2016 Holidays

Wow!  Today is January 1, 2017!


Man, that was fast...too fast.

I started decorating the week before Thanksgiving

My husband was a real champ about this.  Not only did he help here at home, he helped me with the decorations at the office, too.  Well...kinda. lol He mostly read the paper, but I was glad he and my mama were there with me.

Usually, I loath Ronnie's headgear, which he did not wear that day.  But...

...I did.  My hair was a mess. 

Then the whirlwind of Christmas functions began soon after Thanksgiving - work functions, church functions, you know what I'm talking about.

My favorite thing we did was decorating my mom's yard and tree.  It wasn't exactly as I pictured in my head.  It never is.  The landscape of my imagination is like a Norman Rockwell illustration.  Real life is rarely like that. 

But it was fun and my heart was full.

Second favorite thing...the Bay City Christmas Parade.

The weather was perfectly cold.  Ronnie had to work and the roads were already blocked by the time his shift ended.  Shoot, I barely even made it. 

I made some cookies and some La Abuela hot chocolate and headed over to my bestie's shop where we braved the cold to watch.

Easiest way ever to always have cookies on hand - make extra dough, roll it up in parchment paper or plastic wrap, freeze it and use as necessary.

Yeah...those aren't real snow flakes, but it seemed fitting.

I kept an eye out for my great-nephew, but basically missed him ;)

The bands played and Yves danced.

Nope, that isn't Ron as Santa there in the corner, although, I've always thought he would make a perfect Santa.

We enjoyed the season as much as we could.  Ronnie worked a lot, as did I.  It was rare for us to get home before 6:30 pm.  I really don't know how people work, commute, help with homework, cook, clean, wash clothes, bathe kids get them to bed and everything else they do in 3-1/2 or 4 hours. 

We had a good Christmas.  Everyone got presents but nobody got the one thing they wished they could have.  There are just some things money can't buy. 

New Year's was fun.  We did a little something different.  We went out to eat with another couple. 

We had a really good time!  The conversation was good and the food was good.  I hope we can do that more in 2017.  We are kinda social morons, though.  I say that with love in my heart.

We came home to spend the rest of the evening with Mom, Milo and Bella.  A rousing game of high stakes poker kept us awake til midnight...barely :P

Ron got a flush in one hand and four of a kind in another.  I'm taking that as a good sign!

Good-bye 2016.  You were good to us.  We had one incredibly heartbreaking moment, but that moment could have come at least a few times before.  My heart longs to see my brother's sweet, charming, breath taking smile just one more time but I thank God for the many extra moments He gave us with my brother.

We really are blessed.  I have everything I need and more.  So, I say, "Welcome 2017!"  I greet you with much gratitude for family I love, friends I love, pets I love, a job made just for me I love, excellent bosses I love and a beautiful life I love.  I look forward to seeing all the great things you have in store for all of us!!

Happy New Year!

A Sentimental Sunday

My favorite time of year is fast approaching! 

I love Fall with all my heart. 

The summer has blown right past me.  I am not a fan of the heat, so I stay out of it as much as I can.  Only problem with that is when you stay out of the heat it means you are inside at all times, thereby, missing the blessings of summer.

At the end of every summer I wish I had gotten out and gotten a sun tan...had an evening bar-b-que here at our house with family and friends, enjoying the wonderful bounty of summer veggies and fruits...taken a walk on the beach...enjoyed a summer night on a blanket staring at the stars and spotting the fireflies...had a watermelon snow cone...the list goes on and on. 

We did go to a crawfish boil this summer and we went on a nice boat ride in the river.  Both activities with my boss and his family.  I am a really lucky girl.  My boss is a caring, generous, optimistic, fun individual.  He's always finding ways to enhance someone's life and he has enhanced ours in many ways over the couple of years I have worked for him. Crawfish and boat ride included.!  He inspires me in many ways.

So, now, Fall is coming up and I can't wait.  So much to love about fall.  I am so excited it is here again!!

And, now that I think about it...I am going to plan my Fall.  You know, like a bucket list for Fall, schedule some stuff to enjoy.  I'm not much on scheduling that kind of stuff, but now a days it seems like a necessity or else it just flies right by us.

I am leaving you with a post I wrote in 2011 that I love to re-read every fall.  Sometimes I don't even recognize the person that wrote that post.  I would love to find so many more of those moments, they seem few and far between.  Realistically, they are probably there...I just am not taking time to savor them.

"Musings on a Beautiful, Fall Evening

I was sitting here at my dining room table taking a break from the long day, just being still and listening. 

The TV is off, no ipod is playing, just the sounds of this very moment in our life.

The sound of the office chair squeaking as Ronnie surfs the web.

