Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Break

Spring Break 2012 introduced the McKeon family to a new family ritual known as the Temper Tantrum. I can say that it has really changed things up around here. To lay a little foundation, I have to say that we have an almost 8 year old that once ran up to me and half heartedly attempted kicking my leg and that was the beginning and the end of her outbursts. I am constantly reminded by friends, family, colleagues, well wishers and naysayers that there is still time, she is only almost 8. But she has a little sister and little sister has discovered the satisfaction of watching her mother lose most of her common sense by stomping her foot, shouting no several hundred times and then either screaming at the top of her lungs while she still inserts loud No's into the screaming or she throws stuff around and kicks anything near her and embarrasses her sister, forcing sister to ask me in a stage whisper, "what is she doing????"

I can honestly say that I have no idea what she is doing but I can tell you that I don't like it. And now I will list the things that do NOT work when your 5 year old is having a temper tantrum.

1) Do not scream back. This only enrages the child causing the tantrum to last longer and longer and get louder and louder. And yes, I tried this and I felt really ridiculous and stupid doing it.

 2) Do not turn the music up and try to drown the child out. This just makes whatever annoying song on the radio sound even more annoying and makes your kid scream louder. And yes, I tried this too and it especially does not work in the car.

3) Do not lecture the child or give them a speech. They are screaming and freaking out and could care less about what they look like to the neighbors or anyone else. And yes, I also tried this and I can tell you that the only person in the family that is concerned about what the neighbors think is the older sister who is running as far away from her little sister as she can because God forbid anyone she knows sees what is going on.

 4) Do not give in. Do not give the child a lollipop or a chocolate cookie or the cheesy crackers because they might stop making that terrible noise if you do. Because if you do give in, they will just do it again the next time they want something. And yes, I gave in, and if you are reading this and you think you never have done this or never will do it, you are wrong. Everyone has done it at some point and everyone will do it at some point and we like to call it "picking your battles".

5) Do not ask your mother or anyone else's mother what they would do in this situation. Because they will tell you that "honey in my day we did not tolerate that, we picked up the wooden spoon and we blistered that child's behind and it was legal". Or they say, "Girl, you better put that child in her place because no one likes a brat". Or "Listen here, that is nothing more than a reflection of poor parenting". And no, I can tell you that I have not asked my mother what she would do in this situation. She handled temper tantrums in her own way and I get to handle mine in my way.

Let me just say this much, I cannot wait for summer vacation!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

5th Grade

I haven't posted about knitting lately because quite honestly I have been so busy knitting. I am teaching a knitting class! I know I know who in their right mind would let me in a classroom to teach kids something useful? Well, it only took 18 years and this time it is a volunteer job but I'm baaaaaackkkkk!

I am teaching a knitting class for 5th grade girls. I have 5 regular attendees and they are each so unique and special in their own way. 5th graders are nuts and fun at the same time. 5th grade is when a lot of girls come into their own and step out of their shyness. 5th graders talk a lot. I have one 5th grader that doesn't shut up - you could call her Mini-me. But they are each lovely and they are doing something I love, knitting.

While I have been teaching this class I have finished a pair of socks for a friend's baby as well as a sweater that is supposed to be a pair of sweaters for a friend who is having twins. I have started 5 other projects too but am really enjoying this phase of knitting. I am no longer a rookie or a hack at knitting. I now know how to read a pattern like I am reading a cookbook. I have bought real, quality yarn from a real, quality store. I can knit both Continental and Standard. I can teach both Continental and Standard. I am a knitting proficient. What i have discovered though is: I am not 5th grade girl proficient.

While these 5th graders are a breath of fresh air, they are also terrifying. The other day one of the girls was talking about how she knows all the kids in the 2nd grade and I've got a 2nd grader. So she asked what my kid's name was and I told her. She said she didn't know anyone by that name and then there was discussion about how many kids I had and what grades they were in and who their teachers were. And then she stops knitting, looks straight at me and says, "I don't know anyone by that name, is she a nobody?"

I didn't really know what to say, I so rarely come face to face with that situation in my life, most of you know me as a woman of many many words, so I just smiled and said, "well, if she is, that makes me Mrs. Nobody." And then that song from Annie started looping in my head, "Little girls,Little girls, Everywhere I turn I can see them, Little girls, Little girls, Night and day I eat, sleep and breathe them".

