Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Date Night

My MIL is here so last night my guy took me to the movies and then out to dinner.  It started out as a funny and entertaining movie, exactly what a movie should be when you haven't been to see one in a very long time. 

It starred Steve Carrell who is 50, Jim Carrey who is 51 and Steve Buscemi who is 55.  They are all very funny and very accomplished men.  They are all very successful.  They have been in many wonderful shows and movies.  They probably don't have to search very hard for projects.  And they probably are recognized all the time. 

I love movies.  I snuck into my first movie at the age of 15, it was Splash.  And I sat in the back row because I had been raised with the belief that Satan's playground included all movie theaters.  And since my choir and band teacher had taken a group of us, I was sure that either Satan or my mother would find out what I was doing and drag me out.  I didn't get to really enjoy that movie but the next movie I saw was Dune and my mother did find out about that one and she was very upset with me.  But as things go, she got more and more used to me going to movies and one day she stopped lecturing me on the evils of movies and I have enjoyed movies of all kinds ever since.  And just for the record, I have run into neither Satan or my mother at any movie I have gone to.

I know that Hollywood is mostly made up of bullshit and mirrors but I like to think that once in a while there is a great actor that stumbles in and makes a name for herself or himself and that everyone takes that actor based on her or his craft and not the size of her breasts, behind or how many magazine covers she poses for.  I was really sad to see that a 29 year old actress was cast with 3 - fifty year old actors.  I know of quite a few fabulous, attractive, funny and accomplished 40 to 50 year old actresses but Hollywood saw fit to put Olivia Wilde in the film.  And let me just say that I think Olivia Wilde is fabulous in her own right, it just irritated me to have her cast in this particular film.  So irritating in fact that I no longer find the movie memorable, I no longer find it funny and  I would not recommend it to anyone who loves movies as much as I do. As a matter of fact, I can't even remember what the name of the movie is.

I still love date night at the movies and I will still go on watching movies but I wish for once they would get it right - the girls are supposed to be 7 years older than the dudes - at least that is the way it is at our house.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mad Men

I found a knitting group at the local library.  It meets twice a month but I can only go once a month due to a yoga class I am taking.  I love this knitting group because I am one of youngest members by a long shot.  Everyone else except one other lady is in their 60's, 70's and 80's.

My friend Francoise has been talking about this show on AMC called Mad Men about an Ad agency in the 1960's and how great it is.  Finally after seeing it pop up on my tablet repeatedly as something Netflix would like me to watch, I started out with the pilot and immediately got hooked.  I am fascinated overall by how much attention is paid to the detail of the show.  The clothing, the decor, the jewelry, the shoes, the mannerisms, the sayings, the cars, the buildings, the culture, the way men treated women, the way women treated men, and much more.  I am on season 3 now and I treat myself to an episode a night - I'm savoring it and making it last.  I saw yesterday someone posted on Facebook that season 5 is now available on Netflix so I am very excited to have even more episodes to watch.

As I sat there knitting last Friday I listened to these two 80 year old women who sat across from me, Rita and Peggy.  They talked about how no one nursed their babies in the 60's and how mean the nurses were to one of them for deciding to nurse.  They talked about Postpartum depression and how it went untreated.  They talked about how easy life was when their husband died because they didn't do anything to help them anyway.  They talked about how their grandkids seem so much smarter and better than their kids because parenting has changed so much.  They talked about smoking to lose weight.  They talked about how you didn't leave home until you got married.  They talked about coming from Germany at age 8 and not telling anyone where they were from because you would get picked on.  They talked about their parents now allowing them to speak German when they came to the US because Germans were hated.  They talked about eating only meat and potatoes for dinner because that was what you did.  They talked about their fathers, uncles and brothers coming back from the war and never being the same.  They talked about being married to the same man for 45 and 50 and 55 years.  They talked about burying their husbands.

It was fascinating.  I sat and listened, yes I listened for 2 hours and knit.  And when I was through I was very grateful.  Grateful that I was born in 1968.  Grateful that they went through what they did so that I could be where I am today.  And grateful that Mad Men is only a show and not a reality anymore, at least in my country. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013


There is a small group of us that walk to pick up our kids at school instead of queue up in the pick up line.  I prefer to walk so I can smother my kids with hugs and kisses at the end of a long day of school.  I also get a chance to chat with some of the other parents who also walk.  Among this very small group of parents I have met a nice Mexican lady who also walks.  And on Monday she invited me to her house to have some tamales that she made by hand.

Let me back up here and share that I have always believed that I was either part Mexican or Latina - having the talent to speak Spanish fluently and constantly wooed by all things Latin.  So an invitation to have homemade tamales is like a call to prayer for me and I bundled the girls in the car and we went to make new friends.

This family lives in a small trailer that they inherited from a construction job her husband did.  When he finished the work, the lady who contracted him could not pay him the large sum of money she owed him so instead she gifted him an acre of land and a single wide trailer she had been living in while the construction was going on.  So immediately he became a landowner.

He and his wife and 3 kids have built up the property to include a 2 car garage, a playground, a koi pond, a landscaped back yard, a screened porch and chicken houses for at least 15 chickens and 15 roosters.  She gave me a tour of their property and proudly explained to me that her husband had built everything himself.  I was so impressed by his handiness.  While the kids played outside we got to know each other over some of the best tamales I have ever tasted.  And I got a chance to learn her story which is sad but not unlike many had working Mexicans in this country.

