It’s Charlie!

Hello everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! Biz is still on break and we still don’t have any updates on Tony. But that’s no reason I can’t hijack her account to and post something too.

Today I bring you my semi-famous Potato Soup recipe. I came up with this maybe a decade ago and although I keep promising myself that I’ll improve it someday, that never happens. So I do believe this is now the definitive version of this recipe!

First, the ingredients:

  • 12 medium Russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of ham soup base
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 5 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper

The recipe is pretty simple:

  1. Peel and cube the taters.
  2. Sauté diced onions and celery.
  3. Boil the taters in eight cups of water, with ham base.
  4. Heat dairy products to 175 or so.
  5. Melt remaining butter, add flour, salt, and pepper.
  6. Combine dairy products with the roux.
  7. Pour the cream mixture into the tater pot.

From start to finish, it should take between ninety minutes and two hours. If you happen to be in a hurry at the moment, go! Go now and just start cooking. You should have all the info you need above. On the other hand, if you’re just sitting at home right now, killing time, and watching the Macy’s parade, read on.

Begin with a dozen potatoes. Don’t worry too much about the sizes, it all works out in the end:

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could peel potatoes that quickly? Once they’ve been skinned, chop each potato into six or eight parts. You want to make them small enough to cook quickly but large enough to survive the journey. I recommend an eight-quart pot for this.

Next, the onion, celery, and garlic. Hoooo boy, I’m getting excited already just thinking about it. I recommend one medium onion, a couple stalks of celery, and as much garlic as you want. I use at least two cloves.

You can chop these up by hand or take the easy way out. Guess which one I chose.

Now sauté in two tablespoons of butter. I love this step. I’d be happy just chopping up onions, celery, and garlic, throwing it in a hot pan, and sautéing all the live long day. There should be a word for this.

In another pan, mix five cups of skim milk with one cup of heavy cream. Or six cups of half and half. Or whole milk. Or all skim milk. It’s really your choice. Heat this to around 175 degrees. Why? I have no idea, to be perfectly honest. John? Any thoughts?

Boil four quarts of water and add to two tablespoons of ham soup base. Or, if you happen to have four quarts of prepared stock, use that. Chicken stock would work too, but heck, you use chicken stock for everything. Use a little pig juice for a change.

Pour that over the taters and add another four cups of hot water. You should now be looking at something like this:

Bring to a boil and cook for thirty minutes. Oh, go ahead and add the onions and celery now too:

Now it’s time to melt a half cup of butter then add a half cup of flour, doing the usual panic stirring to avoid lumpage. Once it’s mixed and bubbly, add one tablespoon of salt and as much pepper as you can grind before the roux burns.

When the milk is hot and your flour hasn’t burst into flames yet, add about half the milk mixture, again with the panic stirring. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to stir flour and butter, pour milk, and take a picture at the same time?)

Once mixed, pour this new stuff back into the milk mixture.

Get out your whisk and stir until: 1) no lumps and 2) it gets thick. Be patient. If you get bored during this step, take this time to ponder why my thumb looks so huge. Or why the whisk looks so tiny. This doesn’t look like an eight quart pot. It looks like a teacup.

Next, add the Nestle butterscotch morsels.

Wait a minute. What am I talking about?! Don’t do that. Never add butterscotch morsels to your potato soup. I recommend the chocolate mint chips instead.

When the taters are good and cooked and the sauce is good and thick, put the two together, again taking care to not drop the camera in the pot.

Cook for another five minutes to two hours on low heat. Honestly, it’s about done at this point, but I’m usually busy with other things, so it generally sits on the stove at least another half hour.

Did I say done? Not a chance. Sure, you can go ahead and pour yourself a bowl right now, but it’s actually relatively bland at this point. But that’s by design because what sets Charlie’s Creamy Potato Soup above the rest is the stir-in. Bare minimum: grated cheddar cheese. My favorite is hot sauce and taco meat. Yes, taco meat. I also highly recommend chopped bacon. Use your imagination. Just don’t use butterscotch morsels.

And the damage? Pre stir-in, not too bad, actually:

This makes about a dozen twelve-ounce servings. For me, that’s three ladles: about a half cup per pour. Of course, any decent stir-in will probably double these stats, but you’re still looking at a great big bowl of yummy for around 300 calories total.

Enjoy!

It’s Jennifer!