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I have been taking this dance/exercise/aerobic class called Zumba. I have to tell you that I had to take three Zumba classes to find the one I really liked. And lets face it, I really would rather not have to take any Zumba classes but I can't lay around the house all day and still fit into my mom jeans if I don't do any exercise. So I tried step aerobics and yoga and running and hip hop and settled on Zumba because of several reasons.

One: All the women in the class are either in worse shape than I am or worse dancers (except for my friend Germaine) so I usually end up looking like a rounder version of Beyonce in Single Ladies. (or at least I do in my head)

Two: The music our teacher plays is fun, reggaeton, tango, salsa, hip-hop, it is so so so fun.

Three: The class only costs 4 dollars, yup that is right, 4 dollars.

Here is what I can't stand about this Zumba class: the teacher does the warm up to Chris Brown and the cool down to Chris Brown. Yup, the Chris Brown that dabbles in domestic violence and that got to perform at the Grammy's this year. I commented on how I can't stand that everyone has moved past his altering the color and shape of his then girlfriend Rihanna's face 11 or 12 or 13 months ago and someone commented, "I'm so over that, I think that Rihanna is even over it". But I can't get over it, I don't think I will ever get over a man raising his fist or words in anger to beat someone down whether a child or a woman or an animal.

So I pretend that I'm listening to Usher and continue to shout out "Cuckoooooo" or "Sigue Sigue" or "Dale Dale" and shake my booty as I improve my dancing.

After all ladies, "God Wouldn't Have Given You Maracas If He Didn't Want You to Shake 'Em."

Sunday, April 1, 2012


My friend Candy rolled into town yesterday. Candy is hilarious! I met her through a mutual friend and she stuck - like strong tape or that plastic wrap you can't shake off into the trash no matter how hard you try. She makes me laugh and she is super irreverent. She is loud and she makes fun of people but she is kind and generous and bought me cream puffs from Beard Papa's so that makes me happy on any rainy Saturday.

We walked around this annoying mall that started out okay but ended up being packed with people who were pushy and badly dressed. I got run into at least 4 times and it was from people refusing to move when I was clearly headed toward them. So their idea of a compromise was to just smack me with their shopping bags or arm.

At one point we went to the Food Court to get something to eat. This particular mall had mostly Asian food court choices which works for us, I'm something part Asian and Candy is something part Asian so we went and had bad Japanese mall food. While we were eating there was this older gentleman perched on a chair at the table next to us waiting for what I assumed was his family. He was older, I'm guessing he was 56 to 59? (I find I'm getting better at pegging those years past 40 now that I'm in that demographic) Imagine my horror and Candy's horror when two girls around 18-20 sit down.

I'm gonna say that they were closer to 18 but I am making them 18 in my mind so I don't throw up while I'm writing this. We can hear bits and pieces of their conversation so it is clear they met online somewhere, there is mention of Facebook and Twitter and how he hasn't figured out how to search for old texts on his phone. At this point I am starting to not be able to eat my food and I'm staring openly. If you are going to try to date 18 year olds and meet them at the mall, learn how to text for God's sake! And then he pushes two little pink boxes towards the girls and tells them he hopes that they like that sort of thing. They are Sanrio/Hello Kitty boxes with candy of some kind in them. Now the cliche is complete - old guy, young girls, candy, I'm eating with Candy, they are Asian, we are having Asian food, can this get any nastier?

I thought about taking a picture of the girls, after all, when they went missing and their parents were looking for them, maybe I could be of help. Or I thought about asking him what the hell was wrong with 56-59 year old women, not into candy? And then I thought maybe he is part of an exchange program that meets 18 year old girls in the mall to help them learn about American culture through Saturday mall excursions. Except that wouldn't explain why one of them clearly looked like the "friend" you bring to a bad date and why both girls looked really uncomfortable and he looked like he was about to bite into a juicy strawberry. N.A.S.T.Y.

We hightailed it out of there and went to the movies. Whatever and wherever those girl's parents were, I hope they never find out what their girls do for fun on Saturday afternoons when it is raining and there is not a lot to do. And whatever those girls or that bald guy were doing at the mall, I was totally judging them and it creeped me out like C.R.A.Z.Y.

Candy came back from a trip to the bathroom during the movie and put my mind at ease by telling me she saw both girls heading into the theater, A.L.O.N.E. I can't help it now, because I'm a parent, but it made the movie much more enjoyable and I stopped thinking about it.