Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Monday, July 22, 2013

Foot Surgery Recovery, Post-Op One Month, Three Days

Went back to the doctor today. They took some x-rays of my left foot, and I. Am. Out. Of. The. Boot!! Oh, happy day. The doctor says it looks good and has healed well.

I have to wear supportive tennis shoes for the next month. No bare feet or flip flops for at least that long. And I can now get back to the gym! Maybe the stationary bike, to start. "Slowly at first," he said. "Until you see how it feels." I will be there tomorrow!

I was so excited upon leaving the doctor's office, I celebrated by going to Orange Leaf Fro-Yo. You can read about how much I love that place here. (This was a post from a couple years ago, before they opened the Nelson Rd. shop in Lake Charles.) I love that stuff!

As eager as I was to lose the cumbersome clunky straight jacket for feet, I admit, I was a tad apprehensive at the thought of walking on my still-recovering foot without the boot. I imagined my foot to be fragile. That it might break if I stepped on it. Or that it would hurt. But it didn't. Though it does feel awkward. Like my foot doesn't know what to think, not having to lug that weight around. It's certainly a period of transition, but also an incredible feeling of freedom. What a relief!

Thank you, Dr. Tyson Green. You made my day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Saying Thanks for a Stranger's Kindness

Acts of kindness are rarely forgotten.

Four years ago, a stranger heard about Eric's plight in Texas Children's Hospital from our mutual friends Sara and Mark Judson. This dear woman, from an established family in Lake Charles, had never heard of the Dilmores, let alone met us. We were relatively new in town at the time. And yet, she offered to allow us to stay in her beautifully furnished but unoccupied apartment near the hospital. We didn't go there often -- we rarely wanted to leave Eric's bedside. But it was available when we needed a retreat, a break, or a comfortable place to get a night's sleep. When my mom and sisters came to visit Eric and us in the hospital, the apartment provided a comfortable place where we could relax and decompress. And sleep. Noni Shearman was a blessing to us in ways she never knew.

Last Friday night, at an art exhibit at her new venture called Art Interest, I had the opportunity to meet Noni and finally thank her in person. She is just as sweet as I imagined her to be. She barely recalled the circumstances of her gift, but Noni and her generosity have been dear to my heart these past four years. It was a joy and pleasure to meet her and express my gratitude.

Like many of us in Lake Charles, Noni loves the arts. She recently opened Art Interest at 1322 Ryan St. She hosts classes for all types of art work, from pottery and mosaics to painting, glasswork, amd more. She will also host art exhibits. Find Noni and Art Interest on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Art-Interest/302077053252829

And thank you again, Noni.
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Snow Cone Stands

It’s the little things that endear Lake Charles to me. For example, the little mom and pop joints that dot the urban landscape have intrigued me since our move to southwest Louisiana six years ago. You can read my posts on the donut shops here and the crawfish stops here. Other establisments I find fascinating are these little snow cone stands. They aren’t open year around – only in the summer. They are all over the place. In Pittsburgh, there’s the chain, Rita’s Italian Ice, which we loved, but they can’t hold a paper cone to these unique snow cone stands around here, especially in terms of price and flavor selections. I am also reminded of Pittsburgh’s iconic ice ball man, Gus, who’s been shaving ice by hand and hawking his treats on the North Side since 1934. (See photo here) I assume he is still there. I also recall getting snow cones as a kid at carnivals and county fairs. The ice was coarsely crushed and mounded into a paper cone, then drizzled with sweet syrup that invariably leaked out the bottom of the cone, making a sticky mess. My father NEVER allowed snow cones to be eaten in the car. Or much of anything else, for that matter. If we went to the Dairy Queen, we’d have to stand outside the car to eat our ice cream. But I digress.

Here in southwest Louisiana, we have these mom and pop “snow ball” stands. The ice is finely ground in a machine and thus is much denser than the snow cones I had been accustomed to in the north. And they are served in Styrofoam cups, so no leaks. Most stands here offer so many flavors; it’s difficult to make a decision.

In West Lake, there’s the appropriately named “Mom and Pop’s.” The ram is the West Lake High School mascot.

 
Most of these stands also offer vanilla soft serve. At Mom and Pop’s, you can order your snow ball “stuffed,” with soft serve in the center, or “cremed,” where they blend the ice, flavoring, and soft serve. Or you can get it stuffed and cremed. They also make a “slizzard,” which I guess is a take on the DQ Blizzard. At Mom and Pop’s, I had a red velvet snow ball. 
 
Mom and Pop supervise and read the paper in the shop. They have owned and operated this shop for 20 years.

 
Down on Nelson Rd., you’ll find Krazy Kones. You can’t miss it, with the superhero and other assorted graffiti painted on the bright yellow background.

 
I tried sour apple this time. Let me give you a tip. Avoid the green colors, unless you’re going for that ghoulish goth look on your lips and tongue.
On McNeese St., there’s Mr. Snow. Most of these stands offer the snow cones with “cream.” I assumed it was something like coffee cream. But I wasn’t sure. So I asked the girls working the drive-thru window. They told me “cream” is specially made from condensed milk, evaporated milk, and added sugar. As if those flavorings aren’t sweet enough already. I have not yet tried this option. Instead, I ordered a simple cream soda flavored snow cone. I was surprised when she handed it to me and it was red. Red? I expected something tan or light brown, like cream soda, right. Nonetheless, it tasted like cream soda. And that’s what counts.

 
On Oak Park Blvd., you’ll find Kool Kones.

Instead of soft serve vanilla, they offer hard pack vanilla. I chose a stuffed dreamsicle snow cone. Hmmm. Yes, it was orange in color. But it didn’t taste like a dreamsicle. It might have been orange-flavored. But that’s different from dreamsicle. You know that subtle difference I’m talking about?

 
Okay, I’ve saved my favorite snow cone stand for last. “Famous New Orleans Style Snowballs” in Moss Bluff. It’s my favorite for one reason . . . .because it’s the only stand I found that has chocolate soft serve! I love chocolate soft serve. I’ve been annoyed with DQ for years for taking it away.

 
 
Just look at that list of flavors! I think they have the most.

Once, I tried a snowball here with both mint and chocolate flavors stuffed with chocolate ice cream. I love chocolate mint anything. Indeed, it was good, but the color combination was a tad unappetizing. Think mud. This past week, I had a coconut snowball stuffed with chocolate. I was thinking Mounds bar. I liked it!
Not bad for five days worth of research, huh! Next I might report on those curious drive-thru daiquiri stands. They definitely don’t have those in Pennsylvania. Just have to find me a designated driver.

How about you? Do you have a favorite snow cone stand?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Second Week Post-Op and a Flashback to Rayne, Louisiana

Not much new in my recovery saga. I'm getting around better, walking in the boot well. No more crutches. I just don't go too far or fast. I'm getting a bit antsy, being in the house so much. Though I can get out, I just don't have much of anyplace to go. I miss exercising and general activity more than anything.

But since I don't have much to report, I thought I'd take you back to my post on Rayne, La., from a trip I took three years ago. The frog capital of the world. It's a fun town, if you love frogs, like I do. Read it here.