Wednesday, November 30, 2022

In Which Fruitcakes Are Made And Bruce Springsteen Is Viewed

 I was going to go to town today to meet Jessie and possibly Lily for lunch. In fact, we were texting and planning and doing all that stuff (where do you want to eat?) when all of a sudden the wind picked up and the leaves started fluttering and the limbs began to tremble and dance and I realized that perhaps that tornado warning we'd gotten wasn't kidding. Then I heard a transformer pop and the power went out but no worries here because of our amazing, wonderful, terrific, miraculous generator which powers the whole house from internet to lights to refrigerator to...everything. It cranked up and life as we know it continued on with barely a hitch. 
But lunch plans got canceled because I wasn't too excited about driving to town in such conditions and so I decided to go ahead and make the fruitcakes. 
And so I did. 
I always forget how much batter that recipe makes, especially if you do like I did and one-and-a-half it. Does that make sense? I knew I didn't want to double it but I had too much fruit for just one batch so I one-and-a-halved it. 
And in the process I got every bowl in the house dirty and am on the second run of the dishwasher. I should have just washed all those bowls by hand but by golly, I waited so many years in this house to get a dishwasher and didn't complain but once I got it, I intended to use it and so I have. And I do not feel guilty. I remember once someone I knew posted on FB about how washing dishes by hand was meditative and good for our souls and I commented that actually, meditating by actual meditation was better for my soul (not that I meditate) and if I used the dishwasher I would have the time to do that. 
Moot point, sure, but you know what I mean. 
Now weeding is meditative to me and I love doing that but washing dishes is something that I've done enough of in my life, thank you very much, and I am still thrilled, years later, to have a dishwasher. And no, it is not just as much work to rinse off the dishes and put them in the machine. By a long shot.

We never really did get strong winds or terrible rain but it's drizzled all day and so I stayed inside and did inside things like make those fruit cakes and bake them and now they are wrapped in a little bit of cheesecloth with a little bit of rum and then in aluminum foil, tight and cozy to wait until Christmas or whenever the hell we want to eat them. 

While I chopped and mixed and baked and did some laundry I've been listening to an audio book. "The Love of My Life" by Rosie Walsh. Great narrators. And the book is not bad. It's a bit of a thriller, I guess. I can never figure out how these things are going to end. I hear people say that they know by the third page or a who-done-it who the murderer is and I feel ashamed because sometimes I haven't figured it out entirely even after I've finished the book. Which reminds me of a silly, silly play I was in once. We'd been rehearsing for at least a week before the person playing the murderer said, "Oh my god! I'm the killer!" We all laughed. It was a pretty horrible play but we had such fun with it and by the last night, we'd pretty much rewritten the whole thing which improved it tremendously and of course it didn't matter who had done it at all. 

I also sat on the couch and did some stitching on the Maggie letters and watched part of an interview that Howard Stern did with Bruce Springsteen. It's on HBO Max. In the manner of Bruce's performances, this interview goes on for days. It appears that Stern has become a legit interviewer these days, shedding (for the most part and certainly in this case) his shock-jock schtick. Bruce Springsteen is such a conundrum to me. I have loved him and his music since around 1978 when my first husband and I went to see him in Jacksonville. He was so young then, still the skinny kid from New Jersey who leapt onto speakers and also into the crowd which carried him overhead like a beloved holy icon around the audience. He wore a Fruit of the Loom T-shirt and a pair of Levi's and it was indeed a religious experience. I saw him again in 1984, I think, when he was doing the Born In The USA tour and I am not making this up- a friend of mine claimed that his music cured her uterine fibroids. 
And I sort of believed her. 
I'm not sure that anyone on this planet gives more of themselves in a concert than Bruce Springsteen does. 
When his autobiography came out in 2016 I read it avidly but came away from it sad. He has struggled so much in his life with depression and anxiety. He's had a lot of therapy and at least has a far deeper understanding of why he is the way he is but I got the feeling that despite the joy that he gets from being onstage and from his wife and his children, he will never be a truly happy person. 
The Stern interview is a good one and Bruce does some playing and singing in it. They discuss fathers and love and therapy and work. 
I think the thing that makes me the saddest about Bruce Springsteen is that despite the absolute joy and exaltation that he fills his audiences with, I don't know that he experiences those things personally except when he is onstage. Which is probably why he does such long, long concerts. 

My main take-away from this interview so far is that religion and fathers can fuck you up. Springsteen said a very interesting thing that I think has a lot of validity which is that every artist he knows (and I am sure he's only speaking of the male ones here) had a mother who thought he was the second coming of Jesus and a father who thought he was a piece of shit. 
Interesting theory. 

Mr. Moon has gone to a basketball game with Tom and it's quiet here. I can still hear the rain dripping. The power came back on many hours ago so the generator is silent, waiting patiently for when it is needed again. 
Tomorrow is my day to go pick up Levon and August from school and tend to them while their mama and daddy are working. I can't wait to see what they think of "The Managing Hen" book. I love to hear children's opinions about things. They are often far more interesting and complex than we would give a child credit for. 

