Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Day Not Wasted

I feel very good about what I've gotten accomplished today. My goal was to get the rest of the fall garden planted and although I did not achieve that, I did good work. And surprisingly, it was not Maurice who followed me out to the garden but Jack. I'm not sure he's ever done that before. I was quite surprised to look up from my hoeing to see him napping there. "Jack!" I said. He startled and raised his head and then a butterfly flew over him and he followed its progress with his eyes but didn't bother to move. 
That is Jack. He is such a fine cat. When I wake up in the middle of the night or the early, early morning, he comes right to me and positions his head right under my hand to be petted and of course, in doing that, offers comfort to me. He makes me feel as if I am not alone with those dark-of-the-night thoughts. Of course, he's getting something out of the exchange too, but still- he's a good boy. 

So I managed to plant eight collard plants, two rows of arugula, a row of mustard greens, and a row of carrots. I did find the type of carrots I like so much which are the heirloom ones that come in a variety of colors. Here is their row. 

And look! It's only a little crooked! I am trying very hard this year to plant my rows with more attention. As we all know, Glen's rows are straight and true while mine tend to wiggle and veer into different directions and I would not care a bit but I know it drives him crazy. Last year, he marked them for me so they were mostly straight but today he is trying to get the old barn ready for its new roof. Our house is getting one too! But there is some wood that needs replacing on the barn before the roof can be put on so he and our friend Chip have been tending to that all day, leaving me to putter in the garden on my own. I made the man promise not to laugh at my rows. "I know they drive you crazy," I told him. I think it literally hurts him to see a garden where the plants grow higglety-pigglety, meandering about like an old, old river. 
He promised me today, though, that he would not care. He would not say a word. 
I am not quite sure that either of those things will be true but I am doing my best. 

So I still have two types of mesclun to plant, some bibb lettuce, the turnip greens, and...KALE! He went out of his way to go to the totally not hippie-dippy Tallahassee Nurseries and got me a large packet of the mixed variety seeds. 

Part of what I did in the garden today was to pull up the last of the pepper plants. I felt a little guilty because they have not entirely stopped producing yet. 

But I pulled them anyway. I need that space for a row of lettuces. Or, perhaps... kale. 

So all of that felt very good and I turned on the sprinklers for awhile. Just long enough to get those tiny little seeds watered in. 

Via text today, Lily reminded me of another great part of the party last night which was how, when we were all taking turns saying what we love about August, Levon kept saying things like, "Perfectly said!" and "Very true!" I did recall that when August was opening his presents, Levon at one point, was obviously quite impressed and said, "My word!" 
Who is this child? Has he been reading Dickens? 
And I also learned that after we left, Maggie said in a big theatrical voice (this is according to her mother), "Why don't you just give me away, Mooooom?" 
She was angling to get Jessie to keep her. Which is crazy because she loves her mommy more than anything in this world. 
That child. They are all so funny. 

I must have liked a post on Facebook about gorillas or chimps or something because suddenly, I am getting dozens of pictures of great apes and honestly, I love them. As a mother, I can so perfectly relate to all of them, from the ones that show a mother gorilla gazing into her infant's eyes with adoration, or kissing the little one on the head, to the ones like this. 

I think that's a dad with two of his offspring who are using him as playground equipment. Am I seeing that right? Whatever's going on, the expression on his face is as familiar to me as anything I've ever seen on a human. 
"Kids," he's saying. "If they weren't so cute, I'd..."
Yeah. I know. 

I've been thinking a whole lot about the whole body-image, weight/eating thing again but I don't think I have the energy tonight to tackle that. Instead, I suppose I better go make dinner. 
Oh, the irony is rich. 
But one must eat. And it might as well be a pleasure as well as fuel and nutrition. 
Or so I tell myself. And in planting a garden, I suppose that I am receiving pleasure from the ground to the tongue because I do so very much love those freshly made rows with their tiny seeds tucked and patted into them, believing with all of my heart that they will swell and grow into foods that will feed us well, both in body and in soul. 

Life is strange and it is sometimes beautiful.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, September 29, 2023

Today's Birthday Boy

Y'all. I am exhausted. It's been a very full day but a good one. I'm late posting because we went to August's little birthday party tonight at the Weatherford home and it was a very, very sweet party. Hank and Rachel could not make it because Rachel was up all night last night writing a paper for her PhD program in social work and May and Michael couldn't make it because of work so it was just the Weatherfords and Lily and Lauren and the kids and us. 
The cousins had a wonderful time playing. There was pizza and there was a piñata and there were key lime pies- one for August and one for the rest of us. The boy wanted to do what Aunt May so often does on her birthday which is to ask for the same. That picture looks like no one was there watching him blow out his candles but I assure you that from the other perspective, we were cheering him on. 


