Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Thursday, August 29, 2013


On Tuesday I went to the local Starbucks which is not really a Starbucks coffee shop but rather one of those Starbucks that they put in a grocery store but it is a Starbucks none-the-less and the only Starbucks that doesn't take a half hour to get to, to have a coffee with a friend.  Yup, I've graduated to Starbucks at 9:30am with a friend.  I was getting ready to go and we were standing up and saying our goodbye's when a woman walks up behind me and says in a booming voice, "You are that lady who stood in front of me in zumba class, I'd recognize those legs anywhere!"  And then she proceeded to introduce herself and chitchat for a few minutes until I finally said my goodbyes and ducked into the bathroom before my trip to the doctor.  But in those few minutes before I ducked into the bathroom while we introduced ourselves, she literally gushed about my legs, gushed I tell you.

And then today I went into the Pittsboro Public Library and was chatting with one of the librarians about a book they have on the New Fiction list that was written by my old writing teacher from PCC.  She was telling me about all the writers that lived in and around Pittsboro and the great writing forums and classes at the community college next door to the library.  I casually mentioned that I wrote a blog and that in my past life, or my next life or when I grow up I plan on being a writer.  And then I told her the name of my blog.  And she told me she had already read it and she loved it.  Ok, I can't remember if she said she loved it or not but in my version of the movie when the writer, (me) is telling the very attractive and tall Latino man in Spanish that she is famous and he recognizes her finally and his eyes open wide in surprise, the word LOVED is used.

So whether it's my legs or my words, I think I'm pretty famous.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The girls started back to school yesterday and I didn't cry.  And they didn't cry.  And when school was over and I went to pick them up, Fiona came running to me with her arms stretched wide and she crowed, "Mama, I'm not afraid of school anymore!" and it melted my heart. 

Starting school in the middle of the school year in a new place is such a different experience than starting school at the beginning of school in a new place.  We got to register the girls.  We got to buy their school supplies.  We got to go back to school shopping for clothes and shoes.  We got to meet new teachers.  We got to watch everyone else do the same.  But we also got to do some familiar things like walk down hallways we already knew.  And see friends we had already met.  And we got to enjoy the new year instead of fretting and frowning and holding those emotions in check because everything is new and scary.  And we got to go back to school.

I found myself with a very quiet house yesterday.  The puppy was gone for the day to Vet school with Gabe so I didn't have to chase her around.   So I dusted myself off and did a little work on the computer and then took myself shopping with a friend and out to lunch.  And I am not sure if it was the slow morning, or the lack of activity of taking the kids to the pool, the park, the playdate, the library or the fact that I had to jump out of bed to get ready to get the kids to school but I managed to throw my back out. 

And this morning it is worse.  And I imagine tomorrow morning will be worse still because it has that "ouch" factor that is getting worse by the minute regardless as to much ibuprofen I have taken.  I need to get back to normal because we have a 3 day weekend coming up and I need to be back to normal. 

It is nice to be back in the groove, I just need my back . . . back.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


We currently have two geriatric animals in our care.  One is our 12 year old German Shepherd that we got when we lived in Portland named Sally Tomato and the other is our 15 year old domestic short hair cat named Lloyd.  I say he is 15 but actually I have no idea how old he is, he could be 16 or 17 or older.  Gabe had Lloyd with him when I met him and so Lloyd we like to say comes from a broken home.  I also attribute this to the reason why Lloyd has never really warmed to me (or the other way around to be honest). 

Taking care of elderly animals is hard work.  You have to cater to their palate - sometimes they don't like the food you buy or sometimes the food upsets their delicate and elderly stomachs and sometimes they eat something for a few days and then tire of it and sometimes they cut out meals altogether.  And since they can't give us a reason, we have to try to figure it out.  Lloyd we have discovered likes only one type of food and that is all he will eat.  And no amount of tempting him will change his mind or his palate, unless of course you show up with a saucer of milk.  Sally has always been a very picky and slow eater and he has stopped eating dog-food altogether and now is eating chicken and rice which I am starting to have to mass produce for him like a Chinese restaurant. 

It is amazing to me that I'm doing this because I come from a family history of discarded animals.  I've actually threatened to write a tell all book with 30 chapters, each with a different pet name as a title.  It would be considered fiction, of course, but there are many chapters that will end like this, "I have no idea what happened to this animal."   The main reason for this is, we moved a lot, we got pets whenever we moved, we almost NEVER took them with us when we moved on.  And when I think back to these animals, I wonder sometimes why we never took them with us and why we were always allowed to get animals in the first place.  The only dog I can remember that we had from a puppy until its death was Wang-ja, the Angwin dog.  One dog.

I remember when Gabe was applying to Vet school one of the questions they asked him was if an elderly lady came in with a healthy 2 year old cat and wanted the cat put down because she was headed into a care facility that didn't allow animals, what do you do?  And I remember being shocked to hear that putting an animal down at the owners request is sometimes the best thing to do.  Remember that cat has lived with an elderly person, it likes quiet, it likes rest, it likes solitude.  Giving it to a family with 3 kids and a dog might be like dropping a steak into a tank of alligators.  But the right choice for the animal is not always the choice that people make.  And I find that it is so common for people to get a cute and fluffy pet and love it up and feed it and then dump it at the first chewed up pair of sunglasses or the first torn up rug.

