Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Monday, July 30, 2012


For the last 6 weeks, my husband has been at home, to work with, to play with, to talk to, to hug, to do chores with, to argue with, to have to pick up after, to do family stuff with and whose company I thoroughly enjoyed.  His objective was not to take 6 weeks off and hang out with his girls, it was to study for his boards which he took a week ago and hopefully passed.  But in the meantime we got to enjoy having him home for 6 long and short weeks.

He spent some time at the library studying, it wasn't all picnics and swimming.  But we managed to squeeze in a lot of picnics and swimming after the studying!  Not to mention, camping, bike riding, vacationing, daytripping, eating out, wrestling, the list is long!  But this morning he woke up early, got his work clothes on, packed a lunch, kissed us all goodbye and headed out the door for his return to his weekly routine.  I know he was happy to go back but also happy that he got to spend 6 weeks doing all the fun stuff he loves with his 3 favorite girls.

And now we wait to find out how he did.  But this summer will go down in history as one of the best summer's ever!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The front page of this week's New Yorker shows a family of four standing on a beach somewhere tropical, Hawaii, Bali, Bora Bora, Fiji, Jamaica, and they are all standing with their backs to the ocean waves and they are each holding a cell phone.  They are appropriately dressed with hats, shorts, tanktops and sunglasses but it appears they are busy texting.  There is a shadow in front of them of a person taking their picture while they are doing this and the picture is appropriately named "Capturing the Memories" by Mark Ulriksen.

I am at a waterloo with my phone right now.  I am still under contract with a company I have been with for a very long time and am trying to remain loyal to but my phone is so unreliable and shoddy that I have to smack it, turn it off and on and remove the battery to reset it so many times a day that I'm considering going to a flip phone and not messing with smart phones ever again.  This is a perfect time for me to write about how annoying and how liberating smart phones and technology is right now.  One moment I am praising it and the other I am cursing it.

I know that we celebrate technology - look how far it has gotten us.  Look how useful it is.  I no longer have to try to find a place by driving around and around the block.  No one rolls down their window to ask directions because everyone has GPS.  We don't have to ask how a restaurant is, we can look on Yelp.  We don't have to hang signs to sell stuff we can Freecycle it or list it on Craigs List.  We don't have to interview babysitters, we can go to Sitter City.  And we can do all this with our cell phones - we don't have to sit down at a computer.  But it isn't all good.

One of the things I will never get is the people who talk on cellphones in public restrooms.  What could be so important when you are in the mall or at the restaurant or movie theatre that necessitates your loud voiced, full fledged, super important conversation while you are in a stall doing your business?  Because here is the deal, it is not important at all.   Maybe it makes you feel important to have so much to talk about you even have to talk about it while you are doing a number 2.  (my mother reads this blog so I try to limit each subject to only one swear word)  Not to mention it is gross and rude.  Trust me, I am a person who loves to be around people in the bathroom, but at home.  In public - I like to eliminate in private.  I wish everyone else felt the same.

I hope the New Yorker features a picture of a family doing their business on the potty in a public restroom while all talking their cell phones and calls it "Capturing the Bullshit" by Joy McKeon.  But I can't draw.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Drill Bits

Soooo I was at the dentist today to get some fillings and crown work, one of my favorite things!  I wrote in the past about a horrible experience with Strip Mall Dentistry but we have changed and we have a new dentist and we love love love the new Dentist.  The rooms are clean, the office is pretty, the Receptionist is lovely, she smiles and talks to me like we are friends, the Dentist is gentle and doesn't stab me in the lips, the list of great stuff goes on and on and on. 

I came home with a fat lip and sore gums and the advice to take some ibuprofen to help with the pain should I experience discomfort later on in the day.  I gummed some soft and squishy food for lunch so as not to eat my bottom lip or tongue by accident and then sat down at the computer.

I'm sitting there and I feel this stabbing feeling in my rear end.  I remember the doctor's words and so I get up and go get 2 ibuprofen and take them for the pain and go sit back down at the computer.  I feel the same stabbing pain but it is still in my butt and not in my gums.  I am in the living room, I stand up and quickly strip off my pants and notice that something shiny has fallen to the floor.  My 8 year old is sitting on the couch giving me the strangest look and laughing at me because I have stripped off my pants and now I'm standing in the living room in my birthday suit, from the waist down.

Yup, it was a drill bit that fell out of my pants.  Somehow it worked its way into my pants while I was at the dentist.  The hard part of this story is figuring out how it got into my pants in the first place.  I'm pretty sure I didn't put it in my pants.

Then I decide to call the dentist and ask the Receptionist if I should bring back in the drill bit, maybe they need it for a future procedure, but of course she was laughing so hard both when I told her the story and when she came back on the line to tell me to throw it away that I could tell that this is not a call they get very often.  Apparently they keep lots of these drill bits on hand and the one I have is not that important.  Especially after it has been in my pants.

I have to tell you that I feel like this kind of stuff only happens to me.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I am trying very hard to be bona-fide, authentic, honest.  We live in a culture that doesn't promote honesty above all other things.  We promote other values, but honesty is not one of them.  I have met people from other cultures that are very honest and can tell you what they are thinking without worry of being too harsh or too open.  We use the sentence, "You hurt my feelings" when someone is too direct or too critical but are we many times just saying, "I am not comfortable with your level of honesty or directness?"  Or "I can't handle the truth?"

We try really hard to teach children to be honest.  Don't lie.  Don't cheat.  Don't be disingenuous.  But we also teach them to be mindful of others feelings.  We were at a playdate and one of my kids told a little girl that she was not as fast running as my child was and the little girl started crying and said that her feelings had been hurt.  The truth was that my child was faster, so what is the fix?  To tell the other child to accept the truth, that she is a slower runner?  Or to tell my child to avoid honesty to save an over sensitive playmate?

I remember hanging out with this guy when I was in my 20's and I was really crazy about him.  We had been hanging out for 6 months and he had never tried to kiss me, hug me or anything.  We had been to countless movies, dinners, hikes, drinks, played games, you name it, nothing was going on!  Finally after much coaching from my friends and his friends I decided to ask him what was going on.  So I asked him straight out, I knew he wasn't gay, why was he not making a move?  And he looked me straight in the eye and asked if he could be completely honest.  And then he said, "I'm just not into you like that.  I like you as a friend and I don't like you romantically and I want to just be friends, is that ok?"  And while my pride took a momentary kick in the face, we went on to be the best of friends for a very long time.  I valued his honesty like crazy, it was so refreshing.

My youngest child was going to a Co-op Preschool and for those of you that are not familiar with what this means, it is a Preschool that is parent/teacher driven.  That means that each week I went to preschool and worked hard and helped participate in my child's education in a hands on style.  One day we were at circle time and I was sitting between two little girls that liked to chat and giggle to keep them focused on the Teacher's lesson when one of the little girls took the opportunity to voice very loudly, "You are really fat!  I like that you are soft right there" and she proceeded to lay on top of me like I was her human pillow.  She was only 3 or 4 years old but it was adorable, honest and funny and I laughed until I cried. 

It might be hard to do, being honest instead of being kind.  But in the long run, aren't you doing a good thing?  Won't the person who you are being honest with thank you in the long run?   Even if they hold it against you for a few days, months, years, forever?   Or should we work hard to protect people from what is staring them in the face? 

I honestly don't know which is better, I honestly don't.