You can figure out what was going on in all of them. 

Eight years old, that boy is. I can't believe it. While we were eating our pizza we all went around the circle and told what we like most about August and almost everyone mentioned that we love how he is who he is and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. As Aunt Lily said, "That's very rare, August."
And it is. 

We love him so. 

And now Mr. Moon and I are home, both of us glad to be. I spent most of the day making sweet and sour pepper relish. 

The food processor and I chopped about five gazillion peppers, a head of cabbage, two large onions, and six apples. I sterilized jars and lids, salted and let the vegetables sit for two hours, drained it all, cooked them with a vinegar and sugar brine, jarred it up, canned it in a boiling water bath, and it all resulted in three quarts of the relish which I felt was an insultingly small amount of product for the work and ingredients involved. 

But that's the way it goes. I hope it's good. 

Thank all of you for your suggestions regarding leg cramps. Trust me- Mr. Moon has used and does use all of the things from pickle juice to Thera-Cramp to Hyland's cramp pills to Gator Aid to...well. All of it. This is a problem he's had his entire life and it's mostly due to the circulation situation in his legs which has never been great. It's a familial trait. His best defense is working out to keep that circulation going and he does that faithfully along with all the other things. Lily and Jessie also get leg cramps. 
Why does it always seem that our kids get the worst parts of our genetics? Nearsightedness, leg cramps, anxiety, allergies- just to name a few that we've passed on. 
But there's also tallness (not from me, obviously), a good sense of humor, and a decent level of intelligence. 
It will be interesting to see what the grandchildren seem to have gotten from the different sides of the family. Some of it I can definitely already see. Some of it will become more apparent with age. Isn't it all a beautiful and curious mystery? 

Happy birthday, darling August. I am so glad you were born. I can't imagine a world without you in it. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. MerMer Moon

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Trigger Warning For Those Of You Who Do Not Want To Hear About What Happens After A Deer Is Shot. I Am Not Kidding

Man. Just about the same time I was writing that post last night wherein I'd said this about Vergil- "He is always there for any of us who need help in any capacity"- Glen was calling him from the woods for help with a deer he'd shot. 
It's a very long story and was traumatic for me because my man was in the woods for a very long time, trying to get his doe back to the truck from where it had fallen, in the dark, in the heat, through thick tangles of vines and brush before he finally called on Vergil for help. 
I don't talk about it much but Mr. Moon does have an undiagnosed neurological situation going on which makes plain old walking hard. And getting harder. He refuses, however, to let it slow him down much. Thus- he still hunts and fishes and let me tell you something, standing in a boat all day, on the water in the Gulf, without a good sense of where your feet are in relation to your body can really mess up your balance. But as long as he can do these things, I want him to do them. But Lord, he was so worn out when he and Vergil finally got back here last night after ten p.m. 

With all of these activities, whether of fishing or hunting, there is so much time spent first in preparation and then in dealing with the things that must be done afterwards. When it's hunting, the deer has to be skinned, gutted, and bled. And that's just how it is if you want the meat. And that's how it is for any meat we may eat, even if it comes wrapped in plastic with a white tray underneath it from the grocery store. 
This is not an easy and quick job to do. Mr. Moon has a set-up in his Garage Mahal with the things he and Vergil and sometimes Jason need to do it and by the time I got out to the garage to make sure that all was well, the deer was already hanging and Vergil was taking care of the skinning and so on. I never, ever watch this process nor even want the slightest peek at it but I was so overcome with worry last night that the sight of that going on didn't bother me in the least. What bothered me was that my husband was completely beat up, absolutely exhausted, soaked through and then soaked again with sweat, and feeling so frustrated. He hated having to call Vergil but I am so glad he did. 
I forced him to go into the house to cool off and Vergil kept reassuring him that he was happy to do what he was doing- all of it taught to him by Glen when Vergil decided to learn to hunt to provide safe, healthy meat for his family. 

I got my man in the house and made him start drinking chocolate milk because believe it or not, that can help prevent cramps. IF DRUNK DURING THE ACTIVITY, NOT SO MUCH AFTERWARDS. But you know- better late than never. And then I convinced him to stay in the house and rest and let Vergil take care of things. He fought me on this. He was putting his shoes back on and I literally stood in front of him on the steps and would not let him go back out. 
I have never done such a thing in my life. He finally acquiesced and went back in the house and took off his shoes. And thank god he did because it was just about then that he started having leg cramps so bad that I told him I thought he needed to go to the hospital. Which he laughed at. While he was yelling in pain. 

Oh god. 

Anyway, the deer got processed, Vergil and I got ice on it in the giant cooler, and then Vergil washed down the floor of the garage where the processing had taken place and left the blood and guts for Glen to bury today. 