When I see our elderly animals and I clean up after them and I cook for them and I care for them, I'm happy that I'm teaching my children how things come full circle and how death completes that circle.  And I'm hoping that they learn that taking an animal into their circle is a life long commitment.  In the next life I am sure that I will be locked in a world where I am forced to care of all the discarded animals from all the places we've lived.  I just hope that if that happens I get to take my husband with me!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Blahs

The girls start back to school in a week.  I'm not looking forward to it because I have had a wonderful summer and I'm not relishing the thought of all those hours alone again.  I am going to take an evening yoga class, join a gym, take a zumba class and maybe even an aqua zumba class although the thought of doing zumba in the water makes me as excited as becoming a plumber.

House buying is totally overrated.  All that hype and excitement and in the end you just get irritated, annoyed and end up having insomnia for weeks on end.  And the whole thing can fall through at any minute.

After a month off, I've dusted off my weight loss app and strapped back on my tennies.  My waistline didn't disappear but my interest in Kale Salad did.  But I am turning 45 in November and so I have to stick with it so that I can welcome in my middle ages in a size 8 instead of a size 10 or 12. 

I've been trying to decide whether or not to have a Mommies Trip to Vegas and invite anyone and everyone to join me to celebrate.  I just found out about a friend's 40th birthday in the Dominican so it might have to be put on hold.  Too many trips makes Joy a poor girl.

And in other news I'm going to get a shrink - a North Carolina one.  I am lonely and I'm alone and I'm frequently sad and I cannot depend on myself to snap out of it on my own so I think I'll have to have some help.  It is like getting a tune up on the car only it is tuning up this old machine called Joy.  It runs great but it runs better with a little attention.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Crazy Baby

I have all these things I want to write about.  I have even gone to making lists of things I want to write about because I get busy and forget.  This summer has been the summer of juggling, and I feel like I should join a circus.  I am juggling having a job and juggling trying to get it done and juggling make time for friends and family and juggling swimming and crafting and juggling knitting and exercising and more.

I've been wanting to write about Mexico, School starting, Fractured Families, Self Medication, Fear of Flying, Moms Night Out and and and but right now I have to write about Crazy Baby.

One of the things my husband does is he makes up the craziest games to play with the kids.  For a long time there was the game where he takes control of their hands and makes them do things like scratch their faces or konk themselves (gently) on their heads.  He made up the game Catch Foot where he lays on the ground and acts like roadkill and they run past him and he darts out with his hand and tries to catch their foot.  One of the girls bought a bow and arrows with rubber ends and he made up a game where they run past an open doorway and he shoots the arrows and tries to shoot them.  He made up a game called Squirrely where his hand is Squirrely and they make Squirrely do silly things like jump around and dance. (that first game sounds like the last game but trust me, they are two separate games)

The newest game is Crazy Baby and it involves one of Fiona's dolls.  He chases them around the house with Crazy Baby.  And Crazy Baby can hide behind doors, or under beds and it jumps out at them and tries to tackle them.  They scream in fear and run when Crazy Baby shows up and I can see why.  I told him that it is a cross between Chucky and that Allie McBeal dancing baby and that if they don't have nightmares it will be a small miracle.  Crazy Baby or Crazy Daddy?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ode to a Moms Club

I remember someone who moved here from California telling me that 6 months after their move they felt like they missed home more and suffered more from homesickness than when they first got here.  When you first move you are consumed with all the things that go along with moving - unpacking, buying things for your new home, organizing, finding your new favorite grocery store, discovering where the cheapest gas station is, taking the kids to piano lessons and many more important things.  Your social calendar takes a back seat.

I have been dreading this day since the first day we got here and yesterday I got the official email.  September 4 is my renewal date for the Sunnyvale Moms club and if I choose not to renew then I will no longer have access to the Moms Club website but more importantly I will no longer get the newsletter or emails of what the club is doing.

I will be honest - when we first got here those emails were my lifeline.  I loved seeing what everyone was doing back at home and where they were meeting up.  I got over the pangs of everyone having fun without me really quickly.  I am grown up enough to know that people are doing fun stuff and I am not always included.  I wasn't having a lot of fun in those first six months and so reading about cooking club and park playdates and the children's museum made me happy and nostalgic for what those types of events and places were like.  I even joined a Moms club here and tried to reach out but failed miserably.  It was like I had no energy for making new friends and my friendship bucket was full - it was overflowing, but it was on the West Coast, it was misplaced.  Or maybe I was displaced.

Not only that, we have just had the joy of seeing many of our friends and family over the summer.  We have been busy and have travelled.  We have filled up our social calendar to overflowing.  So getting that email was like a kick in the gut.  I'm not sure what I will do at this point.  Maybe I will email the President and beg her to let me stay a member in absentia, after all, who knows what the future brings.  Maybe we will move back?  Or maybe I will become more involved with my current Moms club.  Or maybe I will find more work and become a full time working Mom.  Or maybe I will ask Francoise to forward me all the emails of what everyone is doing. 

Whatever I decide to do, I feel like I'm moving all over again.  And I don't like it.