The sound of a whirling drill and screws falling to the floor as Michael (my nephew) puts the remainder of the handles on the kitchen cabinets.  Occasionally, we break the silence and chat.  Oh, how I enjoy a good chat with all my nieces and nephews. 

The sound of Jake barking at the patio door wanting to come in.  Both he and Maggie bark and scratch at the door to come inside, but he is most persistent.  Jake's plea is a soft brush of his paw on the door while Maggie's is an urgent-sounding, heavy swipe.  On the other hand, his bark is a demand while hers is a polite request.  Oh, my crazy, beautiful dogs.

I look out the back door as the sun sets on this day and a feeling of overwhelming gratitude overcomes me.  With every falling leaf my mind releases.  All worries, all fears fade away with the light of day.  The only thing that remains is the shadows of the trees and the gratitude.  My heart is full.  My life is full.  I thank God for every moment of this beautiful journey on which He has sent me. 

This is a moment I truly want to remember.

Wishing you many moments, Blog Friends.  And thanking you all for taking time out of your busy, beautiful lives to stop in at Casa Causpanic. Peace be with you all. :)"

Our Fixer Upper

It has been a while since I have posted anything about our Phase II Reno.

This was day one.

That was back in January.  This part of the reno took a month or two.  Rain kept hindering our progress. 

As previously posted, we replaced the roof with a Duralast roof.  In order to complete that we needed to first replace the fascia boards and soffits.  The whole exterior was in dire need of replacing, so...

...away with the old siding and in with the new.

Then came the paint.

Choosing paint for such a large area and for an area that seems so "permanent" is tough.  I'm not a good decision maker in the first place.

I love too many paint colors.  Calgon take me away!!

Eventually, I was forced to pick one. 

And the winner IS (insert drumroll)...Sherwin Williams Downing Stone.

We are typically "no frills" kinda people so it was quite a surprise when we added a little frill with some cedar posts.  It was a splurge and we originally decided against it. 

I am so glad Ronnie changed our minds.

This is an initial photo of our result.  Wish I had one without a ladder and paint paper and tape, but, I don't.  I bet that doesn't really surprise any one.

We still need to get a door. 

That is another one of those decision making things y'all. 

I gotta ponder it, you know, mull it over (ok, obsess over it). 

I will definitely post a pic when we get one.  Or, at least three months after it is installed.

Stay tuned for a post on our faux shiplap.  I love it!

Until then, y'all have a blessed rest of your week!

Saturday Snapshots

So, what does it mean when a blogger starts a blog post then neglects to save it?  I am going to assume it is a sign that the post was crap and the blogger should begin a fresh, new post.  Let us see how this one goes.

As I sit here I watch my sweet, sweet husband surfing the web.  Our little terror, I mean Terrier mix relaxes on the chaise, ears perked up waiting for the slightest sign of imminent danger of which to make us aware.  A love story on the Hallmark channel provides background noise as we pursue our individual inclinations.  Ah, a fleeting moment to relish.

We had a visit from this beautiful young lady today. 

Yeti cup and Ron's favorite garment, a t-shirt!  Score for Ron.

Then this:

It was such a peaceful afternoon.  You know, one of those lazy days where it is so hot outside and so cool inside because the a/c is blasting away and the fans are blasting away...your only option is to, of course, take a nap.

Got this "Basket on a Baby" picture last weekend when Beaux visited.

All of my great-nieces and great-nephews are awesome.  This one is no exception.  He cracks me up. 

I noticed when he was playing with Milo last weekend that he has a lot of courage.  Also, he will attempt to say any word you ask him to try.  And usually, he will say it exactly as it should be. 


Amazes me.

These are from his 2nd birthday.

So, there it is - a tiny dose of Casa Causpanic. 

I sense that people can only handle a small dose of me so I posit that holds true for the blog too :)





Monday Miscellany

Ha!  Every post at CC seems to be mostly miscellany. 

Oh well...let the miscellany begin!! 

What better way to start than with some photos of Milo?!

I've been trying to give him a hair cut, but he's not having it.  We have never taken him to a groomer and now it seems like an impossibility.  He doesn't even like us picking him up, much less a stranger.  I just see it as an unnecessary stress for the little guy.  So, I grab a piece here and there and clip.  Ronnie calls him little Coyote. 

Matagorda County had their annual Rodeo festivities a couple of weeks ago.

We had tickets to the rodeo, but we did not go.  It is one of those things we have to get to early so we can find a good parking space so Ol' Dawg doesn't have to walk so far with his bum knee. 

Since he worked the day we had tickets, it was an impossibility to get there early enough for all that. 

BUT...we did make it to the annual concert.  The Bellamy Brothers were the star attraction this year.

