Thursday, March 26

Culture Shock 84

I have a confession to make. I am afraid of the dark.

The city is a fine place to live with the streets lit up at night.

The country is a bit darker with backwoods lanes and farms all around.

My husband loves to remind me of our arrival to the southern states.

"Beth's flight came in around midnight.  As we drove to our new home, we got farther and farther from the city. The roads got darker and darker. Beth started asking if this was a joke.  We got to a point where city light pollution did not penetrate through the trees. Beth was sitting next to me getting more fidgety and nervous.  At one point, she asked if I needed to turn around!  When we pulled up to the house, only the garage light was on with no streetlights near by.  Beth insisted that we would get a light on our property like the neighbors across the way!"

When those neighbors trimmed their trees, I remember cringing that their light shone through our side windows in the master bedroom. Oh how quickly I changed my tune!

I don't relish in the darkness but, if you've read some of my previous posts, I do love a clear, crisp night of start gazing nowadays!

Wednesday, March 25

Board Games

My 9 year old is making a game board for a science project. We need to go buy index cards to make the questions that will advance you along the "Animal Trail."

His board actually started out very sloppy. We had a talk about being proud of your best work. He said it was his best. I said nope. He is too old to praise him for simply getting it done. He has to do it well or start over. Not a happy boy at first! 

I didn't make him start over this time as we are out of cardboard.  We learned how to fix mistakes and make it look nicer. Next time, he said he'll use a ruler!

Tuesday, March 24

Culture Shock 83

Do I know more than a 21 year old?

I thought I had some life skills. My husband taught me how to cook. I taught myself how to sew. My mom taught my to do counted cross stitch. My dad taught me how to change the oil in my car and put the spare tire on.  I can play every instrument in the woodwind family except bassoon. I can fold a fitted sheet neatly. I have teacher handwriting. I can write on a chalkboard in a straight line - in cursive. I can successfully negotiate commute traffic, saving a minimum of 15 minutes of travel time twice daily.

I thought I could survive. Silly me.

People out here in the country know how to survive. Before they get married they can cook, drive a tractor, plant and maintain a garden; they know how to can food, make jam, raise a pig, milk a cow, ride a horse, shoot a gun, butcher a deer. You know, real survival skills!

I'm learning, but I'm not there yet, and I'm twice their age! Did I just admit that out loud?!

Wednesday, March 18

Culture Shock 82

Rent. Try to guess what a 670 square foot apartment would cost ya.

This is what you get:
2 bedrooms. 1 bathroom.
A 2 ft wide balcony out your front door.
No backyard.
A front yard that you share with 10 other tenants.
A 3 ft wide bathroom with a broken fan and no window.
The highway 400 feet out your back window with 24 hour traffic.

Any guesses?  $900. And if you want downstairs with a tiny fenced in backyard, it'll cost you $950.

Now come to Mississippi with me.  We are currently in a one bedroom apartment so that is no fun with a 2 year old. BUT this is what we get:
700 square feet.
1 bedroom.  1 bathroom.
Walk-in closet.
A 3 ft wide front porch.
A huge backyard.
A decent front yard that we share with some hunters parking their trucks once a year.
A bathroom with a separate vanity.
A secluded house that no one can see from the small country road that is barely ever used.
Any guesses?  $300. Yep.

Groceries will cost you a little more out here. We get a lot of produce from other states.  Mississippi actually grows a lot of cotton, I think. Gas is cheaper. So in general we spend less; can live on less.

Typically, rent is $500 to $750 for 2/3 bedrooms out here. Still cheaper than Cali.

Tuesday, March 17

Culture Shock 81

We really are home - bodies.  If you are looking for us,  chances are we are at home.

Things we used to do for fun:

Hide and Seek
Watch movies
Swim at Grandmas
(Hide from our drug neighbors that approached my son.)
Our neighborhood park was under construction for 2 years. Gas prices were atrocious.  We stayed home a lot.

Things we do for fun now:

Play with our dogs
Watch movies
Chase chickens and bugs
Ride bikes
Blow bubbles and write on the porch

We are enjoying the freedom to venture outside! I could do with less carpenter bees though!

