kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Friday, September 28, 2012

Art Gallery Promenade, 2012

Each year around this time, the Arts and Humanities Council of Southwest Louisiana sponsors the Gallery Promenade. (For more info, click here.) A dozen or more art venues open their doors from 5-9 p.m. this evening. Art enthusiasts can stroll from one gallery to another. As is so much of the fun stuff in Lake Charles, the event is free. Each gallery or museum showcases several artists' work. Often, there's food and music featured, as well.

I've been enamored with the eclectic art community here in town since arriving in 2007. I scrolled through the archives and found a post from 2009 on my appreciation of the various cultural venues. You can read it here. It's shocking to me how much my boys have changed and grown up over the past three years. And Stellar Beans is still a great coffee shop!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cayenne Kayak Challenge 2012

As many of you know, I’m in a fun kayaking club called the Pelican Paddlers. Our annual big event, the Cayenne Kayak Challenge, was held this past Saturday. We have it by Lake Charles’ North Shore Beach and invite the public, those who are interested or merely curious about kayaking. We have extra boats people can try out. And we tell them about our club.

One thing I love about kayaks – they’re so colorful!
First we have a skills relay race, where we do goofy things like try to paddle with our hands (most ineffective), spin our boats around twice and then paddle backwards (useful), move a tennis ball through the water without using our hands (why?). I’m in the red/yellow/orange boat.
Then we have a four(ish) mile race around the perimeter of Lake Charles. I won first place in the ladies division. But only because Terri didn’t participate.

Ship to Shore, a local boating store, came with donated door prizes and stand-up paddle boards for people to try. I could paddle one on my knees, but didn’t trust my balance to stand up.
We end the event with lunch, awards, and door prizes. Come out and join us next year!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pulling Up Stakes

Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Luke 18:22b
I drove up to Dry Creek, Louisiana today. I’d never been there before. It’s a small quiet country town, with a tiny post office, a general store, a fire station, a church, and a few people. It may be best known for a popular Baptist Church camp. But the reason I went there today is because a dear friend of mine, Curt Iles, and his wife DeDe, are having an estate sale. They are following a call to become missionaries in Uganda, Africa. And they are selling EVERYTHING, including their home and 5 acres.
 I pulled up to their house and thought, Wow, now there’s a testimony to the power of social media! I got there soon after they opened for business and look at the cars! Curt advertised on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. And he has a lot of friends.

As I perused the housewares, Christmas and other holiday ornaments, linens, tools, books, and whatnot, I wondered what it would be like to sell all my earthly possessions and move to a third world country. Hard to imagine.

I wonder what this pretty corgie thinks? I thought she looked a bit bewildered.

While shoppers sifted through the pieces of Curt’s life, he casually strolled through the crowd, greeting friends, saying goodbye, and assuring them, “Yes, we will see each other again!”
“It’s what we’re supposed to do,” he said calmly. “I have a peace about it.”
Indeed, he appeared to be peaceful.

Curt and DeDe, God bless and Godspeed.
Their sale continues through Saturday. Click here for more info.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blue Dog and artist George Rodrigue

Sometime after moving to Louisiana, I discovered Blue Dog. I don’t recall exactly when or where that was – it may have been at the Blue Dog Cafe in Lafayette -- but I became enamored from the beginning. That sweet puppy dog face. Those eyes that beg me to throw a tennis ball and play catch. What’s not to love?

So when I read that there was an exhibit opening of Rodrigue’s work at Lake Charles' Imperial Calcasieu Museum this past Friday, I cleared the calendar. It’s an exhibit that is part of Louisiana’s 200th anniversary celebration this year. “200 Years: The Faces and Places of Louisiana” will be on display at the Sallier St. museum until November 2nd.

I learned from a newspaper article, and discovered first hand at the opening, that Rodrigue is known not only for his iconic Blue Dog paintings, but for his portraits of famous people, as well. At this exhibit, I saw paintings of Chef Paul Prudhomme, Louis Armstrong, current Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and his wife, Supriya, our Saints quarterback, Drew Brees, and many others. Newer portraits often include Blue Dog standing next to the famous person. This Cajun folk artist also creates posters for popular Louisiana festivals – the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Fest, New Orleans Jazz Fest, etc.

I have read that the inspiration for Blue Dog came from one of Rodrigue’s own dogs named Tiffany, and a painting he did on Louisiana’s legendary scary-campfire-story- creature, the Loup Garou.

I couldn’t resist buying a picture book and some note cards.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9/11 -- Flashback on a Tuesday

It was a morning much like today. A Tuesday. Sunny and cool. So pleasant. In memory of 9/11, I'm reposting last year's blog here from the 10th anniversary of that devastating day.

I've been seeing lots of photos from the memorial in New York City. Have you been there? I'd like to visit it someday.

Friday, September 7, 2012

It's Marching Band Season!

I have a confession to make. Oh, I hope I don’t offend anyone here. But I’m going to be honest. I don’t enjoy Friday night high school football. Oh, I go to the home games. But not to see the football team. My son is in marching band. And I wouldn’t miss seeing him do his thing out on the field. Yep, I’m there for the band. Most games, Bob and I don’t arrive until just before half-time. Because that’s really all we are there to see. And Sam Houston’s Pride and Spirit is one of the best. They win numerous awards each year. I also enjoy visiting with my friends in the stands. During the game, I’m generally engaged in conversation. Or I stand in the concession line for a snack. Watch the bugs dart around in the bright lights. Try to find Andrew in the purple blur on the stands at the end of the field. Gaze at the moon. Watch the score board for the time. How much longer till we leave? Really, is it only the third quarter? Anything but focus on the game. Though I have to admit, when the crowd goes wild and that blasted horn blares, indicating a touchdown, and those goofy guys in purple and gold body suits run down the track with the school flag, I’m disappointed that there’s no instant replay. I’ve missed a moment of excitement.

When the clock ticks down to zero, I don’t rush out to the parking lot. I don’t leave early to beat the traffic jam. I stay to watch the band march out of the stadium, single file. It’s an impressive sight. With their hard work and dedication, those kids make me proud.

Tonight is the first home game of Andrew’s senior year. Go Big Sam!

Here's a video of last year's program.

How do you spend fall Friday nights?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bayou d'Inde

I enjoyed a pleasant 10-mile Labor Day paddle this morning with a few friends. I and a small contingent of fellow kayakers set off from Prien Lake Park, crossed the Calcasieu River ship channel, and wound our way up Bayou d’Inde (pronounced din), took a right at Maple Fork Bayou and shimmied up into Sulphur. Our club president and trip planner called it an “urban jungle” paddle.

We saw fish and birds, not much else. Bayou d’Inde has historically and notoriously been severely polluted by nearby industrial plants. Yet, it’s still a pretty place. Peaceful. I saw a few folks fishing. I can’t imagine eating anything out of that water. The EPA and other environmental groups have been coming down hard on the local plants to curb pollution, so I’d like to think it’s not quite as bad as it used to be. Nevertheless, I hosed my boat off very well when I got home.

The coolest thing was watching the moon set over the bayou.