We once saw them at a 4th of July picnic when we lived in Dickinson.  It was the best evening.  Their music is just so laid back and enjoyable.  I would even say relaxing.  Something about it just makes me feel good.

Let's see...what else?  Oh yeah, we mended fences.

Oh wait...Pioneer Woman and her crew mend fences...we just put up a panel that the wind blew down.  And yes, I can actually say we.  I did help.  See that foot at the bottom of the right hand picture.  Yep, that's me.

Ronnie and I were all snuggled up watching a George Clooney movie.  It was the first time in a long, long time that it seemed like we were truly relaxing like we used to relax.  It was short lived.  We were all comfy and just getting into the meat of the movie when we heard this loud noise.  Yep, the fence fell.  It didn't take long to fix it though.

I gotta say, though, I'm glad I don't live on a ranch.

We have been eating out so much lately, but I did manage to cook a couple of days. 

This is a photo where I try to recreate the ranchero sauce from Lopez Mexican Restaurant.

My ranchero sauce had more sauce than theirs, but hot dog it was good!  I usually don't like my sauce pepper hot and even though I only put one pepper w/no seeds, this was HOT.  But, I really liked it.  Ronnie liked it too.  Then again, he is so sweet, he never complains about my cooking.  So, who knows.  Maybe it was good...maybe it wasn't.  I am pretty sure it was delish, though.

Milo and Bella get a little home cooking every day that Ronnie is home from work.

My husband is so kind and thoughtful.  Not only does he make those dogs scrambled eggs, but he also tops them off with a milk bone!  Milo eats all his eggs first and saves the goody for last.  Too adorable...all three of them!

Apparently, there has been some napping going on in this here studio.  Like I always say, "two sleepy heads are better than one".

I'm on vacation this week.  I don't even know how to act.  I keep feeling like I need to go into the office.  That is good and bad. 

For now I think I will fight the urge to go to work and join the boys in their nap.  :)


Quiet Time

Yet another week has passed.  Our small Texas town had a stormy start, but as the days progressed they got brighter and more and more beautiful. 

This is a great time of year in Texas.  It is still a bit cool, even chilly at night, but at the same time the daytime sun is turning up the notch on its beautiful, nurturing rays.  The warmth of those rays and the cool breeze brushing your skin...well, it is cleansing in some miraculous way.

It is that time of year when a person feels like something new is taking root, as if we have made it through the dark tunnel of winter out into the open space of possibility...Spring!

Yes...this time of year tells us anything is possible.  It tells us to plant our dream and watch it sprout and grow into reality.  It is as if God is saying, "Come out, let Me nurture you.". 

Sometimes, like this week, I tell God, "Oh, I would love to let you nurture me!  But, I have so much to do.  Let's get together later...maybe this evening?"  Then I pass the evening doing everything but letting God nurture me. 

  It is no wonder I have been complaining so much lately of being stressed out, tired, overwhelmed. 

Instead of waking and reciting "Good Morning, sweet Life," I've been waking reciting a to-do list.  Actually, I wake reciting three to-do lists: one for work, one for home and a want-to-do list. 

It's so easy to get wrapped up in those things.  It's so easy to let those things cloud up the joy of doing things for my family, the joy of having a wonderful job that is an exact fit for me...and I do mean a job weaved out of every dream I have had for a job.  It can cloud up the joy of the opportunity of repairing what needs repairing in our home and the joy of every little fun blessing that comes our way.

The key to getting that joy back for me is to remember that even when we are too wrapped up, even when we think nobody cares, even when we won't make time for Him, He knows what we need and he provides it. 

For me, today, He worked through my sweet, sweet husband.  Actually, I'm pretty sure He works through my husband more often than I think.

So this evening instead of complaining that I am tired or stressed I am going to plant a dream, pray until it takes root and give thanks and allow myself to receive God's nourishment as it grows into every good thing He has in store for us.

Good night, all.

Talk About "Random"

I always have a lot of random thoughts floating around in this head of mine.

They mostly relate to things I want to do here in the studio.  And...they change daily. 

They are everywhere, scattered, bountiful and sometimes crazy. 

Ronnie would use the word "scary".  Every time I say, "Babe...I've been thinking...", he gets a scared look on his face.  It's weird.

I seriously need to find a way to corral these thoughts and creativity. 

The pictures of our life in the last week are just as random as my thoughts.  This pictures goes back to Valentine's Day and it makes me laugh inside. 

Tom Selleck is in the background of my Valentine's day picture! 

I turned into a fourteen year old girl when I saw this picture.  I LOVE Tom, I mean, I used to LOVE Tom. 