Supposed to get chilly here tonight. Everyone stay warm. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Goodnesses, Goddesses, And Gratefulness


I did a little weeding this afternoon and when I came out of the garden, Jack was in the garden cart having a sip of the muddy rainwater that I haven't dumped out of it yet. I've been piling my weeds in it and when it rained the other night I just let it all sit as if I was making some sort of dollar weed/betony/mud tea and I guess I was because he seemed to like it. 
No wonder that cat vomits all the time. 
Well, not all the time. 
Or I suppose, it could be ingesting things like that which give my cats such life-prolonging powers. My pets never die within the expected timeframes for pet lifespans. 

I did get to see Lis today! And Lon, too. Mr. Moon and I met up with them in Monticello where they are staying with Lon's sister's family and it was a joy to see them. They are simply the most precious people. We had a nice lunch, sitting outside by the courthouse. A roundabout circles the beautiful old building and there is a lot of interesting traffic that goes by there. Lis and I were eating at the same restaurant once when an accident occurred and a van ended up on the steps up to the courthouse which was loud and alarming! No one appeared to be hurt and the cops were there within seconds as the police department is a block away. Monticello is not a big town although it is the only town in Jefferson County where I live. Lloyd is just a community, really, or a village at the most. We do have a traffic light here, a block away from my house. It is a flashing caution light and people get so confused about it. I've heard many wrecks at that intersection. I hate that horrifying sound of a skid, and then an impact. There is no mistaking it for anything else.

But everyone drove carefully on the roundabout in Monticello today and we sat and ate and enjoyed the weather and the company and we got to catch up a little bit. Lon is putting a new roof on their house by himself and the lake they live on is almost full. Their fifteen year old grandson has just gone on his first date. We discussed grandchildren, of course, and projects, health-related stuff and just a whole lot of telling each other how we miss the four of us being together. 
It wasn't nearly long enough but it was far better than nothing and at least I got to set eyes on those beautiful people, to give and receive hugs. 

They had to run and so they did but Glen and I hung out in Monticello for awhile. We went to Wag the Dog and I bought some lovely place mats, a spool of wired velvet ribbon, and an old children's book called, "The Managing Hen and the Floppy Hound." 

The illustrations are gorgeous. 

I just leafed through it a bit and oh my goodness! This is not a silly, happy book about a chicken and a dog! It's got some serious stuff going on about critters who steal and kill chickens and a strong, brave woman who scares off those critters with her great-grandfather's old gun. She also grows the food and cuts down trees on her property in the Smokey Mountains. 

Well, if it would be appropriate for any kids today, it would be appropriate for my August and Levon who have a grandma who lives in the mountains in North Carolina who keeps chickens and gardens and is as strong as any woman I've ever known and has been known to scare off full-grown bears from her apple trees! 
Ooh! I can't wait to read it to them! 

Good find! 

I also bought a little something-something at another store, a "real" store that is going to be someone's Christmas present. I think I know whose. So pretty. 

And then I came home and did a little weeding and now I'm going to make egg rolls for our supper. I better get started. They are fussy. 

But before I go, here's a picture from a few Bradford pear leaves that I found today beside the kitchen porch. 

Not all of the dropped leaves have this border effect but as all of you know, they remind me of the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe whom I love. 

Mother Goddess of Mexico. 

Bless her La Reina corazon. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Monday, November 28, 2022

Back Out Into The World


I woke up this morning feeling absolutely fine. Whatever little bug that had come to visit didn't stay long for which I am very grateful. So I decided to go get my shopping done. I've been out of Rinse Aid for a week! God knows that is practically an emergency. No one wants spotty dishes, right? 
Oh, there were other things on the list, including eggs. All right. Not to be crass here but for over thirteen years I've only had to buy a few dozen eggs and we always joked that the eggs the hens provided for "free" were actually more expensive than the store bought ones when you added up their feed and the hay we put in the hen house and all of that and now here I am without yard-egg one and eggs at the grocery store are at an all-time high! And out of solidarity for hens, I am buying the organic "free range" ones and those things are more expensive than cocaine! 
Haha. I have no idea how much cocaine costs. Probably far less than eggs but you get my drift. 

When I was at Costco (along with the entire population of a small nation, it appeared) I walked past the bakery area and had a sincere moment of grief for the fact that they're not making fruitcakes anymore. I did love those Costco fruitcakes. But it didn't even cross my mind to consider making one of my own this year. I have no idea why. I have made many fruitcakes. I believe I made some last year. 
But then in Publix I saw an endcap with all the fruitcake stuff on it and I thought, Huh. Well, why not?
So I got some of those horribly vilified candied fruits and they are now up on the shelf, waiting for me to get out the Mrs. Harvey's White Fruit Cake recipe. 
I'm a little excited. 
It is mostly May and I who love the fruitcake. Everyone else thinks we're crazy. A story I probably tell annually is about the year that May and I ate so much fruitcake that Lily freaked out and took it away from us. We're still laughing about that. 
So, making fruitcake is up on the big wheel of things to do, as Lis would say. 
Speaking of Lis, I may get to see her tomorrow. It's a convoluted situation as these things so often are but I hope it works out. I miss that girl so much. 