I’m filling in today for my twin sister Biz.  I was thinking that a lot of her regular readers would want an update on everything going on.  Still no news to share about Tony.  But they are appreciative of all the thoughts and prayers people have offered!!

AND…with everything going on, she still wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

She will be taking a blog break while Tony is still in the hospital and will be updating everyone on Monday.

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So what are some of the things you are making for Thanksgiving?  What’s your favorite side dish?  Mine is hands down super creamy mashed potatoes and gravy.

Do you have any funny mishaps in the kitchen?

I only started cooking an actual turkey about 3 years ago.  We’ve always gone somewhere where someone else cooked it (my Mom or mother-in-law, sister-in-laws).  So the first time I made a turkey, I was so excited.  It smelled great while cooking, looked gorgeous when it came out.  Then my husband started carving it and realized I left the “packet”  of pieces parts in the turkey!  The neck, the giblets and other guts (I don’t even know all the stuff in there!).  How gross is that?  Not the most pleasant thing to yank out at the dinner table!  LOL

So, from Biz, and me and our family – HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

 

 

 

 

Still waiting.

So I wrote yesterdays post the night before (Sunday night) before I actually spent the night in the hospital with Tony.  I had a recliner chair to sleep in.  I thought it would be fine.  They gave me a couple blankets and pillows.  No worries!  Long time readers know that I sleep like the dead.  Pretty much anywhere.  I was confident that would be the case at the hospital.  Except for a couple things.  Turns out my recliner tried to close in on me like a clam shell every time I tried to make it flat like a bed.  And it was noisy.  Think sitting down on a leather couch in the summer noisy.   Another variable?  Routine rounds of blood pressure, oxygen level and temperature every two hours.

Tony likes to have the t.v. on at home so at the hospital I expected it.  I zoned out the t.v. and was almost asleep when a tech came in, around midnight, into a dark room with no lights, turned all the lights off and declared “I am here to check all your vitals!”  Tony, who hasn’t spoken strong at all for the last couple weeks, distinctly said “hey, can’t you see my wife is trying to sleep there!”  Oh my word, I puffy heart that man to the moon and back.  I love how he stuck up for me, even in his weakened state.

I actually don’t know how much sleep I got on Sunday night, not enough, but at around 7:00 we were both awake.  At around 8 I went down to get coffee and breakfast before Tony got sent on his heart catheterization test.  I was impressed that the hospital had Intelligentsia coffee!  I got the dark roast.

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So I accessorized my breakfast with what I saw.  Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, English muffin, baby spinach and cheddar cheese – all from different parts of the cafeteria, but I knew I could make it work.  Interestingly enough, there were chicken wings next to all the breakfast items, but then I realized that for some people working the 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift, that could be their dinner? I was so close to getting the corned beef hash, but I decided against it.

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My breakfast all together, with hot sauce on top for good measure.

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I ended up microwaving this for like 20 seconds to melt the cheese, I took it out of the microwave, and a woman next to me said “where the hell did you get that!” 

This was so filling that it was basically breakfast and lunch, and I had a snack later on, which was so good and only $1.88 – not too bad!

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Tony was pretty busy with his tests.  One took longer than expected, so that threw the whole day off.  He didn’t end up going to dialysis until nearly 5:45 last night.  It lasts anywhere from 4-5 hours so I ended up coming home (so I could get a good nights sleep!) and I have to work tomorrow.  While it breaks my heart to leave him, it’s just not possible, so I am trying not to let the guilt get to me.

When I got home I had some loot in the mail!  I am so grateful to people who send me stuff to brighten up my spirits.  I remembered back in January when so many people sent me DVD’s to donate to the children’s ward of the hospital, and how readers sent me stuff.  And even with everything going on with Tony, I am still blessed.  I got this loot from blog reader Jaclyn.  I love how she had a little note on everything and what’s it’s purpose was!  Thanks jaclyn!  Even socks to keep Tony’s feet warm. Love it.

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And my blog friend and friend in real life  Jacky sending me granola bars and a cookbook – so fricken thoughtful!  Once things settle down, we will meet for drinks and dinner!  I miss your blog posts.  Just sayin’. Open-mouthed smile

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And then my long distance blog friend Fran sent me a card!  It’s funny, because when I brought in the mail I thought what a pretty stamp it was, not even realizing it was from Fran!

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And then my brother and his wife sent a card too – so nice!

