Monday, November 26, 2007

Holiday Trifecta

I managed to pull off the holiday trifecta: I traveled too much, I ate too much, and I drank too much!

First I traveled up to my parents house in northeast Texas.

My folks live on Toledo Bend Lake. The lake borders LA and TX. It is in the middle of no where! Let me put it this way... my folks are almost an hour from the nearest Wal-Mart. Although there is a lack of shopping, there are plenty of trees! Here's what the roads look like around here...

they all look pretty much the same! Note that these would be some great roads for training, with the rolling hills, and almost non-existant traffic.

I arrived at my folks house and immediately began eating! We had the traditional Thanksgiving day dinner. My mom makes the best cornbread dressing! Wow! Turkey, ham, glazed carrots, cranberries, homemade bread, etc... I stuffed myself! Yum!

The pictures above are a bit deceiveing. The weather was nice when I drove in Thursday morning. By that afternoon it was cloudy. By the evening it was raining.

It was still raining Friday and the temperature was 35 to 40-degrees outside. It never warmed up all day. Perfect gumbo weather! Being Cajun, one of our Thanksgiving traditions is taking the turkey leftovers and making gumbo with it. Which was perfect for the weather. This is what a Cajun means by "gumbo weather".

The other family tradition is watching LSU vs. Arkansas football game, which is played on the Friday following Thanksgiving. This year ' s was supposed to be pretty special because we had a shot at the national title. Let's just say, I'm glad the gumbo was good, because that was about the only good result of the day...

I traveled to Lake Charles on Saturday for the marriage of my friends Bryan and Sarah. Despite the cold and rainy weather it went off without a hitch. The reception was fun. I took many pictures, but curiously this is the only one of the bride and groom together...

Sarah (the bride) is from Louisiana, and an LSU graduate. Bryan is from Texas. Each having pride in their respective states, Bryan requested a Texas-shaped groom's cake. Sarah provided it, as he wished... just with a little modification!

Of course no reception would be complete without a 2nd line dance!

After the reception we went to L'auberge du Lac casino, for drinks. We also watched some our friends gamble away much money. I'm not much of a gambler. I usually end up walking away with more than I started, but never enough to get excited about... so, we hung out in the bar and had drinks for the most part. Drinks were cheap. Which was good, because we had lots, and ended up hanging out until 5 a.m. Why not? I didn't have to drive away from the casino.

I stayed in a room at the hotel portion of the casino. This was a bit disappointing. The room was rather expensive when I booked it. For the cost, it wasn't that nice. Honestly, the Hampton Inn in Rockport has nicer rooms for less than half the price. It didn't even include internet access! It was availble for a mere $12.99/day. When I'm paying over $200/night for a room, you'd think they could include it! Don't get me started about how far away you have to park too...

EDIT: I know why they charge for network access... they don't want customers in the room... they want them on the gambling floor!

Oh, no pics from the casino. They don't allow pictures, as we found out! Ooops.

I grew up in a small town. Lake Charles was a BIG city to me! We went there often when I was a kid. I wandered about town on Sunday morning before heading home. After living in Houston, Lake Charles no longer feels "big". Interesting how perspective changes.

I also passed a store on Ryan Street. This store has been open since I was a kid. It never struck me in my youthful innocence that the name of this store could be funny. But it did this time, so I stopped and snapped a photograph...

Once again, changed perspective... The family that....S&M's together stays together I suppose...

All-in-all a good holiday weekend.

There is much to look forward to this week. I'm planning on cooking a gumbo. I've been waiting for weeks to do this. Finally, we're seeing some cooler weather... I'm excited!

And if the weather cooperates, I'll be able to finish painting the MR2! (finally)...

I'm also excited to get the bike back this week, and it will be fantastic to get back on the wheels again...