Do you see those beautiful baby things? They came in a package I got today from...Linda Sue!  They are for Dorothy Anne who definitely needs them as it about to get chilly. Also in the package were two cashmere sweaters with teeny tiny moth holes which I will take great joy in mending. My own pre-worn cashmere sweaters are in tatters. That is not hyperbole. So I am thrilled! As I said recently I haven't found a cashmere sweater in Goodwill in years. 
Linda Sue is the most amazing gift-giver/package-sender in the world. I swear. You can ask Magnolia June if you don't believe me.
Linda e-mailed me yesterday to ask if I'd gotten the package as she'd been notified that it had been delivered on November 22. I told her that no, I had not. The way it works in our post office here in Lloyd is that if there's a package too big to go into your box, you get a slip informing you that they have something in the back for you. 
I had not gotten a slip.
So this morning I asked the post-woman if perhaps there was something for me which somehow I had not been notified about? 
Now I have to tell you that this post-woman is new. I'd never seen her until about a week ago. And not to be judgmental here, but she does not look like a US Postal employee. For one thing, she has neck tattoos. I have nothing against neck tattoos. Just saying that I'm not used to seeing those on the people behind the counter at our post office. Also, today she was wearing a pair of stretchy shorts that may have been tie-dyed and looked like something you might buy in the sleepwear department. And a T-shirt with a completely different pattern on it. 
Anyway, she checks a list and says, "Nope. Nothing." But then she did go actually look and I heard her say, "Oh yes! Here's a package! It must have just come today!"
Whatever. I got my package. 
I sure do miss the days when Miss Martha was behind the counter and would call you to tell you that your package had arrived and besides giving excellent postal service, she always had all the latest community news. 

I better go make our supper. I am going to go cook some very fresh grouper which is a beautiful and delicious fish and if bought in a store or fish market, costs more than EGGS! So of course it also costs more than cocaine. 
I did the math. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Feeling Better All The Time

I haven't felt great again today but it hasn't been so bad. As the day has moved along, I've felt better and even gotten a few things done. And stayed out of bed, too! 
At one point Vergil came out with the boys to drop off the meat grinder and although August and Levon weren't going to get out of the car, I pled for them to be able to and I stayed at least four feet away from them at all times which is NOT EASY TO DO! I said, "Oh, how I wish I could read you a book," and Levon who was sitting on that love seat he's on in the picture suggested that I could sit on the crack of it while each boy sat on an arm of the little sofa but I sighed and told him that probably wasn't far enough away.
But they figured out what to play on their own. My old plug-in phone was sitting there on the love seat and Levon was in charge of that while August got on one of the trikes in the room which has a good bell on it and he would ring, ring, ring and Levon would pick up the phone and say, "You have reached Toys, Incorporated. How can I get your order?" 
I loved that. 
And they played just like I played with my friends when I was little. 
You say this and I'll do that and the script unfolds as it is played. I can remember feeling a passionate joy in that sort of play as a child. We could be princesses or soldiers or Tarzan and Jane or runaway children or stranded cowgirls in a snowstorm or anyone in the entire world and as such, we were free to act as we wanted, a continuing story of pretend and it never got old for me. 
So watching the boys play like that was good for my heart and good for my soul.
Just as I was about to make Levon a requested peanut butter and honey and raisin sandwich with the crusts cut off, Daddy said it was time to go home and so they both got a banana and some juice. 
Their visit was definitely the high point of my day. 

I finally gave up and took the piece of fabric that has the letters of Maggie's name on it off of the backing which would not stop puckering up no matter how careful I was with it and that probably took forty-five minutes with the seam ripper, carefully taking out one stitch at a time. But it's so much easier now to embroider around the letters and I can even use an embroidery hoop which- oh gosh! who knew! makes for much more controlled and tidy stitches. Not that all of the stitches are tidy but more of them are. And when all of the embroidery is done I can resew the whole panel together and sew that onto the quilt. I've been making these things for over forty years. You'd think I would have figured it out by now but no. Not really. 
While I picked stitches I listened to a podcast, sitting at the table on the back porch where the sun was shining brighter than any lamp in the house could have. It was a cheerful thing to see the sun again after so many days in a row of it hiding behind clouds as gray and dense as a thousand years of spider webs covering a window. 
And when I began embroidering again I watched a movie on Netflix that I thought was going to probably be horrible but the trailer had such a sparky, funny thing going on with excellent writing and a terrific bit of acting that I thought- eh, what the fuck? I'll give it a shot.

And it was surprisingly delightful! It's called "Friendsgiving" and is on Netflix. Such movies are always formulaic, of course, and this one had elements of all of those but it popped out some definitely different storylines. So I enjoyed that. A few days ago I watched another Rom-Com-ish movie, "People We Hate At The Wedding" and I was vastly disappointed in that. The performances were okay but it was...meh. 
Sometimes all's-well-that-ends-well just is not good enough. 
Know what I mean? 

And that's that. I've done laundry, made a loaf of bread, cleaned a toilet and a sink, picked some greens, and figured out a quilt problem. So the day hasn't been a total waste, I guess. 

