I not talking about food?) I will say that my egg-yolky lemon cake with lemon glaze would grant me easy admission into the old southern lady club. It tastes exactly like something a grandmother would make, perhaps for bridge club. It's moist and lemony, tart and sweet, yellow as the yellowest rose in Texas. 

This morning, Darla had ten eggs underneath her. I need to mark yesterday on the calendar and then the date three weeks from then as 21 days is about what it takes to hatch eggs once the mama has begun sitting. Think about that- three weeks from an egg that you would crack into a pan and fry to a perfectly formed baby peep with down,  tiny feet and wings, a voice loud enough to let its mother know if it is in distress, eyes, a beak that comes with an egg tooth that helps it get out of its shell, and the ability to follow its mother around, to copy her actions as she shows it how to scratch in the dirt to look for tasty things to eat. It's beyond amazing to my way of thinking. 

It is so pretty out this evening. The sun is shining through the new green of the oaks, the pecans, the wisteria, the magnolia. It's coolish and there's a sweet breeze. I can hear the chip call of the cardinals, a hummingbird is darting and dipping its beak into the nectar I have hanging from the bird feeder. I can smell the confederate jasmine. I am reading (with my eyes) the Lonesome Dove series and am about to finish Dead Man's Walk and move on to Comanche Moon. It is a very fine thing to know that I will be spending months with Gus and Call as they traverse the plains and the desert, facing bears and Mexicans, starvation, heat, freezing weather, boredom, terror, Comanches and Sioux, their own ignorance when it comes to survival, their fears, their attempts at finding love. 

I guess I better go figure out what sort of enchiladas I am making. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 3, 2021

From Chickens To Bill Gates. And More!

Well, I called it. Darla is sitting on eggs. So far Dottie is not but I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't claim a nest as her own soon. When I let the chickens out this morning, Darla leapt off the nest to go get some food and water and so I was able to see her little cache. I even slipped a green egg under her. When I went out later to clean the nests, I was going to mark the eggs so that as the number of them increases (and it will because she'll claim other hen's eggs) I can keep them down to a reasonable number and know which ones are freshest and thus, the ones to take, but she was so perturbed just at the sight of me that I couldn't bring myself to disturb her. Hens make a chittering-chattering sound when they're brooding if they feel threatened, and they spread those tail feathers wide. I have to admit that I am curious to see if any of these eggs will hatch and if so, to discover whether or not any of Fancy Pant's love-making efforts have resulted in offspring. My chickens are such a mixed bunch of breeds and when people ask me what sort of chickens I have I can only answer, "Mutts." I know a few of the breeds but that's not what I'm in it for. I cherish their differences and there ARE differences in the varieties and of course in the egg colors. But I love watching all of the different types as they go about their days, some of them so very social, some a little more stand-offish, all of them loyal to the flock, even little Violet who is the most skittish of all. I have absolutely loved watching the barred rocks that I got last spring as they seem to be a very feisty, curious breed whose clucking is so melodious. Enough so to draw my attention to those facts. 

This morning two of the roosters next door crowed at the exact same time and they almost harmonized. Each rooster has his own very distinctive call and they call and respond on and off all day but rarely do they crow at the same time. I imagined and visualized the two boy birds after they'd sung out that little duet, raising their feet and high-fiving each other. Or perhaps they'd do it with wings. Wing bumps. 

I know I talk about my chickens a lot but they really are a big part of my life. I do not feel about them the same way some people feel about their dogs. They are not my boon companions nor are they substitutes for children but as Lis said last weekend, they do add an air of comfort to the yard and that if the chickens are roaming about and happy and going about their chicken business, all is well. There are no stray dogs or coyotes in the yard, no threats to human or beast. I had never thought about it in quite that way, but it's true. And if there ever is a threat in the yard, they tell me about it with their shrieks and flappings. 
I've often said that their presence is soothing to me and it is. There is a rightness to chickens and perhaps even a righteousness. Where there are hens, there are eggs which is protein and as I've also said before, it is my own personal belief that chickens have done far more for the human race than religion. Okay, I usually say, "Jesus," but why pick on him? All religion. And yes, I said it, I mean it, and I believe it. Doesn't mean I worship chickens which in and of itself is example enough of one of the main tenants of most religions which is the worship of something or someThing to the exclusion of the message of the prophet, savior, teacher, what have you.
A god. Chickens are not gods anymore than I am but they are worthy of respect and admiration for sure.  

