Saturday, December 9, 2023

Report Of A Sleep-Over

We had the very sweetest time with this sweet girl. Here she is posing with her mice and rabbits and their houses that she set up for them. She made them a tea party, as you can see. Linda Sue  sent her many of these things and Maggie wanted me to take her picture with them to send to her magical fairy godmother who lives so far away. She really does consider Linda Sue to be a mystical being and I agree with her on this. Maggie asks me so many questions about her and I answer them as best I can. It makes my heart so happy to think that Maggie feels loved by someone she's never met and will probably never meet. Someone who knows exactly what a girl wants and needs. 
Don't we all need someone like that in our lives?

Our girl has an amazing imagination. And she is wicked smart. She can also be the darlingest child imaginable. Last night she was telling me what a wonderful time she was having and she said, "My attitude has been great this whole visit!" I agreed with her that indeed it had been. She loved her supper of fish and cheesy noodles and cherry tomatoes and cut up cucumbers and carrots. We enjoy the meals that Maggie picks. Well, meal. She always wants the same thing. After supper came bath time after which we had purple cows that Boppy, the Purple Cow Maker fixed for us. These were made with the sparkling grape juice so you know they were gourmet. We also all got one of the little cupcakes which were shockingly delicious. At least I thought so. Publix does make a very nice buttercream frosting. 
And then- bedtime with stories. 
She picked out "The Chicken of the Family" which is a much loved favorite around here and I picked out "Miss Suzy" which she said she'd never heard. I convinced her that she would love it and I think she did. Miss Suzy is a squirrel who lives quite contentedly and peacefully in her little oak tree house until a band of horrid red squirrels come and chase her out of her home. 

Don't worry, though. All ends well for Miss Suzy despite the difficulties she faces. 
Maggie liked that story too. And of course, nothing could make me happier than reading two books to her. She had told me earlier that she was tired and indeed, after our two stories, she cozied up in the bed under a quilt and the duck and was asleep in minutes, if not seconds after I kissed her good night. She is a good sleep partner although last night, she kept pulling the covers off of me, wrapping them around herself. I finally got chilly early this morning and got up and retrieved the duckette from the closet and slept very well under that. 
Mr. Moon reports that he slept fine in the guest room with Jack although there was some foot rasslin' going on in the early morning. 

Maggie told me last night that she is not fond of pancakes anymore and would rather just have bacon, toast, and eggs. I was fine with that because despite, or because of, the fact that I've made thousands of pancakes for my children and grandchildren, I don't really like them much either. But this morning I asked her if she'd like biscuits instead of toast and yes, she said she would. 

While I was making breakfast, she and her Boppy went on a ride on the four-wheeler around the yard and down to the post office and back. 

This may be her favorite thing to do when she's here. 

Her imagination kicked into high gear when she got Ratty off the shelf where he lives. 

We had a very interesting three-way conversation for quite awhile. Ratty told me many things. I asked him if when we were asleep at night if he crept around the house and played.
"That is what rats do," he replied. 
He also spoke a little French. "Bonjour" he said to me. And then he told me that he had a girlfriend in Paris who was actually very beautiful and popular. That he was going to propose to her the next time he was in France although, "Marriage is a big responsibility."

After breakfast she and I played another game of Battle and then the matching game that she has loved since she was a child. She found her tiara that she'd left here and put it on the crocheted Pokemon character, Squirtle, that her other grandma had crocheted. 

Her other grandma is obviously talented in the crochet arts. 

And soon it was time for her to go home. I don't think she wanted to. I found her on the porch swing, holding Squirtle, and just looking out at the beautiful day. 

But home she went. There was a party this afternoon that she was going to and she needed to get home to prepare for that. I sent her with a few little cupcakes and many hugs and many kisses and many I love you's. 
Glen reports that when they got to her house, she asked him if he wanted to come in and see his daughter which cracked him up. 

You know, if I can only have one granddaughter, I am very glad that she is Magnolia June. All of the grandchildren are so very different and I just cherish the differences in each one of them. I am constantly delighted and intrigued at the people they are and are becoming. 

Time to go make the supper. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, December 8, 2023

The Amazing Magnolia

Our darling girl-grand is here and I think she is so very happy. Boppy picked her up and we've been busy ever since they got to Lloyd. As we walked through the guest room I asked her, "Do you want to sleep in here tonight?" and she said, "Uh. I just like to sleep with you."

Clean sheets for Magnolia! 

I bought some sparkling grape juice for her for a fancy drink and to use to make her purple cow and I swear- she and I spent twenty minutes trying to get that metal-encased cap off. Finally, Boppy came in from the garage where he'd been doing something with a car and it took him another five minutes to get the damn thing open. It was ridiculous! But the juice is delicious so all is well. 

I gave her her hoody with the unicorn horn and eye-lashes on it and the sequined Christmas decoration and she was so thrilled. "It's so cozy! It's so soft!" And it fit her and she had forgotten to bring a jacket so...perfect. 

And now I need to go make those cheesy noodles and fried fish. I do the fish in the air fryer and it is always delicious. One of our rituals is that I let her pick out what kind of pasta she wants to go with the cheesy sauce and tonight she wants a mixture of four different ones and so she shall have them. 

We had a rousing game of Battle and now she and her grandfather are watching Shaun The Sheep. 