Onward and upward! Time to heat up the soup! 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, November 26, 2022

A Very Quiet Day

I found this note by the coffeepot when I got up which was long after the fishermen had left for the coast. Such sweetness. 

It was so nice to have Owen here. At one point when I was making our flautas, Mr. Moon came into the kitchen for something from the Glen Den where the guys had been watching the FSU/UF game and he said to me, "We have a fine grandson."
And we do. 
Because Owen was the first grandchild and the one I took care of the most, I think there is a very strong connection there between us. He grew up partly in our house, really, and every room and nook and cranny in this old house is attached to a memory of Baby Owen and then Toddler Owen, and then Gibson joined us and, well, they are my boys. I told Owen last night about the first time his mama brought him over for me to take care of. She had to go back to work and I was so nervous that I literally sort of dissociated and for a few minutes couldn't remember the names of my chickens before he got here. You would have thought I'd never taken care of a baby in my life. I just found the blog post I wrote the morning he was about to come over. It is HERE. 
So I told Owen that story and we laughed. Obviously I did manage to keep the boy alive and now he is a strapping (what does that mean?) thirteen-year old and in some ways we are bonded forever. 

Many of you know that he gave me my grandmother name which is MerMer and is perfect. I had no idea what I wanted my grandchildren to call me. Nana? Memaw? Grandmary? So I just referred to myself as Grandmother and Owen began to call me MerMer when he started attaching names to things and that was perfect because it's what my little brother called me when he was that age, being unable to say Mary, and besides that, my email name since the beginning of the internet has been MerLuna so it was meant to be. Obviously. 

So there is all of that in me when our biggest boy comes to visit and there is a joy attached to his presence and a peace, too, as he grows older and we become more and more aware of how fine a grandson he is. 

The fact that he now wants to and can go fishing with his grandfather makes Mr. Moon happier than anything I can imagine. He has dreamed of this since Owen was born and now it has come true. 

This photo was my header for a long time and I know some of you will remember it. 
I've heard from Glen and they had a good day out on the water. Owen caught grouper and other fish and I know he helped with all of the many things that have to be done when it comes to fishing offshore. I imagine that Mr. Moon is so very proud of him. We both are. They are on their way home. 

I have not felt very good today, in fact I'm thinking I may be coming down with something. I've been so very tired and cold in my bones and my eyes feel strange. I laid down and took a long nap under my duck and woke up to find it dark which is so disconcerting. But it's been a gray day and so staying in hasn't been bad at all. I made a turkey soup early on so that we'll have something to eat with all of the good stuff in it. Greens and carrots, tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, corn, turkey and vegetable broth, rice. And oh yes- turkey. That soup could sustain life forever, I think. I'll squeeze lime juice in it before we eat it. 

And that is how it has been in Lloyd today. I don't believe I have taken one step outside. I am still trying to get used to having no chickens. My body and mind alert me at certain times that I should go let chickens out and feed them or go tuck them into their hen house. I have those thoughts and then immediately think, "No. No need." And I am sad. 

Things change. To everything there is indeed a season. The Bible got that right. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, November 25, 2022

The Dive Bar Origin Of A Love Story

I took that picture last night when I was almost finished cleaning up the kitchen after I'd boiled the turkey bones and picked the meat off of them and strained the broth for soup or whatever. It was a very long day but I had nothing big enough to put those turkey skeletons in except a pot to cook them so that was what I did. No turkey bone shall go to waste around here! And now that's all done and I am glad of it. 

The fruit came from Jessie and Vergil's yard where they have created a sort of small urban orchard on the lot their house sits on in a neighborhood in Tallahassee. Vergil made up a goodie bag for every family who came to Thanksgiving. They are drowning in fruit! It's so very cool. Perhaps I should make marmalade. 

I slept until 9:30 this morning. I am not surprised but I was surprised to hear that Mr. Moon did not get up until 9:00! He sure didn't wake me up when he got out of bed. He is always up by 7:30 at the latest but he, too, worked hard yesterday and it was heavenly for us to get good rest. 

And I've done little today. I did the laundry which was mostly made up of tablecloths and napkins and dishtowels. Easy laundry, that. And of course the sheets because it is Friday and sheets must be washed on Friday or else...I don't know. The devil will get me? I won't go to heaven? My entire life will be upended? 
Oh, who knows? 
It's not the worst symptom of something like OCD, I suppose. 

