Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dad and Gabby

Tonight, I received this amazing e-mail from a student that dad taught and befriended at Hughen School in Port Arthur:

Dear Laurie,

I just learned from a friend of mine about the passing of your dad a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to express my condolences and sympathy for you and your family. I know that a great man like him is being greatly missed.

My name is Gabriel.....aka...your dad knew me as Gabby.

I am a former student of The Hughen School where I had the pleasure of knowing your dad from 1974 - 1983 when I graduated from High School and moved away to college. I was the first student to take swimming lessons from your dad when he first started the classes there, and kept attending the weekly two-hour swimming time every time he'd show up even after I had already learned to swim just because I really enjoyed "hanging out" with him.

Looking back on those years I can recollect the times when he always would do tricks and jokes to keep us laughing, while at the same time he would be teaching us not to be afraid of the water and swim...but most importantly he also taught us not to be afraid of trying new things, and to never give up even though we had the odds stacked against us just because we were supposed to be "handicapped".

And so I wanted to share with you the fact that I give a lot of credit to the success in my life to some of the lessons I learned from your dad during the times that I had the pleasure of being with him.

At the Hughen School we used to have a Drama Club where we would put on a full production play twice a year. It was in one of those plays that one time I had the honor of acting the role of a clown....and I remember your dad showing up for our two performances (Friday after noon & Saturday night) one hour before curtain time just to help me put on my clown make-up....and such is the memory I hold of your dad as the picture I am attaching with this e-mail to share with you and his days at the Hughen School.

That was the Mr. Red I honor in this message.

My sincere love to you and your family.

Gabby..... :-D

If you would like to find out more about Gabby you can visit:
Click here (online version of Gabby's book)
Click here (
Click here (
Click here (

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Can't Believe He Finally Called!

When I got home tonight, my caller ID showed a missed call from Julio Iglesias.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Zydeco Louisiana Diner - Oh, yeah!

We temporarily interrupt our Dannielle the Golden Eagle picture-ama to talk about lunch...

Jennifer (click here for her new fabulous blog) and I had lunch today at the Zydeco Louisiana Diner on Crockett Street (click here for previous blog post). It was fantastic.

I had the Wednesday plate lunch of Chicken Fricasse and, as you can see above, accessorized with stewed okra and tomatoes and corn maque choux (pronounced mock shoo, by the way...Cory). The above picture doesn't do it justice. It was delicious.

I also bought some homemade bread pudding for "later" and had a glass of their "real" strawberry lemonade. The lemonade was fantastic and "later" for the bread pudding turned out to be about five minutes after I got back to the office. I poured the provided sauce over the pudding, put it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and...oh momma...that's some good stuff.

So, grab your co-workers or some people you like and go there. Soon.

Edited to add:
I forgot to mention that the daily specials are served cafeteria style which is perfect for a quick lunch. They also have a huge patio, so you can even eat outside.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Go, Dannielle!! - U. S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team

My cousin Susan's daughter is a member of the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. Click here to read all about it. (Click on the label "Dannielle" below for a couple of funny family stories and some pics of Dannielle when she was a little girl.)

We went to see Dannielle in competition Saturday. Below are some of the pictures I took. I'll post more pictures and videos tomorrow with more details about our fabulous day. (I highly recommend clicking on the pictures to make them bigger.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How to Choose a Halloween Costume

I have some friends coming over today to go through my Halloween stuff in an attempt to put together a Halloween costume. I just pulled everything out of my closet and I can't believe how much stuff I have. I have a cave girl, Mai Tai, Gingerbread Man, Scary Bride, medieval lady and numerous wigs and accessories. A lot of it I've never worn.

Halloween night we'll all be at the Logon Cafe here in Beaumont where my friends Southern Embers and Longneck Road will be playing. Click here to see the poster.

Here are my two professionally acquired suggestions for choosing your Halloween costume:

  1. How is my hair going to look when I get sick of this wig, hat, bobblehead...etc.

  2. Can I hold an alcoholic beverage with these cartoon hands, skeleton hands, claws, etc.

You're welcome.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coming Up at Courville's

We went to Courville's the other night for another outstanding show by Hayes Carll with the fabulous Kaiser Brothers as the opening act. The food was delicious and I was thrilled to find that the gumbo was back.

