Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Loss Of A Life

Ross died this morning around 2:00 a.m. 
That was his name. Ross Dormon. Winter Haven boy, son of a doctor, grew up on a lake as all good Winter Haven boys and girls do. Handsome as the day is long. Could make a woman feel like the most beautiful thing on the planet with a word and yet his words never felt sleazy or weird or inappropriate. Just...I see you. You are beautiful. He loved women. Women loved him. I knew so many women who had known him and not one of them had anything to say about him that was bitter or angry in any way. My mama met him once and after he left she said, "Who was THAT?" 

Okay, okay. That's not exactly what I meant to write about Ross. He was so much more than a man with the gift of seeing the beauty in women of all ages, shapes, and shades and then reflecting that beauty back on them so that they could see it too. Men loved Ross too. Our friend Tom is devastated. Mr. Moon cried at the news that he was gone. There was just something about him. 

Jessie told me this morning that she always liked seeing Ross. That he seemed to have such good energy. And he did. He wasn't one of those people who seem determined to spread good cheer and sparkly unicorn rainbows. He had extremely negative opinions when it came to politics, to the government. He had good reason to be. Before he died he sued the government for compensation for his exposure to Agent Orange and he won a settlement. Not much and of course it didn't save his life but I think he was proud to have done it. It was a way for him to feel that the bastards had admitted wrong-doing. Finally and at last. 
But no matter what he said, no matter what he was talking about, he had a way of talking in that slow, southern voice of his that calmed and soothed the ear, the soul. He always spoke with a tone of bemusement and amusement. He was as quick to point out the good as he was to flay the evil. 
He saw the beautiful. He saw the humor. But he saw the darkness. I think he carried some of that darkness within him and I think that women saw that and had a yearning to ease it. 
I don't know. 
I don't know much. 
I know he was incredibly intelligent and that he was probably one of the first people in Florida to be enrolled in the Medical Marijuana program. I saw him outside of Costco once and he showed me the vape pen that he had in his pocket, told me he was legal now. 
"What were you diagnosed with?" I asked him. The whole idea was still novel to me. 
"Anxiety," he drawled in his Ross voice. "Anxiety that I'll run out of weed." 
I know that after he got home from SE Asia, he became as anti-war and as counter-culture as anyone could be. When he became older, he grew his beard long and braided it. It was regal. He looked like a wizard.
I know that he loved good food and that when he was undergoing chemo for one or another of the cancers he had he hated the fact that he couldn't eat sushi while he was on it. His wife was a gourmet cook and Lord, I bet she loved to feed him. 

He did a series of short recordings for PBS about the Viet Nam War. I'm going to try to embed them here. I may have linked to them before. 

There are more. You can go HERE and find them if you want. 
You don't have to watch them. Or maybe watch a minute just to hear that voice I was talking about. After all these years, no one really wants to talk about Viet Nam. Or more accurately, no one really wants to hear about it. I do not know one person who went there who did not come back changed and not in a good way. But I think that Ross took what life had given him and did with it the very best that anyone could have. 

Such a strange post for the last day of 2022 and yet- well, here we are. We got some rain and after it was over I went out and used my Christmas loppers and pruners. I cut down the bananas, dead in their stalks and leaves, chunked them up and hauled them to the part of the yard where we dump such things. I trimmed the Confederate rose and the Canary Island date palms. I also unleashed Ralph who has learned to gain access to the kitchen over the shelf of a threshold. 
I could not be more proud of him if he were my pet dog who had learned to roll over, shake hands, and stay on command. 
I have made a soup and a loaf of bread. Therapy and gift and warmth and sustenance all in one. 

I have no desire to write an end-of-the-year post. I have already written an end-of-the-life post. In a way. 
I don't really put much stock in the divisions between years anyway. Life and time do not care at all how we label them. 
And yet label them we do. Otherwise, all would be chaos, I suppose. Or to be more accurate, more chaotic than it is now. 

If I had a New Year's wish it would be that we all cherish what we have this moment. Our loves, our lives. Ain't none of it going to last forever. Drink deeply of it while you can. 
I think Ross would have agreed with that. 

Rest in peace, dear man. There was no one else like you. I doubt there ever will be. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, December 30, 2022

Rivers, Both Real And Allegorical

Slow gray day here. My man got up early to go fishing out on the Wacissa River with friends long before I got up. They were on the river for hours and he reports that it was beyond beautiful. Herons both great and small, blue and white. Turtles sunning themselves. Water so clear you could see the fish. And of course, the trees. He said he saw a few little cabins today, tucked up beside the water and that he would do whatever it took to buy one of those. 
I have always imagined that too. It's still wild back in there, Florida the way it was, with bears and probably wildcats, deer and foxes, alligators, and every sort of varmint that the Baxters in Marjorie Kinnan Rawling's classic, The Yearling, would have recognized. And that water. And those birds. Not just the water birds but everything from mockingbirds to the pileated woodpeckers, so large and showy that they are startling when they show up, second only to the Great Lord Bird itself- the Ivory Billed Woodpecker which has not been definitely identified in so many years that many call it extinct although others spend their lives searching for it, absolutely certain that there are some still around, possibly in Louisiana. 
As far as we know, houses and land never come up for sale on the Wacissa. But it is something we could look into. 

