Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cheesy, Tomatoey Goodness!

First, it's entirely appropriate to be wildly jealous that I picked my first tomatoes last week.

Now that it's out in the open, we can move forward.

I have a new favorite sandwich.
I don't have a picture of it. 
A picture sometimes is not worth a thousand words.  
It wouldn't do justice to all the tastes and textures that it brings to your taste buds.

Sourdough bread-2 slices
Fresh Tomatoes, sliced thick
Provolone Cheese
Muenster Cheese
Hot Banana Pepper rings, aka Salad Peppers
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder

Butter the bread like you would for a grilled cheese sandwich.
Flip the bread to fix the inside.
On one slice of bread put one kind of cheese. 
On the other slice of bread, put the other kind of cheese.
Add tomatoes, peppers, Italian seasoning and garlic powder to one side.
Top it with the other side and grill to your favorite color of doneness.
In my case, it's perfectly light brown.

Let it cool for a couple minutes or you'll be rewarded with a burnt mouth instead of a taste sensation.
Perfect accompanying beverage: Coke Zero.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Grandpa's Birthday and the Photo Bomber

Yesterday was Dad's 84th birthday.
Those of you that know your numbers probably figured that out.
We gathered at Mom and Dad's house to celebrate.
Mom made her famous brisket, potato salad, summer squash casserole, corn on the cob, and rolls.
She and Quinn got together for their birthday cake making session on Thursday.

I'm guessing she pulled it out of the freezer and frosted it yesterday afternoon.

It was quite the feast!

As usual with our clan, there was an abundance of silliness and giggles.
Leave it up to my kids to ruin a perfectly good meal by giving me a stomach ache from laughing so hard.

 Above, you'll see Dad contemplating his birthday wish.
If you have a keen eye, you'll see a shirtless body sneaking around in the background.

 Here, a lovely picture of Dad, just getting ready to smile and blow out the candles.

Just when Jenna thought it was safe to take a picture, up popped our photo bomber!  
Grandpa's seen it before. He has other silly grandchildren.  
After trying very hard to fuss at Preston to get the heck out of the shot, we all ended up laughing.

After what seemed like forever, Dad finally got to make his wish.
Wonder if it was that Preston would put his shirt back on?

We simply can't do anything in our family without being silly---at least not when we're all together.
Can't wait to see how things will go in June when most of the Cox clan will be together for Nathan's wedding.

Happy, Happy Birthday to the most wonderful father-in-love a girl could wish for!!
Thanks for putting up with your crazy grandkids.
They love you skyfulls, too!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

The 'beauty' is the pair of peafowl that showed up on my property.
The 'beast' is that someone most likely dumped them.

What makes me think that?  
Don't I live in a neighborhood where all my neighbors have at least three acres?  Goodness knows one of them could have peacocks.
Or not.
There are only 16 homes in our neighborhood.  I know all my neighbors and asked around a bit.
Also, if you've ever lived near a peacock, you'll know it.
One of the neighbors described the call of a peacock as "just like woman screaming for her life".
There's no way to have peacocks as pets and not have the neighbors know about it.

The sound they make is what makes me think they were dumped. 
 Someone probably got a pair because they thought they were beautiful.  
They were expensive--at least the white one was.  I think he or she is a Silver-Pied peafowl.  That makes her worth upwards of a hundred dollars.

They weren't fully aware of four things that make peacocks less than perfect pets:
1. Their call is loud and disruptive--especially when they go off at night.
2. Their poo piles are quite large and stinky.
3. Even if raised from chicks, they don't really have a need to hang out with humans.
4. They can fly.  Usually they fly onto the branches above your car to roost at night.  Then, in the morning your car is decorated (see #2).

Unfortunately, like any fowl, they get used to their surroundings.  They range from home, but only so far.
This pair was disoriented and the darker of the two was frantic to keep moving.
I hoped they would hang around.  
I hoped they had just wandered over hill and dale and ended up in our neighborhood somehow.
I hoped that maybe, just maybe, someone was looking for them.

What they did do was wander out into the ranch land behind us.  
That pretty white one doesn't stand a chance.
If the coyotes don't spot her right away, the Great Horned owls will spot her overnight.

There ought to be a law that says if you want to purchase any sort of animal, you need to pass a test on its care and well being, first.
No pass, no pet.

Monday, May 14, 2012

It Gets Better Every Year

When my kids were little, they'd shower me with gifts on Mother's Day, that they'd made at school.
Sweet kisses, snuggles in the early morning before I'd get out of bed.
I was positive that those moments were as good as they get.

I was wrong.
Each year, as my kids age, I find new and wonderful things to love about them.
They express their Mother's Day love for me on their own terms and not those offered by what the art teacher at school has in mind.
I do, however, cherish those artsy trinkets made by tiny hands.

This year, Mother's Day was a weekend-long event.
Saturday, we surprised Mom and Dad with a little lunch in further celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary, with some of their friends from church.
We chose a local restaurant--Creek Road Cafe.
The wait staff was so sweet and the food was good, as always.
We followed that by having dessert and coffee at our house.
How does that pertain to Mother's Day, you ask?
My kids were all there.
Silly and happy and smiling.

