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Category Archives: culture shock

So, yeah . . .

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It’s been a while hasn’t it?  But then I have been busy with work and coordinating the activities of the other people I live with.  I guess that is no excuse.


Little Dude started first grade end of August.  He has a workbook now called “Texas Math”.  Say wha?  Does that mean math in Texas is somehow different than the rest of the world?  Why does Texas always have to make it about them?

Election season here is better than I thought it would be though.  Primary reason for this is because the majority of people I work with everyday are not born and bred Texans but are transplants from more moderate political climes.  And of course being who we are we don’t talk to our neighbors so if there is any Pres. Obama hatred we don’t know about it which is just fine with me.  it would only make me hate the neighbors.  Biggest frustrations of the moment are Facebook and being secretly (or not) worried that my mother is being inundated with right wing nonsense in her email from her friends and she is voting for Mitt without really even considering what that would mean.  I say secretly b/c she refuses to discuss it with me so I don’t actually know that any of this is going on.  it is just a guess and something I feel in my bones.  But seriously, cannot you not take 5 minutes on the internet to find out if something is true or not?  and maybe she does but persisting in her GOPness anyway.  I like to think my Mother is smarter than some of these other ding dongs that just parrot what they hear on Fox no matter how skewed and inaccurate.  Maybe she’s not?  Maybe that is just her world view and she is sticking with it.  As far as Facebook goes, having some serious internal debates about defriending some people for exactly that– not fact checking and harshing on Obama.  I mean, harsh all you want just make sure it’s ACCURATE. Don’t buy in to this misrepresentation about the Affordable Care Act, don’t get fooled by some video of Obama being a diplomat and visiting a mosque while on a Middle East state visit (by claiming he’s secretly Muslim), and critically think about the logic of that insane 2016 movie.  His world view was shaped by a dad he saw twice in his life? the last time at age 10?  You buy that, really?  No surprise of course that that movie is showing here at our local theater either by the way.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m cool with people voting for whomever.  It just makes me feel better to think that it’s for an actual philosophical reason other than the candidate is “not President Obama”.  Otherwise, it’s just too depressing.


That is all!


4th of July

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Guess what I got on the 4th at the waterfront festival in The Woodlands?  A beer koozy y’all!  You cannot make this stuff up.


Sidenote–also had some freaking fantastic popcorn from DocPop or something.  These people could not make it fast enough.  I need to look that up and find out how to get more.

Name game . . .

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The Hubs and I are really bad at picking names.  You’d think we’d have a better idea after doing it twice already.  With the first it was hard b/c we honestly didn’t like (for us) that many boy names.  When that boy came 6 weeks early we at least had it narrowed down a little bit, but the Dude was more adamant about “his” name than I was about mine so after some intense negotiation where it was agreed I got to name the next boy, we went with his choice.  Girl names were easier b/c there were more we liked and more we agreed on so that one was at least fairly easy even though we didn’t pin it down until a few weeks before Precious Perfect arrived.  Naming Number 3 is trickier.  We’ve already used up the one boy name we thought was pretty good–at least the one we agree on.  And conveniently our verbal contract on my naming the next boy is being disputed by Dude.

It seems we find ourselves in the same spot as nearly 6 years ago.  I have about 3 name combos I can work with.  hubs has 1 first name he will agree to and the middle name is up for grabs, however he seems pretty set on the one he has picked and its doubtful he would go with another suggestion.  Result- negotiations on naming rights are once again open.

2 weeks to go before No. 3 gets here.   Note, if someone wants the name he has picked then he had better find something good to offer up in exchange.

Aside from all that, still at work.  People are starting to look at me like its painful to see me.  I guess I can understand that.  Random women are soliciting my due date more and more and acting shocked its not say, tomorrow.  Can rarely get through a day where my feet don’t swell out of my shoes.  My hands look like the Man Hands ep of Seinfeld, lovely.  Looking forward to working from home next week so I can  wear yoga pants, a t-shirt and flip flops.  Last Pilates session is tomorrow b/c I just really can’t move that much anymore.  But thank you to my awesome instructor Melanie Nasser who has kept me in line and pain free as I pack on all this extra weight.  It has made a huge difference.

Car update: for that wider vehicle looks like we may be able to go with the Infiniti JX (test drive tk) and avoid a monstrous big SUV for now.    That is, at least until Little Dude gets too big for the third row.  Maybe then we swap him up front and put Precious Perfect in the back?  Somehow I feel she would not stand for that.  Another problem for another day, thank goodness.

Skinny Britches . . .

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Based on my wholly unscientific observations– which consist mainly of viewings at the grocery store and my son’s school–it seems like a disproportionate women that live in The Woodlands are tiny.  I mean really little people.  Like 5’2″ and maybe 100 pounds.  Where did they all come from and how did they all end up here?  Their uniform is the skinny jean with the big cuff, flats and some cute jacket and I hate them all.  Mostly b/c right now I look like I have a basketball under my shirt and I have gained about 40 pounds, and I don’t feel like I look cute, ever.  Just feel like I have a tent on.  Husband commented the other day that my belly was 3D.

Back to the topic at hand, are they just skinny or do they work out all day b/c they don’t have an office job or what?  It’s really weird.


Just an Observation . . .