Mr. Moon brought back a mess of little fishes for me to fry. As much as we love the fish he catches in the Gulf- the snapper and grouper- I think that the sweet fresh water fish may be our true love. They are small and must be cooked whole and yes, there are bones but if you know how to lift them out as a piece, that is not much of a problem. Their flesh is white and as tender as anything you can imagine. 

So he had a good day and I've had a blah day. I did laundry, I took the trash, I went to the post office where I discovered that Gibson's Christmas present has arrived. I also got the front cover of one of my New Yorker magazines. 
The front cover. And that is all. 
I asked the lady behind the counter when she gave me my package, "What's the deal with this?"
"I have no idea," she said and offered no further explanation except that perhaps it had gotten caught in a machine. 

Our newish next-door neighbors who have been excellent neighbors so far, have spent the last several days clearing bamboo and brush between our houses. This would be fine except that we no longer have any sense of privacy at all. When we moved into the house it was all overgrown between this house and that and no one has really done much to change that. Besides the bamboo there are trash trees and vines and I've always just considered it a nice barrier, a place for birds and critters to live in. But these people seem to like an orderly arrangement of things and now we can see directly into their yard and I am sure they can see directly into ours. This would not be so terrible except that our bedroom is on that end of the house as is my bathroom. I've had curtains and blinds up in the bathroom forever because the wall that faces their house is entirely window and the wall facing the street also has two big windows in it. I've had a lace curtain up in our bedroom but today I realized that it is no longer sufficient for even the merest attempt at privacy. 

Yes. That curtain is held up with thumbtacks. I am terrible at curtain hardware and although Mr. Moon would gladly put up real curtain rods, I just don't want to deal with it but I suppose I'll have to now. What I did in the meantime was to untack that curtain, wash it because it needed it desperately, and then hem up a piece of barkcloth that Linda Sue sent me to make cover the part of the window that will need covering. 

I'll tie it up in the daytime so that Dorothy Anne and Emily and Zippy and all of the other sweet dollies won't die of lack of sunshine and I won't be depressed every time I walk through the bedroom. 
Mr. Moon said that he could build us a privacy fence and I know he can because the first thing he ever did when he moved in with me was to build a huge, sturdy wooden fence around my backyard which I still tease him about. I don't think one needs to call on Dr. Freud to suss out the meaning of a very tall fence built around me. 
So yes, he can and will build a fence if that is called for but it also occurred to us that perhaps our neighbors are clearing in order to build their own privacy fence in which case- Whoo-Hoo! We won't have to! So we shall wait to see what happens and meanwhile, I do love that barkcloth. 
Thank you, Linda Sue. 

And the rest of the day has just been a little mending of that, a little picking of this. My garden looks like hell, everything wilted from the freezes except for the garlic and the collards. I think the mustard greens will pull through. I am not sure about the rest of the greens. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and perhaps things will perk up. My artichoke plants which were looking quite impressive to me, have absolutely simply disappeared. 
So much for that experiment. 

A friend of ours is in hospice care in Tallahassee right now. He actually grew up in Winter Haven, the same town I lived in from sixth grade through high school. I did not know him then but knew of him and his brother who was in my grade. I got to know both of the men when I was married to my first husband who had been a friend of theirs so I have known this man for a very long time. In one of those synchronistic things, Mr. Moon has become friends with him and has been for quite awhile. He and our friend Tom have been friends for a very long time and in fact, Tom, and Mr. Moon, and this friend went to a basketball game together less than two weeks ago. He has suffered many, many health problems for years now and a few days ago he had two strokes. I do not think he is responsive so they are just trying to keep him comfortable and at peace. His wife is tending him, and I am sure his daughters are with him. 
He went to Viet Nam, this man, and was exposed to Agent Orange and I have to believe that that is a factor in all of the illnesses he has had. I have deep feelings about him, and when I try to talk about him, I choke up. 
It's complex. It's complicated. 
But at the very heart of it all, there is a place in my heart where he has had a space for so many years and although he always will, there is an understandable disturbance in my psyche. And perhaps this is why I have been feeling a quiet within myself. I feel a waiting

And this too is part of life as we reach the outer ends of it. Each person we lose reminds us not only of our own mortality but also of how different people have played their own roles in our lives as we have played roles in theirs. As I realized when my friend Sue died, there are parts of us we share only with certain people and no one else and when those people are gone, it is as if that part of us may be gone as well. 
I know it's not. Not really. But in another way, it truly is. 

Sorry. I'm not very cheerful tonight. But it's Friday and the man has made us a martini and our bed has clean sheets and with the new sort-of curtain in our room, it will be all the more cozy. I am going to fry those fish and I think I might make tomato gravy for the first time in my life to eat on the grits I'm going to cook. 

And so I can still say to you- Happy Friday. The last Friday of 2022. 
It's all a whirlwind, isn't it? 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Lloyd, Florida

Yesterday's walk went so well that I decided to do it again today although I took another route. I walked down to where the old truck stop used to be and where there's still a convenience store, a liquor store, a gas station, a subway, and a motel right near the interstate. That Johnny Appleseed guy has been standing in front of what was the truck stop since at least 1978. He has lost part of one arm but it does look like someone painted him fairly recently though lichen is growing on him like some sort of tropical skin disease.

