kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Monday, May 31, 2010

Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts

It's official. Eric will attend LSMSA starting this fall, and most likely, until he graduates from high school. He just returned from New Student Orientation weekend. His excitement over his new school has him downright giddy. Eric entertained us with anecdotes and every detail of his fun-filled weekend on the 2-hour drive home.

On a different note, I've been pondering what to do with this blog. I believe it needs a bit of focus and certainly some new life. I remember when we first moved to Lake Charles, three years ago. The family and I were mesmerized by the culture -- new foods, music, language, arts, the festivals, etc. We soaked it up like a sponge those first few months -- our "summer of immersion" -- traveling, exploring, tasting, smelling, seeing. And then we settled in and somewhat forgot that there's still a whole lot out there we haven't experienced. Next weekend, both Eric and Andrew report to McNeese University to attend the Governor's Program. They'll live there on campus for seven weeks. My census job will be finished soon, and I'm facing a summer with a whole lot of free time on my hands. So I've decided to discover and explore a new area, town or destination -- somewhere I've never been before -- at least once a week and blog about my findings. If you have any ideas of fun, interesting, exciting places I might go, I'm quite open to suggestions. If you are very familiar with or live in a noteworthy town and would like to be my tour guide for the day, that would be awesome! For example, I have friends in places like Dry Creek and Breaux Bridge. You know who you are. If anyone would like to accompany me on any of these excursions, you are welcome to come along.

My first such travel post will, naturally, be on Natchitoches, since we were just there, playing tourists, today. Look for this post within the next few days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bussing Blues

So I'm on my way down Ernest Street to Central Library, not even thinking that it is 3:00 pm and there's one of the dozens of elementary schools in town about a block before I get to the library. Consequently, I must struggle through the traffic, stop/starting in the pick up line, and I'm in a hurry to get back to Moss Bluff to pick up my own kids.

Why are school buses so under-utilized here in Calcasieu Parish? Why do so many parents feel the need to drive their youngsters to school and pick them up at the end of the school day? The school district provides transportation! Do the parents not trust the bus drivers? Are they afraid of school bus bullies? Do they all have someplace they need to go immediately after the dismissal bell? These before and after school queues seemingly exist at every school in the district, be it elementary, middle or high school. Isn't it a waste of time and gasoline?

When we first moved here three years ago, I noticed this phenomenon and was appalled. Of course, Andrew and Eric took the bus to and from school. Despite the fact that they got home 45 minutes after school let out and the school was only 10 minutes away. But that's the way it was. Until this year. This past fall, the district changed the bus schedule for our neighborhood. Instead of catching the bus at 6:55 am, the boys would now catch the bus at 6:25. And instead of getting home at 3:45, it's now 4:15.

And that's where I draw the line. As a responsible caring mother, I can't with a clear conscious make my children lose an hour of sleep every day and waste another hour every afternoon. So there I am, sitting in the drop off and pick up lines every morning and afternoon with all the other crazy parents. I calculated I drive an estimated 100 extra miles a week (5+ miles to the school, 10 miles round trip, twice a day, 5 days a week) just to save these two hours a day. It's nuts!

Why can't the school district figure out a way to make bussing more user friendly? My advice to anyone who has children and is considering moving to Moss Bluff . . . find a house close enough to the schools that the kids can walk!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mothers Day 2010

Oh my, what a difference 15 years make. They don't fit on my lap anymore! And I feel so short next to them. Actually, the above photo was taken on Mothers Day 1996 when the boys were 1 1/2 years old, so it was 14 years ago.

We spent a pleasant Mothers Day; brunch at church, then hiked the Blue Trail at Sam Houston Jones State Park. A beautiful relaxing day.

Wishing all you moms out there a wonderful Mothers Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

May Fifth

May 5 -- so many reasons to celebrate this day. Several friends have birthdays today. And of course, Cinco de Mayo, a day we recognize and appreciate Mexico's culture and heritage. But the reason I'm most celebrating is because today marks one year since we brought Eric home from the hospital. I'm celebrating his amazing recovery. I praise God every day for healing. I thank God every day for life. Each day is a gift.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tour LaFitte

I rode in the Tour LaFitte this morning. I love organized bike rides. They're so colorful -- bright clothes and helmets, shiny bikes, enthusiastic riders. When you get a mass of bikes and bikers together, the display can be positively artistic.
Tour LaFitte is an annual ride held during Contraband Days, a Lake Charles festival celebrating pirate folklore. Supposedly, legendary pirate Jean LaFitte hid buried treasure in and around the murky bayous of southwest Louisiana.

Clouds threatened rain and we battled a fierce SSE wind on the first half of the route. But the rain held off and we had a terrific ride.

I know no one in the above photos, just random fellow bikers in the crowd. I rode with my buddy, Luke. Pleasant conversation melted the 27 miles away like ice in my Gatorade. When we finished, he and I both said we'll be up for the 40 mile ride next year.