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So since I got back home earlier than usual, I decided I need to make myself dinner.   Not a frozen pizza, not fridge diving to see what I could come up with.  I’ve been craving beef for a while, and stopped at my store on the way home to pick up a steak.  As luck would have it, they had filet mignon on sale 2/$10 bucks, so I bought one for $5.  I already had potatoes in the pantry and rosemary in my fridge – so rosemary butter steak and rosemary sea salt pomme frites were quickly on the menu.

This is seriously about a 15 minute meal.  It helps that my deep fridge was still on the counter.  I’ve mentioned it before, but the secret to good fries or pomme frites is to deep fry them first at 350 until they are JUST beginning to brown – you almost want them all to be white still.  Drain on a paper towel.  Cook the steak using my 2x2x2x2 method on an indoor grill.  Two minutes in one direction, two minutes on the other side in the same direction, then do the opposite for the other four minutes.  On the last flip, sprinkle some rosemary and a pat of butter on top. 

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Now that beats hospital food any time of day.  I just wish Tony was home where he belongs, yelling at me from the living room “what smells like ass?!” when I cook Indian food in the kitchen while he’s watching Sunday football.  I want my life back.  I know it will get there, but I know we have a long road ahead of us.  I know Tony will appreciate all the comment on here and on Instagram when he can read them, so thank you to the moon and back for the support these last few weeks.

Make it a great day!  Hugs! 

I have to be his voice.

I am getting familiar with this new hospital.  It’s clean, the nursing staff is fine, and the doctors I have met so far seem to be on the same page.  As is with most hospitals we have been to, weekends are basically keeping him on schedule with medications, doing his blood pressure, etc.  I spent about 11 hours at the hospital on Saturday.  I told Tony that I would be back yesterday around mid-morning.  I had no clean underwear, and had to do some things around the house.  I basically needed to get some of my energy out knowing that I was going to sit around most of the day.

Just as I was leaving the house Tony called me and wondered where I was.  I told him I was on my way, and the disappointment in his voice nearly brought tears to my eyes.  I was still over an hour away.  Luckily  I made it in time for doctors rounds.  We have an important test today.  One that will determine whether is heart is even strong enough to go through with transplant surgery.  I  decided to spend the night so I could be with him.  Luckily my office is letting me take the day off.

When Tony is sick, he doesn’t talk very much.  He’s now beginning week three of being in the hospital so he’s weak.  It’s actually hard to understand him so I think when I am here he can relax and sleep, because he knows that I will be his voice.

He still doesn’t have much of an appetite and so far has not gotten any choice on what food gets brought to him.  Case in point – one meal brought to him?  Chicken parmesan with vegetables.

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And almost every meal comes with milk, fruit punch, a roll and butter.  So much food! Last night I decided to get some hot soup or a hot sandwich for dinner.  Imagine my surprise when the cafeteria was closed on Sunday.

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They have a 24 hour kiosk that has prepared food.  Sandwiches, which I am kind of sick of, so I ended up getting an “Asian” noodle salad.  The dressing in the container tasted like peanut butter and water mixed together. Oh how I needed Sriracha!

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I luckily bought a cheese stick and some nuts to snack on last night.  This is the first time I am using the tablet to do a post, so not sure how it’s going to look.  Also I can’t access Gmail from the hospital, so you can reach me by email at bizvela@yahoo.com or via Facebook or instagram  (mybizzykitchen).

Keep sending your well wishes our way!  We appreciate it! Hugs!

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore

Another difference in our house now that Tony is in the hospital and I am at home?  I can keep the thermostat as low as I want.  Right now?  It’s set at 62.  See, I am always hot, Tony is always cold.  Obviously I keep the house as warm as Tony wants it, which is at . . .75.  Yes, you read that right.   The thermostat is set at 75, we can have the wood burning fire place going and Tony is under an electric blanket.  Meanwhile you would think it was the 4th of July in the middle of November because I come home, feel the wave of heat as I walk in the back door, and proceed to put on shorts and a tank top.  I will even have boob sweat when I am finished cooking.  You’re welcome for that visual!

But yesterday, I may have bumped up the heat just a smidge.

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But I have to agree with my blog friend Tia who lives near me.  As bad as 5 degrees is, see that it’s 5 degrees and feels like 5 degrees?  That means no wind chill, and that makes all the difference.  It’s not only been cold but so fricken windy – and yes, I get that we live in Chicago, the “windy city” but come on!