I have never gotten an explanation why Johnny Appleseed would be represented in front of a truck stop in North Florida. As far as I know, Johnny himself never got this far south. He seems to be a jolly sort though, doesn't he?

My route led me past the fally-down house. It truly is going now. 

One of these days, it will completely collapse unless it is torn down before then. Honestly, I'm surprised every time I go by it to see that it is standing in any sense of the word. 

It still calls to me somehow with its sinking walls, still holding remnants of the wallpaper that some woman, at some time, hung, perhaps after the children were asleep, by the light of a lantern. There are other houses on their way back to boards and dirt around here, though none so close to succumbing to gravity and time as this one and those are all houses that were at least a little bigger, a little prouder in their architecture. Some of them are still savable, I'm sure, and possibly worth the effort, their bones appearing to still be strong and straight. One of them especially breaks my heart as it was obviously owned by a hoarder. There's junk piled up all over the front porch, and the windows on each side of the front door have been boarded over. The people who owned it lived in a trailer behind the old house and I imagine it just got too hard for them to heat and perhaps their possessions crowded them out. I do not know. The old man died some years back and I have not seen his wife in forever so I imagine she's gone now too. The house must have been lovely at one point. Not palatial in any way, a simple one-story old Florida house but it was sturdy, I imagine, and graceful in its way. I heard it was the doctor's house at one time and he had the first telephone in the community so if anyone needed to make a call, they could go there and use the phone. There's a very tall sabal palm in the yard along with untended camellias and azaleas. It was loved once. I somehow still see hope in it but that hope dwindles with each season. 

As I was walking down Old Lloyd Road, which is the road we live on, the road where the post office and the dump and My Gypsy Soul Boutique are on, a train came through. The railroad tracks run right behind my house and our post office was a train station at one time. I stopped on a little bridge over an offshoot of Lloyd creek to take a picture. 

The water is very low and stagnant there now, as you can see. Hardly picturesque. 

But this is Lloyd. We are funky here with our dump right off the road, our falling-down houses, our trailers and prefab homes, our Dollar General, our sad little boutique that represents someone's dream. And yet, we are also beautiful with our majestic ancient oaks, our towering magnolias, our camellias and azaleas and old train station and our little piece of this road where there are several very old beautiful houses shaded by those oaks, the magnolias, pecan trees. 
I often wonder if people who have gotten off the interstate to perhaps walk their dogs, get gas and a Subway sandwich are curious about what they would see if they took the road they exited on and went down it for a little ways. I am sure that almost none of them have any idea that if they drove that road for about ten miles they would dead-end into one of the most beautiful spring-fed rivers imaginable. That on their way they would pass tiny communities where people have lived for generations and for eons, too. Long before Europeans ever got here, the Indigenous people called this area home. 

It is peaceful here tonight. Our friend Tom is over to watch an FSU football game on TV. Mr. Moon bought wings and veggies for them to eat and I am about to put a loaf of French bread in the oven to go with the rest of it. I'm going to eat some of last night's leftover barbecue shrimp with rice. It was so delicious and I'm sure it will be tonight as well. I feel safe here in Lloyd in this old house under the oaks and magnolia with the palms and camellias I've planted surrounding me. I feel safe and I feel at home in a way I've never felt any other place I've ever lived. I have neighbors of all colors and faiths, beliefs and social strata although none that I personally know who are what we might call fabulously wealthy. We wave, we say hello, sometimes we stop and we chat. When I am walking and a car pulls up at a cross street or a driveway, they always, always, motion me to go first. 

I am fabulously wealthy. Not by the definition that Forbes would use but by the definition that I myself would use. I get to live in this funky place in this beautiful old house where I have found peace. Where Johnny Appleseed stands guard half a mile down the road, offering whatever that is he is offering. Doughnut? Apple? 
A gift. Of that I am sure. 
And I take it gratefully.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Walk And Ralph Report

When I got up and went into my bathroom this morning, that little bird was doing kamikaze flights into my window. I suppose it was seeing its reflection unless it just really wanted access to my beautiful bathroom. He (must have been a he, right?) wasn't hitting the window hard enough to knock himself out but he was persistent. And by golly, the bird was still out there trying to figure out how to get in for almost the entire day. 
Birds are so smart about some things but honestly- mirrors and windows are something they have not figured out. I've seen mockingbirds try to attack their images in sideview mirrors on cars for days and days at a time. 

What an incredibly perfect day it was today! The temperature was mild, the sky was as...well...this.

