Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Falling in Love

We spent Thanksgiving with my mother, my step-father, my niece and my nephew in a small town in Northern Northern California this year. We wish we lived closer to them or that they lived closer to us so that seeing them does not take so much time in the car but we enjoyed every minute of the time we spent with them and that was worth more than money.

My mother has a close friend who lives down the road from her. She lost her husband about 20 months ago, her husband of over 40 years. My mother's friend is 75 and her husband was over 80 so the death was not so shocking, he was old, he was frail and he had been going downhill for some time. While the death might not seem so shocking for someone reading this, it was sad for my mother's friend, after all, this was her companion for many years.

Since her husband has passed on to another place she has met a new man who is around 80 years old and who is single just like her. I had not seen my mom's friend for at least a year, at least since she started seeing this new man. So when I saw her on Thanksgiving, after the customary Thanksgiving greeting and giving her a hug, I decided to jump into the topic and asked her about the new man in her life. She did the cutest thing, she blushed bright red and giggled. And it made me feel good to see that a lady can fall in love at any age.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I celebrated a birthday last Sunday and my gift to myself was a trip to Spokane Washington to visit some dear friends that occasionally put up with my annoying birthday behavior. When I was in my 20's and 30's and I had no partner or children it was easier to go visit them and trust me when I say that my behavior back then was much worse than my recent trip. Anyway - the only way to get to Spokane Washington is to get on an airplane and sit there for several hours and then get off, get on an even smaller airplane for another hour or so and then get off of that one and you are there.

I love Spokane Washington in the winter. It is freezing cold. It also has some of the most friendly people you will ever meet. You can buy sweaters at a really good price. There are other things that are cheaper than they are in Silicon Valley too such as gas, food, restaurants, alcohol, land, housing but I'm getting off track. I love the Northwest and someday hope to move back there with my husband, children, dog and cat.

I hate flying. I can't say exactly when it started but sometime in my early 30's I realized that I was not a big fan of flying. It has gotten progressively worse until I can safely admit that I hate it. I am not going to go into all the random and annoying things I go through to get onto a plane but lets just say that at this point it is a good thing that my husband and I only travel together once in a while. I don't think he could handle flying with me every month.

When I was in my 20's I applied to United Airlines to be a flight attendant. Yup, this is gonna be a good story. I convinced my then sister-in-law (she is no longer my sister-in-law) to come with me and apply, she didn't have a job and was tired of staying home and cooking and cleaning (her house was a nighmare) and needed something to do with all her free time. United Airlines was doing open interviews in Sacramento and so I put on my best suit and brushed my long hair and picked her up and we headed to the Marriott or Hilton and sat with other 18 - 30 year olds that had dreams of serving drinks and snacks at 30 thousand feet.

We went through the speeches and the presentations, took a short pop quiz which I aced and then were told we would be giving impromptu speeches about ourselves and our dreams of becoming flight attendants. They told us that if we were not bilingual to leave right then, they were only hiring bilingual flight attendants! I knew that this job was in the bag, impromptu speeches were my forte, I spoke Spanish fluently, I was born to talk in front of other ladies about myself! I wrote a quick outline and looked over at my ex-sister-in-law, she was not doing so well. She had blotchy pink spots on her face and looked like she was going to pass out. She swallowed sickly and told me that she hated talking in front of people and didn't think she could do it. Not just that, she added that when she was stressed out, her English got really bad and people complained they couldn't understand her. I didn't let her obvious distress ruffle my feathers, I knew I was going to get that second interview call to fly to Chicago and meet the big wigs.

As it turns out I didn't get that call to Chicago and based on my physical reactions to our trip to Spokane it is a good thing. No one wants a flight attendant hyperventilating, swallowing repeatedly, closing their eyes, refusing to take off their seat belt and clenching and un-clenching their fists when they should be serving drinks and assisting passengers. My ex-sister-in-law did however get a second interview and for years I was convinced they confused the two of us, since we were sitting next to each other and we both had long straight hair and I was half Korean and she was full Korean. But as it turns out, they did me a favor since my skill set would someday include me being a not so good airplane passenger.

I don't think that my dislike of flying is accidental, my mother hasn't been on a plane since 1983, my youngest brother won't step foot on one either. But until they start implementing the kind of transport used in Star Trek, I will continue to get on planes to travel from place to place. Especially if it is to fly to Spokane and hang out with good friends. Thanks Jill and Lamont!

Monday, November 7, 2011


I had a conversation with my mother this weekend. It went like this:

Ring Ring Ring:

Me: Hello?
Mom: Hi so I made the appointment and we had to wait nearly a month and I am sorry but we can't miss it.
Me: What are you talking about?
Mom: Heidi's appointment with the doctor.
Me: Mom, what are you talking about?
Mom: Well if you listen to me you will know what I am talking about.

