Saturday, December 27

Culture Shock 67

In California,  I had to change the windshield wipers on my car every year. In Mississippi, I am finding this to be the case as well.

Why? Why even mention such a mundane, ordinary maintenance type thing? Why does it matter? Why is it a shock that it is the same here in Mississippi as it is in California?

In California, I had to change the wipers because the heat and dry weather made them unusable. They would sometimes shrivel up and other times the rubber would crack. Either way, they were useless garbage.

In Mississippi,  the wipers are simply used up. It rains so much and so hard here that the wipers just don't have any wipe left in them!

Time to head to the car shop as we prepare for winter ice.

Wednesday, December 10

Culture Shock 66

Tonight, I was reminded of when I first came to Mississippi 17 months ago.

My husband had taken us on a twilight walk of our property. It was July. It was a gorgeous night. It was peaceful and beautiful.

Tonight, in December, it was cold. It was pitch black out. The now 2 year old was screaming for chocolate.

What was the same? What triggered my memory of such a sweet family time? What could possibly make the two nights comparable?

Bobcat. One word. One cat. Something wild. Something unknown. Bobcat.

That night in July of 2013 had ended with a growl, a rush to the house, an internet search and a confirmation that we had walked very close to a bobcat and her den.

This December night is being spent in worry as we spotted a bobcat stalking our chickens the night before.  The dogs are sleeping inside because of the cold, but I was petrified to retrieve them from their kennel this evening because of a bobcat. The dogs run is a good 100 feet from the house with no lights to guide the way.

I know bobcats don't attack people. I looked it up!  It's just the fear of the dark and the unknown, of the wild and the cold.

The most wild animal I ever had in my backyard in California was a turkey.

Thursday, November 6

Culture Shock 65

So, last night my husband and I went outside after the boys were asleep. We had heard a thud on the roof and a scampering around. There are squirrels about and they can get to chattering and jumping, but this was a colossal thud.

We have chickens and we've seen a bobcat and a feral cat hanging around the property so we were on alert. My hubby grabbed his gun. I grabbed the flashlight. Shining the light up on the roof reveled a possum running to the nearest tree that hung over the chicken coop.

My hubby's aim was true. The kids did not wake up. And we had possum soup for dinner! No. We didn't eat possum. But I can't believe I went outside in the pitch black of night with only a flashlight and a gun.

I have changed a lot this year.
Maybe that's the biggest shock of all.

Tuesday, November 4

Culture Shock 64

This shock is for everyone else!

I bought a pink and camo hat. I like it and I wear it.

That's it for now though. No more camo for this California girl!
(I can sense my husband's smirk from here!)

Culture Shock 63

I have to start this post with a definition.

SOCCER MOM: a female driver who is driving a team to a soccer game; a female who is driving a vehicle that is too big and beyond her experience to handle while she is distracted by the multiple children in the back seats and possibly on her cell phone.

This 2nd definition of Soccer Mom does not exist here in Mississippi. I might be the only female around who has never driven a tractor, but I used to drive a large van and trailer for small groups so I know how to handle larger vehicles.

It just hit me the other day as I was looking around at who was driving into the parking lot at my son's soccer game; mostly women drivers and all of them knew how to handle their big vehicles.

Something I don't miss from home: Soccer Moms!

Sunday, November 2

Culture Shock 62

Um, what? I'm speechless. I'm dumbfounded. I'm utterly shocked!

"Closed," the sign says. "Closed on Sunday."

I am not accustomed to the doors not opening when I need something from the store.

Call me spoiled. Call me bratty. Call me an out-of-towner.

I'll adjust. I just didn't plan on running out of diapers and milk and then not being able to get more 'til Monday!

I recently saw a post on facebook that our local yogurt shop is closing on Sundays as well. It is their busiest day but they are choosing to honor the Sabbath as a day of rest to give employees the opportunity to attend church.

Culture Shock 61

Mississipians, are we officially in the bible belt of the United States?

I grew up knowing all the churches in town. There were quite a few but we were a small town with a population of 100,000.

On the way to our church here in Summit, we used to pass no fewer than 3 churches. If I went the other way, I would pass 4 different ones.

On the way out to our new place in Liberty, we pass 3 different churches as well.

Almost a church on every corner! Didn't believe it until I saw it!

Culture Shock 60

On the freeway - I mean, highway! - I was going 65 mph, driving in the right hand lane. As I'm minding my own business, a semi truck passes me going 70 mph.

Wow!  I haven't driven much on the highways here. In California, semi trucks can't go over 55. I was shocked that a big rig would pass me! At home, if one passed you on the left, you should've probably gotten off the freeway awhile ago!

Wednesday, October 29

Culture Shock 59


We used to oo and ah over every tractor we saw. We would sometimes stop and watch them work. We would talk about the color and the big tires and the job it was made for.