And after I'd walked to the post office I decided that I had absolutely no excuses not to go on a real walk. Y'all- I haven't taken a real walk in probably months. And when I say "real" I mean anything longer than a walk to the post office. But it wasn't too cold, it certainly wasn't too hot, wasn't about to rain, and I had absolutely nothing else I HAD to do. 
So. Off I went. 
I only walked two miles but my legs are telling me that two miles is a lot farther than they are accustomed to at the moment. I took it slow, too. I am generally a fast walker but at this stage of my unfit life, I know I need to slow my roll a little. I had an interesting experience in that I saw in the distance before me a guy heading down the sidewalk too towards No Man Lord's. After awhile he knew I was back there. I'm not sure why he turned around because I certainly wasn't close enough for him to hear me but he did and by the time he reached NML's and turned in, I had almost caught up with him. 
He said to the two guys in the yard- That woman walks fast for someone her age! He meant for me to hear it too and I was not insulted. 
"I wasn't walking fast," I yelled, as I went past them. 
"That wasn't fast? You almost passed me!" 
"You were just strolling," I said, and went on by. 
He was too. Just strolling. Taking it easy on a very fine day.

It did me good to get outside and do that. Nothing much has changed. Well, that's not true. NML has a few new signs. One of them says, "Den of Thieves...$$$". Not sure quite what that means but if it implies that people with money are evil then he is definitely the purest man in the county. Bless him. 
And another HUGE thing I noticed is that my next-door neighbors have finally taken the Trump signs out of their yard. They have been there since at least 2016. Perhaps 2015. There's still a DeSantis sign in the yard but Trump is gone. 
I am taking this as a good omen as applies to Trump. Not so much about DeSantis. Those of you who do not live in Florida have no idea how evil this man is. And besides that, he's not stupid at all. 

I sent Ralph back out to vacuum today. Mr. Moon and I were entertained all day long, watching him go at it. The poor thing just cannot get into the kitchen. It tries and tries but it just can't. It is such a persistent little fucker but honestly (and don't tell him I said this) he's not brilliant. He may be the smartest robot in this house but he's not the smartest robot in the world, I feel quite certain. He did make me a map. This is what it looks like. 

How does it look? 
It looks like...someplace I've never been. Supposedly this is a rendering of the spaces I live in and yet- well, as Mr. Moon said, "It looks like Leon County to me." 
Theoretically, I can now label all of the rooms and spaces so that I can direct it to go clean a specific area. This is going to take some work. I have never been any good with maps. My spatial abilities are nil. But I should be able to do this, don't you think? 
And in admitting this, I think I should probably apologize to Ralph who can vacuum AND map at the same time. 

Mr. Moon went out for a little bike ride this afternoon, inspired no doubt by my walk. 
Or not.
But he sent me this picture. 

That is a gopher tortoise. One of my favorite critters. This one has obviously spent a great deal of time in its burrow which has been dug into the red clay dirt of our area. I just love those things. They seem so primeval and wise to me and wear that reptilian expression of pissed-offedness that iguanas also have. Disdain for all, especially humans. 

I tried out my new pruners today. I trimmed up a few areas in the most casual and desultory way. They are amazing! I love them. I can't wait to try out the loppers. Perhaps I will tomorrow. Both of the Canary Island date palms have fronds that need removing and I will find great satisfaction in snipping them off. The good news in palm world is that my cabbage palms or sabal palms, appear to have survived the cold nicely. 

Now I'm going to go cook some shrimp. I am still not quite sure how I am going to cook them. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba lists all the ways you can cook and eat shrimp? 

Bubba was absolutely correct. Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Ridiculous Technology Bullshit

Oh my word but it's been a day. I mean, no one's been in the ER (that I'm aware of) and it's been a perfectly gorgeous day with the bluest sky and it's not so cold but crisp and clear. 

I went to sleep last night hoping that the update I was doing on my phone would fix the way my new AirPods were acting which was that they did not want to connect to my phone and when they did, only one side worked. Brand new. I figured that if the update didn't do the trick (does an update ever do the trick?) I would be on the phone with Apple tech and that's exactly how it turned out. 

Now from the very first computer we ever got, which was probably the worst computer that Apple ever made- a Performa- I have not been able to handle any problem that has arisen with my beloved magic boxes, as May and I call them. In fact, I feel an anxiety akin to panic when something does not work properly be it a key on the keyboard or an app or well, anything. I do realize this is not logical. Life will go on if my MacBook and/or my phone are being weird and that they can be fixed and if all else fails, replaced. I suppose I have developed sort of an attitude of anthropomorphism towards my technology. 
Long story short- I stress the fuck out. 

So after trying one more time to do a fix on my AirPods recommended by not only Apple on their help site, but also on many other help sites and it didn't work, I began the process of getting tech help. Now Apple is pretty good. You can actually reach a human to talk to you fairly easily. Somehow today though, it took me going through all sorts of crap including resetting my Apple password to get to the point where I could get a call from a technician and a lot of that was user error. I admit that. And that too, drives me crazy. I hate feeling like a typical old person who doesn't know how to do the google. I'd like to say right here that we boomers are a mess in many ways but dammit- we have had to learn technology from the start. We were not born into it and when I successfully paired my new Roomba the other day to my internet and phone, I felt quite pleased with myself. 
Today was not like that though. 

The guy who tried to help me was very patient and kind and spoke English quite well but nothing he tried or suggested made one bit of difference. 
"And now you should see a pop-up with your AirPods on your screen," he would say. 
"And yet, I don't," I would reply. 

