Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lonely Fan in Lake Charles

I gotta tell you, it's no fun being a Steelers fan in Lake Charles. I'm sitting here in a coffee shop, eavesdropping with my Big Ben jersey on, and no one is talking about the Big Game this Sunday. No one is excited here. My sons tell me most of their friends at school are rooting for the Steelers, but where's the hype and hoopla? Back in Pittsburgh, I'm certain that's all everyone is talking about. I miss the Steelers songs on the radio, the hawkers in the Strip selling Steelers T-shirts, hats, and paraphernalia, the non-stop news reports, black and gold everywhere you look. Where's the Lake Charles' chapter of Steelers Nation when I need them? I don't even know for sure where we'll be watching the game. Might just be Bob and I in our own living room. And that would be alright.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Steelers


Here we go! Pittsburgh's going to the Super Bowl! As I'm sure you all know (well, at least my Pittsburgh friends know), the Steelers beat the Ravens last night, 23-14. We had our friends, the Duttons, over for a little playoff party. I made some traditional Pittsburgh fare; pierogies and Primanti Brothers-style sandwiches. I baked some pizzelles with my new pizzelle iron (thanks, Mom.) I looked for IC Light, but couldn't find any around here. Oh well. My favorite play was when Polamalu made an interception and zigzaged down the field for a touchdown. Incredible! My least favorite part of the game was when Clark collided at max speed with opponent McGahee and about snapped that poor Raven's head off.

February 1st-Tampa-Pittsburgh and Arizona-We'll be watching!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Church

When we moved here in June 2007, one of our first priorities was to find a new church home. We'd left a church in Pittsburgh that we loved, Hiland Presbyterian, and were quietly optimistic that we'd find another church where we could worship, serve, and make new friends.

The task of church-shopping proved to be more difficult than we had anticipated. One thing we didn't realize; there aren't very many Presbyterian churches in the Lake Charles area, or in the south in general, for that matter. In Pittsburgh, there's a Presbyterian church on every corner. But I think there are about three in all of SWLA, at least in Calcasieu Parish. We were comfortable with the Presbyterian tradition, but we were open-minded to other denominations. It was important to me that we find a church in our own community of Moss Bluff. We're not Sunday morning church-goers. We attend bible studies, committee meetings, youth group activities, and any pot luck on the calendar. So it was important that the church be convenient. We knew the churches that we would not feel comfortable at, so we ruled those out. And that didn't leave a whole lot of options here in Moss Bluff. We attended a few, and everyone was very friendly. One of our highest priorities was that it have a youth group where our boys felt comfortable.

To back up a bit, my husband moved here to start his new job three months prior to our sons and me moving here. During that time, Bob began attending First Presbyterian Church of Lake Charles. The members there took good care of my husband during that lonely time of separation. They made him feel welcome. So by the time the kids and I moved down, he'd already started to feel at home there. And they have a small but active youth group that the boys enjoy attending. So to make an eight month long story short, we joined FPC in February, 2008. It's not in Moss Bluff. It's not convenient, but rather about a ten mile drive into town. A friend of mine tells me he can walk to church, and I'm jealous of that. But I do love this church. The congregation is warm and welcoming. And they have a real heart for worship, service, and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our Session recently began a new focus called GROW (Good News, Reach Out, Work). The plan aims to attract new members and revitalize the church life.

Last night, and every 2nd Wednesday of the month, we had "Family Night Supper," which is pot luck with a short program. As part of the program, we viewed FPC's new TV commercial. Look for it on KPLC. Check out our new website as well, http://www.firstpres-lc.org/. And if you're in the market for a new church, come give us a try at 1801 2nd Ave. in Lake Charles. Our new motto is, Come As You Are, Leave Even Better.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Twelfth Night

We no sooner get through Christmas and New Years and now it's Mardi Gras season. Tonight is "Twelfth Night," as in the twelfth night after Christmas, and it's the kickoff to Mardi Gras. Having spent my entire-until-recently life in the north, to me, Mardi Gras was always something they did in New Orleans the night before Lent starts. Oh, and they had a parade. That's all I knew of Mardi Gras. But who knew? It's a major big deal down here. Lousiana is the only state in the Union where Mardi Gras is an official state holiday; no school, no banks or mail, etc. This year Mardi Gras is February 24. (Last year it was on my birthday, Feb. 5, which was kinda fun) But the celebration runs non-stop between now and then. Parties, parades of every kind, beads, masks, houses bedecked as if it was still Christmas except the decorations are purple, gold and green instead of red and green. The newspaper abounds with photos of Krewe kings, queens, and courts, all dressed in their finest bedazzled costumes. Overpriced king cakes line bakery shelves. Country towns host chicken runs and gumbo cookoffs. And more parades. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What's For Dinner on New Years?

Where I come from, it's tradition to eat some variation of pork and sauerkraut on New Years. Pork roast, pork chops, pork kielbasa, heck, even a hot dog . . . and sauerkraut. We eat it for good luck in the new year. Tonight for dinner, my family and I had pork loin and sausage, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, corn souffle, and (I know about y'alls custom here in the south) black-eyed peas. It was all delicious. So what do you traditionally eat for dinner on New Years? Leave a comment and let me know.

Happy New Year, 2009

A brand new year. I like New Years. I like the feeling of having a new beginning, a chance to start over, a clean sheet of fresh white paper on which I can write whatever I want. I feel optimistic, hopeful, that good things are in store. I'm anxious to discover what blessings may lie ahead.

We were in Pa. last year for New Year's Eve, so last night was our first here in SWLA. The family and I stayed home, as is our custom. We baked pizzelles with the new iron Mom gave me for Christmas (yum), played board games, watched a movie, then waited for midnight. It's just too weird watching Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve, seeing all the revelers in Times Square and watching the ball drop at 11:00 PM. I was so ready to go to bed after that, but we had to wait another hour to get to our own New Year.

Good grief, the neighborhood fireworks. That's new to us. The constant booming all evening was rather distracting. And the cats were freaked out. Pittsburgh knows how to do fireworks. We do it in a BIG way, downtown, and watch. No Pittsburgher sets off fireworks in their backyard on New Years Eve, that I know of. I thought of a couple reasons why. One, they're illegal, so if someone wants to buy fireworks, they have to drive a couple hours into Ohio. And two, it's too darn cold to hang out in your backyard and light them.

Anyway, midnight finally came. Bob and I had forgotten to buy some sparkling cider, so we and the boys drank a toast to 2009 with champagne glasses filled with lemonade. Then we went to bed. Happy New Year! May you open your new calendar with joy and anticipation.