Thirty-nine years ago on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I went out to a bar in Tallahassee. There was a story about why I went that specific night to that specific bar but I'm not going to go into it because it really does not have anything to do with what followed except that I WAS in the bar that night and if I had not been, I might be living a very different life now. 
The bar was called Kent's and the only people who remember it are people of a certain age, that age being old. It was a dive bar for the most part but beloved. My ex and his band was playing there that night which is not why I was there. Oddly, one of his bandmates then was a woman who has been his wife for many years now although she was still with her first husband then. 
Lots of portent there, I suppose. 
Anyway, I was looking cute that night. I was! Really! I had borrowed a sweater from my friend Sue (who was also babysitting Hank and May) and it kept falling off my lovely shoulder. I was not wearing a bra. I have never like bras. 
So, there I was at the bar, sitting with my ex's sister who was a friend of mine, waiting for the thing that I was at the bar for in the first place and that never did happen but something else did. Glen Moon was there and I knew him by sight, barely by name. I believe I thought his name was Gary. But he saw me with new eyes that night and the sweater and my shoulder must have been more than he could handle and he asked me to dance. 
Now, you have to understand- Glen Moon is 6'10".  And lovely in all regards. But tall. Too tall, almost. I am 5'4". But what the hell? I love to dance and so I danced with him and then there was a slow dance and he indicated that he'd like to continue dancing with me and I looked up and said, "Really? You want to try this?"
I mean, I barely come up to his chest. 
But yes, he did, and so we did, and before the evening was over he was making very broad comments about not having had Thanksgiving dinner that year and how much he would love a turkey sandwich and so forth and so on, obviously trying to wrangle an invitation over to my house but I was not having it. Nope. 
But when Glen Moon wants something, he does not back down. He accepted the fact that he was not going to be coming over to my house for any sort of sandwich that night but within a few days, he managed to get himself invited over for a meal anyway and I made turkey flautas from a recipe that my friend Cindy had given me. They are delicious although they are about as Mexican as a Russian Wolfhound. 
So he came over and he ate turkey flautas and no, he did not get invited to spend the night but within a shockingly short amount of time I knew that he was going to ask me to marry him and he had asked if a high shelf in one of my closets was being used which it obviously was not, so that he could keep a few things there and then he asked if he could move his bed in to replace my double mattress because it was too short for him and he wasn't comfortable on it. 

Tonight I am going to make turkey flautas. They will be as inauthentic as the first ones I ever served him were. And hopefully as delicious. And our beautiful, thirteen-year old grandson Owen will be here to eat them with us and is spending the night so that they can get up early to go fishing out on the gulf. 

Funny how one thing will lead to another, isn't it? 

And that is the story of today, which is an anniversary of sorts. I wonder if Mr. Moon thinks about that first night he asked me to dance when he makes himself a turkey sandwich. 
I do. And I think of that sweater and of Sue and of dancing with that almost too-tall man in front of a band which my former husband was the guitarist for and how I had no experience with a man that tall- a basketball player, an athlete for god's sake. A man who carried himself with such confidence, and who smiled way more than anyone I'd ever met, who appeared not to have one iota of angst within him. 

I'm so very glad I danced with him. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving, 2022

Fresh cut greens and roses from the garden. See my turnips?

This may have been one of the lowest stress Thanksgivings we've ever had. Perhaps because I did so much beforehand. I do not know. But no tizzies were had, no children screamed and shrieked, no glassware was dropped, no gravy was spilled. 
It was almost odd. 

One of my favorite things that happened today was when Tom said, "The thing I like about Thanksgiving at your house is that no one argues about politics. There's not a Republican among you."

"I've done my job!" I said, slapping the table. 

And it's true. We may represent almost every sort of gender/sexual identity in the rainbow and we range from six foot ten to five foot three (not counting the grandchildren) and we earn our bread in many different ways and we have our problems, sure we do- and they vary from one of us to the other. We are far from perfect. Each of my children had a different childhood because every child in every family is born into different circumstances if we're honest, but when it comes to politics and religion, there just isn't much to discuss. Not to say that we don't discuss these things but I don't think we've ever had an argument about them. In fact, we just don't argue much among ourselves. About anything. We are too busy laughing and telling stories and being silly and today we were too busy cooking and serving and eating and playing with puppies. Who has time for arguments?
Jessie had asked if it was okay to bring the pups over for cuddles and play and I said, "Oh yes. Bring those puppies!" And she did. They stayed in Mr. Moon's bathroom sleeping in their kennel a lot of the time but they came out to pee and poop and get snuggles. They were so fun that we have decided that puppies should always be part of Thanksgiving. 

So here's some pictures. 

Food on the back porch.

August politely waiting. 

Ms. Magnolia who wanted roasted peanuts as her main course.

Gibson and Levon studying a biscuit. I do not know why. 

Rachel, Michael, May, part of Lauren to the left and a friend, K, who was a delight and joy to have here, Hank, Jessie, and Vergil on the right. 

More of Lauren and can I say that the more Lauren, the better? I love this woman. 

Lily and Tom who has been a guest at Thanksgiving at my table since long before Lily was even a sweet, wicked gleam in her daddy's eye. 

My own personal plate of food. And no, I could not finish it all. 

Olive (Ollie) tugging at Mr. Moon's beard. 

Levon blowing out his candles after we all sang Happy Birthday to him. He was in Orlando for this birthday so we made up for it tonight. 

Hank holds babies. In this case, Walnut. (Wally)

Levon's pie selection. Key lime that he helped his mother make and chocolate pecan.

Lily getting baby love from Ollie. 

Michael loving on the babies. 

The pie selection. Jessie's key lime, Rachel's pumpkin, MerMer's chocolate and regular pecan. 
Ample whipped cream. 