My husband and son took a trip to Texas and decided to count the tractors on the way back. My son lost count after 200. He saw more than 200 tractors in one day!

Not such a novelty to see tractors in our way causing "traffic" anymore. We don't point them out to each other or stop to check them out.

I saw a big one a few days ago. As we passed, I realized that we don't much bother with them at all. They are part of the landscape now. Broke my heart a little to realize this, partly because my little guy isn't so little anymore and partly because it made me homesick.

Thursday, September 18

Culture Shock 58

In California, we had a way to predict the weather. If you washed your car, it was a sure thing that it would rain the next day!

Not really, but it felt that way at times.

I remember sitting in traffic on highway 4 and thinking that my car had the most dirt on it. Now, my car is the cleanest I've seen lately out here in the country! If I leave it out for a day or drive by someone using their tractor, my car is the dirtiest until the next rainfall, which could be tomorrow!

Saturday, August 30

Culture Shock 57

I came to a realization the other day as we had some summer thunder storms pass through.

My 9 year old didn't understand what rain was 'til he was 4. Four years in California and it barely rained.

My 20 month old knows what rain is! It rains at least once a week here in Mississippi. We stop to watch, or listen, or play in it!

Both boys love the feel of rain on their faces! Refreshing and cool after long hot summer days!

Thursday, August 28

Culture Shock 56

I was in shock so I didn't think to snap a picture.

Driving down the highway, the flatbed truck in front of me had a huge black plastic garbage bag flapping in the wind. My eyes naturally went to the moving plastic.

My mind wasn't sure what it saw at first. Two hooves hanging out. Two furry legs. A big thigh used for running or jumping.

Something furry. Something dead. I'm thinking a llama or a calf. It wasn't too big. Something juvenile. Something very dead... in a plastic bag... practically hanging off of this guys truck.

Not something I'm used to seeing!

Sunday, August 24

Culture Shock 55

Gas stations smell.

California has a few stations that, when you get in your car, you have that after-taste in your mouth still. It's in the air.

Maybe it's the heat or the humidity. I can't think of a station in Mississippi that does not have that taste. I know that some people don't mind the smell, though it bothers me.

I'm thinking that California has so many laws and additives that the smell is less prevalent. I'm not sure. But this culture shock is not a pleasant one for me.

Culture Shock 54

Gotta love facebook for receiving the latest news. Faster than the tv stations even!

I just found out: I missed an earthquake. I wasn't there. I don't have a story to tell about where I was when it hit, although it seems most people were in bed.

For those not from earthquake territory, it may be hard to comprehend. There is a feeling in your stomach like a roller coaster ride. A feeling you never forget. Each earthquake is different.  "You made it through 'this' one," your gut tells you. One more closer to the "big one."

I am so thankful to hear that all my family and friends are fine. A few broken plates but lives still living!

Thursday, August 21

Culture Shock 53

A friend thought I should write a blog post about the music we sang at choir practice.

Although my church growing up would probably not have picked that song to sing, gospel songs and spirituals are not foreign to me!

I've been in a few gospel choirs. I love old spirituals. And I was the token white girl in an all black gospel church choir when I lived in Atlanta.

For some,  this music might be new, but I'm an old pro and this music makes my heart sing!

Saturday, August 9

Culture Shock 52

What a wonderful difference in the highways here! Besides the lack of traffic most of the time, the on-ramps are marvelous.

I think it will be so much easier to teach Nick to drive. When my mom was teaching me to get onto the freeway back home, she regrettably chose an on-ramp that was short and consisted of a 270° turn. We actually had to stop on the ramp because of the flow of traffic, my mom being distracted by teaching me, and the degree of the turn. It was horrifying to be stopped on the freeway as cars zoomed past.

The highways in southwest Mississippi are not crowded. They have long on-ramps so you have time to merge. And it is common courtesy for drivers to move over to the left for merging vehicles.

Thank you, Mississippi!

Wednesday, August 6

Culture Shock 51

"Oh my gravy!"
That is a new saying for me!

Heard a story about a teacher who doesn't let her kiddos say, "Oh my god." She teaches them to say gravy instead.

Correct me if I'm wrong friends from California! Would a teacher get away with that?! I think a teacher would get reprimanded for telling a student they couldn't say the word god in the classroom, especially in this way.

It was a shock to me to hear this. It is an elementary teacher, but still. It is something that would be approached with caution in California for sure!

Sunday, August 3

Culture Shock 50

A few things have shocked me at the grocery store!

Not going to see these at Save Mart! I've also seen gator meat and lots of turkey giblets. Not sure what to do with any of it. (And I'm not asking!)

Saturday, August 2

Culture Shock 49

How many refrigerators do you have?

My grandmother in Oregon had an extra freezer in the garage. I could be wrong but I think she used it mostly when all the family was in town.

My parents have had an extra freezer off and on. But I personally never have. We've lived in apartments that don't have room for anything extra.