Oh, ok.  I'm not fooling anybody.  I still love Tom.  I was so happy to see he was one of the actors in Blue Bloods.  Love that show. 

I had posters of Tom Selleck covering the walls of my small, childhood bedroom back in the 80's.  And now, finally, 20-30 years later (I won't say which) Tom and I have finally spent a Valentine's Day together, haha. 

My hubby took that picture.  I cracked up when I saw it.  He probably never even noticed. 

Sorry, Tom, I'm taken now.  Hang up that phone because I'm not going to answer :D.

As our contractors have been working outside, I have been conjuring up more projects in my head. 

We have several of the stained boards that we used as fascia boards left over.  At first we thought instead of cedar posts on the front we could just wrap the current iron posts with these left over boards but I've since been thinking I would like to run them along this wall.

Like this:

Then, I would put these dishes, currently in book cases, on them:

As well as these:

Then, I would move the book cases to the front room and put them here, on each side of the tv.

Which...that is kind of sad because it took me about four years to decide to put something on that wall.

Our living area has already changed at least twice since that photo was taken.  I just have a love of moving things around, making the space new, in a way.

See that "dresser-like" piece of furniture the tv is on?  My plan is to move that sucker to the back where the book cases were.

We could use the drawer space and it would be a great place to put the back room tv.

That way, we could still keep the bedroom "separated" from the dining, somewhat.

Whew!  I'm exhausted from moving all that furniture :)

This has been a week of exterior work!  Right on schedule, so far.

I had mixed feelings about them getting the siding off.

It just seemed so naked.

It seemed so much like an open invitation to varmints. 

"Calling all Varmints".  "Open, Open, Open".  Vacancy".

My brother even reminded me that I had said at one point that I wanted the siding taken down and put back up all in one day.  He said it was impossible.  I said, "I don't care I want it done!"

And, I did want it done that way, but...it wasn't.  They can only do what they can do.  But, I can still dream big.  If those dreams come true, then WHOOOP!  If not...I move on.

At least one side is closed in tonight. 

One night I even had visions of some yahoo removing the insulation and punching through the sheetrock to get in.  Ronnie assured me his gun has bullets and he is a good aim.  I went to sleep.

The wood aroma is heavenly. 

Two more steps from here.  That's a pretty tight seam.

AAAaaack!!  So excited!!

The story of a roof

Our roof is done!

I am so excited!  It only took a day!! 

Check out how bright those fascia boards look in direct sunlight in the phot above.  No editing on these.  I still see no grain, though.


They did end up coming back to do some finish work.

I know what you are thinking..."That is not a picture of a roof, Crazy Lady."

I wanted to get up on a ladder and take a picture of the actual roof, as we did not think to have the guys take a picture of it for us.

Ronnie gave me some lame excuse about not having a ladder that tall.

So, technically, it is just a picture of the fascia boards and the vinyl overlapping piece of our new Duro-Last roof!!  Whoop!

Dad built this building with the intention of building upward, according to my mom and my brother, so that is why it has a flat roof.

There are many occasions when I wish I could just have a few more minutes with my dad.  Of course all those "few minutes" would add up to days, but one of my questions would be, "what were you going to build up there?". 

I just cant help but wonder.  Was it going to be more Studio - another camera room? Maybe he was planning on a living area for himself and my mom.  Maybe a living quarters to rent out.  Who knows what was going through that creative mind of his.

This building came from my dad's heart, therefore, it is a huge part of mine.

It pains me that the building is in the shape it is in. 

But soon, it will be lovely again.  It isn't going to be Shock and Awe or anything.  It will at least be resistant to rodents, though, I hope.  I'm not saying we have rodents.  Then again, I'm not saying we don't. But, if we did, this building will soon be resistant to possible said rodents.

And...it will be resistant to leaks because of our Duro-Last roof!

I sure hope it is as great as it sounds.  It is said to be extremely durable, watertight, highly reflective, resistant to chemicals, fire and high winds, and virtually maintenance-free. 

That sounds perfect to me. 

So, now we have that done.  We will be moving to the siding next.  If I have my way we will get the wind storm inspector called tomorrow and the contractor and material set up for Monday.   Johnny, our contractor, and his guys can tear off some siding Monday morning, the inspector can come by and we will be well on our way!



Super bowl, roasted broccoli, gelato and stained wood lessons

It is Super Bowl Sunday!

Nope, we weren't invited to any Super Bowl get togethers. 

I know...it did kinda hurt but we bounced back ok :) 

We made a steak, some cheddar bacon taters and some roasted broccoli.

It is the first time I have ever roasted broccoli and it was absolutely delicious and easy.  Just like every other recipe you have seen on the web, I just drizzled a little olive oil and sprinkled some salt and pepper and put it in the oven at 400 degrees.  It only took ten minutes at the most.  I didn't time it, just watched it. 