This went on for quite awhile. Finally he said he would speak to a supervisor. He was gone for awhile and when he came back he said that all they could do at this point was to tell me to go and exchange the AirPods for new ones. 

Earlier in the conversation, he had offered to make me an appointment at an Apple Store so that one of those genius people could address my problem and was that satisfactory? No, it was not, I told him. The closest Apple store is over a hundred miles away. Why we don't have one in the capital city of the state where there are approximately 42 universities is a mystery to me but we don't. 

So. I packed up the AirPods and got dressed and went to Costco where they were purchased and good Lord but Costco is the best about returning products. Or exchanging products. That was quick and easy. I did a little shopping, saw Brenda who gave me the BEST Brenda hug and another lady I love there and then I went to the library and then I went to Publix and got what I needed there. 

I came home, unloaded the car, and decided to put the new pods on the charger. Also, I could see if they would show up on my phone. 
Except that...where was my phone? I could not find it. Not in my purse, not on the kitchen counter, not in my coat pocket, couldn't find it in the car and that is when I really started to panic. We do still have a landline but that thing hasn't even been plugged in in forever so I had to find a phone cord which is ridiculous because there used to be at least fifty of them around here in various drawers, coiled and tangled like hibernating snakes in a cave. I finally found one and had to move the piano away from the wall to plug the durn thing in. Did that. Called my phone and there was no response in the house. I took it outside to the car and Glory Be and Hallelujah and thank St. Anthony and all the gods, including Steve Jobs, because it was indeed in the car, ringing its little head off in the one place I had not looked. 

Well. A miracle of sorts. I put away the groceries, punched down the sourdough, made a pot of chili and checked to find that yes, these pods were recognized by my phone just as they were supposed to be and connected without any effort on my part and sound comes out of both ears. So all is well that ends well. 

At least for now. 

Mr. Moon is home. The grouper weren't biting but he had a good time and stopped and bought shrimp on the way home. He is safe and sound.

It's only going to get down to 31 degrees here tonight and then it's going to start getting warmer. I am glad of that, especially for Vergil's family who are visiting and were hoping to escape the cold of North Carolina for a few days. It should be nice by Thursday. 

One more thing- the thought occurred to me this morning as I was going through tech hell that at least my floors looked so very good. 
Ralph is a champ! 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 26, 2022

Getting To Know Ralph

 It occurred to me this morning when I finally got the courage together to order the Roomba to get off its charger and begin cleaning, that whoever built this house over a hundred and a half years ago certainly never envisioned something called a robot vacuum cleaner scooting about the heart pine floors, sucking up dirt and dust as it goes. 

Robot? Vacuum cleaner? 

The first vacuum cleaner I was ever introduced to was a hand-me-down Electrolux that my grandmother gave my mother after she got a new one. It looked almost exactly like this:

Didn't even have wheels. It had runners. You'd have to stop it and clean out the clogs about every five minutes. You'd know you had a clog because it would start screaming at you with a high-pitched whistling sound. My mother passed the damn thing on to me when I grew up and started keeping my own house. I had it for years! 
What did we call that thing, Hank and May? The whale? The Suck-Bucket? It weighed about eighty pounds and it did suck and it sucked well except for the propensity for getting clogs. It was probably because of that Electrolux that I just can't stand vacuuming. Even with the new lightweight ones. 
I've never been a big fan of carpet though, so sweeping has always sufficed. I do love a broom. I had carpeting in a trailer I lived in. Red carpeting throughout the entire thing except for the kitchen and bathroom. I can't remember if I had a vacuum cleaner then or not. I hope so. 

But here we are now with the Roomba and it has amused me all day long. I won't say that I actually followed it around the house but I will admit that I checked on it quite a few times. Where was it now? 
UNDER THE OTHER BED!!!!!!???????
Yes! All those places. And even in closets whose doors were open. 
It is such a determined little thing. It never did make it into the kitchen due to the uneven thresholds but I think I have figured out a work-around involving a rug being used as a ramp. I hear that it takes a few days to map the whole house at which point you can direct it to just clean certain areas. 
For some reason the fact that it makes its way back to the charger when the battery is running low just charms the hell out of me. I can imagine it saying, "Whoops, sorry, gotta get juiced up and then I'll get right back to work!" And it does! It goes directly to the place it was cleaning before it had to take a break.
So funny. I feel sort of guilty for even owning such a ridiculous thing but to hell with that. If Mr. Moon can have a riding lawnmower, I can have a robot vacuum cleaner. 

The cats have not been sure about it. It freaks Maurice out (what doesn't?) but Jack likes to follow it around and study it. If only I could get one of them to ride it so that I could take videos and be a huge TikTok star with millions of followers! 
What? That's already been done? 
Well, dang. 

So speaking of Mr. Moon, guess where he is tonight? 
No. Not tonight. He's over at the coast to go fishing tomorrow. 
It's going to be so cold when they get up and get out on the water but the season is just about over and so, it must be done.
When he told me he was going I said, "Great. Now you can pass out in a boat."
"I'm not going to pass out," he said. 
He better not. He seriously better not. 

And now I am going to go cook the gourmet chicken pot pie I have in the freezer for just such emergencies. My life is a thrill a minute, isn't it? 

