Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Thursday, May 23, 2013


It has been raining here for what feels like weeks and weeks.  Sometimes I feel like I moved to Oregon instead of N. Carolina because no one told me about the rain.  When I moved to Portland, everyone told me about the rain.

It is humid now.  We had 2 or 3 nice, sunny days with a little breeze and then it got really humid.  I don't mind it though - it reminds me of Jamaica and it makes me feel young.  For some reason the very very dry heat saps all my energy.  I won't let anyone turn on the air conditioning until it turns 90 degrees and then we will turn it on, very low.

There are a good many things that have happened since our move and there are a good many things that haven't happened.  I feel like the days of sitting around and waiting for the phone to ring are over.  Sometimes it rings and very often it doesn't and if a day goes by without it ringing I don't feel personally injured like I used to.  I have a part time job now and that keeps me busy.  I volunteer at the local elementary school and that keeps me busy.  And in 2 short weeks summer vacation will descend on us and it will keep me busy and crazy.  But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

About a month after moving I stepped on a scale and held my breath and it told me that I had lost some weight.  I wasn't even trying but I also was not in a good space.  So I started using an App that my friend always uses when she is watching what she eats called My Fitness Pal and began the task of tracking what I eat.  I was able to lose a few more pounds and then I would hit a plateau.  Now I have to back up and remind everyone that 2 years ago I started to take blood pressure medication and I lost 20-ish pounds and I got lazy and tired and put the weight back on.  I didn't do it on purpose, it was not a good feeling to pull out those fat jeans.  I felt like a loser.

Anyway, I kept using the App and it actually did what it is intended to do, it made me accountable for everything I put into my body.  I started to watch pounds come off.  And I don't mean that they flew off and I lost weight celebrity style - through coffee enemas and a liquid diet.  I'm not that crazy.  I posted recently that I had some nice fat jeans and should I keep them or toss them and here are some of the responses I got:

Lisa: Send them to me. 
Helki:  Depends on how big they are.. 1 size or a half size keep a couple
Dawn : Sell them!

Heather:  Keep in a hard to access box...
Mary-Anne: Alter.

Gina: Sadly speaking from experience. Keep.

This time around I took some pictures so I could take them out and look at them.  Nothing helps your progress with something like taking before and after pictures.  I don't have a lot of them but the ones I have I want to share.

Besides getting slimmer, you can tell I am a master photographer.  The first picture is March, the second is April and the last one is May.  I'm going to Mexico in July so don't be surprised if July/August picture involves a bathing suit.  It most likely won't be a bikini but you never know.  Tara has a topless picture of me on her fridge. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Granola Bars

What I would really like to do is write about Poison Ivy but I needed a little pick me up so instead I have decided to write about Granola Bars.

My husband eats an extraordinary amount of food.   And because I am not eating sugar lately it seems like he eats an extraordinary amount of sugar.  If I make a batch of cookies they are gone the next day.  If I make brownies, the same thing.  If I buy a vat of cookies from Costco they are gone too. However, there are benefits to being married to a big eater, such as, we don't ever eat leftovers, ever.  All those kids out there that hate leftover night - my kids don't know what that is.  We never throw out food.  We never have food that spoils.  Oh and he is not picky about what he eats, unless it involves tofu.  But that is another blog altogether.
I am proud of my pantry.  I love going there and looking at what I have and creating something fun.  And this week it was Homemade Granola Bars.
Here is what they were made out of,
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil or any type of oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • dash of kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
Preheat your oven to  300 degrees  and throw all those ingredients in a bowl and mix by hand.  I am a big fan of throwing everything together, I am not big on separating and beating and whipping and cooling.  Then put down some parchment paper in a 9x13 pan and put your wet mixture in and flatten it as evenly as you can.

And then bake at 300 for 30 minutes.  Take them out and cool them by putting them in the freezer or fridge for 30 minutes.  Then cut and place on a cookie sheet and bake another 15 minutes until they are golden brown.  Cool before eating.  And you can store them in an airtight container or bag them or wrap in parchment paper and tie with twine and make them cutesie.  But since Gabe eats stuff before I can make it cutesie, I just don't bother.  I do sometimes recommend he lets them cool before stuffing them in his face.

Que aproveche!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I have a job!  It is very exciting.  I never thought that having a job would be so liberating, so exhilarating and so much fun.  I feel like I am working for the CIA because I can't talk too much about what I do.  It is very confidential.  But I am so busy learning new things and so busy with all the volunteering I do and then so busy with my new job that I feel excited and challenged. 

It never rains it pours, isn't that how life is?  I was at the kid's school on Friday and ran into the Interventionist who works with ESL kids and we got a chance to introduce each other.  I've been working with a child who doesn't speak any English who came here recently and is trying to get to grade level by the start of the next school year.  He is very bright but he needs to learn English to succeed and right now I'm working hard with him but in Spanish. 

One day after volunteering at school, I casually let it drop that if the school district was willing to pay me to teach this kid English I would be happy to do it during the summer so they don't have to find a bus to drive him to a school that is 15 to 20 miles from here and a teacher to work with him there, etc.  She apparently casually told the Interventionist this information and the Interventionist casually mentioned that she thought she would have a paying job for me throughout the summer when we ran into each other. 

Now I'm even more excited because it looks like I will have my super secret CIA job and then a teaching job.  I feel great!  And I know when I get my first paycheck at the end of the month I will feel even better and why?  Because I know that we will be that much closer to buying a house. 

I can't wait to stop being a renter.  I have enough nightmare Property Manager, Home Owner, Slumlord Contract Nightmare, taking pictures of piles of cat poop stories that I could write a book on renting. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013


So last week I got to accompany a group of kindergarteners to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.  It was great.  Because my child is in a combo class, there are only 9 kinders in her class and so I got to just follow my kid around all day and enjoy the animals and the whining.

For those of you that haven't visited the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, it is the most beautiful zoo I have ever seen.  It is new.  It is huge.  And it is clean.  And the animal exhibits are vast.  It makes the San Francisco Zoo look like something scary and gross which it kind of is.  Even though they've tried to update it and make the exhibits nicer after that tiger attack, it is still small and pretty stinky.

After a long day of walking and walking and walking, it is 1,371 acres big after all, we stopped for a few minutes of play at the playground before leaving.  After all the whining and moaning about being so tired, it was amazing to watch the kids sprint to the playground with all this newly found energy.  A dad standing near me reached into his pocket to pull out his cell phone and his hunting knife fell out.  Yup, it looked just like the one pictured here.  I wondered why he would need a hunting knife on a trip to a local zoo and as I was wondering that his wife said in a hiss, "why do you have your hunting knife with you?"  As he leisurely stooped to pick it up and put it back in his pocket, he casually replied, "You never know what kind of shit is going to go happen when you are at the zoo.".

I wondered as we left if he meant with the kids or with the animals.