So with Tony’s transfer to the new hospital, there was really no way I could visit him before work.   I got the text from him at 5:00 telling me his room number but that was about it.  So I went about my day.  It was a named partners birthday, so there were treats.  I usually make him my whiskey bread pudding, but there was just no time.  I brought donuts, and the other girls brought fresh fruit and bagels.  Well, when it comes to bagels, I am hands down an everything bagel girl.  Asiago cheese is a close second.  But the carbs!  Nothing spikes my blood sugar more than bagels.  Damn sugars!  But I scooped out most of the inside of the bagel, so it came in at 2 ounces, compared to the typical 4 ounces a store bought bagel usually is – so my bagel sammie was 30 carbs instead of 60!  I used my microwave cooker to cook egg whites, baby spinach and pepper jack cheese for the middle.

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I haven’t carried my DSLR with me for a couple weeks.  I don’t want to leave it in the car because it’s so cold, I don’t want to have it in the hospital room, so I’ve been relying on my iPhone 4 camera.  So that photo was taken as is, but below is the picture after I use the Photo Toaster app.  For a $2.99 app, it’s not bad!  I am still using iTunes gift cards the kids never used to pay for apps. All I did was crop it, use the “vibrant” setting, and put a border on it.  Took me like 30 seconds.

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I ended up freezer diving again for lunch.  I threw some type of soup in my bag and let it thaw on the office counter in the morning.  When I looked at it a couple hours after it was thawing I saw lentils.  Huh.  I tried to remember what soup I made recently that had lentils in it, and went back to my blog achieve to figure out what it was, and then I realized.  Fuck.  It was lentil bolognese!

So since I was leaving work at 2:00 to go to the hospital, and my breakfast bagel held me for such a long time, I decided to pick up Jimmy John’s from across the street when I hit the road.  I had them cut it in half. I ate half in the car on the way to the hospital.  I was driving, so no pic of that.  The hospital is on the near west side of Chicago – you can see the Sears Tower in the distance.  I don’t care that it’s Willis Tower now, it will always be the Sears Tower to me.

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So I did text Tony a couple times before I left.  I was worried how the transfer went, how the new hospital was, I was really on edge by the time I got there.  I just needed to get there and make sure he was alright.  That’s kind of like my job.   Um, let’s just say that we’re not in Kansas anymore.  There was strict security at the front desk.  Everyone needed a wrist ban.  There were security people everywhere.   At the old hospital I pretty much could walk anywhere I wanted, no questions asked!  Maybe it’s because they thought I worked there – ha!

So imagine my surprise when I walk into his room and . . . he’s not there.  Just an empty room, no bed and a recliner chair and the t.v. was going.  I went to the nurses station and found out that he had been taken to dialysis an hour earlier.  Damn.  It isn’t like the old hospital where they dialysis comes to you, you go to dialysis at this place.  And I couldn’t go down to where he was, so I just had to wait it out.  He finally came back at 7 p.m.! 

Has back was hurting, so not long after he returned, he got his pain meds and was peacefully sleeping.  Every once in a while he would wake up, look over at me and see my face, and then lay his head back down.  I brought some of the fruit from work, because normally that’s what he eats at home.  He woke up for about 15 minutes and I was able to get him to eat about a cup of fresh fruit.  He told me that they made rounds earlier in the day and he said “about 10 medical students followed the resident in – lots of people.”  We knew that going in, which is good!  While I was waiting for Tony to come back to the room, food service dropped off a tray for him.  I know for sure Tony had no say whatsoever about the dinner – do you know what was on his tray?

  1. BBQ chicken
  2. Baked Potato
  3. Corn on the Cob (makes sense since its November)
  4. A dinner roll
  5. A container of skim milk
  6. A 12 ounce glass of fruit punch
  7. butter/pepper/salt free Mrs. Dash

He wouldn’t eat all that if he was even feeling well!

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He wanted the lights turned out after his pain meds, so an hour or so after he came back, I ate the other half of my Jimmy John sandwich that was in my purse wrapped in napkins for the last few hours.  I ate it in the dark.