Here in Mississippi, it is almost a sin NOT TO have an extra freezer! You have to have room for that doe or two, deer or rabbit,  room for the pork, or even for those amazing sales from Piggly Wiggly!

Tuesday, July 29

Culture Shock 48

School Districts by county, not by city. I am totally confused!

Antioch Unified School District. That's a city.
Pittsburg Unified. City. (Yes. That is how California spells Pittsburg!)

South Pike and North Pike are counties. I was confused with South McComb and North McComb.

I think I got it now.

Friday, July 25

Culture Shock 47

Accents. Nope. I don't have one. So I thought a year ago!

I can understand most accents. I call it ear-tuning. I have to lean in a bit and watch the lips carefully at times.

My husband has found out from the locals that quite a few people moved up this way after hurricane Katrina hit. These people from the gulf of Louisiana are difficult for me to tune in to. Otherwise, Mississippians don't have too much of a draw in their speech!

I have found a few things that I say funny, though. "Leg" with a long 'a' sound, as well as "eggs." I pronounce the word "I" as the long letter sound, whereas the locals tend to say it with just the beginning sound. (Say it out loud slowly and you can hear 2 distinct sounds!)

I am sure there are other things I say that sound strange out here. In fact, children often stare at me when I say hello. I'm either funny looking or I sound weird to them!

Culture Shock 46

Wave. I must remember to wave. Take my hand off the steering wheel and wave. Shake my hand in the air as a car drives by the house to wave.

My little guy has this down, especially if you are in a truck! I am sure that I have been seen as rude because I forgot this little cultural thing to do. It is not second nature for me to wave to strangers or passers by.

Back at home, if I did this, I would be stuck with my hand up in the air! The only time I waved was when I actually knew the person.

Culture Shock 45

Time. Goes by. So slowly...

But not in California!
As the saying goes: If you're on time your late; if you're early you're on time.

But it's more than that! People talk slower here. They walk slower here. They drive slower here. It's just a matter of priorities and taking your time to enjoy the journey. There is no hurry to get through the grocery line or beat the red lights. It simply is what it is!

Wednesday, July 16

Culture Shock 44

Front doors.

We all know what they are.

Very few people here use them. I think they are for decoration or to let light in. Or they just come with the house. I'm not sure.

Our front door is actually enclosed within the front porch. We call it the screen room.

My husband works in peoples homes and says it can be confusing to find the door a particle family actually uses.

I thought front doors were for walking into the house.

Wednesday, July 9

Culture Shock 43

Time Zones

I am not liking this time zone difference. My family is 2 hours behind me here in Mississippi. That means that when it is 6:20 here, where we are done with work and dinner, it is only 4:20 in California. My sisters are not home from work nor have they considered dinner yet. My parents are probably thinking of dinner which means it is not a good time to call.

Same thing in the mornings. I get up st 7. By 9 a.m. I am ready to call my friends who are just getting up because of the time difference.

Friday, July 4

Culture Shock 42

How do you celebrate Independence Day?

For 14 Fourth of Julys, my husband and I have celebrated by going to a fireworks show. Fireworks are illegal to set off in California without special permits and licenses. We always brought snacks to munch and blankets to sit on.

One year, we bought fireworks in Washington to set off at a family reunion in Oregon. I believe they are not legal in Oregon either. My dad used to tell stories about setting some off down by the train tracks when he was a kid.

For the last 2 years, we have had our own mini show in our front yard here in Mississippi. So fun! This year, my little guy was awake enough to ooo and ahh over the mortars and bottle rockets. We are very careful, Grandpa! Our neighbors across the street have joined us and it's been really fun!

My husband and I started dating on July 4th, 1998. 17 times we have celebrated Independence Day together, even though two of those years were over the phone.

It's different for us here. Lots of state laws that are not the same have caused us pause. People ARE different out here, but mostly that has been a wonderful, refreshing change from the hustle of California.

I hope you had an amazing time with your family this past weekend!

Thursday, July 3

Culture Shock 41

Everything is bigger and better in Texas!

I remember hearing this as I grew up in the 80s. Bigger hats. Bigger DQ icecream sandwiches. Bigger trucks. Bigger houses. Bigger hair! Always bigger.

Now I can say that about California. Bigger highways than Mississippi.  Bigger towns than Mississippi.  Bigger buildings and stores. More people.

But Mississippi has it's glory too! Bigger families. Bigger yards to play in. More churches. Bigger trailers for hauling the bigger atv or bigger horses or bigger tractors.

Each place has it's charms. It's been a year; 365 days ago that I flew with my kids to be here with my husband. We are still adjusting, still learning, still missing California.  But we are glad to be a family that is together.

So, I've actually never been to Texas, but everything is definitely better when we are together!