My god. 

So that is an example of how Vergil is willing to help in any capacity. 

Mr. Moon slept in his chair and I slept in our bed, poorly. Not as poorly as he did, I'm sure. He had cramps on the hour until five a.m. 

We went to lunch together today in Monticello and on our way there we were talking about how stubborn some of his friends are when it comes to admitting and adapting to different physical challenges. 
"Like you," I said. 
He was shocked that I would include him in there. 

Oh. That man. 

But we did go to Monticello and ate at the Mexican restaurant again. I just love the food there. Here's some of the pretty artwork. 

A table top with the chairs pulled up against it. 

A chair back. 

A lovely tile-work by the cash register. 

I didn't feel like doing any fun shopping today, as in going to Wag The Dog or an antique store but I did want to check for seeds for the garden. I got some yesterday in town but not all I wanted. It appears I am late again. So we went to a feed store that Mr. Moon thought might have some and that was such a trip. We pulled up to see this.

Call Mayberry! Three of its characters are missing! 

This place is a real, honest, down-home feed store. They have all sorts of feed for all sorts of animals. Also all types of insect poisons. Some houseplants, some bedding plants. some chicken-raising apparatus. Flea and tick treatments for your dogs, cats, and horses. Deworming pills for every sort of critter. Probably even children of the human variety. 
While Glen and I were looking at collard plants, another man came in who wanted onion sets. The three you see there greeted him and asked how he was gettin' along. 
"Fine," he said. "Trying to work myself up to being like y'all. Retired." 
The old guy in the chair on the left with the cowboy hat said, "It's good but you do get hongry." 
This brought a laugh.

I asked if they sold vegetable seeds and they said that yes, they do. The man on the right followed me into the store where they did indeed sell seeds but not in little packs on a rack. They had bins of seeds that they would parcel out for you depending on how much you wanted. I got mustards and turnips. 
"You don't want curly mustards, do you?" he asked. "You gotta wash them thangs in the washing machine to get all the dirt off 'em." I agreed that no, I did not want curly mustard. 
"You don't have any kale, do you?" I asked. 
"Nah. We don't have kale. That stuff's not from around here."
"Well it sure grows like it does."
"I don't like kale," the man said. "I hear it's healthy for you. I ain't never ate it." 
"It's not bad," I said. "It's sort of like collards." 
"I don't eat them either," he said. "They're healthy too." 
Now by this time I had figured out that although this guy was indeed not a big eater of healthy food, he had a sense of humor that was dry as the Sahara and I was loving our conversation. It continued on in the vein of Jefferson County being the best place in the world and didn't I agree? I said, "Well, I've not been to all the places in the world so I can't really say." 
"Well ain't it the best of all you've been to?" 
"Uh," I said. And then I told him I'd lived in Florida for over sixty years so I must like it pretty much and twice in Lloyd, this last time for twenty years.
We figured out that we are "sort of" neighbors. 
So that was not what I was expecting at the Monticello Feed Store but I surely did enjoy it. 
And the seeds I got cost one dollar a package. 
When we left Mr. Moon told me I was going to have to go to a hippie-dippy store to get kale seeds. 
"What? Like Tallahassee Nurseries?" This is not a hippie-dippy store. 
We laughed and then he informed me that he didn't like kale either and I told him that yes he did, he just wasn't always aware when he was eating it. 

We also went by the Tractor Supply place to see if they had vegetable seeds but no, they do not. They had just given all the seeds they had left to the retirement home for those folks to plant. 
Hmmm. Well, okay. 
And we made one more stop at a lumber/hardware store and when we asked if they had seeds, the guy just said, "No," and walked off. 

Hippie-dippy store here I come. For kale seeds. 

And that is my follow-up to what I wrote about Vergil and the ensuing events. When we got home this afternoon, I pulled some weeds in the garden that had popped up in the last few weeks and Mr. Moon made some nice straight rows for the collard plants we bought, and got eight of them in the ground. And now I have got to get the seeds planted.

I finally have a butterfly ginger that's blooming. I am thrilled. 

They smell so sweet. 

And this is life in Jefferson County, best place in the world. According to some. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Two More Birthdays!

So. Guess whose birthday it is today?

The one. The only. The amazing LILLIAN ROSE MOON HARTMANN!  (Mother of Magnolia. Also Owen and Gibson.)
Yes indeed, the birthday week continues. 
It is also this fine man's birthday today. 

Obviously, September 27th is a very good day to be born. 