Hank's play list was amazing. I have no experience making a Spotify playlist but here's a link for anyone who does. Just for fun you can read down the list to see some of the music that our family loves. It ranges widely and represents what all of us love. Lon and Lis are represented, of course, and other musicians we know. I didn't really pay constant attention to the music but over the course of the afternoon I was delighted over and over again to hear a song that means a lot to me. We would all join in singing at various times, maybe doing a little dance step or two. I loved it. 

Around noon, I poured out two shots of rum and Mr. Moon and I both downed one and I said, "Whoop-ay-a!" and I cried. Not just for Lynn but for all the beloveds who have graced us on Thanksgivings who are not here anymore. And I will proudly admit that when all the kids got here, I got out all the shot glasses in the kitchen and set out the rum and we poured ourselves what we wanted to wet our throats, to raise a glass, to make a toast, to send love together to the universe, to our beloveds, to all the spirits. 

It was a good Thanksgiving. Everyone helped clean up. Leftover containers were filled. Puppies were carried out to the car. I have already simmered the turkey carcasses to make soup with and the kitchen still smells like Thanksgiving. 

Oh goodness. Rachel has just sent more pictures. 

Puppy Mama

Wait! How did I miss hallway dancing? 

My beautiful grandchildren. 

And here's a rare picture with me in it. I swear I was not just looking at Instagram on my phone- I was searching feverishly for my camera app so that I could take pictures of Levon blowing out his candles. Which I did. 

I guess that's about it. I'm hoping to be hungry enough before bedtime to eat a piece of pie. 
I am so grateful for all that I have. Plenty and more of food and a beautiful place to have these family gatherings. 
But mostly, the family that gathers here, of course. 

And you all. Always alla y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Love And Food, Food And Love

Sorry I cut off Mr. Moon's head there but the focus of the picture really was his lap cat. She is so happy he's home. Maurice hasn't even bitten us in quite awhile. On the other hand, Jack bit me last night as I was just casually petting him while he sat beside my laptop. The only reason I can think he did this was because he wanted me to shut it all down and come to bed. 
Who knows? 

God I feel old today. SO old. And all I really did was exactly what I usually do before ten o'clock on a normal Thanksgiving morning which was to boil the giblets with celery and onions and bay leaves and spices to make the broth that goes into the stuffing (dressing) and gravy, and to make the stuffing when that was done. 
Isn't "giblets" a nice word for "internal organs"? I think so. 
I made a lot of stuffing. I hope it's enough. I think Rachel is making vegetarian stuffing too so there will be plenty. It's so funny how we all make our stuffing so differently and I would not dare to deviate from my usual recipe. Of course there's not really a recipe but I use the same ingredients every year, one of which is Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix which is probably a sacrilege but that's what my mother made and I love it. Because of this preference, I completely understand people who want cranberries out of the can instead of fresh ones. Tradition is everything on Thanksgiving. I do make cornbread to go in the stuffing too and this year instead of baking a dedicated skillet of it, I saved leftover cornbread and dried that out. It has corn in it along with some onions and jalapeƱos and a little cheese so that is different. The stuffing also has two chopped up hardboiled eggs, some giblets, smushed up celery and onions from the broth, broth, sauteed onions and celery, and pecans in it. 
So yeah, I did that and I boiled a bunch of eggs to make deviled eggs and I peeled them and put them in the refrigerator and will complete those tomorrow. 

I thought about actually cleaning some today but I disregarded that notion very quickly. I've done some sweeping, especially of the back porch and the steps and tried to clear off some counters in the kitchen to create more room for all of the dishes that will be showing up tomorrow. But that's it. 

And I'm exhausted. 
Purely exhausted. 

Mr. Moon has been busy too. He got an appointment to get his MRI this morning and he went off to do that and then, because he was disappointed in the experimental air-fried chicken last night, he BOUGHT A NEW SMOKER (probably the last one for sale in Tallahassee) and put that together and did all the things required to set it up and he is smoking a turkey as we speak. So that will be done tomorrow making one less thing to worry about. 

And tomorrow I will stuff the other turkey, get that bad boy (or girl) into the oven, make the deviled eggs, get out pickled green beans and okra and set out dishes for other hors d'oeurves that may be coming, make iced tea, both sweet and unsweet, pick the greens from the garden that I want to cook a pot of, try not to forget to set out the cranberry sauces, and roll out the biscuits and bake them. 
OH! And get the pies out of the freezer in the morning and whip the cream that's going to go on them. 
I wonder where the gravy boat is. 

The kids will help set up tables in the backyard if the weather is good and it looks like it will be. We serve the food buffet-style and everyone gets their own plate so that eliminates the need for table-setting, mostly, but I do want to pick some of the blooming sasangua and make a few table bouquets of that. 

None of my china matches, none of my glasses match either. And to be honest, I use a lot of mason jars to drink out of. 
God. I am so tacky. 
Well, la-di-dah, as my darling Lynn would say which reminds me to set out the rum for shots so that we can throw a few back and say, "Whoop-ay-A!" in tribute to that woman who came over every Thanksgiving morning to share shots with me and maybe a little hallway dancing before she went to her own family celebration.
And my shot glasses don't match either. Are we surprised?

I got to talk to a dear blog friend on the phone today and that was such a treat. She called me and we laughed a lot. I cried a little too, but that's as much who I am as having no matching china. 