Call Courville's now for your reservations for upcoming shows. Ticket price includes dinner and the show and the sooner you call, the better your seat. The number is 409-860-9811 and you pay by credit card when you make your reservation. Ticket price is usually $30, though Billy Joe Shaver was $50 in the past.

November 19
Bruce Robison

December 17
Walt Wilkins

January 27
Fred Eaglesmith

February 10
Ray Wylie Hubbard

Coming Soon
***Well, not "soon," actually. He'll be sometime after Ray Wylie Hubbard. ***
Billy Joe Shaver

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zydeco Louisiana Diner - Crockett Street, Beaumont, Texas

Mom and I had lunch downtown today at Pancho Villa, then walked down to the new Zydeco Louisiana Diner which is in the space previously occupied by Hog Wild on Crockett Street. The menu describes it as: "South Louisiana Home Cooking Served Cafeteria Style!" The food looked and smelled amazing and I can't wait to try it. (Click on the menus below for a bigger view.)

Zydeco Louisiana Diner
270 Crockett Street
Beaumont, Texas 77701
(409) 835-4455
Fax: (409) 835-4457

Monday - Friday 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Coolest Thing I Just Might Possibly Have Ever Seen

From my friend "Abbie" formerly of the possibly defunct fabulous blog "Falafel Sex."

Conway, Arkansas...weird

Conway is a small town in Arkansas just north of Little Rock. There is no reason in the world that I should have ever heard of Conway, Arkansas, yet three of my favorite things are associated with Conway...
  1. One of my favorite singer/songwriters Hayes Carll went to college there and speaks of it often during his shows.
  2. Last year's American Idol, Kris Allen, is from Conway.
  3. My nephew started college there this year.

Isn't that weird? I think that's weird.

The Incredible Pencil

Have you ever stopped to think about pencils? The good old No. 2? Sharpening it to just the right point: sharp enough to write a non-smudgy sentence, but not so sharp that it breaks as soon as the tip hits the paper? Pencils are an amazing thing.

What about that eraser? What genius came up with that? Someone created an instrument that is portable, inexpensive and perfection in its own right, then they improved it by attaching a little piece of rubber on the opposite end of the exposed lead that allows its user to magically eradicate things mistakenly written.

I'm sure I'll Wikipedia the origin of the pencil shortly. However, for now, I will ponder the amazingness that is the pencil...with eraser.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

What the...?

There are different degrees of "What the...?" "What the f*ck?!" should never be used when "What the heck?" will do. For example:

What the heck?
Your television won't turn on, but it's just dead batteries in the remote.
What the hell?
You turn on your television and the only channel you can catch is Noggin because your piece of shit cable box is screwed up again.
What the f*ck?!
Somebody broke into your house and stole your television.

What the heck?
You get home from Taco Bell and the window chick gave you mild sauce when you specifically requested FIRE.
What the hell?
You get home from Taco Bell and the window chick didn't give you any sauce at all.
What the f*ck?!
You get home from Taco Bell and you have a BEAN burrito instead of a BEEF burrito.

What the heck?
While getting in your car, you notice a scratch in the paint that wasn't there yesterday.
What the hell?
Someone bumps your car while opening their car door.
What the f*ck?!
You get rear-ended at a stop someone talking on their cell phone.

What the heck?
There's a kid floating around Colorado in a tin foil balloon?
What the hell?
The kid was hiding in the attic the whole time?
What the f*ck?!
The kid threw up on the Today Show?
Seriously...what the f*ck?!?!
The kid's dad is totally off-the-wall-bat-sh*t-crazy.


What the f*ck?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Best Handicap Parking Photo Ever

The weather was fabulous today. Bonnie, mom and I met Cory and Jamie and Ava for lunch at Geo Burrito, then went shopping.

We shopped for Halloween pumpkins at the Methodist church, Thanksgiving decorations at JoAnn's and Kohl's and Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks.

The best part of the day, however, was stumbling upon this fabulous site in the Kroger shopping center parking lot...