Monday, March 16

Culture Shock 80

We visited the children's museum in Jackson, MS a few weeks ago. They were celebrating Dr.Suess' birthday.  We colored sox on foxes. We made hats to match the Cat's!  We did spin art and listened to a story where The Cat in the Hat acted out the parts with Thing 1 and Thing 2. What a blast! We even ate green eggs with avocado.  Yummy!

It was crowded. We got bumped a bit and had to stand in line once. The crowd was generally pleasant, though. A surprise for me. People moved out of the way for strollers and parents running after toddlers. People smiled and said excuse me. Wow! 

You would hope that human decency would not be a surprise but it is. If there is a crowd in California, you simply prepare yourself to be bumped, prodded, and generally pushed out of the way for whoever is more greedy or self serving than you.

Thank you, again, MS, for showing us Californians some hospitality; a pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, March 10

Culture Shock 79

I thought I'd written about this before, and I have, four years ago, before it was a life change! (You can click on the link to read if you'd like.)

STARS. A lot of them. The first week we moves to Mississippi, I made my then 8 year old stay up late so he could come outside. I stood quietly. He stood chattering, oooing and ahing over the night sky.

My husband and I often go out and gaze upon HIS glory. It's a beautiful, welcoming change to have little to no light pollution. WOW!

Culture Shock 78

Gatgoo went the little green frog one day.
Gatgoo went the little green frog.
Gatgoo went the little green frog one day and they all went gatgatgoo.

Weeee all know frogs go lawdee dawdee daw.. lawdee dawdee daw.. lawdee dawdee daw.
Weeee all know frogs go lawdee dawdee daw. They don't go gatgatgoo!

I have a disc with this song and have song it for years with my oldest son. It's a silly song! We all know frogs say, "Ribbit!" Right?

Very wrong! A small percentage of frogs might say ribbit, but the frogs in Mississippi say, "Lawdee dawdee daw!" They chirp! They tweet and twitter! They shout and sing all kinds of songs in the rain.

Thank you for correcting me, frogs of Mississippi! As I was flipping through a children's book with my little mister, I stopped on the frog page, unable to produce a Mississippi frog tune!

Monday, March 9


Fun with math!
We worked on tessellations today. My son thought it would be boring and hard, but he really got into it!

Culture Shock 77

It's been done.

The Ipad got left on the roof of the car as we drove away. We didn't even miss it for 2 hours.

The screen was already cracked. Rob dropped it while helping someone with a heavy mat. But I expected it to be shattered this time.

Sunday after church, we stopped to get gas, them headed out to a restaurant anniversary brunch.  As I walked to the car after eating, I started to get messages and texts about the Ipad. I got confused and asked Rob when he finally came out.

Oh! Yep! The Ipad is missing! I put it on the roof so I could strap the baby in. The case is the exact same color as the car and I didn't see it to pick it up.

Turns out it stayed on the roof all the way from church to the Walmart parking lot where we turned around to get gas.

Some wonderful family saw it and picked it up. They used the messenger app on it to find the last texted number. Thank you, hubby, that it was me! The mom met us in the parking lot of the restaurant and we were reunited. We gave her all the cash we had, $3. The Ipad wasn't much more damaged either!

LONG STORY SHORT: thank you, Mississippi, for your honesty and integrity. California, unfortunately, does not compare. Of course there are good people everywhere, but in general, a lot of them live here in MS!

Tuesday, March 3

Culture Shock 76

At the hight of my sleep deprivation, my son being a sleepless 2 year old and my husband being a snorer, I got into a little fender bender. Little. Little. No damage to the other car, but tour my own bumper a bit and made one headlight wonky.

No problem in California to drive with a wonky headlight. My husband was able to tilt it down so it didn't blind anyone. I hardly noticed it was not centered because I never drove in the pitch black.

Until now.

It bothers me now. It is annoying to not have both beams centered like they should be.

Someday I'll get it fixed. It's only been 8 years!