Ron's niece and her dad have an olive orchard...no, an olive farm...no...basically an olive oil business.  Yeah, an olive oil business.  It is called Texas Hill Country Olive Company.  Go visit their website, buy some olive oil.  It is so good for you.  Anyway, we have some lemon infused olive oil on order.  Can't wait to try it on the roasted broccoli.

Wishing dessert was some Gelato from this awesome coffee shop we visited in Port Aransas on our little anniversary trip.

We had the Salted Caramel Gelato.  Oh yum. 

I digress, back to the Super Bowl. 

I have been really excited about this super bowl.  I would really like to see the Broncos win.  Not only because of Peyton Manning, although that is a part of it. 

The bigger part, though, is that I used to be a Houston Texans fan.  We live about 80 miles south of Houston, plus my nephew is a big Texans fan so I definitely wanted to support family.

But when the Texans did not go to the Super Bowl after a certain period of time the management basically disbanded the team we knew.  They fired the head coach and traded some well liked players. 

Guess what...that coach and many of the well liked players now make up the Denver Broncos.  Yep, that is why I hope they win.  So, GO Broncos!!

On to blog business.  When we last posted we were dealing with some rain and a wood stain with which we were not thrilled.  We were faced with the decision of whether to try a darker stain or try staining the wood ourselves.  We decided on the latter.

I gotta admit, sometimes I get the idea I know exactly what I am doing.

Sometimes, I actually think I am an interior designer.

I think, therefore, I am.  No? 

Haha, nope.

Before we continue with this story can we talk about that picture? 

It is another, "I think, therefore, I am," reality check.

Seriously, I see myself quite differently in my head than what that picture portrays, thankfully :)

I've been letting my gray grow out.  What am I thinking???  So far, I am sticking with it, but I have to say I am starting to have doubts that I can follow through with it.  I just hate the idea of continuing to put those dyes and chemicals on my head.  We shall see.

Ok, so we decided to put a few coats of stain on our fascia boards.

We both decided it was exactly as we wanted it.  It had a nice color to it and just the right amount of wood grain came through.

This is where a real designer might have helped. 

Once we got it up, you could not see the wood grain way up there.  it was stained a little too dark.  One coat less would have been perfect (yes, exactly the way the contractor had done it.  Ugh.).  Not only that, but once they puttied the cuts and nails, they put another coat and now it just looks like brown paint. 

There is a lot of saw dust on that board, but you get the picture.  That was actually before the putty and last coat of stain.

It isn't exactly the way I envisioned it, but in the whole scheme of things, I'm ok with it.

Living and learning...sometimes it is fun, sometimes not.  Maybe I will learn enough to actually become a designer.  Hopefully, before all that gray grows out :)

Don't sweat the little things and have a wonderful week.

Stained wood and a renovation time line

That's right...Casa Causpanic Renovation, Phase II.  Could life get any better?  haha.  The "Our To Do List" page of our blog clearly indicates that there are still tasks to be completed from our first reno.

Not to worry, though...we will be completing a few of those things in Phase II. 

We actually hadn't planned on a Phase II, but it has become necessary.  The roof to our 30+ year old building has a leak in the back section.   The leak has stained the ceiling in the dining room and the bedroom.  Not only that, but the 30+ year old exterior is pretty much horrendous at this point.

So, in Phase II we will:

  • Replace the roof.
  • Replace/paint the exterior siding, facia boards and soffits.
  • Replace/paint sheetrock in back area (dining room and sleeping area).
  • Rebuild the a/c closet and clean a/c unit.  This includes replacing the disgustingly dirty looking door.

If the budget allows, we will:

  • Replace the flooring throughout.
  • Add base boards and crown molding.
  • Either add more shelving to the dining room and Ikea Pax wardrobes to the bedroom or build a pantry and closet
  • If we build a pantry and closet this will allow for us to take the current pantry and turn it into a small gun closet and a much needed small storage closet in Mom's "room".

We are thinking it will take the end of January and all of February to have the roof and exterior done.  It would be a bit aggressive to think we could finish the rest in the month of March but I think the middle of April is a realistic estimation.

And honestly, we are already a week behind on this part of the reno. 

Why?  Well, let me tell you.

We have a flat roof, so we are using the Duro-Last roofing system.  One thing I love about this system is that the metal flashing will be replaced with a vinyl overlap.  In order to have the vinyl overlap done correctly, the fascia boards first needed replacing.

We hired what we think will be a great contractor.  They wanted to start right away and get fascia boards replaced quickly.  They were gung-ho.  They ripped wood off and started to replace. 