Unfortunately, she did not bring her make-up. She said it was too messy to pack. Therefore I will not be getting a make-over. I have to tell you that I am somewhat disappointed. Perhaps tomorrow she will agree to substitute some of my make-up for her beloved Claire's brand which, of course, is the best. For those of you not in the know, Claire's is a store generally found in malls that carries everything a young girl could want from jewelry to make-up to hair accessories to bags to toys. In short- Tween Heaven. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 7, 2023

I'm A Mess, But Here I Am

Levon's class went on a field trip today to go see the FSU Women's basketball team play. The game was at 11:00 a.m. and Jessie asked Mr. Moon if he wanted to go. Of course he did! To add to the fun, she was chaperoning. This morning before school, Jessie wrote her dad that Levon said he was SO excited to finally get to introduce his Boppy to his class! Now you know Glen loved that. I asked him later in the day whether or not Levon had indeed introduced him to his class and the answer was no. Both Jessie and Boppy reported that Levon was very serious throughout the entire game which Jessie thinks is probably his schoolboy persona. 
This could be true. We never really know exactly who our kids are at school, do we? 

So that was a very sweet thing.

Another pretty terrific thing that happened today was that when I was in Costco, I realized that they were NOT PLAYING CHRISTMAS MUSIC! I can remember that stuff being pumped into our ears every other Christmas so this was a completely lovely surprise. 
Being at Costco wasn't the greatest but it was, as I told a friend, sort of weirdly soothing because it was better than the crazy wacko thoughts I was having in my own alone head. And while I was there, I got four identical gifts for my kids and their sweethearts (not blenders) and three identical gifts for three of my grandsons. 

Don't tell them!

So at least I have started doing something. And I got to see Brenda and got one of her most fabulous hugs. And you know I love that. 

By this time it was around 2:00 and I was understandably hungry so I took myself to the Wharf where I enjoyed a delicious shrimp lunch. I'm sure it contained enough calories to sustain me for two or three days, the hushpuppies alone being substantial enough to make an entire meal of, but they were so good and I ate all three of them along with everything else on the plate. While I was eating, I was reading from the NYT's app on my phone and came across an article entitled, "Woman Who Threw Food at Chipotle Employee Sentenced to Work Fast-Food Job." Just then the server came up to ask if I needed anything and I said that I didn't but that I wanted to show her something that might make her laugh. 
She did laugh. 
Oh, that's me, just spreading joy everywhere by butting into people's lives and assuming I have something of worth to say to them. 

As you may be able to tell, I am not at my best today. I think that reading about Persistent Depressive Disorder has done something to me like setting off the pipes in a building to clanging. That's how I'd describe how it feels although it makes no sense at all. Just a general unpleasant, discordant alarm that something is wrong. Something that's been wrong for a long time but which has suddenly made itself known. I can't figure out why I really would want to know if that's what I have and now I'm second-guessing even writing about it. I I supposed to go BACK to talk therapy and support groups and possibly get on different meds and blah, blah, blah? 
Those things have kept me alive in the past and as I said yesterday, the meds still do. So does the knowledge I gleaned from therapy and the support group. And being kept kept alive is not to be spit at. But I suppose I'm wondering how in the world it would be possible to throw off the dark veil at this point in my life and expect that suddenly I'll want to travel and hang out with people and be all energized and if not actually happy, at least not so apt to cry at any random stranger's kindness or a loved one's...well, love.

I think too much, obviously. And not always in a constructive or logical manner. Let's get through Christmas and see where we are. 

My sourdough starter did indeed come back and has risen like Christ on the third day. 

Look at those pretty bubbles. I've actually got a loaf of bread almost ready to go into the oven. It will look nothing like Rebecca's but it will be edible. 

I think that Magnolia June is coming for a sleepover tomorrow. I have her hoodie and I got some sparkling grape juice for a fancy drink and a purple cow. Jessie said that she might bring out the boys to play with her for a while after school and that would be fun. I bought some silly miniature Christmas decorated cupcakes for a snack treat, and for supper we will be having Maggie's favorite meal at Mer's house which is fish and cheesy noodles. I just love that one of my grands wants me to cook them fish and Mr. Moon likes that too, as he caught the fish himself. I feel quite certain that Maggie will insist once again on sleeping with me because by now, this is our ritual, and no one is as deeply invested in ritual as a child. Mr. Moon does not mind as he likes the bed in the guest room even more than our bed. So it all works out. As long as Maggie can stand my snoring, she can sleep with me although when she reaches her teens, she may want to sleep in the guest room herself. 

I guess that's it for today, sweeties. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Sometimes It Helps Just To Have A Name For Something

I am so close to getting that little bit of the yard cleared. I worked on it this afternoon and that part is almost all border grass which is really a bitch to pull. While I was on my knees, I looked up startled to see someone standing on the sidewalk right beside me- a neighbor I've seen around. He's a friendly guy and we talked for a minute. He told me that he pulls weeds and I took his name and number. His name is John Henry Johnson which I think is one of the finest names I've heard in a long time. I should call him for some help. I need it. I think I'm afraid that anyone I hire might inadvertently pull some of the plants I want to keep. It's not always as obvious as that bed in the picture above where I wanted it all cleared out. In some areas I have about four types of invasive plants and five types of wanted plants and although I know the difference, I know it's not as easy to define for some people. Mr. Moon never can tell what I want pulled and what I don't so he's tasked with things like mowing while I do the get-on-your-knees stuff. 

Harvey also walked by as I was working. He coughed so that he would not startle me and when I saw it was him and smiled, he told me that he'd done that on purpose. He's such a sweet soul. He said, "That's hard work!" and I said, "It's harder than it used to be."

