Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Saturday, December 28, 2013


We are officially from Pittsboro North Carolina.  We have been here for one year and one day and I guess that makes us locals.  I can  honestly say that I didn't think I'd get here but it isn't a bad place to be.

Happy New Year and if you make it out to North Carolina, ya'll stop by and say hello - after all this isn't a terribly big state and I'd be pissed if you kept on driving.

And to usher in the New Year, no one says it better than my favorite 4 Swedes, Agnetha, Annifried, Benny and Bjorn. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Christmas Traditions are fun!  One of my all time favorite things to do sometime after Thanksgiving is to wait until I hear that awesome Bing Crosby Hawaiian Christmas Song on the radio, call up my Hawaiian friend Cheryl and sing it to her at the top of my lungs.  I also make truffles at least 3 times during December.  And I like to have all my Christmas shopping done by December 1st so that I can sit back and watch the mayhem and feel good about being done.

Tonight I started opening boxes and sorting and wrapping.  As I was digging in the boxes from Amazon and the bags of things I had stashed through the last couple of weeks I found a huge box at the bottom and opened it.  It was a ton of amazing Japanese goodies from Daiso which my Cupertino friend Elisa had sent me back in October or November.  It was like winning the Japanese Dollar Store lottery only now we have to find stockings big enough to cram it all into!

Because we bought a house a month ago and moved a month ago I was really behind the ball on Christmas this year only just finishing all my shopping last Friday while the girls finished their last 3 hours at school for the year.  Tonight I ran out of tape and had to strap the last gifts with ribbon and then I ran out of wrapping paper. 

I don't know how much planning you put into your holiday but I can tell you that each year that goes by I am amazed by my Mom.  For a single parent to pull off a holiday like Christmas the way she did had to require super human talent and brains.  I remember Christmas being so wonderful and full of tradition and exciting and fun.  And I remember each gift being so perfect and well thought out and our stockings stuffed full of candy and goodies and an orange in the toe.

Thanks Mom (and Grandma) for making Christmas so great and for creating all the traditions that I now carry down to my kids.  I've added some of my own, like the fact that my kids know all the words to Last Christmas by Wham!, watching a new Christmas movie each year, this year it was Home Alone 2, visiting Santa and telling him how good we were, reading Twas the Night Before Christmas, putting cookies out for Gabe, er, Santa to eat later, Santa letters from Papa, going ice skating, drinking Coca Cola and many many more.   This year it is just the 4 of us but we are gonna be alright and have a grand time. 

Mele Kalikimaka!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Club

I am not sure if the holidays have sapped my writing prowess or if being far from family has shrunk my Joyous writing spirit but something has stopped the creative juices from flowing completely.  I still have that list of back up stuff to blog about but I don't feel like dragging out the list and dusting it off and trying to write something that means nothing.

In the meantime I will write about what is going on right now.  We have switched to Satelite service to provide our internet.  We had no other choice until more people move into our new neighborhood and we can band together and demand DSL or cable internet.  In the meantime I am not always happy with where I have to stand in the house to get my tablet and my phone to work and my bathroom is a dead zone completely.

And then we found out that with 4 adults in the house over Thanksgiving we used up all our month's allotment of bandwidth which left me with 2 weeks of no browsing or streaming or anything.  So I was forced to read.  And then I emailed 10 or 12 ladies and suggested we start a book club and they agreed that we should!  And here are the 3 books I have read in the last 2 weeks in preparation for the launch party of my new book club:

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.  If you haven't read anything by this person you are missing out.  His books are catalogued in the Young Adult section of your library but his writing is why I read, his books are magical.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Just saying her name is lyrical to me.  She can write a book!   And every page of her 477 page novel was a learning experience.

The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.  A story that blends several together about a young intern and the President of the United States.  Not my style at all and I didn't learn anything new so I just skipped from one racy part to another.

And the books waiting for me to read are:

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld and Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding.

I'm so excited for the book club, we meet in January and hopefully it will grow and grow and we will read fabulous books and expand our minds and our libraries.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Yesterday I went on Facebook and I saw a friend had posted that he and his Mom were headed to a discount store that will remain nameless because I refuse to give that store any business until they pay me for advertising.  I happen to love this particular discount store because they have everything.

I found Gabe and told him we needed to go to find one of these stores since I haven't been inside one for over a year and even though he was under the weather he braved the elements and we drove and found one.

I was helping the girls pick out stocking stuffers for their dad when our friend who had posted on Facebook walks around the corner!  He had salsa on his face.  I then talked him out of buying the headlamp in his hand because we bought several a couple of years ago and they don't give out enough light to see at night.

We bought a few things and headed home.  I love new friends!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Internet Santa

I've always enjoyed buying things online - I remember ordering a baby crib quite a few years back when ordering things online was frowned upon, for a baby that is now a teenager and having it delivered only to discover that they had somehow charged me for 2 cribs and had 2 cribs waiting.  I totally freaked out.  But we got the problem solved and never to be discouraged by a total disaster that is not of my own making I have done it over and over until I got it perfect, which, interestingly enough, is almost exactly what my dating life was like until I met Gabe.

Back to the internet shopping topic. . . .  This year I find myself in the middle of December and totally stressed out about the fact that I'm still in the list making phase of Christmas gifts and nowhere near being ready or prepared for the big day.  Oh how I remember the single days, no gifts, no plans, usually on a beach somewhere by myself sipping a cocktail.  But those days are gone, this parade of trees, decorations (all of which have the word JOY stamped on them somewhere), music and dance performances, stockings and presents has crept up on me and I am not prepared.

In my own defence, we bought a house, we moved, we had family visiting for 3 weeks and where was I going to find the time and the energy to gift plan and buy?  And so I turn to my trusty online friend Amazon.  And every day a box or two show up at the door and I open them and stash them in the top of the closet with all the other boxes and in about 2 weeks they'll get wrapped and ripped into.

Ho Ho Ho!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Midnight Moonshine

We had a Housewarming Party on Saturday night to kick off the holidays and also to break in the new digs.  It was lovely.  We had the food catered by a little Mexican place in Sanford and by my friend Ana who can make any Mexican restaurant food taste like trash.  (The woman can make things melt in your mouth).  And we invited new friends and old friends and even had the Outlaws here to party on down with us. 

When I sent out the invitations I felt a little sad.  We are new to the area and we don't know so many new friends.  I was worried that we would have only a small amount of people here and that it would be a quiet and sleepy party.  But the party grew and grew and there were tons of kids running around outside playing and people looked like they were having a nice time and enjoying the good food, the cocktails (or cocky's as I like to call them) and the company.

The invite read that the party started at 4pm and our first guests walked through the door at 4:05pm.  And the finish time read 7pm.  And our last guests walked out the door at 10:30pm.  And despite the 2 bottles of "champs" that someone I know intimately managed to handle all on her own and keep it together and the change in footwear around 7pm because lets face it, heels don't last all night on this party animal, I enjoyed every moment including the clean up at 11pm.

We were given some amazing gifts and they all had a wonderful North Carolina theme to them, we even got a canning jar of moonshine. 

Happy Holidays everyone!