Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pink Martini

In 1998, shortly after having moved to Portland, my brother stepped off a Tri-met bus and bent down and picked up a CD and brought it home.  It had a yellowish cover with a picture of some people in front of the Eiffel Tower on it and he mentioned that it looked like fun and we should listen to it.  We didn't stop listening to it until it was so scratched that every song skipped.

Last night my cousin Lisa came to pick me up and take me out for our combined birthday celebrations.  We both celebrate in November but hadn't seen each other for quite some time.  I knew she had something planned but I wasn't quite so sure.  I was shocked when Pink Martini strode onto the stage at the Davis Symphony Hall in San Francisco to perform but what made it so wonderful was the fact that we were front row and smack dab in the middle.  I felt almost like I was on stage performing too.

When they introduced themselves and announced that they were from Portland I had to give a shout out to Portland because for a long time after leaving Portland I considered myself a Portlander and wanted to go back.  But maybe we will have to postpone that move now that we are in the process of moving somewhere else.

They performed something from all their albums and it was so fun to hum along or mouth all the words.  The last song they did was Brazil and people got up and formed a conga line and danced through the song. There is nothing quite like seeing a live group like that;  harp, guitar, violin, piano, congas, percussion, trumpet, clarinet and they were backed up by the San Francisco Symphony.  If you have never seen something like that, splurge, because you will spend the whole next day singing.

Just like I have been.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


We went to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family this week.  It was nice to be around the familiar items of my childhood, the same wall hangings, the same throw pillows the same smells and customs and especially the same people.  Even though the house my Mom lives in is not the one that conjures up the most memories, she has hung the same pictures I grew up with and has much of the same furniture and so it is familiar to me as the house that I, for many years considered home.

I am the only child to make this pilgrimage on a regular basis to visit the folks.  For whatever reasons the other children do not visit two, three, four times a year like we do.  And my sister cannot visit at all, at least not for a while.

As my parents age I worry about them.  They are not as young as they once were, they do not remember things as sharply as they once did, they let things go that are not so important.  This is life and it will happen to each of us if we are so fortunate to be allowed to age with time and grow old and become elderly.  It is hard to imagine but one day I will also forget to do things like wash the lunch dishes, answer the phone and pick up the mail.  Instead I will choose to eliminate certain things I once considered important because it takes too much energy or because I would rather nap. 

I am not from a small family.  My mother has 4 children and her husband has 2.  But out of 6 children only one returns regularly.  As we plan a move across the country to a place that will take me very far from her it burdens my heart to think that no one else will go every three to four to six to nine months to check in and see how everyone is doing.  I have to think there are other reasons besides the fact that they live off the beaten track that keep the kids from coming back.  And whatever those things are, maybe time does not heal all wounds. 

I hope that maybe it just hasn't been enough time.  And maybe someone will read this and let bygones be bygones and stop by for a visit.  They will be very welcome.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I have come to the conclusion that Californians have to be some of the most obnoxious people on the planet.  We have this firm belief that everything east of the Rockies is the Midwest.   And that is about all the time we spend thinking about it.

When I moved to Portland Oregon in my late 20's I was devastated to leave California.  My Grandmother had died, my parents had sold their home and I was being evicted and unemployed at the same time and felt like I was annexed to Portland only because I had nowhere else to go.  No one wanted a 28 year old living on their couch - not even the best of friends.  So I moved to my sisters.  This is one of the times when it pays to have lots of siblings, somewhere to crash where they rarely kick you out.

I refused to change my California license for 4 years until it expired because according to me, I didn't have to.  Since I didn't own a car I didn't see why it mattered.  And I wasn't told that I needed to change it until I went to visit my sister in prison and the sheriff working there informed me that he could confiscate it since it was illegal to not update your license when you move to a new state.  Imagine me, being told in prison while visiting someone, that I was doing something illegal.  Needless to say I quickly changed it - God forbid I be forced to go to prison for anything other than a visit.

We are moving to North Carolina.  It is on top of South Carolina.  It touches Tennessee and Georgia to the west and to the east is the ocean, the Atlantic Ocean I believe.  And to the north is Virginia, not South Virginia as I called it earlier today.  I had to look up an atlas to be sure since I am from California and in my own defense I moved out of the US with my family the year we were supposed to learn the states and their capitals and have no idea where anything is besides California, Oregon, Washinton, Canada and Mexico.

One of my all time favorite movies (Kalifornia) has this great line in it between Early and Adele who are headed to California and it goes like this:

"You never have to buy no fruit on account it's all on the trees everywhere you turn. And they ain't got no speed limits. I hear your first month's rent is free, state law. So I'm thinking till we get settled we'll just move around from month to month."

I will miss California with its crazy drivers and the diverse population and the Asian restaurants on every corner.  I will miss being close to family and to friends that are near and dear to me.  I will miss being 40 minutes from one of the best cities ever (in my humble opinion).  And as much as I miss California and compare everything to California, I will have to start to change and start to love my new place and space.  .  And someday soon people will ask me where I am from and I will stop saying I'm from California and I will tell them I'm from North Carolina. 

Friday, November 9, 2012


There is nothing I hate more than change.  I hate the way the leaves change color and fall off the trees.  I hate when you wake up one morning and realize you need a second blanket on the bed.  I whole heartedly dislike when I discover one of the girls has outgrown their clothes and I need to get something larger.  I especially dislike when it happens to me.  And I really get irritated when something in the refrigerator has gone past its due date and I realize it has spoiled without my knowing it and now I have to throw away the one I bought and buy another one.  (I guess that one just means I'm cheap).

We've had some changes lately.  The first is that my husband has been traveling a little bit and that has left me in charge.  I hate when he is gone.  I don't sleep well.  The girls don't sleep well.  The animals don't sleep well.  We try to put on a brave face but it fails miserably.  I get tired, irritated, grumpy, strung out and snappy and it is all I can do to keep things on track.

I have anxiety issues.  That means when there is a lot of change I have an increase in my anxiety levels and I sometimes will have to use my superpowers to override a panic attack here or there.  I only recently discovered that I had anxiety issues - within the last 4 years - so this is a fairly new thing.  Since I'm in charge of 2 kids and 2 pets and 1 husband and not allowed to get stoned all day to mellow out, I have had to learn how to handle these attacks through the following:

1) breathing
2) mantras
3) meditation
4) yoga
5) exercise
6) therapy
7) time out

Another thing that is happening right now is that we are talking about a move.  A big one.  That is all I'm gonna say right now but it will involve a lot of changes, big changes.  I'm sort of freaking out - inside and not outside - at least not yet. I'm saving the real freak outs for later.

So far I'm doing pretty good.  I am pretty darn close to a super hero as far as I'm concerned.  But I do have to have things well organized and consistent and planned out and that doesn't always work with kids and life and pets and husband.  So I do have to dig deep once in awhile and get creative.  Life doesn't stop for me to get used to changes just like I don't stop and lay down and play dead so bring it!  Sometimes even I like to see what I'm made of.