All day it's felt like Sunday. I mean, I had to correct my thoughts on that matter at least twenty times. Days that feel like Sundays are not the best days. I don't seem to be having the horrendous Sundays I always used to have but I do not associate that particular day of the week with any sort of great joy. 
Yesterday I felt content, which in my world is tantamount to joy. I felt pretty okay about myself and my life and enjoyed the simple tasks I did. I also read an article in the NYT's that I've been thinking about ever since. The title of the piece was "That Lingering 'Meh' Feeling Has a Name." It was about something I'd never heard of but, as sometimes happens, I recognized myself in instantly. The subject of the article was persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia.
Have YOU ever heard of that? I had not but as I read, it was like a light snapped on and I thought, "Whoa. That's me."
The symptoms of this disorder, as listed by the John's Hopkins website are these:

  • Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Less ability to concentrate, think, and/or make decisions
  • Less energy
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Weight and/or appetite changes due to over- or under-eating
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as fitful sleep, inability to sleep, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
  • Low self-esteem
  • And then this:
  • To diagnose this condition, an adult must have a depressed mood for at least 2 years (or one year in children and adolescents), along with at least 2 of the above symptoms. The symptoms of this illness may look like other mental health conditions. Always talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

    Two years? Try sixty-nine years. Two of those symptoms? How about all? 
    One can have P.D.D. and still experience major clinical depression at the same time. One of the paragraphs in the NYT's article really caught my attention. A woman who had been diagnosed with it said, "Clinical depression 'knocks me out. I can't get out of bed, shower, eat, or walk my dog.' With dysthymia however, she can still function. She may not want to do the dishes, for example, but she 'won't feel obliterated' by the task."
    Later on, the article says, "Because P.D.D. can be long lasting- and does not always disrupt a patient's day-to-day life- those with the disorder may assume their their milder depressive symptoms are simply character traits."

    Wow. Yeah. Character traits like not being able to travel? Like being obsessively worried about following a regular routine? Like feeling that one is merely a burden to loved ones? Like being (oh so slightly) agoraphobic?  Like crying at the drop of a hat? 

    So yes, I've been thinking about all of this and really though, what does it mean? 
    I really don't know. I do know I'm on two different medications for depression and anxiety and I am sure they help because I have not had a major clinical depression or bout of intense anxiety in a long time.

  • I'm writing about this because I think that many people probably suffer from it and you might recognize yourself in here. If so, please know that you are not alone and that there can be steps to take to help people escape this feeling of always being sad which takes away so much of our joy, our quality of life. The woman quoted in the article, Amanda Stern, has a newsletter called How To Live and if you go HERE, you can find more information on the disorder and how to possibly deal with it on a more informed level. 

  • Thankfully, I am still very much able to find some enjoyment and satisfaction in my life. Yesterday was an example of that. 
    I count my blessings, one of which is camellias. 

  • Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

A Fine Day In Lloyd Land

Here we have an approximately eight-pound turkey potpie that I made today to use up the very last of the turkey. Don't worry. The meat was in the freezer part of the time. It has potatoes, onions, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, peas, and carrots in it along with the turkey. I will be baking it here shortly. 
And Thanksgiving will be officially over. 

I've had a very decent day. I have no idea why. It was Candie's day to come and clean but she now has the puke virus that her kids had so she didn't come. 
Kids. They are just here on earth to do the bidding of viruses and bacteria, as far as I can see. Wouldn't it be funny if viruses developed humans in order to have a way to replicate? Like flowers developing stamens and pistils. 
I swear to you, I sometimes think this is a possibility. But you know me and my theories. 

So since Candie did not come, I decided to unleash Ralph, my Roomba. Poor Ralph has been sorely underused since Candie entered my life but he cranked right up today and did fine until he mysteriously parked himself in his little port and shone his red light. He needed a check-up and a little work done so I got out my robot-doctoring stuff and gave him an exam and he had a few problems going on that I was able to diagnose and fix. This included a transplant of the three-armed little brushy thing that Roombas have which spin around. One of Ralph's brushes' arms had been completely ripped off by something. 
Anyway, after his surgery, he got right back to work and then this happened. 

The determined little robot dragged that size fifteen sneaker all the way from Glen's closet which is, in robot terms, about nine miles away. 
Okay. That's a bit of hyperbole but it is a seriously long distance. 
I unwrapped the sneaker's lace from one of the rollers, and once again, Ralph sprang right back to attention and finished up his work. 

So you know, I was busy all day making sure that Ralph was healthy and doing his job and I did some laundry and...what else did I do? It took me awhile to make that potpie because it involved vegetable chopping and steaming and sautéing and then making the pastry and all that stuff. I picked some arugula to make a nice salad with apples and craisins and sliced almonds. I generally use pecans in that salad but I used up every pecan in this house making the fruitcakes. 

I also fed my sourdough starter. I have not done that in a shamefully long time. So long that I think it's going to take a few more feedings before it's really up to the task of raising bread again. I just haven't been in the mood to bake sourdough. It makes me sad for various reasons, one of them being that my loaves are just not the things of wonder and beauty that they could be. 
I just checked the re-fed starter and there are two, TWO, tiny bubbles in it that are probably the signs of dying gasps. 

