Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Yesterday we had a little birthday party for our 8 year old that included pizza, root beer, cupcakes and several hours of ice skating at our local skating rink.  It was cold, it was slippery and it was wonderful.  For those kids that can skate it wasn't really a big deal but for my kids who start out holding the wall and slipping all over the place but end up skating back and forth across the middle without holding my hand or the wall, it is miraculous.  Just the ability to be able to show that kind of improvement is a wonderful feeling for anyone. 

I can tell you that for a 43 year old sahm, I am a wonderful skater.  I can skate for 2 whole hours and not fall down.  I can also chase 10 year old boys while playing tag and watch him fall repeatedly and not fall down.  I even tried to teach a 4 year old boy who resembled an octopus learning to skate and didn't fall down. 

You have to remember that I have lived in many areas and none of them were areas that included ice skating as a national pastime or hobby:  California, Yuba City,  Jamaica, Angwin, Spain, Calistoga, Oregon, you can see that these are not big hubs of ice skating activity.  Just the fact that I can stand up in skates and speed up, slow down, spin (yes, I can spin) and do all those other tricky moves I do whether intended or unintended is so much fun and great for my self esteem.

I will also add that I could hardly get out of bed this morning because I was so sore.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Kids say the craziest stuff.  Last night our friends Peter and Emily were over and eating food.  They were sitting at our table with us and we were talking and eating and talking some more and Peter starts telling us about how he loves dogs and loves them so much his parents signed him up for a class where he reads books to dogs. 

I look at Gabe and then back at my food and carefully ask Peter where this is and he proceeds to tell me that at the public library they have a program for kids to go and sit in a room with nice dogs and read books to them.

I have never in my entire life heard about this program but I love that Peter and Emily got to go to this and since I loved the story so much I offered they come over and read as long and as often as they want to our very own Sally Tomato.  Although I'm not sure he can sit through an entire book - actually I'm not even sure he can sit through the first page. 

If they bring a ball for him to stare at, maybe.

And this brings me back around to the belief I hold dear to my heart and that is the  public library is one of the most amazing places on the planet, hands down.  Free books, free movies, free magazines, free music, an aquarium full of fish to look at on AND dogs that like to be read to.  God Bless America!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summertime Simmertime

I have had trouble writing lately.  I have wanted to write about a lot of things but something has been holding me back.  But . . .  I have felt like I have stepped on toes and didn't want to write for fear of stepping on more toes or even legs.  But at the same time I don't usually write for others I write for myself and I tend to write the types of things that one would write in a diary which means I should be allowed to write whatever I want, right?

It is summertime and we had two of our most favorite people visit for a week, Heidi and Alex, my niece and nephew.  Here are some of the things we did while they were here:  swim, visit the beach, eat out, play guitar hero and rock band, play games, bicker, eat cheese, picnic, swim some more, ice skate, play video games, eat pizza, eat eggs, eat meat, drink milk, eat ice cream, oh and did I mention they are vegan?  I love when they come to visit, their visit marks the passing of another year my sister is gone which means she is one year closer to being with us again.  It also means we will have a week or two of unfiltered fun, laughing and play.  It means that we will stay up late, watch too many movies and be totally exhausted when they leave but we will talk about them for weeks and months until we see them again.

It has been very hot here, which means in Bay Area speak, in the 90's twice.  We have been hanging out at our very favorite pool and plan on doing so all summer long.  Two of us are very dark, one of us is a little tanned and one of us is very white and freckled.

I talked for weeks about cutting all my hair off, the hair I have been growing for the last 3 years.  I finally ran out Sunday morning very early and found my favorite non English speaking Hair Passion guy and got a really nice 40 minute cut for the bargain price of $18 dollars.  I think that he was a little surprised that I wanted to cut it all off because it was really long but after he cut it, he was very happy about my choice.  He did blow dry it and puff it up and put a pound of hair product in it which I immediately washed out when I got home and flattened with some goo but I love the short hair and when I get around to it I will post a picture.

And finally our Sally Tomato has perked up and is doing pretty good.  He doesn't do well on the very hot days but is still eating a little and hopefully will be around for a little while longer.  We are going to try to take him camping.  I bet he is going to love it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I am a writer.  I have been writing for years.  The first diary I have is from when I was 10 years old.  I wrote about what I ate, what I did for homework and how many hours a night I slept.  It wasn't very good stuff but I was writing.  I kept a diary off and on from the time I was 14 until I was 34.  I love going back and reading some of the better stuff, the escapades, the shenanigans, the high jinx, the skinny dipping. 

