Displaced Stay At Home Californian in rural N. Carolina

The Many Faces of Joy

The Many Faces of Joy

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bad Words

This is the story we heard this weekend while we were out having breakfast:

"One day Fiona took me into her closet and closed the door and she told me all the swears she has learned at school.

She said, "you want to hear the swears I know?"

"And of course I said yes because I wanted to see if she really knew some swear words."

"Ok, here goes,  Don't tell anyone.  Shat, Damn, Hell.  Garshdarnit.  Shoot."

GARSHDARNIT.  We screamed laughing, it was the funniest thing we had heard for a really long time!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Year 9

Every March I try to write a little something to commemorate the time my sister has been incarcerated.  This March 11th marks the 9th year that she has been on her very long adult time out.  I keep track because I feel like no one really does anymore except her and maybe my Mom.

Unless you have had a loved one that is close to you imprisoned for whatever reason, you don't know very much about it.  Oh yes, I realize she committed a crime and is paying her debt to society, she is serving the time that corresponds to the crime she committed.   But here is what I usually hear, "prison systems, tax dollars, freeloaders, loafers, Orange is the New Black, hang em high, put them to work, useless, lazy, criminals" but I guess that is the beauty of opinions everyone has one and most people love to share them.  I wish sometimes that highly opinionated people came with a built in fact checker.

Most of the time I block out the comments - I have this wonderful ability of fuzzing voices and I literally hear static when I don't want to listen to yet another opinion by someone who knows little or nothing or something their uncle or cousins boyfriends mother told them about the prison system.  What I do know is that I am a highly compassionate woman and parent and I believe in second chances.

In Spanish there is a saying, "si Dios quiere" which means "if God is willing" or "if God wants it" - and it is used many times in the place of just putting the word "if" in a sentence.  It indicates that we are not in charge of our destiny - if a train derails and runs into me, if the river floods and I drown, if the car crashes and goes up in flames, if I choke on a chicken bone, if I get attacked by a jaguar, it makes things kind of up in the air as far as what you are doing tomorrow, the next day and the day after that.  It also absolves oneself of all responsibility should things go wrong.

So here goes, si Dios quiere, in 7.5 years I'm gonna be picking up my sister and we are gonna hug for a super long time and then we are going to spend a really long time just laughing and talking and loving and smiling and when we are done with that we will start laughing again.  And she will get that 2nd or 3rd or 4th chance to start over.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


From time to time I have panic attacks and recently I started to have one, a big one and I didn't immediately recognize what was going on.  Now that I am an adult I can look back and see that I have had panic attacks for many years, even as young as age 7 or 8 but at that time I had no idea what was going on.  I actually know for a fact that I was suffering from PTSD which can cause all sorts of anxiety disorders, panic disorders and much more.

It has been a long while since I have had this level of anxiety and to feel it building into panic was a strange feeling after all these weeks and months.  And I can tell you that the way it built, reminded me of being 8 years old again and my immediate response was to jump out of the car and run screaming through traffic.

Here is what it felt like.  My arms and legs felt like they were 1000 pounds each and they were sluggish and slow and they were moving and pushing the air around like the air was thick honey.  I became acutely aware that I was trapped in my location and unable to stop the feeling that I was trapped.  I started to not be able to control my breathing as I started to pant a little and my eyes darted around unable to focus on anything and then I knew I was in trouble.  My hands got sweaty and I wanted to cry or scream.  When I was a kid I would get out of bed and turn on the light and walk around and sometimes cry.  Sometimes I would crawl into the closet with a blanket or under the bed. Almost always I would suck my thumb.  I was in a car when this happened so I couldn't do that.  As the panic built I realized I was going to have a panic attack so I started with my breathing, since that was what I could control and then I started rotate my hands and feet and I had to ride it out until my blood pressure went down and I could actually get a sentence out of my mouth.

I got in under control but it was a reminder that this is me, I have to deal with this stuff and while I have things in place to help me navigate and cope with panic and anxiety it sometimes sneaks up on me and surprises me at the worst possible times.  And it most likely will never go away.  But in the story of my life, I am in control, it doesn't control me.

Monday, March 2, 2015


I was talking to my friend Julie the other day when she said something that I got stuck on, she was talking about Social Networking and staying current and she said, "it is important to have a 20 something in your corner so that we can keep up to date with what is current."  She was so right.

We don't email anymore.  Blogs are so 2000.  Nobody reads anything longer than 140 characters.  Everyone speaks in acronyms.  I used to think that conducting relationships via text messages was horrible and offensive but not anymore.  Couples begin and end relationships with fewer words than a dinner menu.  Dealing with tough subjects in person is lame and pointless.

I don't care whether or not people like it or not, what I care about is staying current in a world that is rapidly changing.  Staying relevant so that when my kids are navigating these twists and turns I can have conversations with them about what to do and how to handle things.  So I got a 20 year old in my corner.

Who is your 20 year old?