I had the most interesting dream last night. It was not like any dream I've ever had before. I was a young woman and had traveled to an island somewhere far, far away from everything where there was an indigenous culture who had been living there for eons. I was with my family- a group I did not recognize- and the father of the family was somehow working for the US government which was doing something on that island and there was a large number of other Americans also involved in this work. It was not unlike the colonialism of India by the British. Whatever the Americans were doing was polluting the ocean surrounding the island and the indigenous people had developed strange markings on their skin due to the poisons in the water. 
So that was going on and I was trying, as the oldest daughter in the family (which I am in real life) to get the living quarters arranged and set up and the food organized which was going well but then, I had an encounter with one of the native people and somehow, I inadvertently insulted him and the entire indigenous population. 
I was horrified that I had done this. There appeared to be many customs and rules involving the accepting of food and rituals that had to be observed and no one had educated me on these and I had offended them. 
I felt so horrible. There appeared to be no way at all that I could explain myself or make amends, much less ever be part of the community. And that was how the dream ended. 
I can see that probably some of the dream came from my visits to Cozumel, which is an island where many, many Americans now live. But I have never felt as if I had offended any of the Mayan people who live there and have always tried my hardest to be respectful of everyone I've come across in any sort of interaction. 
This may be an incredibly easy dream to interpret but my awake brain is not really making the connections. 

Here are two pictures of what the Japanese maple tree looked like today against the sky which was so blue it looked impossible. These photos are completely undoctored. 

They almost hurt your eyes, don't they? 
But in such a very, very good way. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 4, 2023

It's The Hap, Happiest Time Of The Year! Yeah. If You're Five Years Old

Jessie and I met in town today and went to a Goodwill. She was looking for some clothes for August who I guess is outgrowing everything although not in width. That child only grows up, not out. Also, the boys have some sort of dress-up day for the next two weeks at school. One of the days is Christmas pajama day and Goodwill had about two long racks of just Christmas pajamas so she found some that should do for August. 
I found that pillow which I adore. It is beaded and sequined and stitched and embroidered and I felt guilty paying only $4.99 for it. 

It has a backing of pink velvet. It is exquisite. And funky. And very cheerful. 
I also found a Christmas hoody that I hope will do for Ms. Magnolia June. 

Fun AND sophisticated, right? And it is very, very soft. 
The only other thing I got was a pale pink cotton sweater that will go nicely under overalls. 

I'm struggling right now. I know many of us are and I'm sure much of it is related to Christmas. For me, it's the overwhelming expectations that our culture tells us are appropriate for the season when I absolutely detest Christmas and yet, do not want to disappoint my grandchildren or even, really, my children although they know me well and don't expect too much from me in the way of cute gifts. 
Money. Money is easy. The flat gift, as our family calls it. 
I am a horrible gift giver. I have some sort of block when it comes to buying gifts. Is it because I want things to perfectly represent my love for people through the gifts I give them? If so, that ain't possible. I have known some very, very good gift givers who seem to find the perfect object that charms and delights the receiver. I envy those people. I am in awe of them. And mostly it's not something of great monetary value and yet, somehow perfect. Gifts that say, "I know who you are. I love who you are," unlike my gifts which say, "It was three days before Christmas and I was in Costco and so you all get blenders this year!"
And I hate shopping. Even being in a very uncrowded Goodwill today was more than enough. Yes, I can shop online. And I will. 
But every day that passes in December leaves me feeling more and more distraught and frantic and it will be this way until the holy-baby-jesus-in-a-manger-day is over. Since I'm as close to being an atheist as you get until a real one walks in the door, the magic of Christmas has long since disappeared for me. I can remember it, how it felt when I was a child. The anticipation of Santa Claus and special treats and being a part of the Christmas pageant at church and even the way my first grown-up Christmas tree made me feel when I was freshly married and pregnant with Hank. Christmas, however, did not always end up being a happy day when I was little, despite my anticipations and belief in magic. There are too many reasons to list but shall we say that at some point I became jaded? I did everything I could to make magic for my own kids and I think I did okay with that. 
I just can't do it anymore. 

There's so much I feel I can't do anymore. Not just physically, although that is part of it, but mostly I can't seem to do much of anything and I suspect there is some depression going on here. 
Whatever, it is not uncommon for me this time of year. I am not surprised. I suppose that in feeling like I can't do everything, I am feeling like I can't do anything. 
Does that make sense? 
Is there such a thing as Christmas paralysis? 
If so, I have it. 


I just finished listening to a book that probably did not help. "I'm Glad My Mom Died" by Jennette McCurdy. I thought for sure that the title was a bold hook to get people to read it but (spoiler alert!) nope. 
Quite frankly, McCurdy had every right to be glad her mom died. 
But it wasn't exactly an uplifting book. I think that many of us could relate to her story though, and we should all be so honest...

Well, this post is just a big ol' Santa's bag of Holiday Cheer, right? 

Tom is home. I do not know whether he just put on his clothes and walked out or whether he was discharged. And that is the way it is and I do not blame him. Home is where we sometimes have to be, no matter what home is like. 

I am grateful, so grateful, for my home. It is mostly where I want to be and it is comfortable and I feel safe here, and not only do I have hot water (which I think I already said that Tom does not), I have a kitchen where I can cook anything I want to cook. I have internet so I can speak to you. I have an incredibly comfortable bed, two cats who amuse and comfort me, and of course, a husband who would pretty much do anything for me and who appreciates what I do for him. 
And so much more. 