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I wish I would have remembered to put my fit bit on yesterday – I bet I would have had 13,000 steps at a minimum.  Seriously since Tony has been in the hospital, work has been so busy!  Which is good, because the day goes by fast, but there isn’t a lot of down time in my day.  So you better believe after driving 105 miles to work, to the hospital and back home in one day, I had a glass of wine when I got home.  Yep, I am klassy and put my boxed red wine over ice! Open-mouthed smile

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So I have to fill up my tank before heading back down town this morning.  Not sure when the rounds are on the weekends, but the nurse gave me a number to call in case I miss them.  I don’t know if this hospital is like our local hospital where not a whole lot goes on over the weekend or not.  I guess we will see!

At least our weather is supposed to be in the low 50s today – gotta love that!  I may wear flip flops!  Have a great weekend.  Hugs!

A Mouse in the House

Really?  First a raccoon almost tried to eat my soup, then a cat came into my house, and now I have a mouse?!   It was garbage night last night, so the only thing I can think of is that the mouse came in while I was taking out the garbage if I didn’t shut the back door all the way.  I came inside, got my comfy clothes on, and walked back into the kitchen and a tiny mouse scurried across my kitchen floor and made a B-line for the basement.  There are plenty of spiders down there if that’s what mice even eat, so I guess I’ll have to pick up some mouse traps.  But that’s a man’s job.  I don’t mind doing other things, but that one is giving me the heebie jeebies.  Tony wouldn’t flinch at all at that one!

Thanks to my blog reader Moe (hey Moe!) I got a Starbuck’s protein box and my first seasonal coffee – a skinny peppermint mocha!  Only 100 calories for the tall, and super delicious.  So you all know I wouldn’t eat that protein box out of the plastic container, right?!  I plated it and scooped out the Justin’s peanut butter and put that on a spoon.   You can buy the individual peanut butters online – about $7 for 10.

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I had a couple things on my lunch menu this week that I just never had time to make.  One of the recipes I didn’t have time to make was these Thai chicken meat balls.  When I cleaned out my pantry I discovered I had FOUR cans of coconut milk.  I was going to serve them over brown rice and sautéed zucchini.  How amazeballs does that look?!

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Instead I went freezer diving, and brought leftover chicken noodle soup and had a piece of sourdough toast on the side.  I ended up working at my desk during lunch so that I could leave early to get to Tony.  I hate leaving him alone for so many hours, although I am told by the nurses that he sleeps quite a bit.

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I ended up getting to the hospital just after five, and he still had 90 minutes left of dialysis.  The process is pretty amazing to me.  Dirty blood leaves him, goes through a machine and cleans it, then puts it back!

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Sadly Tony’s back has been hurting a lot, so they upped his pain meds, and gave him a shot right after I got there, so he basically slept the entire time I was there.  Every one in a while he would open his eyes, look to see if I was there, and then fall back asleep.  I ended up leaving him a note when I left because he was still sleeping.

Since the dialysis nurse was in the room the whole time, I popped downstairs for dinner around 6:00.  I was getting kind of sick of my chicken finger salad, and saw that they had a ham and Swiss grilled cheese on the board.  It’s made to order, so I waited a couple minutes for it.  When she handed it to me I was like “huh.”  It almost looked like French toast for the bread.  Maybe they were trying to do a croque monsieur?   But then I laughed and thought “this is a hospital cafeteria, what am I thinking?!”  Well I ordered it, and paid for it (getting the employee discount again!) and ended up taking exactly two bites before throwing it out.  How you can have a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich devoid of any salt is beyond me.  And the inside of the bread was still kind of “eggy.”  Just gross.  No amount of mustard could redeem it.

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I ended up getting home from the hospital around 9:30.  And taking one look at my messy kitchen, I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore, so I did a deep clean of the kitchen, and literally it took me all of 15 minutes – gah!  After I cleaned the kitchen I was hungry, even thought it was nearly 10 p.m.  Of course I had pizza dough in my fridge (hint – pizza dough lasts up to 7-10 days in the fridge!) so I made myself a mini sausage and cheese calzone.  I should have taken a picture of the paper towel after I cut the baby calzone in half, but there was hardly any grease stain.  Having a deep fryer contains the heat at the proper temperature, so nothing tastes greasy at all.  I know when it’s time to change the oil when the food starts tasting greasy.

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This was delicious – the dough was nice and crunchy, flakey even and just enough sausage and cheesy goodness.  I had to stop myself from making a second one!  And again, even without an official workout, I almost got all my steps – I think a lot of it is walking from my car to Tony’s hospital room 4 x a day!