So I picked a lot more mulberries this morning. I'm determined to make more preserves. I'll probably pick again in two days and that should be enough to make it worthwhile to get out the jam pot and the canning kettle. I am somewhat astounded at how delicious those preserves are. 

I also finally, FINALLY got my dress cut out. I'd put the sewing machine up before Lon and Lis got here because we actually use the dining table for eating when they're visiting but I took it out of its case again today and set it up, ready to go. Same with the ironing board. 

I also made two small lemon sponge cakes with the egg yolks I had leftover from the pavlovas. I glazed one cake and froze the other. I have no idea if they're any good and it's sort of ridiculous to make something we really do not need with the rationalization of not wasting food. Lord knows I have plenty of eggs and if I'd given them back to the chickens they would not have gone to waste anyway. I would have seen the return in more eggs. 

Lord, I'm a domestic woman. Domestic and domesticated. 

Tonight I am going to use the "roast" function on my stove for the first time. I have thawed out a chicken (hypocrite! hypocrite!) and it does seem that if anything would benefit from the roast function, it will be a roast chicken. I have even made stuffing because why in hell should something I love so much only be served at Thanksgiving? 
It shouldn't. 
I'll tell you how it works out. 

I see that Bill and Melinda Gates are separating. For some reason, this surprises me. They seemed so well suited in their passions but I guess there are passions and then there are passions. 
Know what I mean? 
I'm not trying to be funny here. I think that long-lived love is something of a miracle, albeit one that requires a great deal of, if not work exactly, sweetness, the paying of attention, compromise, and, yes, the right sort of passion. It's definitely one of the most complex and rewarding things I've ever been involved in and I know without a doubt that if I had not fallen in love with the right person who fell in love with me too (there's your miracle), all of the sweetness and paying attention and compromise in the world would not have worked. And there would not have been the passion. 

That's enough for today. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 2, 2021

A Whole Lot Of Love

You know how it is when you haven't talked to a good friend for a decade and then you do talk and you pick up right where you left off and the time that's passed means nothing? 

Well, that's how it was this weekend. First with Lon and Lis and then with my family. Of course, the family has all seen each other during the course of the year, but we all haven't been able to hug each other, kiss each other, see each other's faces. And with the Williamsons, we hadn't even laid eyes on them. And yet, fifteen minutes into being here, Lon said, "I feel like I was here yesterday with you guys, sitting right here in this kitchen."
Yep. It may have actually been fifteen months, but it felt like minutes. And with the kids and grandkids, kissing and hugging was as familiar as breathing and everyone hugged everyone over and over again, kisses were given freely, no one wore a mask, and tears flowed. 
"I love you, I love you, I love you!" The words were traded and given and received, heart-words, true words, sweet words, words we've been able to say but this time with nothing between us but clothes and air and skin. 

When Lon and Lis got here we all had martinis and we talked and talked and Lis made platters with Lori's (nicest person in the world) chicken salad, and smoked salmon, cheese, apples, crackers and the kind of mustard that cracks between your teeth because it's all seeds. And then, dinner!
One night when we'd all four been talking on the phone sometime in the last year, Lis and I discussed what we were cooking for our suppers that night and I was making scallops with cherry tomatoes and pasta and I promised them that when they next came to visit (which seemed like it would never happen) I would make it for them and I did. There was also salad and sourdough and we ate and talked until it was time, past time, for bed. 

Saturday we woke up and had very late breakfast and leisurely got ready for the day's events. Lis had to pick up a new instrument that a Tallahassee woman had made for her and then we all had the party at Jessie's. I made up a meatloaf so that when we got home we could throw it in the oven. The party's food theme, we had all decided, would be "international dips." And thus it was so. I took some Baba Ghanoush that I made and some Tzatziki that I bought and crackers and a pavlova with chocolate and berries and whipped cream. 

This was what the party food table looked like.