I often run across stuff that I forgot about and have no memory of having done.  Once my sister and I and someone else (Lorna?) climbed the fence at the PUC pool and skinny dipped on a Friday night instead of going to vespers (a worship service that was a cross between a worship service and a meet and greet/date night with fashion show).  When we got to the pool they had these plastic pool covers on which we decided to use as slip and slides  and slid across naked until our weight pulled them under the water.  Lucky for us we didn't get caught and we never thought about the danger of being trapped in one of the covers and getting pulled under the water.  We were just having fun.  It wasn't until after we left that my sister noticed the two red spots spreading on her wet t shirt, turns out that skimming across the pool covers had completely rubbed the skin off our nipples.

When I was in high school I traded diaries with my cousin Ann and we wrote for a month or so and then traded books and continued this all year.  It was so fun to read what she wrote and then in turn for her to read what I wrote.  It also helped us keep in touch during our school year and helped me get to know her better and vice versa.  I was mostly ping pong-ing that year between two boys named Todd, neither of which had any interest in me. 

I've often wondered what famous people do when they write about friends and family, what do they have to do, ask everyone's permission to write about them?  Do they write private things and change all the names?  Do they pay people handsomely for their stories?  And what happens when they tell a family member or friend's story and offend them?  How do they mend that fence or fix that break?  Does it ever heal or is it a sore spot forever?

I just finished a memoir by a woman who had an affair with JFK and I thought it was convenient that she chose to write about her affair now that most of the people connected to the time and place were all dead.

I recently found out that I wrote something about someone dear to me that hurt them.  I will say that until lately I never cared if something I wrote hurt anyone because mostly my writing was all diaries and private, the only thing anyone reads is this blog and lets be honest - not that many people read it.  But to know that something I wrote caused pain or hurt or sadness makes me feel terrible inside and I wish I could lessen that pain in some way. 

I will need to be more careful in the future and I will need to take great care with the hearts and minds of those I love and those that love me.  A thousand apologies.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oh my sweet Sally

Before we decided to have children and before we were married we decided that it would be a good idea to get a puppy.  I had brought a 6 year old Australian shepherd mix to the relationship and my then fiancĂ©e had brought a 2 year old domestic male cat and we wanted to add to our family.  We drove out to Gladstone, Oregon and we got a 6 week old male German Shepherd puppy.  I had 2 names picked out, one was Pussy Galore (thank you Ian Fleming) and the other was Sally Tomato (thank you Holly Golightly).  We decided on Sally Tomato McKeon.

Sally cried all the way home in my lap, a loud moaning sound that I had never heard a dog make before.  He whimpered all afternoon and pee'd all over the place, the deck, the steps, the concrete, my lap, and so we let him sleep in our bed.  When we took Sally to dog training classes at 10 weeks he was the largest dog in the room and also the biggest baby.  He would cringe and hide between our legs and refuse to do anything cooperative until we broke down and brought Howard to class too at which point he behaved a little better.

Sally grew and grew and everytime people would see him they would comment on how large he was because he stood much taller than most Shepherds.  At 6 months we took him to the Vet to have a dry patch checked out on his elbow pads only to learn after paying $60 some odd dollars that they were callouses.  We got a lot of teasing for that one.  We hired a high school girl to come by and walk Sally when we were at work because we worried that all those hours in the crate were hard on him.  The truth was those hours were hard on us, we worried about him and fussed over him and loved him. 

Last week my husband told me that Sally has cancer and a large mass in his belly.   It has been growing for some time = but it has gotten to where Sally isn't always feeling so great and has stopped eating mostly.  He can't go for long walks and he just wants to rest.  I always knew that he wouldn't live forever but it doesn't make this part of life, any easier. 

I can only hope that we can make his last weeks comfy ones, give him all his favorite treats and scratch those big ears a lot and toss his favorite ball.  I hope that wherever he goes to, they have big sticks to chew on.  I hope they have cat food to eat because he loves cat food.  And I hope they have tennis balls that can be chewed to shreds because while he loves to catch the ball, he is not so good at dropping it.   And I hope they have someone there who looks like me a little and someone who looks like Gabe a little so he isn't lonely.  I know Howard will be there so at least he will get to hang out with her again.

We love you Sally Tomato!