Now I wasn't at Vergil's birth. But I sure am glad he was born. He's so dear, that one. He is just the finest daddy and he's a loving husband and he works so very hard. Although our family is rather different than the one he grew up in, he has come to accept our crazy ways. He is always there for any of us who need help in any capacity. Strangely (or not?), in some ways he is much like Mr. Moon, capable of doing everything from carpentry to electric repairs to whatever-the-hell-it-is he does as an engineer, not afraid to take on anything, always eager to learn or do something new, family-centered, and very smart. I think Jessie chose wisely. We adore that man. We celebrate him. 

I was at Lily's birth. Oh yes. And I know I've told you about it so many times. It was such a gorgeous late September day, sky-blue and cool, and I labored in the bedroom that Glen and his daddy had built onto the house I was living in when Glen met me. Lily's birth was my shortest, but not my easiest. My dearest friends were with me and my wise and wonderful midwife, Erice. I reached the point quickly, however, that I would not have cared if my worst enemies and Count Dracula had the ones in attendance. I was in my own world but I did very much want my husband within touching distance at all times. 
And he was. 
Poor thing. He'd never witnessed a birth at all and here he was married to a woman who believed in home birth. But he trusted my opinion, he trusted my ability, he trusted my strength. 
Or at least he said he did. 
I won't go into details but I will say that after I gave birth to Lily, I felt as if my body could do anything. I'll never forget what it felt like when everyone had gone home or asleep and it was just me and Glen lying in our bed where our baby girl had just been born, with that precious child lying between us. We were beyond astounded. She looked like a two-month old child already, beautiful like a juicy ripe peach. We could not believe what we had made, that our love had led to this moment, to this bit of perfection. 
Believe it or not, this is what Lily looked like as a few-days old newborn. 

If you look carefully, you can that her umbilical cord stump is still attached. 

I will never forget that birth, that day. Not if I live to be a thousand. 

And here she is, all these years later, so very strong and so very beautiful, so determined to be the best mother she can be to her own children. And she is. 

I am still astounded and amazed at this child I gave birth to, now very much a woman. 

Here's another picture that I love. 

My girl and her girl. Things are not easy for Lily right now but with the support of Lauren and her family and her own innate strength, I know she is going to be okay. Better than okay. 

I saw her today at Publix because of course she was working. There is just something about hugging my Lily that is absolutely the best. She is so tall and she embraces me fully. I have never wanted my children to have to feel as if they need to mother me and I hope they don't but when Lily embraces me, I feel a comfort that is beyond words. 

Hank posted this today on FB. 

On September 27, 1985, I did some of the best work of my life. 

Another favorite picture. That's Gibson, right after he was born. 

Happy birthday, Lily. You are my darling girl and I love you to the stars and whatever lies beyond them. 


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A Day To Celebrate That Boy Who Named Me Mer


There's a picture of Harvey's yard that I took on my way home from town today. Terrible shot, of course. I was driving. It was raining. Etc. But if you look carefully, you can see one of his signs. It says, "We Love Jesus Christ." That's his tree there on the right where he sits at a table underneath it and reads his Bible or talks to his friends. 

So yeah, I was on my way home from my doctor's appointment and the Ativan I took early this morning had finally really kicked in and so had the exhaustion from not sleeping very well last night and from the experience itself. 

I was so tired, all I could think about doing was crawling on the bed and going to sleep but I didn't do that. Didn't do much of anything else, either, truthfully. 

The appointment was fine. I do just love Dr. Z. He comes in and next thing I know we're discussing the New Yorker magazine and then we're on to books and how much it has always distressed him to realize he will never in this lifetime read all the books but that he wants to die with a huge pile of them that he's been planning to read, and also his kids and how yes, they have four now and have reached a sort of mass capacity. 
He is so careful not to overwhelm me with health stuff or say anything that's going to stress me out even more. He said my bloodwork looked fine. Phew. I told him about my soreness after doing anything physical and he asked me if I was ready to start down the orthopedic road and I said, "No. Not yet." He recommended that I start taking Undenatured Type II Collagen. I will. I talked some about my weight. How I know I would feel better if I had lost some and he said, "I'm not concerned about what it says on the scale but with how it affects you, if it does." He is very aware of the issue of any sort of fat-shaming. He just doesn't do it. At all. I told him my story about being a little girl and looking at my thighs and thinking that they were so fat and he said, "And isn't that so sad?" and I agreed that it was. I went through some of my history of trying to be thin and how finally, at this point in my life I have just become sort of exhausted with worrying about it but I know without a doubt that I would feel better and so would my joints, if I lost weight. To be honest, I'd be happier too, I think. 
We left all of that up in the air as I think he realizes that I have the knowledge and experience to deal with this if I want and there's no need to tell me that bread and butter are extremely calorie dense, and we talked about the fall garden (his is already planted) and I recommended rattlesnake beans to him because he said his green beans this year had not done much. And then we fist-bumped and hugged and I'm sure there was more but that was the gist of it. 