She, her husband, and their two older children are undocumented and so they do jobs they can do to get buy and operate on a cash only basis.  She cleans houses and he does yard work.  Their youngest child is a US citizen but due to the laws of each state changing it does not guarantee their safety from being deported.  Both of the older children are college age but cannot enroll because they don't have social security numbers so their parents have urged them study trades so they can work while they hope that the laws change so they can apply for citizenship.  They lost their licenses several years ago so they drive uninsured and unlicensed.  And they have no bank accounts and they owe no one money.  And they pray for good health constantly.

When I left their home I left with a big bag of tamales, a dozen fresh eggs and a huge feeling of shame for myself.  I felt ashamed for spending so much time feeling sorry for myself and whining about hating this place.  And resolve to try to make it better, at least for a few days.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Year 7

This is the time of year that I write something to commemorate the time that my sister has been incarcerated.  Each day she spends in prison is one day closer to her release date and the opportunity to spend time together again.  But that having been said, each day she spends in prison is one more day she spends in hell.  I'm sure that she does her best to make the most of her situation - she certainly convinces me when we are talking on the telephone that things are not that bad.  But I know that where she is, is the last place she would choose to be but as she puts it, nothing can compare to the 16 years of hell she spent with the guy who is responsible for putting her where she is.

I have been consumed with my own feelings of loneliness lately and feeling sorry for myself and my situation.  I have plenty to eat, a warm bed, nice things, people who love me around me and today there is sunshine but I have been spending a lot of time missing California and my friends and family.  And in the midst of my pity party my cousin has made time in her very busy schedule to come and visit me not once but twice.  Once in January and once in February!  Talk about wonderful.  We found a great greasy spoon restaurant that makes some of the best biscuits I have ever had.  We found a wine bar that was trying very hard to be pretentious.  We had some really yummy Indian food.  She played with the kids.  We played the violin and piano and sang so loudly that the kids ran off an played in another room.  We found stinky antique stores where I'm sure a few ghosts live. And all the time we spent together I forgot about how lonely I was and how much I missed all my friends and family.

When I was 18 years old I left home to go to an exchange program in Spain.  In all honesty I didn't know where Spain was and was fairly shocked to realize it was very far away from California but at that time I didn't care, I was ready to leave home and get away.  Once I got there I was crippled by homesickness.  I was so bad that I didn't want to leave my dorm room or go anywhere including classes.  I didn't speak any Spanish so that also made it hard.  So my sister, who was teaching English in South Korea at the time, flew all the way from Seoul to Valencia, Spain and spent her hard earned money and took me on a Christmas trip around Europe.  And the worst part of this story is that I was a little shit to her the whole time.  She paid for everything.  She was so generous to me.  She was so kind and so forgiving.  And I was nasty, and small minded and unfair and snotty.  And I feel terrible about it.  I wish I had spent more time being kind and generous to her.  But I was 18 and I was terribly foolish and too busy being a brat to appreciate what a good big sister and overall good person my sister was being.  It breaks my heart to think about how shitty I was to her.

And this is where my cousin comes in.  Sometimes when I spend time with her, I feel like she is on loan to me, to fill in for my sister, to help me right some wrongs.  And someday when I'm not young anymore and my sister is not young anymore, I will get my sister back and then my cousin and I can just be best friends and she won't have to fill two roles for me like she does now. 

Hang on Angela, you are one year closer.
And thank you Baby Lisa.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I have been thinking a lot about blogging lately but I didn't want to be super negative or whiney, I didn't want to complain too much or seem down in the dumps so I have tried to find things that are uplifting and happy to read about, and focus on uplifting things which means I am not writing as much as I usually do.  I also do not want to constantly compare California to North Carolina because as all us Californians know, that is not fair to anyone.  But life is not fair.

I am volunteering twice a week in school.  This is a good way to fill your time when you find yourself with lots of it and not a lot to do.  It is also a good way to focus your negative attention on something positive.  Last week I got a chance to witness a fun game that Kindergartener's and First Grader's play called "What-cha Doin'?  Here is how it goes:

The kids sit in a big circle.  Then one child stands in the middle and points at one of the sitting kids.  The kid they point at says in a sing-song voice "What-cha Doin' Jack?" (insert the kids name here) to which the kid in the middle answers, "Playing hockey" and then the kid sitting stands up and replaces the kid in the middle and the kid in the middle starts to run around pretending to be playing hockey.  Then the kid points to another kid and they say "What-cha doin' Mikey" and Mikey says, "playing baseball" and so on.  Eventually each child will get a chance to pretend to do some type of sport or game as you make your way around the circle.  It also allows the kids to get their wiggles out after lunch when they are starting to get a little crazy. And I'd like to think it addresses the lack of exercise the kids get in school but if you see how little exercise they get and how nasty the cafeteria food is, you would not believe it.  But I'm saving that for one of the super negative blogs later on when you are tired of all the rainbows and sunshine I'm streaming your way.

Eventually the game got around the circle and it was my kid's turn to be asked what they were doin' to which she answered, "dancing ballet".  Now both of my girls have taken ballet for a few years and they both have had boys in their ballet classes.  But the teacher stopped the game and said, "no no, we aren't having boys dance ballet, pick something else" and so my kid picked jumping jacks or something like that.  And just like that all the conversations we have had at home about boys and girls doing the same stuff and girls being able to do exactly whatever boys can do and vice versa went flying out the window.  And I felt super sad for boy ballerinas everywhere.

 And then I gave the girls a lecture about them being able to do whatever the hell they wanted including welding, installing cable, playing polo, swashbuckling and being ballerinas.