kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Homecoming Hoopla

Barely two weeks into the new school year, and the buzz is all about who's going with whom to Homecoming. This high school tradition is over two months away! But my boys, who never had interest in going to a middle school dance, are eager to find dates to Homecoming. "Got to ask early, the good ones are going fast!" Both Eric and Andrew have asked several girls each. Either these girls are already going with someone else, or they just say no, for whatever reason. Eric and his friend Billy asked a couple of best friends, who said yes one day, but reneged the next. And supposedly, while it's accepted and common for groups of girls to go together without dates, boys don't do that. This is all so new to us, figuring out party protocol. Thank goodness for our Ms. DeFelice, who spent a good chunk of her Saturday morning on the phone with me, explaining all the little details like proper attire, who pays for what, possible modes of transportation, where flowers are ordered and what type are expected, pre-dance dinner details, etc. Whew! And we're so glad Sam Houston High doesn't have that crazy "mum" tradition!

Now if my boys could only find dates. If any readers know of any high school girls who want to go to Homecoming and don't have a date, please leave a comment.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Conference and Cookies

One of the first things I did after moving to Louisiana two years ago was join a writers' group. In a round about way, I discovered the Bayou Writers. Through this group, I've made many good friends who have encouraged me in my career. Each November, BWG hosts a writers' conference. Last year, I joined the conference planning committee. And I'm not sure how it happened, but this year, I found myself in the position of conference chairperson. Maybe because I enjoy delegating, I don't know. In any case, we have what promises to be a wonderful conference this year with excellent speakers. My friend and former editor of Writers' Digest magazine, Melanie Rigney, will be speaking on memoir writing. Kathryn Casey writes true crime. And we have two editors; Charles McGrew from Brown Street Press and Trent Angers with Acadiana Press. If you'd like a brochure/registration form, send your address to angiedilmore@gmail.com and I'll mail you one.

On a culinary note, I recently baked the easiest ever peanut butter cookies and my family, especially my husband, went ga-ga over them. If you'd like your husband to go ga-ga too, here's the recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Mix these mere 3 ingredients together. Form dough into marble shooter-size balls (or smaller, whatever you like), roll in sugar, make the usual PB cookie criss-cross with a fork, and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 for about 8-9 minutes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rally Day at First Presbyterian

Our church celebrated Rally Day, the official kick-off to the new Sunday School year, this afternoon with water play and ice cream. Eric went down the slide. Once. Not really his thing. The guy holding his nose is our pastor, Rev. Fred Seay. We like to have fun. Come join us at 1801 Second Ave. in Lake Charles. We have two services each Sunday, a contemporary service at 9:00 and a more traditional service at 11:00 with Sunday School for all ages at 10:00. Here's our website. http://www.firstpres-lc.org/.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Paying it Forward

God has taught me so many lessons in the past six months. One is the importance of being there for friends in need. After being on the receiving end of so much caring this last half a year, Bob and I are so much more aware of situations where we can help out. And we have a yearning to do so. We find ourselves wanting to take action in situations that, in the past, may not even have been on our radar. So I thank God for opening my eyes a bit to opportunities to help others.

Just today, I put the movie, "Pay it Forward" at the top of my Netflix queue. It's been years since I've seen that movie, and I want my boys to see it. Such a great message. And for any readers who are country music fans, have you heard the song "I Run to You," by Lady Antebellum? You'd never know it by the lyrics alone, but the video has an awesome "pay it forward" message. Check it out on youtube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs38lKxmtI4.

And while we're all paying it forward, please pray for our dear friend, Eric's beloved math teacher, Ms. Brenda DeFelice. She's recently been diagnosed with melanoma. They caught it early so she says it's very treatable. But she'll likely be making many trips to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston for awhile.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day Report

The first day of school went well, no problems. Eric tweaked his schedule to accomodate all the classes he wanted, most notably, chorus. Ms. DeFelice reported that "Eric looked great" and "seemed more like himself." Indeed, Eric thrives in the classroom. Both boys like their teachers, so far, and seem to be optimistic about the coming year.