This too, shall pass. Perhaps like a big old honking kidney stone and pain will be involved, but it will pass. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Quite A Sunday

So to continue the theme of me feeling like I'm walking around with a big old "L" on my forehead, I missed Owen at work today. 
How did this happen? you may ask. 
Well, it was a combination of factors. I'd gotten a message from an old friend a few days ago saying she was going to be in Tallahassee this weekend and she'd like to stop by and say hey to me on her way out in the early afternoon. Now this is a very interesting woman. We are not nor have ever been that close, but I like her and she's unique and funny and I do enjoy it when I see her. So I told her about Owen and how I wanted to go see him but a short visit would be lovely. 
I figured that if he was going to work at 10:45 this morning, he'd work at least four hours, and so I'd be safe leaving here around 1:30 which I did. As I left, I texted him to tell him we were on our way (Mr. Moon was in his own car so that he could go see Tom after we saw Owen) and he answered, "I'm so sorry. I just got off work."
Well, hell. Damn, damn, double damn, triple damn, hell. 

And no, he got no pictures of his first day of work. 

So yes, I feel like a loser and a terrible Mermer although he said it was fine and I told him to tell me when he'd be working next and I know I'll get to see him at work soon. 
And I had a good time talking to Michelle. Not more than five minutes after we sat down on the porch we were discussing politics, sexual abuse of children, non-protecting mothers, patriotism, religion, and her granny whom she adored. I think that's why she likes me. I probably remind her a little of her granny who half raised her on a farm and who was full of wisdom and love and experience and recipes and an excellent work ethic. It just occurred to me that I share very few of those attributes but I am old. Michelle is who she is because of her granny. When she died, Michelle did a thing on FB of 101 Days of Granny where every day for a hundred and one days she posted a little thing about her grandmother and the things she'd taught her and her memories of her from childhood and adulthood when she'd bring Granny to her place and take care of her for awhile. It was a beautiful relationship. 
So that was all good but I'm still very upset I didn't get to see Owen on his first day of work. 
I continued on to Publix, though, and did my shopping. 

Mr. Moon says that Tom is convinced he's going home tomorrow. I am not sure how this is going to work. I'm almost certain he'll have to sign himself out against medical advice. He wants his friend who lives in town to come pick him up and drive him to where he parked his car near the hospital when he drove himself to the ER so that he can drive himself home. Glen talked to the friend about this who said, "I didn't know anything about this," AND "Is that even legal?"
I take it that it's very hard for Tom to communicate but I guess he and Glen are working it out. 

Have y'all seen the documentary "American Symphony" on Netflix about Jon Batiste? 
Batiste came into my consciousness a few years ago. He was the band leader for Stephen Colbert's Late Show for many years but I think he was just part of a zeitgeist that I somehow picked up on. This video started making the rounds on social media and I fell more than a little in love with him.


Then I saw a few more videos of him and then he got 11 Grammy nominations in 2021 and now there's a documentary about him, his life, and the woman he loves. 
I can only watch it in segments because it is too powerfully emotional to take in at once. I don't want to spoil anything but I will say that he is a very, very special human being with tremendous talent and faith and perseverance. And his heart is as big and as beautiful as his smile which may be the best smile ever given to a human on this earth. My god, but he is a gorgeous human being in all regards. Jessie recently saw the doc too and we were texting about it this evening and she said, "He's definitely something special. He's a very positive being, and it seems like that was just pushed upon him in this life."
Here's the trailer. 

Perhaps Mr. Moon and I will finish it tonight. There will be tears.
From both of us.

Okay. I need to go make our supper.

Same recipe I used forty years ago when I made Mr. Moon the first meal he ever ate at my table. Tonight, as I did then, I will alter it in my own way, and use turkey instead of chicken. I've had this recipe so long that the first time I made it was in the trailer that my ex and I lived in right after May was born so...1978. 
Tried and true. My friend Cindy gave me the recipe. I was at one of her births and WE TOOK BELLY-DANCING CLASSES TOGETHER! 
Dang. We were so cute. You should have seen me in the belly-dancing costume I made with it's coin-jingly bra. I can't believe I did that. 

Now watch that documentary. If you can. If you want to. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. The roses in the photo at the top of the page were picked today. Yes. I still have roses blooming. I'm going to have to prune them soon anyway. 

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Updates And No Dates Or Golden Raisins Either

First off, thank you so much for all of the beautiful comments you left yesterday. I almost turned comments off because I really did not want to feel that I wrote about what happened yesterday just to get unearned sympathy and reassurance. But so many of you know exactly what I was going through and hearing your voices tell me of your experiences helped tremendously. There are so many things about getting older that no one even really hints at. Sure we hear about what's going to happen to our knees and our hearing and our poor little minds but no one ever told me that at some point I'd be this disinclined to go visit an old friend in the hospital. 
I suppose I was just having a very hard and odd day yesterday and then adding in knowing that I really should go and see Tom pushed me over the breaking point.

