Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Monday, December 11, 2017


It has been almost 2 years since I posted a blog.  I literally had to take a break because I had nothing to say and honestly I felt like most of the things I wanted to say would either offend someone or offend everyone.  So I kept silent.  But I'm back and I have lots of things to say now.  2 years worth.

It is December and it is cold outside and we are nearly to Christmas and I am feeling very festive and holiday-ish this year.  Our tree is up and all the decorations are up and the stockings are hung and all the presents are bought.  This year we won't have any family visiting at the holidays and it will be just our family and so we are trying to come up with fun things to do with 4 people, a dog and 2 cats.  If you have any good ideas please put them in the comments.  So far we are going to go rollerskating, iceskating, bowling, mini golf, movies and out to see lights at night.  We also have tossed around the idea of making lunch bags with a sandwich, a drink and a coffee giftcard and going to downtown Raleigh and handing them out to people at a park but honestly I don't know if there are people in the park downtown here.  We will have to go investigate.

This year I have felt more in the giving spirit than ever before.  It might have something to do with having a job and being able to make more money.  Regardless here are some great ideas on how to give:  GoFundMe or Kickstarter campaigns.  You are giving to a charitable organization, you can even do it anonymously and you are contributing to the possibility of someone getting a business off the ground or making a dream come true.  Pay it Forward:  When you are in a drive through line - pay for the person behind you.  Even if you don't know them, pay for them - it makes their day and it makes yours.  You feel better and they get a free drink or danish or fries or taco.  And finally my regular standby which is VOLUNTEER.  Do it once a year, once a quarter, once a week.  It makes you feel better, makes your kids see the importance of giving time and helps a charitable organization stay afloat and now more than ever with budget cuts for the poor and the beefing up of the rich - we need to help our charitable organizations. 

Happy Holidays and here's to an exciting and unexpected and unplanned magic of 2018.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

February Blues

I feel like I need to post something because it is February and I haven't posted anything consistently for a long time.  It has been raining here for one day but between all the fall rain and the winter rain I feel like it has been grey for weeks and weeks.  I don't like that, it reminds me of when we lived in Portland and how much I hated the long stretches.  I told Gabe if we ever lived in a place like that again we had to have enough money to go to Cabo or Playa or the Caribbean at least a week to escape the dark and damp days.  I guess I need to do something about that.

I have had some sick kids lately.  I don't want to go into it but there is nothing worse than seeing your child sick or seeing your child suffer needlessly.  Or any child for that matter.  I guess we are more callous to older people being ill or suffering.  And older people subject themselves to things that are not good for them, smoking, drinking, eating excessively, drugs, etc.  So if they get something icky we figure they were unlucky or did it to themselves out of stupidity.  But kids getting sick is another thing.

We have 4 animals under the age of 4 in our house.  Buzz is one and a half and Cricket is 6 months old and they have turned out living room into a circus tent.  It can be cute but it is mostly a freak show.

And since we have a Girl Scout in the house now we have been flooded with Girl Scout Cookies.  What a nightmare.  It brought back memories of having to sell spaghetti servers and candles and light bulbs from door to door.

Finally we have had some California visitors already in 2016 and that has been wonderful.  I made a rash decision this month that you can't officially say you are from a place until 5 years have passed.  So when people ask me where I'm from I still say "we moved here 3 years ago from the Bay Area" and that opens the door for a conversation about many other topics.  But we do love it here and we have put down roots and we have no plans to leave.  But every time someone comes to visit a little part of me still wishes I was going back with them.  A very little part.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Gabe the Builder

I said I was going to post the rest of what we did during the holiday and then I never did.  I got too busy.  I remember thinking when the girls were babies that I could not possibly be any busier but it turns out that I am like a whirlwind.  As I write this, it is snowing outside but it is a wet drippy kind of snow so I don't think it will stick and that makes the girls sad.  They each got a sled for Christmas and are dying to use them.