Only two problems:

1.  I want the fascia boards stained - I have been in love with stained wood, I think, since my dad made some stained wood light covers for the home in which all my childhood memories were made.  I think stained fascia boards (among a few other things) will add some much needed character to our exterior.


2.  Rain - We knew it was coming.  We just didn't believe it. :)

As far as the wood, the guys thought they could just wipe on the stain, wipe off the stain and put the boards up...before it started raining.


That process did not allow the stain to reach the depth of color that we expected/wanted. 

Hmmm....do we get a darker stain?  Do we go with the stain as they were doing it even though we did not like it?  Do we take the time ourselves and use the process that has been successful for us in the past?

As we were pondering those questions the rain and a cold front rolled in.  

The spots on that young man's shirt are big ol' raindrops.  So we put a tarp on the wood and left things as they were.

(Gosh, there is a lot of work to be done.)

That was hard and disappointing, but to be expected when starting a reno in the dead of winter.

So, what did we decide on for the wood?

Next post my friend, next post.

The good ol' days...are today

Warning:  this is one of those blog posts that starts with, "When I was a kid...."

When I was a kid...

...Mom, Dad and I would drive to the Stafford/Sugar Land/Missouri City area in Houston to visit my dad's cousin and his family - Pete, Bertha and Joey.  Ahhh, those were fun trips, spur of the moment many times.

Pete, Bertha and Joey were city folk.  Oh, how my 11 - 15 or 16 year old mind romanticized their life as suburbanites. 

Pete worked in the city, was a golfer, handsome and charismatic. 

Bertha...oh Bertha.  She was so hip and happening, a bundle of fun, full of energy, a laugher and a shopper!  Whoop! 

Joey, eight or nine when our visits started, was the classic boy.  He was into all the sports, mischievous and hilarious. They all still live in the area and now Joey even has a family of his own. 

Not only did we go there, but they came here to BC too.  But my favorite memories are of the things we did in "the city". 

One thing we did quite often was going out to eat and one of our favorite places to eat was Lopez Mexican Restaurant

Fun times.

But, as so often happens, life changed and those visits dwindled down to nothing. 

One thing did remain constant, though...Lopez Mexican Restaurant.

My brother and sister-in-law have been wanting to take Mom back to this place - the place it is today.

So, it was agreed we would all celebrate Mom and Pam's birthdays there.

It has definitely changed.  First off, it moved.  Only about a block a way from where it used to be, though. 

It was a great meal and a great afternoon.


It was a great ending to an actually really good week. 

I am looking forward to a repeat this week!

A weird combination

Yes, it's a weird combination - cream cheese stuffed jalapenos, homemade sweet potato fries and sautéed shrimp - but it was darn good.

I concentrated on the shrimp because they were quite yummy. 

I marinated them in Coconut Aminos and lemon juice and a little salt and pepper, cooked them in coconut oil and basted them with a little butter. 

I wonder why my food pictures never look like the Pioneer Woman's pics??

Anyway, the other day my mom made us some home made sweet potato fries.  They have been my obsession ever since. 

I can't believe how fast they cook.  It is a little tough cutting them raw, but it is worth the effort.  Once they are cut we just throw them in a skillet in some coco oil.  If you let them cook a little extra long on one side they get the perfect amount of crispness.

So...that's all that's up here in the big BC. 

Tomorrow we head to Sugar Land to celebrate my Mom's birthday and my sister-in-law's birthday.


Y'all have a fun weekend!


Is that a word?

Today was a great day.  I had the pleasure of seeing about 98% of my Bay City family all in one day!  Now that is a beautiful day.

How did that happen, you ask?

Well, it started by me getting up about 9, which is about an hour earlier than my days normally start.  I know...sleeping late is such a bad habit I would love to break.  Maybe 2016 is the year. 

Would you believe that sometimes I have severe guilt over the luxury of being able to sleep as long as I want?  Ok, you're right...that's not entirely true.

Anyway, back to the truth...mom spent the last couple of nights with us again.  She and Ronnie made breakfast together as I got ready for work.  There's something really sweet about the background clamor of your mom and husband working in the kitchen to get breakfast ready.

I rarely start the day seeing anyone other than Ronnie, Mom, Milo or Bella but today I had the pleasure of seeing my niece, Ashleigh and her daughter. 

Then I went to work, which was good.  I was focused and marked off most of the things on today's to-do list.  Just the fact that I made a to-do list was good and I have a hefty list for tomorrow too.  I am looking forward to getting to the office to get it done...that is, until the alarm rings.  Then I am not so anxious to get to it.

Every Thursday my mom and my niece, Christi, try to make supper for my brother and my sister-in-law.  Ronnie and I are lucky enough to be included in that supper. 