Glen decided to wait until today to go see Tom. He'd been driving for hours and hours, it was raining, he was exhausted in every way. So this morning after he ate his breakfast he went and delivered the two boats he was retrieving and then went to the hospital. He said when he walked into the room Tom said, "Oh. Hey," and that was that. No mention was made of yesterday's outburst. Tom has had more strokes and he has lost much of his ability to find the words to speak with. Glen says that his memory seems fine, it's just the communication part that is hard. 
He said that the doctors are talking about some sort of long-term care for Tom but Tom has said, Oh no. That's not going to happen." He figures he'll just get some speech therapy and then go home. 
And his home...well. Probably over forty years ago Tom bought a chunk of land not far from here and either he had a trailer moved there to live in or else one was already there. I am certain it was not new.
He still lives in that trailer which you can only imagine is falling apart. I don't think he's had hot water for a year. There are serious problems with the structure that I won't even go into and the idea that he will be going back there is at once frightening and ridiculous. 
But it is his home. 
Tom is not poor. He could well afford to buy a new modular home. He's even built a wood-working shop and an art studio on the property. I've never seen either but I hear they are fine, sturdy structures. Glen has tried and tried to get him to put a little kitchen and a bathroom in the studio and move into that but no, that's not what he wants to do. And no he hasn't and no he won't and although we despair over that, we know full well that it is up to him where and how he wants to live. 
He is...complicated. 
And aren't we all? Some of us are more complicated in traditional ways, some of us are complicated in ways that are more difficult to understand. And sometimes the least complicated thing to do is simply accept. 

So yes, my man is home. Maurice has given him a small wound which is to be expected. She absolutely has to let him know how she feels when he abandons here. Jack, on the other hand, was delighted to have his other human in the bed last night and allowed Glen to kiss the top of his head which is what he does. I am attempting to gracefully re-adapt to having someone else in the house again. I do have a lot of practice in this regard, though. And it's nice getting the hugs and kisses that I've been missing. I've cooked us some pinto beans and collard greens for our supper. I'll make some cornbread to go with. 

It has been raining for about 24 hours here now but it's coming down in a drizzle instead of the steady drumming we were getting. There are puddles all over the yard. 

I wrapped my fruitcakes in their rum-soaked cheesecloth shrouds and then two layers of aluminum foil this afternoon. 

My shiny, fruity mummies. 

I took what Liz at Field and Fen calls something like, "cook's slice."

I don't think that's it exactly but it's descriptive. 
I am happy to report that the fruitcake is, as Lis would say, fit. As in fit to eat. I confess that I was so out of my mind yesterday that I made so many mistakes making those cakes. First of all, my food processor has a broken something-something that triggers the on function and although I have come up with a fine work-around which involves the handle of a wooden spoon, it's not as easy to control the pulse function and I processed a great many candied cherries almost into mush. AND, I forgot to put in the dates and golden raisins I'd gotten to use, AND I misread the oven temperature and instead of setting it at 250° I set it at 200° and wondered why in hell it was taking SO LONG for the cakes to bake. 
I figured that out about halfway through and I think they turned out fine despite my mental fucked-uppedness. 

Lord, Lord. 

Tomorrow we will go see Owen at work. I am really having a hard time believing that he's old enough to have a job. I will try my hardest not to embarrass the boy. I can make no guarantees though. 


Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, December 1, 2023

How's This For Holiday Cheer?


This is all I've done today and although that is a lot of fruitcake, it should not be an all-day event to make it. 

It's been a hard day. A crying day. A day where I've felt useless and ugly, small of spirit and of soul. I have been highly emotional today. I have cried at good news, I have cried at old memories, I have cried at bad news, I have cried just because my eyes filled with tears. And then Mr. Moon called from the road. He told me last night that he was coming home tonight instead of tomorrow night. But today, when he called, he was so upset. 

Oh god. It's a long story but it involves our friend Tom of whom I've spoken many times. He was our partner on Dog Island but I've known him for far longer than I've known Glen. And he and Glen have bonded over the years, helping each other out with tools and cars and manly things like that and they have been going to FSU basketball games together for decades.
The last few years have been very hard for Tom. He's had a form of cancer, he's had strokes. His mobility and abilities have been severely limited but he is as stubborn as the day is long and has refused to go into any sort of assisted care, and in fact, has recently ignored small strokes, deciding to only take an aspirin and get on with whatever he was doing. 
Tom is not like other people in many ways. He has been a loner for most of his life, living in the woods, and he does not have a lot of friends. Glen has been a wonderful friend to him and has helped him in so many ways during all these troubles. Ross was one of his best friends. Tom adored Ross and Ross loved Tom, too. When Ross died almost a year ago, Tom took it hard. Hard. 
But he went on. Despite his problems, he continued to do what he could and that included tending his garden, going to a gym, doing his own shopping. He still took care of his younger brother who lives in St. Augustine who has severe disabilities himself that he was born with. Tom has always made sure that his brother had a place to live, people around to take care of him and he was recently put in hospice care himself. 
What I'm saying is that Tom is stubborn and tough and he's had a hard row and that he's faced insurmountable difficulties with sheer determination. 

And what Glen was upset about was that Tom was in the hospital and that they had called him because he's Tom's health surrogate, and as he was talking to the nurse about Tom's history, he did not realize that he was on speaker phone and said something that upset Tom very much who grabbed the phone, cussed at him, and hung up. 

Both Glen and I understand this. Tom is incredibly resentful that he needs help of any kind. Hell- he DROVE HIMSELF to the hospital this morning and neither of us can figure out how he did that. He'd probably had another stroke. And he was angry at the situation. Angry that he is in this place. I think he is probably angry that he's still alive. He made it quite clear to the hospital staff that he is DNR. 

But Glen felt so bad. He would have never in a million years done anything to hurt his friend, no matter how irrational he might be, how stubborn he might be. And Tom wouldn't answer his phone. 
Glen called another friend who lives near the hospital and he went to see what was happening. He reported that Tom's not really able to communicate verbally at this point and that he seems very angry in general. Which we knew. Beyond that, he found out nothing. 