We are in the finishing stages of the upstairs of our house.  When we bought our house it had this huge upstairs attic and we knew we would finish it but the cost seemed so unreal to us and so did the work that it would require.  We got a bid or two but they wanted so much money and we didn't have that.  So 2 years later and we are in the finishing lap.  What we wanted was one bedroom, one sitting room, one bathroom and one big closet and one smaller closet.  In the sitting room there will be a built in desk, some built in bookshelves and an entire electrical/media set up for a big screen tv.

I like to say "We" because I have made lunches and listened to stories of what Gabe will do to this and what he will do to that but in all honesty I haven't really done much other than "ooo" and "awww" over his work.  He (and his Dad) have done the following:

Framed - that means to put up the beams and make the open space into rooms
Electrical - put all the wires in that will be recessed lights, bathroom lights, light switches, etc
HVAC - put in the heating and air conditioning unit since it is either blazing hot here or really cold
Insulation - All the fiberglass puffy stuff that goes into the walls and ceiling to keep you warm and cool
Roughing in the plumbing - we farmed that out
Hanging sheet rock - that covers the insulation and makes the room look like a room
Taping and Mudding - covering up all the sheet rock with goo
Sanding and Painting - that is where he is now
Putting in fixtures and tile

I include some pictures so you can see where he is in the process and so you can "ooo" and "awww" over the process too.  It is impressive.  And so you know it is a legit operation, we have passed every inspection and we have permitted everything properly so that someday when we go to sell this monstrosity of a house, we can increase our sale price.

I am so proud of my Gabe (and his Dad).  They do not cease to amaze me.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year

That's right, we made it through another holiday season and school starts tomorrow.  We had a lot going on and a lot of small accomplishments but most of all we managed to have a great time and still came out at the end of things loving each other and caring about something other than ourselves

With all the shit out there in the world, yes, I used the word shit, it gets harder and harder to focus on buying stuff and wrapping it up and covering it in tape and ribbons and giving it away.  Bombs going off, guns being used in anger, road rage, terrorism, and the list goes on.  Do I need another spaghetti server?  Does my mom really need a gift card to Subway?  And who gave me a bottle of Bourbon?  I know of a lady who took her whole family to the Dominican Republic and posted pictures of bikinis, beaches and sunburns and it looked so much better than the gift giving frenzy.  I wonder if her kids were laying in the sun sipping smoothies and saying, "I wish I could go home and play with my DS!"

To begin with the weather was crazy, it was humid and 75 degrees for what felt like 2 whole weeks.  So the sleds that I carefully selected on Amazon were put in the garage for another day.  And one kid got a kitten which caused the other kid to burst into tears.  So Santa screwed that all up.  Nothing is worse than having a child burst into tears on Christmas day unless its a child bursting into tears on her sister's birthday.  Clearly you can see a pattern.  I'm not saying my kids are spoiled rotten but if I had done that when I was 8 I might have gotten smacked.  I'm certainly not spoiled but I can tell you that when I want something, I get it.  I had to wait 47 years but I get what I want.

I have to interject here that the worst commercial this holiday season was one of the hundreds showing kids all on electronic devices and their parents too and everyone is sitting around with their electronic devices and not talking to each other.  No one in my family got an electronic device unless you include the lava lamp.  But we did go to a party where some videos were made and someone said they were going to post the videos on Snapchat and Instagram so I had to contact all the parties included to request that none of the videos ever appear on Snapchat or Instagram.  And I wonder, is this what I have to do now?  Wear facemasks and Halloween gear so that if we are posted on someone's Snapchat or Instagram we are not recognizable?  Or do I have to ask before arriving, "will there be any 8 to 17 year olds making videos of my kids and posting them on social media?"  And then I have to filter through declining and accepting which parties will be Social Media free?  And so in true Kim fashion, I thumbed my nose at the electronics industry and branched out and bought books for my kids.  Yup, pages, words, stories, imagination.

Since a lot happened this holiday season, I'll have to continue this later.  Tomorrow I'll write about Gabe the Builder.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


It is December 1st and today kicks off what I like to refer to as "the worst 24 days of your kids lives where they drive you crazy and you overuse that Santa Might Be Watching You threat way too many times."  People pull out that elf on the shelf which in my opinion was the smartest marketing ploy EVER and overuse it like crazy so their kids think that someone is watching them.  And churches double down on both Santa and Jesus.  The best part is that they don't act any better, if anything they are worse.