Yes. Yes it is. At least tonight when I go to bed I will know that there is not a layer of dust and cat hair underneath me as I sleep. Not that the dust and cat hair has ever bothered me that much. I've always been slightly amazed at what I manage to gather from under there with a dust mop and a broom but not really horrified. 
If I was my cleaner I'd fire me. But I think I'll keep the Roomba. I've decided to call him Ralph. As May said when I told everyone about the naming of the Roomba today, "Ralph sounds like a little worker tank that is doing his very best."
I agree. 

Here's a picture Mr. Moon sent me. 

I believe I will keep Mr. Moon, too. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Presents And Cinnamon Rolls And Children's Delight. What Else Is There? Oh Yes. Love

The fruitcake was unwrapped, finally and at last! May and I agreed that it was indeed a very fine year for fruitcake. Just the right amount of rum to cake ratio. Some years I use too much rum-soaked cheesecloth on the cakes before I seal them up in the aluminum foil but I went light on it this year and it was lovely. 

I am happy to report that Mr. Moon seems fully recovered from his traumatic event yesterday. We got up this morning and set about doing last minute Christmas things. Jack was on the dining table because there is a heating vent right below it. I have Florida cats and they are not happy about this cold. Maurice has decided that the warmest place is ON a vent. 

Go ahead and judge me on the filth of my baseboards. I deserve it. 

I baked the bread I made last night and we loaded up the car with gifts and headed over to Lily's house. Poor Lily and Lauren- they had gotten about two hours of sleep after wrapping all the presents after the kids went to bed and then getting up to start cooking. I don't know how they did it. The kids had already unwrapped the presents from their mama and Lauren and were pretty darn excited that more presents were coming. We made them wait so that we could all eat first which which did not make them happy although they tried to suppress their annoyance. Jessie and Vergil showed up with August and Levon who were also a bit frustrated at not being able to open grandparent and aunt and uncle presents right that second. When May and Michael showed up, Maggie said to May in an extremely stern voice, "You are very late!" 
As I told Michael, she is forty-eight years old, that Maggie child. 
Oh well. The grown-ups enjoyed the Christmas morning feast. Lily had made an incredible tart with caramelized onions and asparagus and some fancy muffins. She also had fruit and veggies. She'd cooked a ton of bacon and I scrambled some eggs for all of us. I brought the sausage cheese bread and fruit cake and Jessie brought homemade cinnamon rolls. 
Delicious decadence. 

And finally, it was time to open presents at which point all became chaos.

Eight adults, five kids in one room, everyone yelling, "Here's one for you!" Owen sort of took charge passing them out. There were so many good presents this year. Of course, most of mine have not arrived yet but there was still plenty to go around. 
I had to take many deep breaths. 

There was a time constraint because Owen, Maggie, and Gibson were being taken to their dad's house at noon. After they left, things did calm down some although Levon and August grew bored and were tired, I know. Aunt Lily got them settled down doing some art things. 

Lauren had built a fire and we all sat around, full and cozy and chatted and laughed for awhile. We called Hank and Rachel who are still every much enjoying their beach get-away. Chloe, one of Lauren and Lily's doggies, sat on my lap and I petted her for what seemed like an hour. Lauren said that if I'd let her, she'd sit there all day. Such a sweet baby. 

Here's the picture we got in a frame from all of them wearing the hoodies that Lauren ordered for them. 

I love it so much. 

Finally, we all decided to let Lily and Lauren get some rest and we packed up our cars and got on our way. Mr. Moon and I exchanged gifts when we got home and he thought I was going to be so disappointed in what he got me but actually, I was quite thrilled. 

My very own loppers! And new pruners! These are serious tools,  y'all! I told him that now he has to build me a shed to keep them in. 

So for years I've been joking about getting a Roomba. I do not vacuum because I hate it. I sweep but will admit that a broom doesn't get up everything. But still- a robot vacuum cleaner? 
Part of me says, "Fuck, no! That's weird!"
And another part of me says, "Fuck, yes! That's awesome!"
So. We shall see. We have it charging and I've downloaded the app you need to operate it and theoretically, the Roomba is now connected to my internet and Bluetooth. 
Okay. That's weird but it IS a robot.
I've also watched a video on Youtube done by a very pleasant man named Sidhu who has incredibly shiny floors and demonstrated the basics. I want my floors to look like Sidhu's! 
Perhaps tomorrow I will be brave enough to let the robot out of its charging station so that it can MAP MY HOUSE and begin cleaning. I'm not sure there are enough bags in the world for all the dirt and cat hair this thing is going to suck up. I may have to buy them by the truckload. There is also the issue that this very old house has incredibly uneven thresholds between rooms and hallways. There may be issues. 

This afternoon has been sweet and lovely with my Mr. We seem to be making each other laugh a lot and at the same time, we are being very tender towards each other. I could never have imagined such a thing when I was young. And yet- here we are. 

So it would appear we've survived another Christmas. 

Happy Whatever It Is You Celebrate. I hope it contained light and love because that is what really matters and what it's all about, despite what labels we put on it. 