Today we went to my cousin's new bar-b-que restaurant instead.  It was delicious.  Not only that, but we had the unexpected company of my nephew Jeff and his crew.  I can't explain it, but it was just awesome.  I felt such happiness.  I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that my mom was happy.  Love to see that lady happy.

So, as far as I can tell that left one nephew, one great-nephew and one nephew-in-law that we had not seen. 

Guess what...we stopped at a convenience store and who was there, but my nephew!  So that just left Drake and Dylan we didn't see today.  Maybe Saturday when we go celebrate my mom's and Pam's birthdays!

Until then...may you savor the happiness, peace and love in your families!

Lookee what I found

I am about tired of all this sitting!

Then again, once this day is over it is back to the grindstone of work.  I don't mind work.  I really love my job.  I just love being in this little haven of ours (yes, the same one about which I am always complaining).

Mama just went home.  If you read yesterdays post you know she was not feeling well, but she is much better today. 

Today is the last Sunday of the regular professional football season so we have been glued to the TV keeping up with our faves.

But on to the reason for this post!

Ronnie and I took a little trip to Port Aransas for our anniversary last September.  It never fails...he says he has booked us a place to stay and for some reason I get this picture in my mind of some spa resort. 

My idea of "spa resort" somehow translates to  "backwoods lodge" in Ronnie's head.  Only this time we were going to the beach so...he found the Beach Lodge.

It actually is a pretty neat place.  If we had luxury lodging we probably would have spent a whole lot less time on the beach.

We arrived late on a Sunday afternoon.  We checked in and checked out the digs.

There was one queen "mattress" and one twin.  I say mattress because that is all it was on top of a cement box, basically.  But it was pretty comfy.  The A/C worked great.  There was a small sink area and a toilet and shower.  Everything we needed and nothing more.  lol.

But check out this view from our front door.

Yep, we went out our door, down a few steps and straight onto sand.  I really like how close we were to the beach.

We sat out there on the beach and just enjoyed the sunset and doing absolutely nothing. 

But, eventually, we had to head back to the room.

That picture is a little weird, huh.  It isn't a special effect either.  Enter Twilight Zone music.

The beach lodge is a one stop shop.  They have an open air restaurant and bar. 

I don't know - I guess I am just not used to eating outdoors...in the humid wind.  I did not enjoy the idea of eating there in the restaurant. 

But I was ok with drinking beer there. 

Well...actually...I had tea, but Ronnie had beer.

He had so much beer that he could not stop laughing when he farted out loud in the bar.  Sheesh.  It was pretty hilarious.  And then the fact that he got so tickled made me laugh even more.  We had fun!

Here is a terrible iPhone pic for verification.

We went back to the room and I searched the web for info on the Beach Lodge.  Bad idea.

I read reviews from a few years back and they were not good.  Apparently, they did a lot of cleanup since then because the place was clean, the linens were clean and I saw no bugs.  Believe me ... if there were bugs there, I would have seen them.

Eventually, I went to sleep. 

The next day was beautiful.  I wanted to get up early and watch the sunrise, but I just couldn't wake up.  I didn't want to waste the day sleeping, but I did sleep pretty late. 

The only thing that woke me was Ronnie's shuffling in and out, back and forth to the bar.  I had to get up and see what he was up to.  Coffee...that was all he was up to.

We showered, headed into town, had breakfast and wandered into this cool coffee bar.

I would move to Port A just to have coffee at this place every mid-morning and home made salted caramel gelato every afternoon.

Finally, we made it back to the Beach Lodge and the beach.


There were very few folks on the beach, which is how I like it, but we did see a wind surfer, runners, a guy about Ron's age trying to teach himself to surf....

We got some much needed sunshine and some very peace-filled moments.

It was the day of our anniversary, so there definitely was some mention of love.

And, well...there was this too.

What would an anniversary be without a trip to our favorite steakhouse in Corpus Christi?

It used to be named The Longhorn Steak and Ale.  It now goes by the Ol' Steakhouse Co.

I don't care what they call it as long as it is there.

I only took a picture of the bread and salad.

I guess you would actually call that an "after" photo :)

We generally don't eat bread, but we couldn't resist.

It was a great evening, a great anniversary and a great getaway, but eventually we had to go home.  So, we made one more stop to the coffee shop, took the ferry back to the mainland and headed home.

I love you Ronnie Ray!  Thank you for the honor of being your wife.

January weather

Wowza!  It has been a little chilly and drizzly again today.  One of those hibernation days.  One of those days I love to curl up under the covers and watch Hallmark movies all.day.long.

We actually had big plans for today.  My youngest niece got married today!