I've also taken the trash today, picked arugula for our salad tonight, and made a completely 60's casserole for our supper involving macaroni, Lipton's onion soup mix, tomato sauce, and ground beef. With cheese on top, of course.
It is delicious. 

No wonder I'm tired. 

And I'm sad. I shut this door today.

For the very last time. 
At least for now. 
I can't tell you how deeply sorrowful I feel. And I'm already realizing how many adjustments I'm going to have to make in a life without chickens. 

But tomorrow will be full of family and noise and rearranging things in the oven and Hank has made a seven-hour playlist of songs we all love and want to hear and some things change and some things do not and we are all healthy and will feast together and there will be way too much food and so, so many pies and we love each other. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

There Is No Title For This (I Wanna Be Your Dog)

Turned out that Owen, Gibson, and Maggie could not come over today because it would appear that Maggie has the flu. 
Well, shit. 
She's fine. She's just been tired and a little listless with that sort of sick-look around the eyes that we get when we've got something that our body is fighting. The boys went through the same thing last week but again- no alarming symptoms. No fevers, no overt sore throats or anything like that. But Lily, fearing that perhaps it was something that was mild in the children but which might be more serious in an older adult, took her to the doctor this morning and got her a flu test and she passed it. All should be well on Thanksgiving, though, as she's been experiencing this since last Friday. 

It's always something, as Jessie said today. 

So instead of hanging out with the grands, I made a huge batch of angel biscuit dough. Every year I say that I am not going to do that and every year I do. It's just such a nice biscuit and it makes me feel so rich and so prepared to have that giant bowl of the dough ready to roll out and bake before we eat. For a recipe of angel biscuits, you can go to this old post and learn how to make them as well as fig preserves. I wrote that post in 2008 which was about a hundred years ago and I was experiencing my first true sustained bout of anxiety paired with depression and it came far closer to being the death of me than I care to remember. 
In fact, I do not care to remember it at all because when I do, I weep for what I went through and it all comes rushing back. The terror (a far better descriptive word for it than "anxiety") grabbed me with bloody claws and would not release me at all for months until I finally went to a doctor and got medication. I felt so helpless and so afraid. It was horrible. And in truth, I always carry the fear of it returning. 
I suppose this is a sort of PTSD. 

But, the soothing powers of angel biscuits have been a thread in my life for many, many years and I enjoyed making up the dough today. It is now in a giant bowl out in the garage refrigerator, waiting to wake up and come alive on Thursday, resurrected by touch and shaping and heat. 

And I did a little weeding in the garden, too. Not very much. About an hour was all that my old knees could take and then I quit and that is fine. I feel bad that I have let the garden get weedy and in winter, at that! And yet I have. Tom brought over a huge bag of elephant garlic for me to plant and I need to get on that, too. It is time. 

Mr. Moon's smoker is not working so yesterday he went all over town trying to find another, which he could not because everyone and his cousin, Jim Bob, wants to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. What he got instead is something I'd certainly never heard of which is a turkey air-fryer. 
Yes. Yes indeed, you really can buy an enormous air fryer for turkeys. This is far superior to an actual oil fryer for turkeys in that you don't have to buy twenty gallons of peanut oil and risk life and limb to fry a turkey which was, at least a few years, ago, a huge fad among the Jim Bobs of the south. My theory is that this is because men love to do things involving fire, large amounts of meat, and the threat of death and injury, plus fried is always best. 
So yes, he bought an air-fryer for a turkey and he tried it out today with a nice roasting chicken and that's what we're having for our supper. 
I was telling Lis about this on the phone today and she said, "Talk about your non-essential appliance!" and I laughed but at least this one will be kept in the garage. 

I sometimes wonder what you people who live in exotic places like England and France and California think about the things I write. I am probably confirming every stereotype there is about the south here in the states and that's okay but I want you all to remember that we are, for the most part, a truly nice bunch of people despite our odd obsessions with cars and trucks and turkey fryers. We love our children and their children too and many some of our neighbors. We care about the world and we produce some of the best music on the planet and some damn good food, too, most of both of those things influenced by the enslaved people from Africa who, despite what Donald Trump says, are the people who truly made America great. 

Well. I certainly did not mean to go down that path. And yet I did. 

Here's a video I have posted before which is one of my most favorite videos in the entire world which has very little to do with anything I just wrote except for the part about American music which may seem odd because an English band is in the video. But if it took the Rolling Stones to recognize and celebrate the music of Muddy Waters, then so be it. 

And now I am going to go cook some okra and tomatoes to go with our whole air-fried chicken and please know that okra made its way here via the same people who brought us the blues, i.e. The People Who Made America Great despite the fact that we didn't deserve so much as a spit over the shoulder from them and certainly not the great richness of the gifts they have given us. 

Hoo boy. I'm hot tonight. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, November 21, 2022

How To Prepare To Prepare A Thanksgiving Dinner

Gracie did indeed show up this morning after sleeping who-knows-where. I took the picture of her when I gave her some sunflower seeds this afternoon. I think I should take a picture of her every day so that we all feel truly grievous when she dies. 
She liked the sunflower seeds very much. 