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We moved to Houston for my job.  I work, have always worked, have always wanted to work.  The most I ever wanted to stay home was maybe one day a week or every other week–and even then I would want to be home alone.  Maybe someday I’ll change my schedule to leave early and spend the afternoons with the bambinos, but not right now.  That said, it seems like a disproportionate number of women in The Woodlands are stay at home moms.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  My level of awareness has just been raised by all the women I meet who want to have play dates at 3 in the afternoon or meet for lunch during the week, which for obvious reason I can’t do.  And they don’t want to meet on the weekend.  I assume many of these stay at home moms stay at home b/c they moved to The Woo as the tagalong spouse when their husbands were transferred for their oil and gas jobs.  Maybe they didn’t work before they moved, that doesn’t really matter to me.  Only that I feel more guilt for not being at every school event and volunteering in the classroom every week than I did in VA.   Just something to get used to I suppose.

Trucks and more trucks . . .

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Yes, I am still obsessing over the sheer number and size of the pick ups and SUVs here.  The preschool parking lot is dwarfed every night about 6 pm when the horde rolls in to pick up.  Granted, I have an SUV.  IN face I have 2, but both are of the smaller variety and can’t even touch a Sequoia, Tahoe or Suburban.  It used to be the only people with Suburbans were families with more than 3 kids, at least in my world growing up.  A Suburban siting was a rare and mystical event, almost like spotting a unicorn.  Now, not so much.  Women tote around little babies in these giant cars.  I had only ever thought about getting a big SUV once my kids were old enough that we may need to cart around sports gear or their friends–still a few years away.  I can’t even wrap my mind around the pick up trucks here.  All seem to have a lift and giant tires AND 4 doors in many cases b/c it’s the family vehicle.  What’s up with that?  Little Dude thinks they are all monster trucks they are so tall.  How do even get in and out of those?

As I recall, the huge car of choice in Alexandria/DC was the Escalade and even then there were not many.  I think most people can’t get them into the garage and in some cases into the driveway when you live in a house built in the 1930s-60s.

Don’t even get me started on navigating a parking garage with these behemoths in attendance.  The garage at my building has had to mark some spots off for “compact only” b/c too many trucks were parking on the ends and making it nearly impossible to turn the corner.  How is the gas mileage on those do you think?

Swimsuits at Dinner

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Here is my latest recurring observation:  It is considered acceptable to go pretty much anywhere in public wearing a swimsuit and a cover up.  I’ve seen women at the store and at casual restaurants sporting bathing suits underneath cover up dresses.  I just can’t go there.  Maybe I will eventually but not yet.

I spent my summers as a kid at the neighborhood pool on a daily basis, but I am pretty sure I always came home in time for dinner and my mom made me change my clothes to eat.  I can see swimming at your own house and then wearing your swim gear for dinner at home.  you are at home, your house your rules.  but really, we can’t put shorts and a tshirt on or something to leave the house?  Trust me I am all about comfort and casual but I draw the line at just hanging out in a bathing suit and cover up.


On the allergy front- they are back.  The doctor was not kidding that if I stopped with the spray I’d get sick again.  yippee! so back on the spray and sinus rinse and may have averted sinus infection this time.  Now I just have a cough and am losing my voice.  Two weeks ago I had strep throat.  Is Houston a germ factory or what is the deal here?

One final note:  It is HOT out there people.  High temps I can usually deal with but this humidity in the morning, wow.  A good day is when I can get ready for work and not break a sweat.  even better are mornings I can get all the way to work without sweating like a  pig.  Not always successful however.  Sorry co-workers.


Allergies suck.

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A few posts ago I noted that winter here was only about 2 months long, which was cool.  Turns out spring is also only about 2 months long, which is not so cool.  By the first of April we had already jumped into high 80 degree weather and humidity.  On the plus side–lots and lots of sun.  I will never complain about sun even if it does come with lots of heat.

On allergies– I’ve been informed that they are nearly year round here and Houston area is one of the worst places to live for allergy sufferers.  Some investigation at work has revealed that maybe half of everyone here gets allergy shots or take meds of some sort.  Growing up in northeastern Oklahoma I’m no stranger to hay fever and some runny noses in the fall.  Over the years however I thought I had acclimated some to the seasonal effects and my allergies were not that bad.  Until this spring.  Feeling so bad last week I thought I had the flu, I went to the doctor and ended up staying home sick for 3 days.  According to the good doctor, it’s allergies.  I’m now on a sinus wash and steroid nose spray routing everyday.  it has helped but I still can feel sinus pressure most of the time.  I’ve never had allergy shots so don’t really want to start that now unless I absolutely have to.  We’ll see how the rest of the spring/summer plays out.

The baby also has had a runny nose for like 3 weeks and no allergy medicine seems to be helping her.  I’ll be looking up a pediatric allergist here by the end of the week I think.  Mom says eat local honey.  I think as bad as my allergies are I’ve have to eat it all day and bathe in it too for it to help.

Random observations

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I’ve said this before, but there are a LOT of pickup trucks and gigantic SUVs here.

Most of the cars and trucks are white.

They have Go Texan Day

My office celebrates the rodeo being in town and has associated work activities; I entered a chili cook off for the first time ever.

My son’s school picture back drop was a bale of hay draped with the Texas state flag.

At the grocery store the espresso from Italy is with the imported ethnic foods and not the coffee. (?)

You can’t have wine shipped into the state.  (Boo)

You can buy and grow olive trees here.  (!)

Too many things come in the shape of Texas: waffles, chips, cutting boards, steak brands, waffle irons.

I am now a homemade tortilla snob.


well now . . .

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Well here’s something new:  Drycleaning in the Houston area does not seem to be dominated by Asians like DC/NYC.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  Just an observation.