Thank God for cell phone cameras. You just never know when the best photo op of all time will be given to you like a little gift all wrapped up with a sunshiney-day bow. (Click on the picture for a better view.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Best Halloween Costume Ever?

I just read this on My Life is Average while surfing Stumble Upon:

"I grew up in a college town, and one Halloween our doorbell rang and we opened the door expecting to see trickortreater—but what was in front of our open door—was another door! Like, a full-on wooden door, that had a sign that said “Please knock.” So we did, and the door swung open to reveal a bunch of college dudes dressed as really old grandmothers, curlers in their hair, etc, who proceeded to coo over our “costumes” and tell us we were “such cute trick or treaters!” One even pinched my cheek. Then THEY gave US candy, closed their door, picked it up and walked to the next house."

Cool websites you should check out:
My Life is Average
I Am Neurotic
Stumble Upon
Post Secret
Texts From Last Night

Friday, October 16, 2009

Today was Bosses...Boss's...Boss'...whatever...

For Boss's Day, we like to feed our bosses.

So, we cooked pie...

...and lots of other stuff...

...and we ate too much.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This and That

Cool New Beaumont Events Website
Click here for a great new website for Beaumont events. It's called

Connect the Dots
The name of the above website (CtheDs) stands for "connect the dots," which reminded me of how much I used to love doing "connect the dots" or "dot-to-dot" puzzles when I was a kid.

Can Catchers and Channel Changers
Thinking about "dot-to-dot" puzzles reminded me of a conversation I had with someone a couple of days ago. When we were kids, my brother, sisters and I used to fight for the "privilege" of being the can-catcher or the channel-changer.

What was a can-catcher you ask? A can-catcher was the person who would grab the cans in the grocery store as directed by mom and/or dad. Tough work, but somebody had to do it. I suspect this little job duty was created during one of mom's four pregnancies. Plus, having four children with an age range of only six years, mom had to come up with creative ways to keep us (well, Terry and Stuart) from running amuck in the store.

What was a channel-changer? In the olden days, there were no remote control devices for television sets or for anything else, for that matter. Every night, we took turns being the channel-changer. Mom or dad would tell us to either change the channel or raise or lower the volume or bang the side of the set when the picture got fuzzy. There were also the occasional vertical hold or "turn the big knob" issues to be dealt with.

Our parents also somehow convinced us that folding towels, dusting the furniture, washing the car or gathering coat hangers were fun activities. They constantly used the old Tom Sawyer trick on us and we never knew. Sneaky!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I highly recommend...

Windshield Wonder (click here)

Community - Thursday @ 7:00 p.m. on NBC
(click here)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Candy Corn Shooters

While we're on the subject of Halloween...

Oranje Van Gogh Vodka
Banana Liqueur
Coconut Rum
Orange Curacao
Whipped Cream

Combine Combine Oranje Van Gogh Vodka and Banana Liqueur into a mixer with ice. Shake and pour into the bottom of the shot glass.

Combine Coconut Rum, Orange Curacao, Cream, and dash of Grenadine (for color). Shake in shaker with ice and gently layer on top using a spoon.

Top with whipped cream.

Or an easier recipe...
1 part Licor 43® liqueur
1 part Orange Curacao liqueur
1 part cream

Carefully layer on top of each other to resemble the halloween candy. First the Licor 43, then the Orange Curacao, then finally the cream.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"We could all do this...!"

My mom sent me this video. Watch it all the way to the end.

My sister Terry said, "We could all do this and quit our day jobs!"

I said, "We'd HAVE to quit our day jobs, because we'd all be in traction."

Friday, October 09, 2009

As requested...

My funky new teeny-tiny glasses.
(Click here to read what it's like to walk around wearing these lovely specs.)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Nature of Bubbles

For those of you who don’t know, our family has lost two dear cousins and my dad this year. My dad passed away only two weeks ago. People ask how we’re doing and it’s a difficult question to ask and a difficult question to answer. We have a large extended family who are all sharing the same emotions right now which helps. We also all have wonderful networks of friends and co-workers who are always nearby for love and support.

The exhaustion and worry our whole family experienced over the past year with Ray, Alan and my dad’s illnesses, are now replaced not only by sadness for those who are no longer with us, but also with a new closeness to our loved ones. We were already a tight knit clan…cousins, aunts, uncles, lifelong friends, new friends...yet somehow we're even closer, now.