Love, And Yours In Contentment...Ms. Moon

Saturday, December 24, 2022

A Christmas Eve Story

Florida Ice Storm

What a day. I'd say that this is a Christmas Eve we won't soon forget but the way my memory is failing these days I can't really make that statement with any certainty.

Mr. Moon planned to get up this morning at some ungodly hour to go duck hunt. I asked him to please not go. It was going to be so cold. Why? Why? WHY?
"I'll be fine!" he said. "It was colder than this in Canada."
Whatever. Okay. Fine. Go ahead. If the man loves something that much he should do it. 

So he kissed me goodbye when he left and I mumbled something like, "Please be careful," or perhaps it was, "Please don't kill yourself out there." He laughed and said he wouldn't. 

Well. Spoiler alert- he didn't. Die, that is. He did not die.

However, when I woke up, I found that my phone had like three texts and two missed phone calls because I turn the sound off at night. Which I now realize is stupid. 
The texts were from Glen as well as one of the phone calls, and another call was from Jessie. 
He was in the ER. 
I called him immediately and yes, he was in the free-standing ER where I'd gone with my appendix which is an excellent place to go if you need medical attention. The reason he was there was because he'd passed out in the duck blind.
Now. My husband does occasionally pass out. I've seen him do it a couple of times. It is generally associated with too much constriction around his waist and low blood pressure. Also, sometimes, the sight of blood. He knows he's going to do it, he announces it, and then he does it. Seeing an almost seven-foot man keel over is scary. But he's always fine afterwards and I've learned not to get overly excited about it although I definitely do not like it. 
So there he was in the duck blind with about four different garments around his waist because of long underwear, etc., and he announced that he was going to pass out and he did and it freaked out his friends so much, never having witnessed this before, that they did the right thing and took him to the ER where he was admitted. His blood pressure was fine by then, his oxygen levels were good, his cardiac enzymes didn't indicate a thing that was worrisome. They did a CT scan to see if he had a clot. He was hooked up to an EKG monitor. By the time I got there, he was extremely ready to get out. Not that it wasn't a pleasant place to be with all the nurses and techs wearing antlers and santa hats, etc., and the smell of delicious foods simmering in crockpots, but the gurney he was on was not nearly long enough for him and also it was getting boring. 
So the doctor came in with the news that the CT scan was clear and that everything looked fine but that he should get with his GP about getting a stress test. My man agreed that he would and the doctor gave me a penetrating glare as if to say- make sure he does!- and said we could go. 

So off we went, back into the cold and of course he drove and we had to pick up his truck but he was hungry so we stopped at a Cajun restaurant and had lunch as it was afternoon by this time. There he was, dressed in his camo, while I was in my overalls, Goodwill cashmere, Crocs, and black velvet coat. 
We fit right in. 

He was extremely cheerful and I was thankful. After lunch we picked up his truck and he drove off to Costco to buy me some new AirPods because one of mine stopped working yesterday and I could not get it to work no matter what I did and I live with those things in my ears and he wanted to get me another pair. Well, okay. To be completely truthful I said I wanted another pair and would stop at Costco on my way home to get them but he insisted on doing it and he did and he's fine. He's sitting in his chair, watching TV, napping on and off, and staying warm. 

All of the presents are wrapped, the new pods work beautifully, I've cooked the sausage and made the dough for tomorrow's sausage and cheese bread. We'll be meeting up with the kids and grands tomorrow around 10:00 for breakfast and presents. Rachel and Hank won't be there because as I said a few days ago, they have taken themselves off on a little beach getaway. 

They report that they are having a wonderful time although it's a bit chilly on the beach. Like, with the windchill factor, 34 degrees. Don't go swimming, Hank and Rachel! A shark might eat you for your nice warm blood!

So that's my Christmas Eve story and I know I should feel all grateful and like I now know the true meaning of Christmas (husband did not die) but I am a complete and utter Bitch Grinch and mostly I just wish he'd listened to me and stayed in our warm bed under the duck with Jack cuddled up between us. I have a feeling that even if the sweet Baby Jesus showed up at my house and gave me some of the frankincense and myrrh his mother couldn't use, I'd still be a Bitch Grinch. 
Although truly, I am so grateful that I probably can't admit it, even to myself. I can't imagine life without him and I do not want to.

And here, for your Christmas pleasure- the statue thing that came with this house and which now resides in the guest room in front of the fireplace. 

I do love it, especially the aforementioned Sweet Baby Jesus who looks so incredibly pissed off. 
"Really?" he is saying. "Do I have to? Come on, Dad, you're God. Couldn't you have just one more begotten son?"
Mary looks pretty good for having just given birth to an eighteen month old, doesn't she?

All right, y'all. Hope you get good sleep despite all the dancing of sugar plums going on in your head, and wake up to find that Santa has been to visit you with a sack full of Christmas magic and joy. 