Wednesday, July 2

Culture Shock 40


While driving on the west coast, I have hit squirrels and birds. I've seen possum and a gray fox ran in front of my moving vehicle once. I even sliced an already dead coyote in half. (Sad but true: the guy behind me was tailgating me and didn't see the body come flying at his vehicle. He got a flat tire.) Oh yeah, skunks too! Lots of skunks.

I know these animals are part of North America and can be spotted dead or alive just about anywhere.

But, here in Mississippi,  I've seen bunnies, snakes, turtles, and a baby armadillo, who was alive when I saw him!
The amount of roadkill is higher here. Cats and dogs mostly. Actually, my 9 year old and I  passed this dead red fox on the way home for a couple weeks.  We would check out its state of decomposition.  (Hey! Homeschool science!)

Friday, June 27

Culture Shock 39

Nothing like waking up on a Friday morning to a tick walking across your arm. YUCK! I am officially grossed out.

I know this testifies to my prissy, non-farmgirl status; that I'm skirmish at the sight of a bug. But it was in my bed!

I can now kill a cockroach on sight. I can smash a spider without screaming, as long as it hasn't touched me. I can swat a wasp out of midair.

BUT A TICK IN MY BED? I have to draw the line somewhere.

I feel like they are all over me right now. Gotta go change the sheets...

Wednesday, June 25

Culture Shock 38

(Not counting people!)

Dollar movies during the summer.
A dry summer.
A park to walk to.
Trader Joes.
Grandma's swimming pool.
Free babysitting, thanks Grammie & Grandma.
Brentwood Community Band and playing my saxophone.
Flute Choir.
Kettle Corn.
Farmers Market just around the corner.
Baby clothes swap.
I didn't own an umbrella.

Sunday, June 22

Culture Shock 37

It seems that weather is a HOT topic for me! It's so different out here and effects me in so many different ways.

I haven't said much about tornadoes. They terrify me. I've learned the difference between a tornado "watch" and a "warning." We've had 2 warnings since I've been here. We have our little shelter ready in the middle of the house.

A little bit of thunder has never scared me. Actually, a lot of thunder never scared me... until now. In California,  I lived in the hills. Even while at college, my house backed up to the mountains. I say that because the hills must have blocked sound waves. The thunder here in Mississippi rolls on and on and on. Not quietly; not soothingly; not gently. It's magnificent. It has woken me from a dead sleep twice in one night. It's made me jump and drop my utensils while cooking. It's made me grab on to my babies a little tighter! IT IS LOUD!

We have to turn off and unplug our computers and tvs when the lightning gets severe. That is new! Not a complete SHOCK (pun intended!) But still different.

Saturday, June 21

Culture Shock 36

Ants. Yes. California has ants. There are even some pretty decent sized ones if you go up into the redwoods.

But OUCH!! We all learned the hard way that the ants in Mississippi bite!

I used to mess with ant colonies as a kid. Not here. NOT HERE!

There is not much else to say about that.

Culture Shock 35

I'm the foreigner here. That is the shock to me. Thank goodness everyone is sweet enough to see my learning curve.

Though it can be difficult for me to understand an accent, children look at me as though I'm not even speaking English.

I am forgiven when I say "freeway" instead of "highway. "

When I say the name of a town with the wrong inflection, people just stare at me until they can interpret what I've said.

If I say "Costco" or "Trader Joes" or "In N Out," I'm the weird one. (Even though I secretly think ya'll are weird for not knowing what those are! JK!)

Culture Shock 34

I'm wearing a tank top. The boys are in shirts and flip flops. All is well and hot outside.

We step from the store to find the ground soaked, our car wet, the sun out as we are getting sprinkled on.

Did I mention that it was a sunny day? Even as we got wet from the sprinkles,  the sun shone down and dried everything up.

Friday, June 20

Culture Shock 33

Kroger, really?

My milk does not need a plastic bag. First, it's too heavy and the bag breaks anyway. Second, a milk jug has a handle built in.

I totally forgot I bought a reusable grocery bag until I got home from Kroger this afternoon. Really, Kroger? You bagged my bag? Kind of defeats the purpose...

Tuesday, June 17

Culture Shock 32

We had an amazing time at a birthday party this past week. Jumpy house, water slide, cake, ice cream, feeding the horses, driving an atv, piñata smashing.

Speaking of piñatas, I was worried that my 9 year old would bust the thing open before the younger ones got a chance to swing.

All went well. My 18 mo. old even swung the bat and had fun.

The shocker:

As my son goes up to swing, I hear from the back of the line of kids, "Beat it like it's your son!"


But the most shocking part was that no one acted like they heard. Not one adult made a move or a snicker. Friends from California, tell me that you would have reacted! Tell me that you would have at least laughed out loud! No one made a peep!

Later that evening, my husband mentioned it. He had been at a different location than I was. If he and I heard it, I know others did too! I'm still laughing!