And here's the thing- I should have left this house and gone to the hospital myself to see Tom, to try and ease the anger towards Glen, to be there for him.

And I could not make myself go.

Listen- I have been with people when they died. I am not afraid of that. Death does not frighten me. Dying does not frighten me. But the idea of going to the hospital to see him seemed impossible and I think that it is more of a situation of me being so damn loathe to leave this house to go and deal with a difficult situation which is not in one of my "safe spots" than it is of anything else. 

Which is nothing but selfish. 

So all day long I've been beating myself up for not doing the right thing. And once I got those fruitcakes in the oven- well, I just couldn't leave, could I? It takes hours for them to bake. 

Ironically, I was joking with Rachel yesterday about how I used to take on such difficult tasks. This was back in the day when I had four kids at home. 
It was like- "Been gunshot? Come stay with me! I'll take care of you! Wound care is my specialty!" 
"Got cancer? Hey- here's a bed just for you! I will tend you and feed you and love you and take you to appointments. I will do whatever I can."
"What? You're a teenager and you say your parents kicked you out? Well, what's one more mouth to feed? Come stay with us."
"You just had surgery and need a place to recover because your husband is a violent jerk? Well, the guest room is ready for you!" 

I did these things. And I worked part time. And I volunteered at my kids' schools. And I took care of my family and I put a good supper on the table every night and I made sure the kids got to lessons and I did the laundry and cleaned the house and had friends and did my best to be a good wife. I fed legions of people on Thanksgivings. Tom himself dined at my Thanksgiving table since the years before I married Glen. 

And now I can't even go to the hospital to be with one of my oldest friends when he so needs a friend. When I know that my husband would have liked me to do that because he was on the road and could not do it himself. 

It's like I've used myself up. Is that possible? I don't think Rosalyn Carter ever whined about using herself up. She and her husband kept giving and doing for others until they physically could not do it anymore. 

It's not cold this evening, or even very chilly. I have a light sweater on, but my feet are bare and plenty warm. It's raining. Glen should be getting to Tallahassee pretty soon and has to drop off those boats and then he's going to go to the hospital and see if they'll let him go up to Tom's room. 
He is a very good man. 

But hey! I made the fruitcakes! I did the laundry! I changed the sheets! I worked on my jigsaw puzzle. 

I am not proud of myself. Not one fucking tiny bit. 

Another camellia. I do not know her name. 

This is me, y'all. This is who I am now. 

I'd say "Happy Friday" but it really isn't. Not for me, anyway. 


Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Big Doin's!

It was a big day in Moon Land today. Jessie, Lily, Rachel, Liz Sparks, and I were all set to get pedicures this morning. Liz was excited. She told me that the last pedicure she got was for the wedding of a friend. She thought about it for a second and then she said, "And her son is about to graduate high school."
So it's been about seventeen years for her. I whooped with laughter. 
Of course it turned out that Jessie could not come. Not only did August test positive for strep, so did Levon although he wasn't showing symptoms. So they were both home from school although both were feeling pretty darn good. 
Here's what they looked like after Liz took them some chocolate chip, pecan cookies. 

Before I met up with the ladies, I took my leftover turkey soup and last night's eggplant parmesan for the Weatherford's to eat. I gave the boys a quick hello and August asked me what I was doing there. "Bringing you some food," I said. 

"What kind?" he asked. 
I told him and he said, "I won't like that," and I said, "And that does not bother me in the least."
He gave me a hug anyway. 

It looked like Lily might not make it today either. Maggie and Gibson are both home from school with icky coughs but Lauren offered to stay with them. Lauren is...the best.

So we got our magical massaging chairs with foot baths and chose our colors. I opted for a rather violet-hued pink today, instead of my usual dark red but Liz liked the red one. Lily got sparkly green and gold and Rachel got a sparkly bronze, I think we'd call it. We felt so fancy. The tiny lady who did my pedicure was the sweetest thing. She would look at me over her mask with the most caring expression like, "Is this good? Is this?" And I praised her over and over. She reminded me a little of the nurse who took care of me after I had the kidney stone blasting procedure who seemed to view me as a cherished grandmother. She treated me with such tenderness. I would adopt either one of them in a heartbeat. 

Lily went home right after we finished up at the nail salon and Liz and Rachel and I went to lunch at a new Peruvian place nearby. It was fun and lovely, too. 

Isn't Rachel beautiful? 

And doesn't Liz look like a movie star in her sunglasses? 

Yes. Yes she does. We all three got sandwiches and what was called "pumpkin soup." The soup tasted entirely of cheese in our opinions but who could complain about that? It was delicious! 

We talked and laughed and there may have even been a tear or two (I mean, I WAS there) and when lunch was over I thanked Rachel for hanging out with her elders. She's as sweet as she is pretty. 

And then I went to a kitchen supply store to get cheesecloth and it turned out that the guy working there is someone I knew back in the olden, olden days. He and his wife were good friends with my darling Sue-Sue. We caught up and he seems to be great. Says his wife has just retired after teaching for 47 years and is now volunteering in the same school and taking a Master Gardening class. 
Some people really do not know how to relax. 
And their daughter is about to get her PhD. So they are well and it was good to see him, good to hear such fine things. 

Then on to Costco where I bought a giant bottle of spiced rum because of course you can't buy a small bottle of anything at Costco. That's what I plan to soak the cheesecloth in before I wrap the fruitcakes in it, and then cover them tightly with aluminum foil. I now have enough spiced rum to make fruitcakes well into the next decade.