Or, you know, a ham or a turnip or something. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Friday, December 23, 2022

Baby, It's Cold Outside For Those Of Us With Thin Blood

That little girl barely made it through a reading of "The Chicken of the Family" before she fell asleep last night. She just curled up on her side, closed her eyes, and was oblivious to all almost before I'd finished kissing her good-night. It had been a full evening. While she had her purple cow we all played a rousing game of Battle. Boppy, too. She won. Then the shower, then some playing with Mer's dolls, then the story, then sleep. And she slept pretty well almost until 8:30 at which time it all began again. 
While I was making breakfast I set her up in the kitchen with a box of tiny dollhouse things that Linda Sue sent quite awhile ago and that I'd forgotten to show her. She was so enchanted! She arranged everything to her satisfaction and then spread her arms out and said, "This is happiness!"

 And so it was! 
We had pancakes and bacon and she helped me take things to the table. I asked her how many pancakes she wanted. 
"One," she said. "I'm just a little kid."
So she ate her one pancake and two pieces of bacon and that was that which is so unlike August who can eat four or five pancakes, two pieces of bacon, and ask for more. 

Before she had to go home we played a round of the matching game and then another game of battle. It was a terrific morning. Magnolia is so sweet when she's here. She never stops telling us how much she loves to be here and that makes me feel so good. 

It wasn't long after she left that Vergil brought the boys out to collect their RV which has been parked here for awhile. Vergil's family is coming to visit and the RV will be accommodations for his mom and stepdad. I asked August and Levon if they wanted some cheesy noodles but they said they weren't hungry. Then I mentioned that I had some pancakes and suddenly, they found some room in their tummies. 

Mer's Cafe, open daily, breakfast served all day. 

And then it was time to play a game of Go Fish! These boys don't call it "Gold Fish" the way Maggie does but August did say that instead of calling it a "book" when you get four of a kind, he calls it a "school" because it's fish. 
Makes sense to me. Instead of saying "Go fish," when they don't have the cards asked for they say, "Go clean that dirty old fishbowl!" Where they got that I do not know. 

So that was that part of the day and all grandchildren went away with bye-bye treats. I asked Magnolia if she wanted M&M's or peppermint patties and she said, "M&M's. I don't like peppermint yet. 

Oh, my grandchildren are brilliant and funny, darling, and charming. 
I love them all so. 

We're bundling up over here. I picked some camellias because they'll be brown mush by tomorrow. 

Neither plants nor people here in Florida are not used to such temperatures as we're about to get. My main hope is that my Canary Island date palms die but that my Sabal Palms live. 
We'll just have to wait and see, won't we? 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 22, 2022

It Is Maggie's Night

 Ms. Magnolia June arrived a little while ago with her grandfather. She is so happy to be here and we are so happy to have her. The first thing she wanted to do was unpack and of course, she'll be sleeping with me. This happened once and since then it's just been accepted that she and I will sleep together and Mr. Moon will stay in the guest room. He does not mind because the bed in there is awesome and also- he gets a night off from my snoring and pulling his covers off him which he claims I do although I try so carefully not to. 
Eventually, one of these days, Maggie will be annoyed by my snoring and will then ask if she can have her own bed and that will be fine. Until then, she can sleep with me. 
Anyway, she wanted to put her unicorn (Twinkle Toes) and Zippy on the bed. She says she has missed Zippy and I told her that he misses her too. She also brought her tablet with games in case she gets bored. 
I am not fighting that. She stays up LATE! She's a night owl for sure and Lily has already warned me that she stayed up late last night and slept late this morning. Of course, tomorrow morning she'll be so excited that she won't sleep in but if she needs to play on her tablet before falling asleep, I may just let her, otherwise she tosses and turns and tells me she's so bored and she can't sleep, and, and, and.

Needs must and why make life harder than it needs to be?

Still gloomy here, raining as we speak. Everyone is pretty freaked out about this cold we're going to get. I know that compared to the states north of us our temperatures will seem mild but they are freaky to us. I did cut some stalks of fire spike and set them in vases to root. I suppose there is some hope that they will come back next spring but just in case, I want to have a few to be able to plant. They root so easily and beautifully and take to being put in the dirt with a very good and graceful attitude about life. 

They look a little wilty at the moment but will perk back up soon enough. 

I best get to cooking our girl's supper. I told her I was going to make cheesy noodles and she said, "How did you know I wanted cheesy noodles?" 
Uh, maybe because she always wants cheesy noodles. 
She did surprise me by asking if we had any of the fish like Owen caught with Boppy because she loves it. If I'd known that, I would have thawed a piece of grouper. As it is, she is going to get chicken and she is fine with that. I gave her a choice of elbow macaroni, seashell noodles, or penne pasta and she chose all three which I knew she would. Noodles ahoy! 
Now she is watching TV with Boppy. This, too, is part of the ritual. "The Mighty Little Bheem" is their favorite to watch together. She just asked me if perhaps, if I wanted to, after dinner when she is having her purple cow, we might be able to play Gold Fish (Go Fish) or perhaps the matching game or perhaps color or do a puzzle. I said that was a possibility. 
"And maybe we can read some books?" I asked. 
"We always do that together!" she said. "You know what? Maybe we could act out the parts of the Monkey book". (Five Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed.) 
No way!" I said. "I'm not going to jump on the bed and fall off and hurt my head!"
"No, no!" she laughed. "Just the before part where they take baths and brush their teeth and get into their pajamas." 
"Oh. Well. That sounds okay."

She is a happy girl. 

Love...Ms. Moon