Post-first day of school Sonic snack . . . Chili cheese tots and a blue coconut grape Coke (he said it was good.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Day of School

First day of school. First day of high school! Hard to believe my boys started ninth grade today. As I watched them board the bus, from the embarrass-safe distance of the house, I was flooded with all the same emotions I felt nine years ago on their first day of kindergarten -- the anxiousness of letting go, the trust of allowing others to watch over them, the hope that they'll make good friends, like their teachers, and generally stay safe. And pride. I'm so proud of both our boys. Maybe these emotions are all sharper today because of the journey we've been on with Eric the past six months. I realize with wonder the amazing strides he's made in his recovery. I recall sitting in an ICU conference room at Texas Children's in late March with two doctors who were caring for Eric. They were discussing his care plan and prognosis. I remember asking them if they thought Eric would be able to start school in the fall. They both shook their heads. No. They thought Eric would still have a tracheostomy, still be on a ventilator. They never dreamed he'd no longer need the oxygen tank by this time. If only they could see Eric now.

I'll be praying for my boys all day today. And thanking God for miracles.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Home Again

The boys and I returned to Lake Charles yesterday. I drove the whole ten hours in one day. Now for some of you, that's not a big deal, but for me, driving 650 miles was quite a marathon. I could never be a truck driver, that's for sure. I was tired when I got home! But it was worth it. We had a great time in Alabama with my family.

Eric is okay, just has the sniffles and a bit of a cough.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Alabama Getaway--Day Five

Went to Sequoyah Caverns today. Pretty interesting. Andrew and the girls sifted gift shop-bought sand to find gems. We looked at a chapel built into the side of a boulder.

Got a few sniffly noses around here. Started with Andrew early in the week, then Tom, and now Eric is stuffy and under the weather. Especially for Eric, we hope it doesn't progress into anything more. School starts Tuesday.

Going home tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alabama Getaway--Day 4

Busy swimming, sightseeing, and generally having fun and enjoying each others' company. The bottom photo was taken at Desoto Falls. The water level is low this time of year. Beautiful country, though.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Alabama Getaway--Day Two

Having a good time. Lovely countryside. Lots to do. Hiking, swimming, hammock-swinging, jacuzzi-ing, jigsaw-puzzling, big boulder climbing. Here are a few photos, more later.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Alabama Getaway--Day One

The boys and I left Lake Charles yesterday and headed to northeast Alabama. We arrived today. Seems this area is halfway between Pittsburgh and SWLA. We met my family at a large cabin; Mom and stepdad Tom, sisters Lisa and Sue, brother-in-law Keith, and nieces Olivia, Makayla, and Alex. It's not quite everyone, but close.

It's beautiful here, I had no idea. We're on top of a mountain, all wooded and green. I tried to post more photos, but the internet is tricky here. Will try again tomorrow.

Here we are hanging out on the porch with the bubble machine.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hope Therapy Center

I know it seems like a long time ago that Eric finished up with physical/occupational therapy, but I just received this photo yesterday, and I wanted you all to see how happy they were on Eric's last day, July 14th. Kim (on left) and Mika were super terrific. They and all the staff are competent, courteous, and friendly. If anyone in Lake Charles ever needs physical, occupational, or speech therapy, I highly recommend Hope Therapy Center. hopetherapycenter.net

Andrew seems to be enjoying band camp. He comes home "exhausted" every day, but gets up early the next day to do it again. Eric likes his musical theater class this week. Just like after the Shakespeare class, there will be a short performance Friday at noon.

Eric's post-theater class Sonic snack . . . french toast sticks and a cranberry Coke.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Taxi Driver

Remember when your kids were babies, and the veteran parents would say, "Wait till they're teenagers. You'll feel like a taxi driver." And I recall thinking, Yeah right, how bad can it be. At least you don't have to change diapers and wash bottles. Now my boys are teenagers. And guess what? I feel like a taxi driver. Those parents weren't kidding after all. Today I drove Andrew to band camp at 8:00, took Eric into town for theater class at 10:00. Next, at 12:45, Eric had piano lesson back in Moss Bluff. Had to go out of our way back to the house first because he forgot his piano music. Stopped at McDonald's so he could get a bite to eat. Made a trip to Walmart while he was at piano lesson. Picked him up and took him home. 3:00 PM, picked Andrew up from band camp and back home again. Tomorrow will be even busier. So often, I feel like Billy in the comic strip Family Circus, when he's running around like a maniac, making dozens of stops, backtracking, becoming distracted and losing focus. And we only have two kids! I honestly don't know how parents with broods manage.

When the boys were babies, I remember anxiously awaiting the day they'd feed themselves and be potty trained. Now I'm thinking, Only two more years and they'll have their drivers' licenses!