Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


 Today I came home from Target with several bags of things.  They were heavy and I went to sent them down and fish out my keys to unlock the front door when I noticed a long black stick laying across the door.  Except it was not a long black stick, it was a snake!  I would like to say that I rationally got a rake or a hoe or a shovel and I coaxed it away from the front door or I whacked it really good and sent it straight to snake heaven or I just stepped over it and went inside.  Instead I did something else.

I dropped all my purchases all over the ground.  Then I broke out in a cold sweat and I started to hyperventilate and I felt like I was losing bowel control.  I managed to force those muscles to kick in but then I started to panic and in my panic I called my neighbors while trying not to scream out loud.  They were not home so I hung up and called my other neighbors.  They were not home either, THANK GOD because by this point I was sobbing and hiccuping like a 2 year old that has dropped a lollypop, or like a 2 year old who has seen a snake.

Then I took a picture of it and called my husband and told him I was packing my bags and moving out and he could either stay or go, it was up to him.  And he suggested I go and get the rake or something heavy and whack it really good and I told him that he could come home and do that but I was going to freak out which was pretty funny because I literally was hysterical - blubbering, sniffing, hiccoughing, hiccuping and breathing heavy.

At this point I noticed several green bags with dog waste in them - I throw them in one spot before I dispose of them and that spot is on the front porch.  So I picked up one bag and threw it at the snake.  Then I picked up the second bag and chucked it at the snake.  This snake clearly didn't like having bags of shit thrown at it so it slithered away and into a small hole that leads to the crawl space under the house.  And I had to go inside the house and have a stiff drink.  Or two.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Several weeks ago I posted a blog about being bored out of my mind.  It was cold, the days were short and my kids were at school all day and I needed something to do.  I still want to be here when they get home from school and I wanted to do snack and help with homework because I believe firmly that this is how we help our kids succeed but I wanted to find something to do so that I felt like I was succeeding too.  I was also wallowing in a healthy amount of self pity which I am getting better and better at.

I got many suggestions.  People suggested I apply for part time work which I have done.  People suggested I join a dance club, gym or exercise which I have also done.  Someone suggested I join a Mommy club or some type of organization which I have done but I'm not interested in participating at this point.  And a friend suggested I volunteer because it had enriched her life so fully and why not give it a go?

I have always volunteered in one way or another.  It is part of my being - most likely from years of going to church and church school - after all, going to church is kind of like volunteering.  You are giving your time and energy to the benefit of someone else - like say, my parents.  Anyway - when we lived in Cupertino I volunteered at the kid's school and enjoyed it, but to be perfectly honest I always felt like I was running and running and needing to hurry and finish my work so I could run on to the next thing on my list.  Ever feel like that?

Then we moved and I felt like I stopped running, abruptly.  So I began with volunteering one day a week for an hour.  Then it turned into twice a week for 2 hours.  And then 2 weeks ago right when I felt like I was seriously close to having watched every movie on Netflix (and that is A LOT of movies) I got a call to help out with a student that just came from another country and needed someone who speaks Spanish fluently.  I felt like my mothership had just landed.  Now I'm at school 5 days a week helping this student for 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon.  I am getting busy!

And then this morning as I walked through the double doors at the school entrance a woman approached me and said, "Are you Mrs. McKeon?  Would you be willing to volunteer to proctor the exams at the end of the year?"

I'm so excited because I am busy now.  I am also so excited because I'm volunteering and making an impact in the kids lives at school.  I am excited that word has gotten around that I'm a reliable volunteer and that I'm in high demand.  I'm excited to have something to do.  At least for now.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


There are all sorts of things that people do when they find out you will be moving, one of which is to warn you about things that you are not used to or things you won't expect.  Since the first day we got here people have warned us about the weather in summer.  It gets hot.  Not just hot but muggy and humid.  Coming from the Bay Area the idea of hot means anything over 80.  But when I say that to people they just shake their heads and repeat that we are in for a real treat this summer and every summer after for as long as we live here. 

We moved in December so it was cold.  I couldn't find enough clothes in my closet to keep me warm and all the things I would wear in the winter in California didn't seem to keep me warm here.  The cold permeated my warmest coat and I found I couldn't take it off when I came indoors because I never warmed up enough to remove a layer. 

We moved to Kingston Jamaica when I was 10 years old.  We had seen a movie someone made 100 years ago about some barefoot kids that picked oranges and I seem to recall a monkey in the film but it did nothing to prepare us.  I think they actually filmed that movie in Madagascar or The Gabon but it certainly did not paint an accurate picture of what we were in store for.  Thankfully living there was so much more awesome than any movie could prepare us for and I remember vaguely not wanting to leave when we came home 4 years later.

Sometime in February people started warning us about ticks.  They told us about how to check for them.  They told us where they like to hide.  They told us how to get rid of them.  They told us the diseases that they carry.  I'd like to think that I'm clean and I keep my kids clean but I mentally prepared myself for the pets and the kids to get them all summer long so I bought a pair of good tweezers and tried not to gross out at the thought of a parasite that sucks your blood.  For some reason that grosses me out like nothing else, ok, maybe worms gross me out too, but so far so good. 

Yesterday was the hottest day we have had so far and we are only in April.  It was 88 or something like that, a little muggy but not unbearably so, not warranting air conditioning and a nice breeze.  I was woman and pulled 2 ticks off Marcko after getting my reading glasses out to make sure I was seeing ticks and not skin blemishes.  Later as I lay reading on my bed I felt something crawling down my neck and to my horror I discovered that I had a tick crawling on me.  After the screaming leap and dance that only a spry 44 year old can pull off, I killed and then began the stripping down and frantic body check and did not rest until I had stripped the bed and made sure there were no other ticks anywhere in my bedroom.  I had a fitful night of tossing and turning and dreams about ticks.  In one dream I had like 400 ticks and the kids called me Tick Girl.

Tick season (yup, they got their own season) runs from April to November!  It is going to be a long summer.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


In case you haven't heard already, I'm going to Mexico in July.  I am going to be supervised, that is, if my husband's passport shows up before then.  Mine is here already and it is new and ready to be used!  I can't wait. 

First, I am super excited because my friends are turning 40 and they've invited us to come and celebrate with them.  Having already turned 40 some months ago (ok, more than some) I know what is going to go down south of the border and it will be epic.  Yup, I just used the word epic. 

Secondly, we went to Mexico on our honeymoon and this June we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and so we are taking it back to Mexico.  Much less romantic and much less quiet but lots of fun none-the-less. 

Finally, I've been on this whole foods, non processed, green leafy vegetable and kale diet which is not only supposed to be really good for me, it has resulted in the loss of a few pounds.  I'm not wearing a bikini but I will not be wearing a moo-moo so it is a win win situation for everyone including the tourists in Mexico, the Mexican locals, my friends, my husband and myself. 

The only downside is that I am growing a little tired of kale.  I need some kale recipes.  I've done the soups, I've done the smoothies, I've done the salads and I've done the casseroles and quiches. 

This is a cry for help.  Email me your recipes at