Oh! We did talk a little about my kidney stone incident I had back in May and I said to him, "Do you know what they call you at the free-standing ER? Or at least one of the nurses?"
And he said, "Baby Zorn?"
And I said, "Yes." 
He laughed and said, "And now they call my sister little bitty Baby Zorn." She's a doctor too. An orthopedist, actually. 

So that was that and then I sort of melted into the rain and drove to Japanica! where I met up with Jessie who had also had a doctor's appointment this morning. We both had delicious Bento bowls, her's salmon, mine tofu, and we agreed that it was most appropriate to eat there on Owen's birthday as that had been his favorite restaurant when he was so little. My tiny boy loving sushi and miso soup! 

Vergil helped Jessie dye her hair the other day. I love it!

Three different ladies who walked by told her they loved her hair too. It's so cute. Yay, Vergil! Good job!

And because it is Owen's birthday, here are three pictures from the day he was born which was such a joyful day for our family. 

I do believe that last picture is my favorite picture in all the world. 

Funny- I just realized I'm wearing that very same Virgin of Guadalupe charm on a necklace as we speak. It looks the same but oh, how different the rest of us look now. Although not Mr. Moon, so much. He pretty much looks the same. 
For more pictures and the story of how Owen was born you can go HERE.  Some of you were around here when I wrote that, which is amazing to me. Are we all growing up, growing older together? 
I like to think we are. 
And I'd like to thank all of you who have been part of Owen's life since it began. I hope that one day, he'll come back here and read at least some of what his Mer wrote about him and what people said about him in the comments. It's so beautiful that he's had this whole community watching his back from day one.

Getting a little teary here. I think I'll go make our supper. 

Big Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, September 25, 2023

Hanging In There

Every time I pick zinnias now I am sure that it will be the last bunch of the summer and yet, I got some pretty ones today. I did pull a few of the plants that were brown and dried. They for sure are done. On to the towering inferno burn pile they went. Funny how the lavender, pink, and purple ones are the first to bloom and the yellows, oranges, and reds are the last. I'm already seeing volunteer shoots coming up in the garden, seeded from the third or fourth generation of volunteers that have grown there. They are almost all lavender and pink. 

I took a walk this morning. I did not enjoy it. It's just not as easy as it used to be. I have been thinking about this so much. I know that I am out of shape. Badly. And I know I have too much weight on this old body. And hell, I'm not twenty-nine or forty-nine or fifty-nine. I am sixty-nine. I tell myself this and then I think of the women my age who run marathons and do Iron Man competitions, who bike across the country through deserts and mountains. I feel pathetic. And my joints just hurt. And so do my muscles. This, too, has to be blamed at least partly on the weight. I know that. But it's not all that. After yesterday's short weeding session, my hips screamed at me today and my knees weren't happy either. It took me a long time after my walk to get my ass back outside and I did a little more weeding, not right where I was yesterday but inside the fence in the area to the right of the gate. I did pull all the crocosmia there this very year, I think and when I say "all" I am lying. I may have pulled all of it that was sticking up out of the ground but that's probably about a twentieth of what's going on under the ground where those bulbs form and sprout. I'm also pulling Chinese Rice Paper Plant which both Glen and I have worked so hard to eradicate but, like the crocosmia, it's never a one-and-done. We've cut down the number of plants significantly but if I don't get in there and pull what's come up this summer, it'll all be back by spring, fighting for dirt space with the crocosmia. There's another plant I'm seeing a lot of and it's called Creeping Cucumber. It's a very thin vine with almost sticky leaves and tiny fruits that look like miniature watermelons. I've seen it before but all of a sudden- it's everywhere in the front part of the yard. 

Anyway, getting down on my knees to weed this afternoon was a special sort of torture and after about half an hour my left knee started screaming so I hauled myself up and came on back in the house. 

Here's another Harvey story. And I have to tell you that what I've been calling him is not "Old Man Lord" but "No Man Lord" because for a long time he had a sign on a cross he'd built in his yard that said that. No Man Lord. I assume he meant that no man is Lord, but only Jesus. The Lord. But his real name is Harvey.
I do not know what's come over him but today when I walked past his yard, he not only waved, he talked to me. Again! 
He said something and I'm not sure what it was, but it sounded friendly. So I asked him what had happened to his fence, I think I've talked before about how his yard can change radically from one day to another. He does a lot of what I would call art installations although I am certain he does not think of them that way, many of them religiously based. Okay. All of them. He may spell out religious messages with flattened aluminum cans and one time he used slices of bread. He has a bible that's about as big a bible as I've ever seen and he sits under his tree and reads it sometimes. 
But today, his fence was entirely gone and he told me that he was getting rid of everything he did not need. And giving it to...I missed that part. The church? God? I don't know. But this is a man who lives in an old RV with a tarp on it with no electricity and the only running water comes from a spigot down by the road. What could he possibly have that he doesn't need? 
A fence. I guess he doesn't need a fence. 
But then he said something to me that I could not believe. I had to ask him to repeat it. What he said was that it's like when he sees me coming, there is a light above me. 
Oh, bless him. I told him that I felt the same way about him. And all these years, I've never had the slightest indication that he was anything but annoyed with me. How many times have I passed him sitting under his tree and even greeted him to complete silence and no reaction on his part. 
Well. He's a mystery. And perhaps he's bi-polar. Who knows? 
People are hard to figure out sometimes. But I felt humbled this morning. I felt graced. 