Sunday, June 15

Culture Shock 31

Have you been following?

These past 30 posts have not all been shocks, but some differences I have found in the last 11 months; comparisons if you will of California verses Mississippi.

As it is fast approaching my year anniversary of moving to Mississippi, and subsequently my 17th year dating my husband, I can only describe it all as an adventure.

The link following is more about southern California culture, but I lived there for 4 years so I still thought it relevant. Here is the link. It's the Top 11 Ways you know you are from California.

YES! I miss In N Out Burgers.
YES! California Dreamin' by the Beach Boys is still an old favorite.
YES! I never said "Cali" 'til I moved out of state.
YES! I said "Dude" A LOT in jr. high and high school. (But I have still never been surfing!)
YES!  The one about driving is true!

Saturday, June 7

Culture Shock 30

My nine-years old's observations about Mississippi:

  • Color-changing lizards are common here.
  • Traffic, or lack there of.
  • We had to learn about Brown Recluses.
  • Our house is huge!
  • There are so many toads. (He just caught a very tiny one!)
  • Our yard is HUUGE!
  • We can't always find a fast food place to eat while running errands.
  • I can catch pets from our backyard, like snakes and lizards.
  • There are fireflys / lightning bugs.
  • It's warm when it rains (mostly) and we can play outside in it.
  • Snow! (It snowed this last winter for the first time in a long time here in McComb.)
  • Fog doesn't mean put on a sweatshirt like it does in California!

Friday, June 6

Culture Shock 29

When I meet new neighbors here in McComb, it's not, "See you around." It's more like, "Come on over!"

In California, my husband and I lived in an apartment where our only dealings with our neighbors was to call the police when we heard the wife get thrown against the wall.  We lived in one apartment for 2 years, met the couple upstairs as they moved out and the new family never came down.

We lived in Brentwood for 4 years where we absolutely loved, and miss terribly, our neighbors there.  Typically, though, we lived in close proximity to many people yet only met and established friendships with very few.  This could very well be our own fault.

In contrast, I have been in Mississippi for 10 months and have met and been invited over to our neighbor's house already.  Mind you, we only have 2 or 3 neighbors out here in the country, but it is so friendly and encouraging.  We are in the Hospitality State after all!

Tuesday, June 3

Culture Shock 28

Compared to California, this town does not have as much diversity in skin tone. I grew up around lots of different cultures. Even in college, there was quite a variety of ethnicity.

There are very few people of Asian decent around these parts in Southern Mississippi. A few people can be found with ancestors from Mexico but not many Canadians venture this far south.

I don't know all the history yet, but racial tensions have been high in the past here in McComb, so I've heard. I see black and white folks inter mingling now.  Our church is growing in diversity, but it's still only  a few. There are places with railroad tracks and you don't want to be on the "wrong" side. I don't know if that is more to do with race, crime, poverty, or all of the above. (This blog is not the place for that discussion.) I'm just saying it's different than what I grew up with.

This isn't really a shock.  I lived in Atlanta through the years 2000 - 2001.  I know that racial tension still exists.  It exists far less where I come from than here.  That's all.

(I have tried to be elegant and sensitive as to not offend.  I am simply trying to point out some differences between the west and the south.)

Culture Shock 27

Beer. Alcohol. Two different things.
NOTE: I don't drink. Forgive me those that I might offend by my lack of drinking etiquette.

In Mississippi, you cannot buy alcohol at the grocery store. No wine. You have to go to a liquor store. And you can't buy beer at a liquor store. WHAT!

Just learned this week that you can't buy alcohol at a restaurant on a Sunday. Oh. I had no idea. BUT you can order a beer. Just no wine or margaritas or mixed drinks.

This doesn't effect me but was definitely a shock to learn! It has to do with the percent of alcohol. Something like 8% and above isn't allowed on Sundays.

Crafting signage

Garage sale find that I painted up last night. My little guy's room is whales and fish so this is perfect! I will sing in Dory's voice every time I see it!

Sunday, May 18

Culture Shock 26

Culture Shock One Liners:
  • Cars are left unlocked in the driveway.
  • Toys are left scattered all over the yard and no one steals them.
  • One word: tornadoes.
  • 5 cars per minute go by the house in CA, vs 5 cars total all day in MS!
  • Church starts Sunday morning, but if you want to hear the rest of the sermon, you have to go Sunday night and Wednesday night also.
  • In Mississippi, there is a cicada season followed by a junebug season followed by a wasp season followed by a lovebug season.
  • It rains here in Mississippi and by rain I mean downpour; not this little drizzly California sprinkling that gets called rain in the Golden State.

Saturday, May 17

Culture Shock 25

This goes along with Culture Shock 24...
I heard gun shots all the time living in Brentwood, CA. (That's Brentwood the city, not the suburb in Los Angeles!) We called the cops on many occasions if they were too close to our abode.
I hear gunshots all the time here in Mississippi as well. I assume someone just shot their dinner!