After a short nap, the fun continued with a trip to see The Avengers.
Candy, popcorn and Eye Candy.
I can't decide if I have a bigger movie crush on Captain America or Iron Man.
Again, all three kids were there.
By the way, if you haven't seen this movie, make plans to!
I mean it, make plans right now.

 Sunday morning I awoke early to put the finishing touches on the service at church.  I was in charge and needed to print the bulletin.
On the counter in the kitchen, I discovered a treasure trove of gifts and cards.
I knew Jenna had painted the bluebird (below) for Grandma, but she surprised me with a painting of my own!  
The wren is my favorite bird and she captured it beautifully!
Her creativity and talent are blessing to everyone she knows.  

 Preston got me a great card and some amazing chocolate.  
Dark chocolate is good for you, isn't it?  
Antioxidants and all that.  
Cancels out all the calories? :)

I also got a Mother's Heart necklace with all three kids names on it.

After church we went to our favorite sandwich shop with Grandma and Grandpa for lunch and came home.
Another nap and an episode of Sherlock on Netflix (series from BBC, fabulous show).
When I awakened from my nap, I was surprised with Jenna's homemade chocolate cupcakes.
SOOOooooo good!
There are no pictures of them.  They disappear quite quickly.

Thank you to Grandma and Grandpa, Eric and the kids for making my weekend so special!
I love you all more than words can convey!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My, How I Love Them

These folks are Eric's parents.
My 'in-laws'.
I call them my 'in-loves' instead.
I consider them my parents.

When Eric and I got married, I asked Dad what I should call them.
He said, "Well, none of our other kids call us anything but Mom and Dad."
Maybe it was no big deal to Dad, but it was huge for me.
These amazing, loving, accepting people considered me family!

Goodness knows they must have been terrified at Eric's choosing of me.
I came from a family that put the 'fun' in dysfunctional.
Eric dated and married me in the midst of my parents terrible divorce, my father being in a nursing home and hospital for lengthy amounts of time because of depression, lung disease, and alcoholism.
He held me and sang me lullabies when I was exhausted and undone by the continued drama of my family falling apart.
He weathered my terrible emotional storms with no judgement of me.
He let me blow and go and knew that like any other hurricane, I'd blow myself out.

Where did he get such quiet and gentle qualities?
From his parents!
He saw something in me that I couldn't see myself.
He inherited something from his folks that could see beyond my immediate frailties.
They, probably despite their own worries, accepted and love me from the beginning.
I'm sure they prayed for me.
I'm sure they prayed for Eric. 

My parents are both dead now.
Thank the good Lord I was blessed with two more parents!
They have been nothing but an example of how marriage and treating others can be.
They have shown me nothing but love and tenderness for the last 25 years.
I am so very proud to be a part of their family.
Happy 60th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!
Thanks for loving me and accepting me into your lives!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wonder How Much Money We've Saved?

Here you see a cut away view of an air conditioner.  
It could be very helpful, except it's not.
About 6 weeks ago, one of our air conditioning units decided that when it clicks on, that it will trip a breaker and stop working.  
Lazy air conditioner.  
Wish I could trip a breaker on myself every now and then.

The thing is, we haven't had it looked at yet.
The unit that serves the bedrooms is working just fine.
This unit serves the main living part of the house.
In the mornings, I open up the windows in that part of the house to let the cool breezes blow through.
I'm perfectly comfortable in the 70*-75* degree range and I'm the only one home during the day.
About lunchtime, I shut up the windows and the house manages to maintain those cooler temperatures.
Luckily, the outdoor daytime temperatures have only breached 90+* a few times in the last 6 weeks.

Next week, Eric (formerly known as Lee) will be working from home.  
We'll finally have someone come out and figure out what's tripping the breaker.
Repairmen tend not to find so many things wrong with our stuff when Eric is around to discuss it with them.  

I'm curious, how much money we'll have saved by not using this air conditioning unit for that long.
There's really no way to know, as by this time last year, we were beginning our 90 day run of temperatures over 100*.

Do you open your windows?  How long into the spring/summer can you leave them open?  I will say that dust is a problem here, but I try to keep on top of it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Jenna Pie

Most everyone knows that the names you see here are not our real names.
I took a page out of Pioneer Woman's playbook when I first started this blog four years ago.
I have since outed all our real names.
Strangely, I still blog with the names I chose for my family members.
In fact, my niece, Sarah (her real name) and my sister, Nora (formerly known as Jean) have begun calling me by my blog name: CeeCee.

This post isn't supposed to be about names, real or not, it's supposed to be about Jenna (formerly known as Pearl).

I took a picture of her sleeping the other day.
She uploaded the pictures off our shared camera and promptly deleted the picture of herself sleeping. 
 She said she "...looked terrible! Why did you want a picture of me sleeping, anyway!?"

Funny how we see things so differently.
I thought she looked beautiful, napping there on the couch after a hard day at school.  
I was going to blog about how beautiful she is, inside and out.
I was going to blog about how funny she is and how proud I am of her.
I was going to blog about what a great artist she is.
I was going to blog about how even if she weren't my daughter, I'd want to hang out with her and have her as a friend.

Now I can't, because she deleted the picture of herself sleeping on the couch.
Instead I'll just have to post her latest piece of art.

Silly Jenna Pie.
That's her newest nickname by the way.
It was given to her by Sarah's daughter, Bella, just a few days ago.  
The very same day I took the picture.