That was for sure the high point of my day. Tomorrow is my annual physical with my beloved Dr. Zorn. And you know how I am about that. Strangely, I am not as panicked as I usually am which is almost as disturbing as the panic would be. I am not feeling exactly laissez faire about it. It's more that I'm feeling like I've skipped the panic part and gone straight to the dissociation part which usually doesn't kick in until I'm on my way to the appointment. 
After I got my blood work done, I was invited via e-mail to view the results which was about as attractive a proposition to me as being invited to attend a death metal concert in an underground bunker. You know what? I'd definitely choose that over looking at the results of my lab work. 

Enough of that. If I discover that I'm dying, I'll let you know tomorrow. Meanwhile, here are two pictures of the Weatherford brothers. The first one came to the group text with the message, "The boys wanted dyed hair and tattoos on their day off so I obliged." Hank replied, "Hooligans, I say!" 

The second one said, "I couldn't be in the house with these two any longer so we're at Shell Point and they're catching jellyfish."

All these years I've spent near and in the water and I have always thought that all jellyfish will sting you. 
I guess not. 

I'm going to go heat up that good soup. The man had it for lunch but he says he is quite happy to have it again tonight. 
He's a sweetheart. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, September 24, 2023

More About The Hateful Croscomia Along With A Soupçon Of Stories (I Promise Never To Make Another Soup Pun In My Life)

Well, I have made a veggie tray leftovers soup with venison today and I was so happy to have it bubbling away on the stove. In a little while I'll cut up the rest of the pot roast and vegetables I cooked a few days ago to add to it all. I think it will be very, very good. And there will be way too much. 
Turning leftovers into more leftovers! You know that's what I'm best at. I would say it's my "souper power" but I hate puns with a passion. 

It's been a very calm and peaceful day here in Lloyd. I only left the property to take the trash and the only speaking I've done is to Jack and Maurice and to Mr. Moon and that was on the phone. They had a long day of fishing and still have to clean the boat and the fish and do all of the things that good fisherpeople do when they return to shore and he said he may just spend the night there and get up early and come home. I would like it if he did because I hate the thought of him driving home in the dark when I know he had a very full day that started before dawn. And the soup will be better tomorrow anyway. 

So I've just noodled around here all day, doing a little of this and a little of that and it's cool enough that the rackety air conditioner hasn't even turned itself on once, I think. The house cools down so much at night now that if I keep the doors shut it stays cool most of the day. 

I planned on getting some work done in the yard and I somehow busied myself until after three but I did get out there and do a little bit. The area that's been calling me the hardest is out front by the sidewalk where an ugly jungle of invasive plants has taken over including the crocosmia and border grass. I cannot believe that people buy these plants in nurseries while I am constantly pulling and burning them. 

Here's the area I am talking about. 

I have let it get completely out of hand. The crocosmia have grown in so thickly that they can't even stand up. The storm helped flatten them too. 

It used to be all ferns out there which was fine with me. For whatever reason, I like ferns. And they are pretty no matter how dense they become. At least to my eyes. But as you can see, the crocosmia and border grass (that dark green stuff with very slender blades) have choked them out. 

And it is not easy to dig up that stuff. I have talked about this so many times. The crocosmia makes hundreds of bulbs per square foot. And they have roots. You can pull the plants easily but that leaves the bulbs and roots in the ground. The border grass has a root system like netting. Strong netting. I have to get in there with my fingers and pull like hell. I'm sure you could shovel it but that is not in the least bit pleasant for me. There are other plants involved in this hellhound landscape but those two are the most prevalent. 

After over an hour, this is how much I got cleared. 

That is pretty pathetic, isn't it? That's our water meter there. 

