Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Saturday, September 21, 2013


On Monday the UPS driver dropped off book 3 of the MaddAdam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood.  This trilogy begins with Oryx and Crake and the second book is The Year of the Flood and finally MaddAdam which I have been waiting for what feels like years.  I am trying to read as slowly as I can but it is hard because the book is so good.  I am trying to savor it because as soon as I'm done, I will have to go back and read the trilogy straight through.

It is hard to explain what these books are about.  They are classified as Science Fiction although I will be the first to admit that I don't like that genre of writing, at all.  These books are about what happens when the world is wiped out by a series of terrible plagues and and there are only a handful of people left on this planet and they have to try to get by and stay alive by their wits, their brains and their hands. 

Margaret Atwood is a fabulous writer.  She has written to me at all stages of my life.  I remember reading The Robber Bride when I was in my 20's and I was licking the wounds of a particularly horrible break up with a man who thought I was fine with him having more than one girlfriend.   It spoke to me.  I went back and tried to re-read it recently and I couldn't do it - I was not longer there.  She has written for every stage of my life and I haven't found another writer out there that has done that.  Those of you that read and read and read will know what I mean.

I know why I love her trilogy so much, I was raised in a religious community and there was a Salvation story that ended with the good in Christ being given a reward.  These books suggest that the only reward you get is hard work and having to start over.  There are no gold covered streets.  There are no mansions.  There are no white robes.  There is struggle, survival and chaos.  And some might consider this a nightmare.  But others might consider it heaven.  Perspective. 

Now I have to admit that I went online before I got the book and read the reviews and they were not all good.  As a matter of fact they were mostly bad.  But it hasn't changed the book for me at all - if anything it has made the book better because it has all those reviews to live up to.  I'm half way through the book and I have no idea where it is going.  But I can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Mean Reds

I am not sure why I do this but I love to rearrange the furniture.  I love it.  I love it so much that I do it all the time.  I'm sure there is some mental condition or something I'm missing, maybe I wasn't breast fed enough or maybe I was left too long at daycare or maybe I was abandoned in a shopping mall in the Hello Kitty store too long but I love to move the furniture around and around.

I love seeing what you can do with a throw rug, furniture, a hanging lamp and some pictures.  I love having Gabe and the girls come home and their expressions as if walking into a new house.  I even love the half hearted "ohhhhhhs" that come out of their mouths when they see that I've moved all the furniture around and now the house has to be navigated differently.  I am fortunate that no one in my family is blind.

I cannot be the only person who does this.  And it solves two problems, the one of liking the furniture in different places and cleaning behind it.  So I like to combine cleaning day with moving the furniture day.  When you pull it out from the wall, you are required to clean behind it.  It kills two birds with one ottoman! 

Aside from cooking and knitting it is number 3 on my list of favorite things to do when I'm feeling frantic, tired, irritated, grouchy or fat.  Or as Holly Golightly would say, when I've got the mean reds.

"The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? "

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


The weather is starting to change here.  Last week sometime we went from mind numbingly hot and oppressive humidity to balmy cool evenings and mornings and warm afternoons but no humidiy.  And several other things have started to change now too.  The leaves are thinning out - I can actually see houses from the street when I'm on my morning or evening walks.  And the cicadas and tree frogs are not as loud as they were a month ago and the cicadas are starting to die, they are everywhere laying dead in the yard giving Marcko something yummy to snack on when she is on the zip line.

Yesterday as I was walking a nice breeze came up and a bunch of leaves started to fall.  And I stopped walking and stood and looked up and watched the leaves swirl and dance and fall to the ground.  It was very pretty and very peaceful and I didn't miss California in that instant.

We moved here at the end of December and there were no leaves and no cicadas and it was cold and grey.  So this transition of summer to fall is something we have never experienced and I'm looking foward to it.  I can honestly say that pulling out my jeans and my sweaters and putting on slippers in the morning and carrying that mug of hot tea or coffee around with me is something I enjoy.

And our calendar is full to overflowing now.  Between kiddie birthday parties and weekend get togethers and music classes, dance classes, school and work I feel like I have little free time for sitting around and whining or complaining.  We even ordered Halloween costumes and can't wait to put them on and prance around the house in preparation for the best kids holiday ever.

And I'm letting go and starting to go with the flow.  I'm letting go of some of my rigidity and my inflexibility and my craziness.  I'm accepting that I'm here right now and I am not going anywhere and that I need to make the most of this place where I am because that is how life is.  And I'm always knitting and soon I will be done with the 2 year socks.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I've been tossing around the idea of opening a small shop in the little town that we call home now.  I have all this jewelry that my sister has painstakingly put together and it is original and beautiful and lovely and inexpensive.  I used to sell it in California and while it didn't make my sister or myself millionaires - it sold well and I didn't have to do all the work. 

I'm bored.  I need more to do.  The little job I do Monday through Friday has turned into that, a little job and I find that I need more to do - although I'm not willing to get a job that doesn't allow me to pick my kids up from school, at least not yet.  I know that working for yourself ends up being so many more hours than you plan on and that it takes a long time to turn a profit and that in a small town like Pittsboro you are totally dependent on tourists and tourist season but I have spent the last 8 months tossing around the idea of opening my own shop. 

Having never gone into business for myself I know that besides being a writer, it is the only other thing I haven't done that I would like to try.  And I know what I would sell in the store besides jewelry - shoes.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


The girls have been begging for a new pet.  I have been hoping that they will forget they want new pets and find a new hobby or be too busy with homework but with all the stuff we have going on  and all the dancing and piano lessons, they still want pets.  We already have enough cats and dogs and we have been the fish route but they want something interactive that they can play with and enjoy and name and feed.  So we have agreed to becoming the parents to a set of rats.

When Fiona was in preschool she went to a Parent Participation Coop and they had two rats named Cocoa and Pablo.  I was one of the few parents that enjoyed letting a few kids in, closing the doors, setting up a small maze and taking out the rats to play.  They were so fun.  Their little paws so soft. And they were so good interacting with the kids.  But like any other animal they require a certain amount of care and I already feel like I have a lot of mammals under my care.

So this morning we were talking about rats and what it would cost us and how much we are expecting each girl to pitch in towards the purchasing of rats and where they will live and how we will keep the elderly cat from snacking on them and it occurred to me that should these rats procreate and have more rats what will we do with a litter of rats?  Do people adopt rats?  Do we give them away?  Are the litters small?  So I mentioned my concern to my husband who willingly offered up, "Babe, don't worry, I know how to sex a rat". 

Standby for pictures of sexed up rats.