Friday, May 16

Culture Shock 24

California has stores for outdoor gear. So does Mississippi. I'm not shocked that this is the same.
The amount of camo here, though...anyway!

This was a rack out in the middle of a store floor. Toto, we are not in California anymore!
In California, all the guns are locked up or at least up high so little hands can't get to them. I suppose also so that they are harder to lift/steal. There are not a lot of toy guns or beebee guns just out in the isle either!
AND THE AMOUNT OF GUNS in one store that is not specifically a gun store - wow! I was a little overwhelmed when I walked into Gander Mountain.
When we first got married I told my husband he would have to choose between a gun in our house and me in our house. My, how we have both changed since then. I haven't shot one yet, but we do have guns. I guess my mind was changed when we heard a bobcat on our property here in Mississippi. I was glad my husband had a gun and that he knows how to use it.

Wednesday, May 14

Culture Shock 23

Y'all vs. guys

"Hey guys!" "Whatcha guys doing?" "You guys..."

These phrases can mean all guys or all girls or a combination of both; could be adults or children or both. California has become casual in the reference to address each other in a group.

"Y'all" is pronounced as one word and it feels so strange coming out of my mouth! It makes me smile to hear from others though. So if you see a mischievous smile on my face, you probably said this word and I am only smiling at myself for being different!

STORY TIME: We did meet a waiter that was from Texas. He came up to our table and said, "What can I get you guys?" My husband and I smiled before we asked where he was from. He asked what gave him away that he was not from this area.

Tuesday, May 13

Culture Shock 22

Target. LOVE that store! I'm not personally fond of Super Targets for various reasons that this post is not about. But Target, how I miss you! It's more than an hour drive away from our new home.


Target. A red dot to aim at. Try to have a conversation with your half-listening husband and you will both end up confused. 

He is wondering why you are driving the few feet to the backyard. You're confused as to why he wants to allow your son to carry the rifle in the store. (Speaking of guns, that's for another post!)

Culture Shock 21

What did you say?


Yes sir.
No ma'am.
Excuse me?

These are not just things children say. These are adult languages. I love that my son is getting used to saying "sir" & "ma'am" but it still feels strange for me to say and hear them.
{It's only been ten months.}

Friday, May 9

Culture Shock 20

I've driven through a blizzard.
I've driven through fog.
I've driven through hail and sleet.
I've driven with winds so strong that all of traffic shifted one lane over.
I LEARNED TO DRIVE in the rain of Oregon.

I've NEVER driven through a river...
Until today.
Almost zero visibility through my front windshield. I wanted to move my hands forward to part the water and emerge on top of the river where I could float peacefully and calmly.

Well, I have driven through this type of rain before for a few minutes but not for 45 minutes! And then again on the way home.

It was an adventure. Going 35 on the freeway and slowing down was different. Didn't know my drivers side window had a leak... I even took off my glasses running to my car from the store. No point in them. Couldn't see with or without them!

Friday, May 2

Culture Shock 19

No one counts how many animals you have if you live out in the country. No regulations exist for how many chickens you are allowed or that 3 dogs is your limit.

Not like city living! Sure, Mississippi does have laws within the city limits. No one wants to live between 2 neighbors that have noisy roosters.

Still, it is nice to make our own choices about animals and not worry about the government stepping in.

These are our baby chicks, 2 grown hens, the cat named Chip, the pit-mix that we rescued, and the black puppy named Tater. We're getting turkeys next week and a goat next year!

Tuesday, April 29

Culture Shock 18

No one talks much about what the weather is in Mississippi.

The conversation is more about the direction it is coming from. With that information, you know what it's gonna feel like and there isn't much more to say about it.

You might hear talk about the UNUSUAL snow or past conditions such as hurricane Katrina. Small talk just doesn't consist of weather talk much out here.

Note : My husband made the observation that weather isn't small talk here in Mississippi. It's a big deal!

Culture Shock 17

Camouflage is a big sell in Mississippi. I couldn't resist writing a second post about it since this part is also a shock.

California: where is it ok to put on your camo? School. Hunting. Maybe the store if it's your last t-shirt clean.

Mississippi: where is it ok to wear camo? School. Hunting. Store. Church... yes, church.  If you can wear it to church, you can wear it anywhere!

{As I'm sewing up some camo sunhats for my boys, I'll make sure NOT to make myself one!}

Hat For Her

LOVE THIS PATTERN! From Oliver +S, it is easy to follow.

It was simple and turned out great!

I made this for my friends sweet 9 year old. I hope she likes it! I want to make one for me! And another one for my niece! I really like how these turned out!