Those are all my nieces and nephews.  All brothers and sisters.  Luckily, they don't read this blog because they don't really like that picture.  Don't tell them I posted it. 

Anywho...there was a wedding today and we were going, but my Mama had a dizzy spell today.  It doesn't happen too often and it normally passes pretty quickly...but not today.

I knew it was a bad spell when Ronnie offered to take her breakfast tacos and she accepted.  She never wants to inconvenience anyone so when she said yes, I knew she could not make breakfast herself.

So while the rest of our family was on their way to the par-tay, we went and scooped up my mama and brought her to our house.  We gave her some food, made her laugh, watched a movie.  She took a nap and now she is on the road to recovery!  Feeling steady as she goes!

Thanks be to God!

While she napped we sat here in our cozy little home, safe from the drizzle and potential goose bumps.

I read blogs and ate some of these...

That is a horrible picture, but I Love those OLoves!

I'm noticing a trend in that all our plans in the last two weeks have been pre-empted!  As long as everyone is healthy and safe and happy, I don't give a hoot.  I can adapt.

So on this chilly, drizzly, second day of January I give thanks.

I give thanks that...

...my Mama feels better,

...my niece got hitched,

...we still have one more day of rest

...and for the opportunity to return just a smidgen of the care my mama has given me all my life.

Thank you, sweet Jesus.








Happy New Year

As I start this post it is New Years Eve! 

And just fair warning, it may be Valentines Day before I finish it. 

Happy New Year! 

Haha!  Look at those fireworks and everyone's enthusiasm!!

We actually are sitting here patiently, watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin in New York so we can go to bed! They are an hour ahead of us.   One word...OLD.

Our original intention for New Years Eve was to go to the Corpus Christi area to visit Ron's kids and the gang. 

As with our planned Christmas visit to San Antonio, the weather screwed that up.  It  is difficult to leave our outside dog in the winter element and she is just too much for our dog-sitter (Grandma) to handle. 

I was ok with staying home, though.  I am not one to want to be away from home much, but Big Ron was pretty disappointed.  So...we made menudo!  That always cheers him up.

It meant he had to track down some menudo and brave the crowd at HEB to pick up some hominy and seasoning but it was so worth it.  We invited the Bay City family over - it was a sweet little get together.  I did not take many more pictures than usual but I did get a few.

Although he has been on this here blog before, let me re-introduce this ol' goat, I mean my brother, Leo...

That Dude looks more and more like my Dad every day. 

My brother and sister-in-law...

Aren't they cute??  Sunday will be their 40th year marriage Anniversary!  I think that's awesome.  I pray this year God continues to bless them with love, health and abundance! 

There are very few pictures of me and probably even fewer of me and my brother...

My brother is a unique individual.  He's a pretty tough dude, has a strong internal fortitude for which I am grateful!  I lub him :)  I'm pretty sure I don't tell him enough, though.

And here's our Mama!

Thank you, sweet Jesus!

So...the only others of our guests that had the privilege of being photographed are these two...

The twins.  The coloring went over quite well at Thanksgiving dinner, but not exciting enough for New Year's Eve.  They burned Sparklers, but it never occurred to me to get pics.  Ugh.  I wish I had gotten their little brother in the photo, but only got the very top of his hair.

So, that is how 2015 ended for us.  It was pretty much a perfect ending to a blessed year.   

Oh yeah...our blessings.  One thing that happened in 2015 was Ronnie got a job!  He likes it a lot and likes being back in the workforce - part time.  The other thing...we sold our Dickinson house.  It was bitter-sweet, but it went to a very sweet couple.  Another highlight was Ron's kids came to visit on Bull Blast weekend.  It was a "blast".  We had fun and hope they did too!

I know a lot more wonderful stuff happened and I give thanks for it all.

We don't have any New Years resolutions...I just want to simplify and enjoy the moment more.

And, we are just hoping everyone has a Very Happy, Blessed and Prosperous 2016!


The Chrismas Post

I wrote a Christmas post, but honestly...it stunk.  So, I leave you with pictures.

It used to be that as long as I was with my family, Christmas was perfect.  Lately, I want it to include more of the "reason for the season".  I get to feeling like there is so much to the material preparation of Christmas yet very little concentration on the spiritual reason...Jesus.  Of course, I cant speak for my family.  They may have spent time in prayer and meditation but I did not this season.  I, personally, did not spend much time discussing the Nativity story with my great-nieces and nephews.  We went to their Christmas pageant...maybe they got enough of it there.  Is there ever enough of it, though?  Especially, in these times?

That's where I am this year on the subject of Christmas.

Look at these two....

It's back to work tomorrow.  It will be another intense week, but a little intensity now will result in a smooth start to 2016. oh.my.gosh.  2016!!