Food. It's all about food, isn't it? For us and for all the animals and for plants, too. And for American human animals, Thanksgiving week is probably the foodiest week of the year. It is for us. 
I took Hank to a doctor appointment this morning and got my grocery shopping done while he was chatting with Dr. Z, who is becoming our true family doctor in that four of us are now his patients. All seemed to be well for Hank and I got to see Lily who was working at Publix. I swear- it seems like the only time I see her now is at Publix in Aisle 11. But we hug and we can chat for a moment. Tomorrow she'll be bringing the OMG's (Owen, Maggie, Gibson) over to hang out here while she works since the kids are out of school. I put away all of the Maggie quilt stuff because I don't want her to see her blanket before Christmas when hopefully it will be done. I got the dark green backing on the little name patch. It looks frightfully uneven and it is. No one is ever going to accuse ME of being a perfectionist. 

Mr. Moon went to see the NP and she couldn't begin to figure out where the swelling was coming from- knee, ankle, or foot. She scheduled him for an MRI tonight but then that got postponed until four days before Christmas because it's the sort of MRI that uses contrast (?) and they weren't set up for that. So whatever he is experiencing better not be fatal because he'll be dead by then. However, the leg started looking better last night and perhaps by December 21st, it will have healed all on its own. Of course if it gets worse before then, back to the doctor he will go. 
As we speak, he is on his way to an FSU basketball game with our friend, Tom. They get tickets every year and this is a huge big deal to them. 

I got the regular cranberry sauce made this afternoon and of course it is beautiful because cooked cranberries just ARE beautiful. 

And then I got on the pie train and made a pecan pie and a chocolate pecan pie, both according to Mrs. Matthew's recipes. 

For those of you who have the GALL not to have been reading here for eons, Mrs. Matthews (aka Granny Matthews, aka Mrs. M., aka Granny M) was a woman I knew as a child and young teen. She was not truly related to us but was close and I always say I learned more about cooking from her just by observing her in the kitchen than I have learned anywhere else. She was a completely natural cook, by which I mean she moved about the kitchen with complete assuredness, adding pinches of this and palmfuls of that to whatever she was making, usually with a cigarette dangling from her lips. Everything she made was delicious and I cherish the recipes I have from her. 
Those pecan pies are as essential to our Thanksgiving rituals as the turkey is. I will admit that I have changed them a bit. The regular pecan pie now has maple syrup in it along with the brown sugar, and the chocolate pecan pie has more chocolate in it than she called for. 
I do not think she would judge me harshly. 
It calms me to think of Granny M. and that can only be a good thing on the days leading up to Thanksgiving and perhaps it is that fact as much as the deliciousness of her pies that I appreciate. 

Anyway. Those are done and I've actually popped them into the freezer because I do not want them to lose any of their just-made goodness between now and Thursday. 

I took the two turkeys out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator in the garage on Saturday and of course, when I checked them this morning they were still as hard as billiard balls. I brought them into the house and set them on the counter for a couple of hours and they are back in the refrigerator now. As Lily and I discussed, we believe it is impossible for turkeys to ever thaw in a refrigerator. It may have been possible back when refrigerators were actually "ice boxes" but it is not true now. I have spent every Thanksgiving morning of my adult life running hot water down a turkey's gullet, trying to pry the poor creature's paper-wrapped inner organs out of it. 
Please forgive me, vegetarians, and please forgive me, all you dear turkeys who have given your lives to fulfill Americans' fantasies of a pilgrim dinner shared with indigenous people which most certainly did not happen and if it had, the wild turkey they might have been eating bore no resemblance whatsoever to the freaks of nature we have created with turkey breeding to satisfy our love of white meat. 

I do go on, don't I?

But because all of that food stuff wasn't enough, I also made sourdough dough this morning. Since the Hartmann's are coming over, it will make a pleasing snack for them. They all love the "sour bread." I have also made a pot of soybeans because Lily mentioned how much she has been craving them and her family doesn't like them. Mr. Moon and I love soybeans so why not? 

I will be able to send Lily off tomorrow with a nice bowl of them with rice and the goop which goes on top of them to mix in and create absolute hippie gourmet heaven. The loaf of bread is just now out of the oven and it may be one of the prettiest loaves I've ever made. 

Still, after all of these years of making sourdough bread, I am at a complete loss as to how to make the perfect lofty loaf. This one was thrown together this morning as I was getting ready to go town and thus, did not get nearly as much kneading (which in this house is done by a Kitchen Aid dough hook) as I usually give my bread and it also has whole wheat in it. As it has been chilly, I put the bowl of rising dough into my rigged "proofer" which is a heating pad wrapped in a towel which I set the bowl on and use to wrap over it. It all came together today to work very well and I even gave the dough an extra rise so I think it shall be nice and sour. 

So that's that. 

Ironically, my husband will probably eat a hot dog at the basketball game but it is his choice to attend activities that prevent him from eating supper here. 
There will be leftovers. 

I may be too tired to report in tomorrow but knowing me, I'll probably have an unimportant word or two to send out into the universe. 

Meanwhile, I am now hungry. 

Love...Ms. Moon