I wonder if anyone in the world will notice if I do get this area cleared. Maybe No Man Lord because he does walk that sidewalk to get from his property to the GDDG. You know, I had a nice encounter with him last week. I was walking on the sidewalk by his house and I saw him coming my way, pushing a lawnmower. The mower was not on, he was just moving it. And as he always does when he sees me coming, he moved from the sidewalk to the road. I am not sure why he does this but I have a feeling that it has a lot to do with engrained training about how a Black man is supposed to act around a white woman. Considering the fact that probably hundreds of Black men were lynched due to the fact that some action of those men was perceived (or said to have been perceived) as threatening to white women. And look- if you think those days are entirely behind us, you are wrong. And when Harvey was raised, the message was no doubt to give unaccompanied white women as much space as possible and not to interact with them unless necessary. 
Now it could just be that Harvey does not like me. I've considered that possibility too and it makes sense. What reason would he have to like me? We don't really talk much, if ever. When I see him on his property where he is so exposed to everyone going down the road because he doesn't have a real house, he may give me his signature greeting which is to throw his arms up in the air or he may completely ignore me. I respect that. He is a man of many moods, I think. Last week when Jessie and I were going to Monticello with the boys and she had pulled up to the road from the driveway to see if anyone was coming, Harvey had just passed the house and suddenly, he began to dance. 
"Why is he dancing?" asked August.
"Because that's what he does sometimes," I said. And that is true. 
So. When I was walking and he was coming towards me and veered off the sidewalk with the lawn mower, I said, "You don't have to do that." 
He mumbled something and then I asked him if he had just been mowing that big field and the church yard just down the way.
"I been helping," he said. "A few of us did that."
"Well it looks great!" I told him. And it did. "That was so good of you to do that. I appreciate that."
"And I appreciate you," he said. 
I was knocked back. I think I said, "Thank you."
I did not ask him why. I think he was just being nice. 
I did say something along the lines of, "Well, you don't have to move off the sidewalk for me. I won't hurt you."
Which now that I think about it was probably not the thing I should have said because I am a white woman and history has shown that one white woman, even an old one, can indeed hurt a Black man. 
But. I was happy that he had spoken to me. I mean- really happy. 

And because I am recalling conversations, I will tell you another story. This one came about in the post office and I was not part of the conversation, but overheard it. Okay, I fucking eavesdropped. I admit it. And I wish I could have heard more. 
There was a woman, probably in her forties, speaking to the post mistress through the little window that was originally the ticket-seller's window when the building was a train station. Now it's where you buy your stamps or give the post mistress a package to send or whatever. 
The first thing I heard was the customer and she said, "Now. I know that some people have said that he had an affair."
And you know my ears perked right up. I got my mail out of my box and went over to the place where you can sort your mail and throw out what you don't want in the recycle bin beside it. The woman continued.
"But that's not my business. That's his business. I think he's a godly man and he feeds me."
Okay. Okay. This is so good. I am assuming that she's speaking of a church leader and that by saying "he feeds me" she means spiritually. I continue to pretend to sort my four pieces of mail. 
"But I have to say," she contined, "A
nd I ask god all the time, God, help me not to judge! and I really don't but his wife! I mean, she gets up there and she is praying and singing and speaking in tongues and the way she looks..."
Oh my god. What church is this? Are there snakes involved?
"And don't get me wrong- I try not to criticize. I wear ripped jeans. I do. But she's the PASTOR'S WIFE and there she is in front of the church, and I think she's trying to look like her nineteen year old daughter!" 
A pause.
"And she was a mess for awhile but she's been saved and is back in the church." (I think she was referring to the daughter and all I could think was, "Girl, run! It's not too late!")
The clerk wasn't talking much, just saying things like, "Uh-huh," and "Yes." 
And I had sorted those four pieces of mail five times at least and it would have been weird for me to stay any longer so I had to leave but my GOD, I wanted to hear more. I desperately wanted to hear more. 
I haven't stopped thinking about that all week. 
I wish I at least knew what church she was talking about because maybe I would like to visit there one Sunday, knowing what I do from that short little bit of eavesdropping, about the pastor, his wife, and their daughter. 
I live for shit like that. 
I think it's so funny that the pastor who may have had an affair gets a complete pass because it's none of her business, he's "godly" and feeds that woman, while the inappropriate wardrobe of the pastor's wife offends her so much that she has to pray to god for the grace not to judge. 

And am I judging? 
You bet!
I'm judging this to be fascinating.  

Life in a small southern town. It may not be very exciting but if you pay attention, it sure can be interesting. 

I suppose that's all I want to talk about today. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, September 23, 2023

In Which We Celebrate Our Owen

Last night I offered Lily the option of having Owen's party here instead of at her house. It wouldn't be that big a deal. Everyone was bringing food, the house was already relatively tidy, and we have plenty of room. But mostly because Lily has been working so many hours and having to deal with things after work that are legal in nature related to the divorce. They are quite stressful, as you can imagine. And then, on top and above all of that, she has three children to take care of! So it just seemed ridiculous for her to have to deal with one more thing and I offered our house. 