Culture Shock 16

I'm speaking in generalities so bear with me!
My husband has had a bit of bad luck with bosses. I mean to say that he has had quite a few bosses that didn't care about anything but work.  For example, he almost got fired for not coming into work when he was sick or not wanting to work the 8th Saturday in a row because he wanted to spent time with his new bride. He has been hired to manage and then had his abilities questioned because he wasn't obsequious enough.
These experiences, I realize, are just people and can happen anywhere, but for us, they happened in California.
Since moving to Mississippi, we have had a very different experience.
FAMILY COMES FIRST! Your boss understands if you leave work early every Tuesday and Thursday during soccer season. He might even push you out the door to get you to your kids game on time. HE EVEN misses half a week at least during baseball season.
Your boss treats you like family and expects you to take care of yours.
How different and refreshing from the fast paced world of California. We are blessed!

Monday, April 28

Culture Shock 15

In south Mississippi, most EVERYONE asks what church you go to.

Happy to say I have an answer!

In California, depending on your age range, the most common questions are:

•What grade are you in?
•What is your major?
•Where did you graduate from?
•Where do you work?

Friday, April 25

Culture Shock 14

This last year left me with my first experience of Deer Hunting Season.

Hmm. Not sure how to relate this to anything in California.  Oh wait! My husband working 12 hour days with a total of 4 hours a day commuting. He made good money but we weren't much of a family. In fact, I felt like a single mom for 2 years.

Welcome to hunting season!

No one in MS understands why you are complaining that your husband is out hunting again. It's expected that you be a single parent during this time of the year.

My husband did "get one" 2 days before hunting season ended. I'm still working on the lingo here!

Saturday, April 19

Culture Shock 13

One night when my son was 4, I asked him if he wanted me to close his bedroom window. It was a bit stuffy in the house, but the traffic along highway 4 in Brentwood is constant, even at 11:30 at night. It was also only a few feet from our dwelling place.

My son sat up in bed and I could only imagine the look of "Yeah right, Mom," on his face in the dim room illuminated by the hall light. My now 8 year old has loved the noises cars make since he was 4 months old. No, silly me! He would never want the noise of hundreds of cars passing by to be muffled.

I, on the other hand, am a light sleeper. The noise from HIS bedroom window was making me crazy. I finally ended up with a fan going in my room.

The shock? Every morning here in Mississippi reminds me of waking up at camp with the redwoods looming overhead and the birds chirping good morning.

Wow! I get to wake up like that every morning. Not just for a week long summer Bible camp at RCP. I feel like I am on a retreat though! Quiet time. Nature time. Friend time. Amazing worship at FBC in Summit.

Did I mention quiet time!? I don't miss those cars at all!

{Note: as I was proof reading, my neighbors were revving the engine to some loud muscle machine. Geesh! It's still only once in awhile, though!}

Friday, April 18

Culture Shock 12

Homeschool. Home School. Unschool.
Many ways to spell one idea. Many ways to implement this one idea. Maybe it's a million ideas put into one. Or one idea split into a million directions. Anyway...

Say "homeschool" in California and again in Mississippi. There are two distinctly different reactions.

People tend to question your sanity if you suggest homeschooling in California. They question your credentials, your moral judgement, your intentions, your motivations. Many people believe that public school is the place for all children. Many people, by choice or by circumstance, put their kids into the public school system.

I make no judgements. It is a personal choice or a choice dictated by culture or, again,  circumstances. Or maybe all of those things put together.

When I mention to fellow Mississipians, (am I one of them already?) that we are homeschooling, most of the time I hear, "Good for you!" "Are you connected with a group?" "Do you know so-and-so?"

I don't want to spark a debate. I was just overwhelmed by such opposite reactions to a personal decision. I don't mind my loved-ones asking me questions and helping me clarify my thoughts. Homeschooling is something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. I had this opportunity and I took it. As a family, we hope we can continue but time and situations will be telling.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 17

Easter Dresses

Found 4 matching skirts at the thrift store. SCORE!

4 beautiful ladies to sew for!
Hope they fit and hope they are liked.

Made my own patterns which is always risky when the recipients are 2200 miles away from my sewing machine.

Sizes left to right: 18mo. 2T. 6. 8.

Sunday, April 13

Culture Shock 11


In California, when it rains, it is cold. Looking out the window to determine your attire for the day never fails.

Sunny: no jacket.
Windy: jacket. scarf.
Cloudy: cold. jacket.
Rainy: cold. jacket. umbrella.
Sunny: no jacket!

In Mississippi, I have been known to bundle the kids up only to find it a balmy 75° outside. Uck and ick. Just because it's cloudy, doesn't mean it's jacket weather or even worthy of a turtle neck.

Culture Shock 10


Burn piles.

The smell of smoke in the air.

A few smoke columns on the horizon.

Any time & any where.

California has many regulations regarding fire. Mississippi has a few... I think... maybe.

After 9 months here, I finally don't start praying for the family that might be effected by the black smoke I see up yonder!