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Good news! I wrote the above post before I went to bed and got a call around 10:30 that Tony was being transferred!  I wish I could be with him for the transfer, but that just isn’t in the cards.  Even though they said he’s “ready to go” at that time, it could be a couple hours by the time they bundle him up and get him transported to the new hospital – at least at that hour the traffic won’t be too bad – they should be able to get there in an hour or hour and fifteen minutes that time of night.

But since the new hospital is 50 miles from our house, I won’t be able to see him before work.  I wrote everything on his board in his room at the local hospital of everything that needs to go with him, so hopefully his clothes, cell phone, charger, etc. makes it with him.  Hoping I can sneak out early tomorrow and make the trek downtown.  Thanks again for your continued support – I will catch up on all the comments at some point!  and for the record, I brought the tablet with me to the hospital and I totally love it.  So I think it’s a keeper.  I can just tell Tony it’s my Christmas present.  Open-mouthed smile

Control

I don’t really know what’s it’s like to not have control.  Control of what you eat, when you eat, what pills to take, what syringe is going to be coming at you to suck out blood for more tests.  Dialysis nurses who have to prep the machine and are Chatty Cathy’s when all you want to do is sleep or watch t.v.  People coming into your room, putting on gloves and saying loudly “I am just here to make sure that you have wiped your ass correctly if you had a bowel movement” and without a second thought, will pull your gown up and start being in places that you really don’t want them to be.  Okay, so the techs really didn’t say the word “ass” but you all know that I have the mouth of a truck driver, so I threw that in there for good measure.

He’s tired.  He feels …done.  There is still no room at the Inn for Tony to transfer to the next hospital.   We are basically in limbo land and it’s getting old for him.  I had a thought though.  I brought his laptop to the hospital, but it was just too big and bulky.  I thought I’d buy him a tablet – it would be light weight, and he would have access to youtube (loves t.v. bloopers!), Facebook and Netflix!  I broached the subject with him the night before last and he thought it would be a good idea.

I went to Best Buy, bought a Galaxy tablet, and brought it back to work and charged it up.  Tony is a HUGE John Wayne movie lover.  So I sent him a text in the morning, nothing more than “I love you!” with lots of emoticons that probably bugged the shit out of him, but hey, it’s for love!  I texted him that I was leaving the office and I’d be on my cell phone if he needed me.  Then I texted him later in the afternoon with a picture of the John Wayne movie that was playing on Netflix when I logged into our account on the tablet.

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When I got to the hospital after worked he said “how many times in a day can you bug me?!”  I guess I feel guilty for not being there with him during the day and just a few texts during the day I thought would let him know I am thinking about him.  Apparently that’s too much, because he feels like he has to answer them, which I am not expecting an answer, and he doesn’t have the strength to do it.  Okay, note to self – think of Tony throughout the day, just don’t text him.   Well, after showing him the tablet, turns out he isn’t a fan.  I may just keep it for myself and tell him that’s all I want for Christmas, because just playing around with it at work while it was charging, I thought it was pretty cool.

So I didn’t get home from the hospital until 9:45.  I had to run a load of laundry, downloaded my pics for the day, that doesn’t leave much time for activities as I am used to, so I give you the rest of the day in a picmonkey collage!

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From the snowman coffee cup going clockwise:  1.  my mid-morning pick me up in my new snowman mug that I am totally loving.  My almond joy café mocha coffee – one package of diet Swiss miss cocoa mix, coffee, one tablespoon almond joy coffee creamer, two tablespoons of canned whip cream – it comes in a respectable 90 calories.   2.  I just got my 500th follower on Instagram!  3 and 4 – my steps for the last two days without going to the gym – not bad! 5. the generous gift card from blog reader Moe – I went to log it onto my Starbucks app to add the gift card to it and noticed today that it was a snowman #love 6. my pretzel bun ham and swiss panini – I ended up only eating half of it because it was so filling, but you bet your ass I ate all the salt and pepper potato chips 7.  more leftover chili for dinner, heated up in the hospital cafeteria microwave, and lastly 8. – another Turano bread breakfast panini – this time with cooked egg whites, spicy breakfast sausage, spinach and cheese – hey, if it isn’t broke, why fix it?!

And with that, I am on my way to my morning visit to my love.  I really would trade places with him if I could.