She said then she'd think about it and she thanked me and then, this morning, her neighborhood had a sudden and unexplained power outage and the original estimate of the time it would take to repair put them way into the afternoon and so I repeated my offer and she talked to Owen and he said that yes, that would be fine. 

And so it was. I made iced tea and the balls and wieners and cleared off some surfaces and did little things like that. Rachel and Hank got here first with an entire bounty of cheeses and crackers and pickles and olives and smoked salmon. Rachel is the queen of party food! It took her forty-five minutes to get it all plated and arranged. She also brought chocolate Rice Krispie treats. And various types of hummus. I mean, it was crazy. Then Lily showed up and Lauren had gotten fruit and vegetables and cupcakes and Lily had gotten Owen's request which was a birthday cookie cake so the desserts were piling in. They also brought a bunch of chips. And THEN, our friend Kelly came with her son Wiley Cash with the most gorgeous tray of deviled eggs with her own pickled jalapeños. 

Photo stolen from Facebook. 

Jessie and Levon could not come. Levon woke up with a fever and congestion and was feeling pitiful and Jessie wasn't feeling so great either. But August and Vergil came, along with Sophie and I do believe that Ms. S. may have had the best time of anyone. She raced around with the kids playing ball in the backyard and tried to beg treats and was just the happiest little pup. She's a good dog, that one. 
So there was a great feeling of festivity and celebration. 

Look at that almost-fourteen-year-old boy wearing a shirt to make his MerMer happy. Isn't he beautiful? And he is so sweet. 

That's what Boppy and I got him. It's what he wanted. 

I should have taken a picture of Maggie when she got here. She was wearing her rainbow princess dress and a pair of gold high heels that had been Lauren's in high school. She was a vision! After about fifteen minutes though, she shed the heels and the dress and changed into a much more comfy shirt and shorts and bare feet. 

After everyone had been here for about two and a half hours, I made the announcement that we needed to get this thing rolling along. Time to do the birthday thing! And then I said, "Because I don't want y'all here all night long!" which is something I don't think I'd ever said before but no one seemed to mind. 
Mr. Moon was leaving to go to the coast for a fishing trip and as I told everyone, I needed my alone time. I think they all understood. So out came the cookie cake and cupcakes and ice cream and Owen blew candles out and we all sang to him, and presents and cards were opened, as you can see above. 

If I could change one thing about this house, I think I'd ask for a bigger back porch. It's a little skinny for thirteen people. But we manage. There were too damn many mosquitoes to take it all outside. 

And now everyone is gone and almost all of the leftovers with them. Somehow I got the vegetable platter which is great as there will be soup in our future, and I kept a few of the balls and wieners which were very tasty and very popular. Jessie sent us a text this morning that said,  "Vergil couldn't stop laughing when I told him about the wieners and balls. He said our family is very unique."
I did not let any of the cookie cake, cupcakes, or ice cream stay in the house or cheese either although I would ten thousand times rather eat cheese than ice cream. In fact, I sent it all home with the bringers because we just do not need it. 

It is quiet and peaceful, once again. I have the AC on but will turn it off and open some windows shortly as it is supposed to get down to 63 degrees tonight (17.2 C) which is almost frigid for us after this eternal, hellishly hot summer. Mr. Moon has reported that he made it to Lanark safely. 

And I've enjoyed today. We had yet one more gathering here in this Queen of the Grandmother Houses and as always, I could feel the house happy to stretch its walls and floors out in welcome. I love that my grandchildren know my house as well as I do and feel so very comfortable here. Vergil helped Glen connect the Wii back to the TV so that will be ready for the next sleep-overs and Owen insisted that I keep some of the Capri Suns that they'd brought for the same purpose.
As always, when we have these gatherings, I wonder how many such events have been held in this house in the 164 years it's been here. I doubt I could count them all. In the merely twenty years we've been here there have been at least two weddings, one after-life celebration, many Thanksgiving and Easter dinners, a whole mess of pre-Thanksgiving parties, and a hell of a lot of birthday celebrations.  This house has seen me through some of the worst times of my life and some of the most joyful.

It is, of course, the fall equinox which is the season in which the shifting and shorter light call us to remember, to reflect, to regret and rue and reach for meaning. A time to look at what is before us with the coming shadow of winter's darkness, to look behind us with the brilliant light of summer's sun. 
A time, in fact, perfect for pondering. 

I so very much enjoyed being with my unique and funny and loving family today. I only wish that May and Michael could have been here but they were working and I also missed Jessie and Levon. With all of the birthdays coming up, though, I am hoping to get to see them soon as well. 

It's been a good day. 

Love...Ms. Moon