My niece is staying with us. And we want to keep her until Thanksgiving since we are going to visit my folks and we can take her back with us. There are several reasons for this - it saves money on gas, it saves me driving for six plus hours when I don't have to, it saves wear and tear on our car, it is more efficient, it makes more sense . . . to me. When we made these plans my mother and my niece didn't remember this Doctor appointment that she had scheduled and now my mother is out of town and trying to clue me in to this appointment.

I asked my Mom to please try to call the Doctor and reschedule, I asked her to consider my position, I have 2 smaller children and am trying to juggle our one family car and this 6 hour trip back to Northern California, I thought I was being reasonable. But the more I pushed (albeit gently) the more frustrated my Mother got until she hung up irritable and inflexible. I ranted a little (or a lot) to my husband about it but let me tell you, if I had a dollar for every time I complained about this personality trait of my Mother's I would be sitting on a healthy sized stack of money.

I have to stop here and congratulate my husband on not pointing out the obvious every time I sounded just like my Mom. For those of you that are married, you know exactly where this would land him. I also have to stop here to say that my mother is much worse than I am, this story would not work out as well if I admitted that I was the biggest offender. But obviously she is older than I am and so she should be more set in her ways and less flexible, and me being younger I not only have more energy to be flexible, I also just am that way by nature.

After I hung up, I realized the obvious, I am JUST like my mother. Not similar, not kind of, not having some or a few of her personality traits, I am JUST like her. I am inflexible. I am un-budging. I am unwilling to compromise. If pushed, I push back and hate to back down when the subject gets heated. I can be reasonable once I have had some time to cool off or to think about it but in the heat of the moment I can be very stubborn. And then I gripe about it for at least a week, ask my husband, I really do! And I wonder where I got it from?

The next day my mother called and she told me that she would try to reschedule the appointment. She told me that she would try to get another date or at least a later time so that our midnight drive to rush my niece back home would not be so frantic. I want to say that she said she would try to compromise because she realized that we had done so much to compromise on our end and meeting us half way was the right thing to do. But she didn't, she just called again and said she couldn't get a new time for the appointment so we would have to figure out how to get Heidi home.

Just like her.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fruit Basket

The other day my youngest asked me what I wanted to be when I "growd up" and I told her I wanted to be a writer. She told me that was boring, she wanted to be a doctor. This is the same child that told me last year she wanted to be a fairy. I thought about all the things that I wanted to be when I was growing up and how I ended up doing some of them and how I ended up not doing some of them and I wondered how I had ended up being a Mom and staying home and sharing these years with my girls and how it would impact them down the road.

It is fall now, we woke up to sunshine today and by late afternoon the temperature had dropped by 15 degrees and it was rainy and miserable. We had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner and it was warm and toasty in the kitchen so we finished dinner up with chocolate ice cream cones.

My niece is here to stay and if I can swing it I am going to keep her for at least a couple of weeks, maybe even until Thanksgiving. While 14 year olds can be a challenge and can have attitude and can huff and puff and use the word "Whatever" an awful lot, they are also funny, inquisitive, very tech savvy, very very tech savvy and can change their moods in an instant. This can be good when you have a 4 year old that is crying one second and laughing another. This can also be good when you need to run a quick errand and you need the 14 year old to hold down the fort. It also gives me a little sneak peak into what 14 will look like someday.

My husband bikes to work and while he has generously done this so I can be the sole user of our one family car, it makes me nervous and skittish on cold winter nights when the light is gone and he is cycling an hour to work and an hour home. It is on nights like tonight that I wish we had a 2nd car and that we lived 2 minutes from his work. It is nights like tonight that I am reminded that he is one of the reasons I try to be less selfish on a daily basis. He is like Mother Theresa on a bicycle.

I have sent a huge bag of Halloween candy to work with my husband. He does this every year after the trick or treating in an effort to save my girlish figure from a slow descent into a flabby Thanksgiving and an even sloppier Christmas. I keep a little for the girls to snack on but they forget about it by November 4 which is tomorrow. So that means we are back to salads and veggies tomorrow - an occasional bowl of air popped popcorn.

I noticed that I lost a blog follower in the last couple of months. I'm not sure if it is because I made what might be considered some not so patriotic comments or because I have friends that are not US citizens living in the US. Whatever the case - if you can't stand the heat in the kitchen, then get out!

And finally we are headed to Spokane Washington in a few short weeks to celebrate my birthday by visiting some friends. I used to go to Spokane each year or at least every couple of years but it has been a while. And in that while, my friends have built a new house and moved out into sticks and I can't wait to get away and see them and have some good wine and even better company. This is also the first trip my husband and I have made together since our honeymoon and so I hope my Spokane friends have some sturdy earplugs.

Happy Fall everyone!