There were so many delicious dips! Corn, chard with artichoke and spinach, seven-layer...I can't even remember. Of course there were chips and crackers, celery, cucumbers, and broccoli. And May made a Caprese salad sandwich. I took some of the beet-pickled eggs (thumbs up, y'all!) and other pickles, Rachel made vegan double chocolate pudding cupcakes. Lily made a pickled relish of radishes, carrots, jalapenos, and onions that was to die for. She also brought toasted bread that she'd made. Vergil made lemonade and Rachel mixed up mulberry/lemon mojitos. 

Three of my lovelies. Why I didn't notice the candle blocking Lily's face, I do not know.

Before long, everything was chaos, the cousins had all found each other and ran from one place to play to another. August and Levon followed Gibson and Owen around with serious cases of hero worship. Maggie was the boss of everyone. 
Eventually, we all made our way outside to a shady part of the lawn and Vergil, the ultimate host, quietly moved chairs and liquor, ice, and more chairs and we ended up in a beautiful circle. 

We caught up and talked about how the past year has affected all of us. We talked about how precious it was to all be back together. We discussed the fact that some of us have become so used to staying home that it's going to be very hard to get back out into society while for others, it's going to be wonderful. Hank is about to start live trivia again in a very controlled outdoor socially distanced space. He's very excited for that. The kids are enjoying being in real school. Lon and Lis, in their year of staying home and not working their usual frenzy of gigs and recording work have had the realization that they don't want to go completely back to the insanity. We've had a very clear lesson in what is important and what is not. What we like doing, and what we don't. 

The children continued their raucous activity and occasionally one of us would go check on them. Or send Owen to do it. And eventually, we realized it was time for the birthday girl to blow out candles and be sung to and to open presents. 

The birthday girl cried. The babies ate chocolate. We caught August scooping whipped cream out of the container with his fingers and we just laughed and let him get away with it. The kids, after playing with all the toys and jumping on the trampoline and pretending in the RV, found a large cardboard box and that was it. It got so noisy and rough that Jessie asked if someone should perhaps intervene. Vergil reassured her it was fine. And it was. 

They took turns being inside it and being pushed down the little hill in the yard and being jumped on and flattened in it and they loved it. No blood, no foul. No tears. 

And then it was time for us to come home. Despite the fact that we'd all eaten our share of dips and cupcakes and pavlova, I still baked the meat loaf, cooked some of our frozen field peas and greens beans and fresh-out-of-the-dirt potatoes. Talk about your farm-to-table...

Lis played her new octave mandolin some. It is a thing of beauty, handmade with her imput and help with the design. Here she is playing it at Jessie's house.

We all got up this morning and kept agreeing that it had been so perfect for Lon and Lis to be there yesterday for the great unmasking, the love fest, the Jessie birthday. Lon and Lis are indeed Jessie's fairy godparents and all of my children adore them. 
We ate another breakfast. This time of pancakes and then the Williamsons had to pack and get ready to leave. They were going down to Sopchoppy to play a song at a memorial for a dear friend's mother's memorial service. 

We sat at the table for quite awhile after breakfast, though, talking about the old TV shows we remember from our childhood. We all got the Mr. Ed theme song earwormed into our heads. We sang the song from My Three Sons together and laughed and laughed. We talked about how every damn TV show about the south that we grew up on insulted the people and made us all look like complete hicks who called swimming pools "SEE-ment ponds" and took baths in water towers. Except for Andy Griffith. Bless him. Bless Mayberry. 

When it was time for them to go we sent them off with eggs, venison, and vegetables from our freezer and, because I love them so much, a jar of mulberry preserves. 

It was such a beautiful visit. I am so grateful they came to stay. 

This afternoon, Vergil and the boys came out to help Boppy with the  unloading of his new boards. The boys decided they were done with that pretty quickly and came in the house where we read books, they finished up the pancakes from this morning, asked for more, and got to watch some TV. So it's been another full day. 

There will be leftovers tonight. 

It sounds like all we did was eat. And drink. And here's what I have to say about that- we did a lot of eating and we did some drinking and we did a lot of sharing and laughing and celebrating. We are alive, we are healthy, we survived 2020, we know how very, very lucky we are. 

And that's what happened here this weekend. 

Our hearts have been well and truly blessed. 

Love...Ms. Moon. 

P.S. And as usual, some of these pictures were taken by Rachel. The best ones.