The sadness, however, frequently gives way to outrageous bouts of laughter and highly inappropriate remarks which I will share with you one day in the distant future. Very distant. There is no need for you to know the true depths of our depravity. You just aren’t ready for that. Trust me.

As we move forward, feel free to keep asking about us and about our mom and about our aunt and about our cousins. Don’t worry that a particular question will be inappropriate or might make us cry, because here’s the thing: there is no predicting what topic might make a person cry.

Yesterday, I spoke to someone about the flowers at my dad’s funeral for ten minutes without a hint of sadness or sentimentality. Thirty minutes later, I had to leave the room because someone mentioned Easter.

I explained to a friend that although we’re doing well, our emotions are always bubbling very near the surface and that, like bubbles, they suddenly appear and then *poof* they’re gone. You needn’t worry or feel uncomfortable around our occasional distant stares or teary eyes. It’s just the nature of bubbles.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Getting Used to My New Glasses

I'm still trying to get used to my new glasses. The frames are very small, so I see clearly when I look straight ahead. However, everything up-down-or-sideways is blurry.

It's kind of like playing a video game and picking up a pair of glasses to advance in the game and then having to "walk" around the game wearing those stupid virtual glasses.

If you can't relate to that, it's also similar to the way the Invisible Man sees things in those Invisible Man movies. For some reason, when an Invisible Man walks around with bandages on his head (so that other people in the Invisible Man movie don't know he's invisible) he sees things as though he is looking through binoculars.

To put it yet another way, I feel like I'm the Invisible Man playing Doom.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tomorrow...Jump Rope

Today, on my way back from "$25 Optical" where my "opticals" somehow cost me $50 (how do they do that?), I saw a man skipping along the sidewalk on 11th Street. He was a black guy around 30 years old wearing a do-rag, t-shirt and knee length blue jeans...not your typical skipper.

So, tonight I was sitting here thinking, "Laurie, when's the last time you skipped?" So, I skipped. Just a little. When's the last time you skipped? I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow, I jump rope.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

From my son Cory...

My son forwarded this video to me. Too cute! (Oh, and it's not my grandbaby. Just a random video.)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

What do you call a...?

My sister and I were having a conversation the other day about somebody we know. You don't know the person. Seriously. It's nobody you know. No matter who you are, you do not know this person, so don't even try to guess and don't call me and ask me. It's in the vault.

Me: He steals.

Terry: He's a kleptomaniac?

Me: Well, he doesn't really steal stuff. He steals people's medications.

Terry: Medications?

Me: Yeah, he thinks he's sick. Whatever somebody has, he thinks he has it, too.

Terry: He's a hypochondriac?

Me: Yeah. Definitely, a hypochondriac.

Terry: He's a klepto-chondriac.

Me: That's it! He's a klepto-chondriac. Is that a word?

Terry: It is now.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Ava with Paw-Paw's Balloon Flowers

Some of dad's clown friends sent a bouquet of balloon flowers to the funeral home in honor of dad. Of course, they went home with the Grand-Fabulous Ava.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Two pictures I wish we would have put in dad's keepsake video

It's been driving me nuts that I didn't bring these with us
to put in the keepsake video. So, here you go...

Uncle Wayne, Uncle Leonard, Dad,
Grandma Ransonette and Grandpa Ransonette

Uncle Leonard, Dad and Uncle Wayne at Cory's wedding

Back to work and this and that

I came back to work today in search of normal and found it. I'm so thankful for everything they've done for me and my family throughout the last three months since dad began his frequent hospitalizations.

My brother and his wife went back to Arkansas this morning, but we'll see them again in November for a wedding (my nephew Elliott and his lovely fiance Maritza) and for the holidays.

Our office building sent out a security alert earlier today and I volunteered to go downstairs to take care of the situation (which turned out to be a false alarm), but nobody would let me go. I guess I better start looking for a paintball course or a karate class or something to burn off some of these pent up emotions, before I get myself arrested for punching somebody in the neck at Walmart for talking too loud on their cell phone.