Tuesday, April 8

Culture Shock 9


It takes over an hour to travel 20 miles.

There are no alternative routs.

If there is an accident,  everyone walks in to work an hour late.

Most everyone will be brought to cursing and/or praying.

People think it's worse in Los Angeles until they drive in the Bay Area.

{Press like and share if you agree!} jk.

Below is a picture of traffic in Mississippi.
Culture shock? Oh yes. But I am so much more relaxed! (Until a slow vehicle gets in front of me and I can't get around. It's so easy to revert to above behavior of cussing and shouting. Oops.)

Sunday, April 6

Culture Shock 8

In California,  there are some restaurants attached to gas stations. There are Arby's and Subways that connect to the little convenient snack stuff of some pump stations.

I do not recall those food chains claiming to be the best in town though. I have yet to get food from one of these places. They are all different and the locals claim that some of the best bbq in town is at the gas station down the street.

This weirds me out. It just doesn't seem like the cleanest of options for dinner. No offense. I'll pass for now, thanks!

Wednesday, April 2

Valentine Shirt

Probably the last shirt that I make that I will actually get over my sons head!

I had the sewing-bug in February and pulled this together quickly.

This was a camouflage shirt that was getting too small. I added some length, still able to use the hem of the orange shirt.

He likes it but the first thing he did was ask Daddy if it looked store-bought because that's the look he was going for!

Culture Shock 7

Bugs. Bugs. More bugs.
Not much more to say than that.

My 8 year old catches june bugs, ants, wasps,  cockroaches, stink bugs, lady bugs, catidids, caterpillars, moths, butterflies, did I mention wasps?

Due to the decreased amount of pesticide usage, bugs are allowed to breed and they spread. Everywhere.

Thanks, California,  for getting rid of the bug population. I don't agree with that, but I sure miss NOT having bugs in my drink and the sound of NOT having june bugs buzz around my head.

(Photo courtesy of an 8 yrs old's bug collection.)

Tuesday, April 1

Culture Shock 6

"You know. Down by the old washateria."

People don't give directions when you enter a smallish town. They've never been the new person and forget that you don't even know what a "washateria" is!

I've gotten directions as clear as, "two turns past where the bowling alley used to be." Thanks. Very helpful. I'll try to google that.

GPS. That might work.  If you have an address and not just a family name.  It MIGHT work if google has recently been down these old country back roads. It JUST might work if you get decent reception out here. These three things fail daily.

Culture Shock 5

People talk slower. When I get asked to repeat myself, I'm not quite sure if it's because of my accent or my speed.

I remember a phone call while working at Sylvan in California. A man called from out of state on behalf of his grandson. He commented on my secretary speaking too fast and asked me no less than 4 times to please slow down!

Culture Shock 4

The clouds in Mississippi move fast! The weather changes faster.

Now, the clouds in California might move fast, but typically people don't pay attention. In my experience, they just move lazily across the sky.

In Mississippi, where there are possibly tornadoes, you pay attention to the sky.

Monday, March 31

Culture Shock 3

This may not be culture shock for some. We have lived in apartments and not had backyard space. We feel extremely blessed now.

My boys can play outside without a fence. I'm not worried about them running into the street. I'm worried about bee stings and mud puddles! Its a nice change.

Sunday, March 30

Culture Shock 2

I am pretty sure I am the only one in Mississippi that doesn't own a single piece of camouflage clothing.

And I don't plan to remedy that anytime soon.

Saturday, March 29

Culture Shock 1

I've been asked over and over if I have been experiencing culture shock. Moving from California to Mississippi has definitely been an adventure. Before we moved people said that it would be different. We asked how. " It will be different," was the answer.

I decided to chronicle my " shocks," as it were, in a blog series. Some people will relate. Some people will think it's silly. Some people will think that I'm the weird one.

I'll start with a simple one. One that took me awhile to figure out, though. For those of you in California, this might come as a surprise:

The outlets are upside down ... in California!

Shark Bait Upcycle

Another Upcycle. I just love that word! My little guy loves Finding Nemo. And the initiation scene is his favorite! A shirt that says " Shark bait" is just perfect!  I had to make it fit. And so 2 shirts become one.

Monday, March 3

sleep sack

 I could not bare to get rid of this.
My older son wore it when he was a little guy.
too, though for not as long! It still fits my baby across the shoulders so I though i little sweater would be great! DIDN'T THINK about the fact that the zipper is missing a piece to hold the zipper on.8

I sewed a tack right where the dark blue starts along the zipper. so this will be a pull-over.

Friday, January 31

Hands Art

Finally got back to some art projects!

Tuesday, January 28

Peek-a-Boo Patterns

i have boys! i love sewing for them. But it is just more fun to put together a sweet little dress! Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop has just the right one. I have sewn the Harper Dress and the Ella Dress. Easy and fabulous!