About a month ago my 8 year old lost one of her pre-molars at school and proudly carried it home in a little bag.  As we were sitting in the car waiting for her sister to get out of school she asked me earnestly if the Tooth Fairy really was something or if it was Mom and Dad?  She is 8 years old.  Thanks to having a sister 2 years older than me I didn't have to guess when it came to Santa, The Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, she was more than happy to help debunk those myths early on.  But my 11 year old has helped keep the dream alive even though she knows where all money, gifts and other stuff comes from.  I was in the hot seat.

I made an executive decision and I nodded in agreement and said, "yes, the Tooth Fairy is Mommy and Daddy" and immediately her face crumpled and she looked ready to weep.  Good choice Mommy, you just ruined her life.  And then she said, "What about Santa?".  I couldn't throw Santa under the bus too, I had to hang onto Santa because it was November and I still needed Santa to get me through December.  So I wimped out and I said something lame about Santa being real to those who believe him and changed the subject really fast.

Happy December everyone.  And don't install Windows 10 no matter how many ads you get.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Year 3

This December marks 3 years since we moved to North Carolina.  How did the time fly so fast?  As I sit here typing I am so thankful for this warm house because it is 33 degrees cold (Fahrenheit) outside and that is very cold.

We went to Asheville for the weekend and stayed in a little log cabin and enjoyed the quiet and the downtime and the ability to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of busy life for a few short hours.  We were treated to a nice soup and salad dinner make for us by our kiddos and celebrated family and laughter.

Last night Gabe and I headed over to Parent Teacher Conferences and enjoyed getting to know a new group of teachers.  I was overwhelmed and humbled by the things they said about our kid.  I also was validated in our choice of a charter school and a tiny one at that.  It made me realize that the things we are doing in life and in our family are the right choices for us, we are doing ok.

It is difficult in this day and age to stand by choices that are not popular.  The decision to stay home was tough - financial suicide to many and everyone had an opinion.  But it built a foundation and last night was a step in our success ladder.  Our decision to limit our children's access to technology, which everyone really has an opinion on but at the end of the day, our decision, Mom and Dad, and I believe we made the right one.  Our choices to move across the country and simplify our lives in a more rural setting - super difficult adjustments were made but in the long run the right adjustments for all.

I can't say I'd do them again if I had to because I only get one time around this board game but for me and my family I believe we put family and education before anything else and those are the benefits we reap in our lives at this point.  Who knows what the future holds?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Happy Fall Ya'll

I haven't written for a long while, long for me being long winded and always having something to say about everything.  I have been busy and I have been tackling a long list of things I need to get done but I have kept my fingers quiet through some transitions.  Needless to say, when Joy is quiet too long that means there is plenty coming down the pipeline.  So stay tuned.

I am going to be 47 this month.  That is just a number.  But there are so many things that have happened between 46 and 47 that I can celebrate and be happy for.  And there are sad things too.  Suffice it to say that I will enjoy writing about those things in the months coming up.  Expect real.  Expect authentic.  Expect no bullshit.

I got a chance to see some family recently and that filled my cup.  I saw my Mom although I wish I had seen her for a few more days, an hour was better than nothing.  I saw my twin and that was such a delight.  I saw my cousin who I also consider a surrogate sister and that is always the best of times.  I saw my younger brother and that was so special that when I think of it I smile.  I saw all these ladies that mean the world to me, Tara, Elisa, Francoise, Maggie, Germaine, Eunie, Whitney, Joanne, if I am leaving you out I didn't mean to.  I got to see my sister-in-law and family and that was awesome, the list goes on and on.  I got to drive across the Golden Gate like 4 times.  I got to go hiking in Marin.  I got to have breakfast made by my MIL.  I got to wear fancy shoes.

And then I came home and squeezed my top level people and that didn't suck.  I am glad I got to sneak away, that always makes coming back a little sweeter.  Even when they bicker and even when it rains for what feels like months on end.

Happy Fall Ya'll, hope your changing leaves are as beautiful as mine.