So that was my big day. I've really not felt great today. I hope with all of my heart that I'm not coming down with strep and I'm probably not. Lord knows I've been exposed to it quite a few times in the past year and haven't gotten it. Seems like I'm always getting a little sick at fruit-cake making time. Another fine holiday tradition. 

I have not gotten any more of the horrid spammy comments since I started comment moderation but in a way, that disturbs me because it seems that perhaps whoever was making the comments actually does read the blog and knows that they wouldn't get through. I don't know. I'm going to be a good hippie and say, "I'm just not going to give that a lot of energy," and soon I'll take comment moderation off and see what happens then. I think that for people who always moderate, it's no big deal to do but I am so used to not having to do it that it seems like a bit of a pain in the ass to me. I'm not complaining. What blogger does not live for comments? And honestly, it's more of a disturbance in my holy and proscribed daily routine than a bother. 
Man, the rut I'm in is so deep that I have to look up to see bottom. 
I cannot take credit for that line. When I lived in Winter Haven, our across-the-street neighbor was a woman named Wilma who was country-born and country-bred and she had some terrific phrases. The one I just quoted was something she said once about a person who was in a deep depression and it went more like, "He's so down he's looking up to see bottom."
I'm not sure I've ever heard a more accurate description of depression. I have never forgotten it. And when I think about it, I also remember a friend of mine whom I loved so very dearly who got completely hooked on meth (or was it crack?) and one time, when we were talking honestly, he said, "Mary, people always say you have to reach bottom before you can get better but what they don't know is that there is no bottom. Every time you think you get there, it just goes lower down."


He did later get off drugs and was doing well and his joy in life was enormous. And then...he had a cardiac event that killed him instantly. He is sorely missed by many and will always be.

You know what? It's really hard to be a human. That's one of the things Liz and Rachel and I talked about today. 

Let us ponder that and remember to be open to the possibility that most of us are doing the very best we can, no matter what it looks like from the outside. 

Carry on.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Let's Eat!

There's my supper from last night. I had a salad too. I could not finish up what was on that plate. I over-served my own damn self. It was so good though! I had more for lunch and there are still leftovers. 

I swear- even on these days when I do very little, the time goes by so fast. It was cold when I got up this morning. 32° on the porch. I could hear the melting dew drip, drip, dripping off the leaves. 
BUT! It does not appear that my plants took much of a hit. I guess it didn't stay below freezing for very long. It's chilly now and probably going to get back into the mid 30's tonight but I'm not going to worry too much. 

So I did something today that was unusual for me. I am almost embarrassed to admit this but Mr. Moon does all of the bill-paying and financial stuff around here, the reason being that it makes me crazy-anxious and mostly because he is so good at it. I'm on all the accounts but he just takes care of it. However, this morning he called me to ask if I could write checks for our taxes because if you pay before November 30th, you get a lower rate. ARGGGGHHH! 
I really am embarrassed. 
He told me where to find the checkbook and where the bills were and I did it. I hadn't written out a check in so long I'd about forgotten how. It struck me once again that I sure as shit better die before he does. This is not a joke. But I got those envelopes in the mail with their Forever Pete Seeger stamps before noon. And of course I felt that I'd accomplished all I needed to do for the day when that little chore was done. 

I worked out in the yard for awhile, not very long, pulling more border grass and crocosmia. I really want to get that one part I'm working on done because there are so many other places in the yard I want to tackle. I pulled a canning-kettle full which made a small dent in the project. The crocosmia are already coming back up where I've cleared because there is no way to get all of those bulbs. There just isn't unless nuclear warheads are involved. Or the chemical equivalent which I refuse to use. 

I was worried that the firespike had gotten frozen which would mean that I couldn't snip some to overwinter in water to root and plant more of in the spring but although a few leaves looked burned, it was mostly fine so I went ahead and did that. 

This has become a decorating tradition for me. That firespike will look lovely all winter long. 

Speaking of decoration, I got an extremely beautiful card today that came all the way from across the ocean, sent by someone who knows me so very, very well. 

It's like looking into a different world. It's so beautiful and with it, she sent a little card that was so dear I put it up too.

There it is on the left, magnetized to the range hood with a few of my Mary's. 

So. Christmas decorating almost complete!

I've decided to make the fruit cakes on Friday. I want to get the cheesecloth and rum that I need for them before I start. I'm going to meet up with Liz Sparks and Rachel and hopefully Lily and Lauren to get pedicures tomorrow. Jessie was going to come but August has strep again. 
I know. I know. Jessie is so very depressed about this. And trust me- they do the hand washing and the toothbrush sterilizing and all that stuff and still, this shitty bacteria persists in their family. I hear that Maggie has also been staying home from school with a cough but it does not appear to be strep-related. 
Anyway, I'll get the cheesecloth and rum when I'm in town tomorrow. 

I sat down at the piano this afternoon and for whatever reason, I enjoyed it so much that when I finished I said to myself, "Oooh." Trust me- it wasn't because my playing was good. It was simply because I enjoyed it so much. 

And that is that.  

Some of y'all were concerned that your comments are not appearing  when you submit them. That's because I have comment moderation on and it sometimes takes me awhile to get to them. Be patient with me. I am not used to dealing with this situation. 

And now I believe I'll go do something productive with an eggplant. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. The AARP website crashed due to the huge number of people trying to get tickets to the Hackney Diamonds tour. There is nothing about this that does not amuse and delight me greatly.