A Box of Sunshine!

During the time when Tony’s family was here after he passed away, I received a box of cheese from Cabot.  The tomato basil was a big hit, but I put the habanero one in my lunch meat drawer because I knew that it was going to be all mine.  When I was cleaning out the fridge over the weekend, I found it and knew it was going to be part of my breakfast.  I still had leftover beef tenderloin so I made open face breakfast sammies on a whole grain English muffin – typically habanero is even too spicy for me (I know!) but this cheese is amazeballs.  I actually used some broccoli slaw with my eggs and loved the added crunch to the sammie.

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I was so busy entering my bosses time for the month I was literally at my desk for hours and by the time I left for the gym at lunch, I’d only walked 700 steps!  I did my leg workout and ended up walking 2.25 miles – not bad!  Interestingly, there was only me and one other person at the gym at 12:30 in the afternoon.  Yep, my shirt says “Born to Be Wild!”

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I ended up making a stir fry out of our leftovers from our lettuce wraps the night before last.  I cooked up a whole carrot and zucchini, and added 3/4 cup of brown rice and it turned out really delicious.

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Around 3:30 I looked at my Fitbit and I was still only at around 7000 steps, so I told Hannah I was going back to the gym after work to get my steps in.  Wow, the place was packed at 5:10!   I ended up walking on a 5% incline for just under 50 minutes for a 5k.

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I got home by 6:30 and Hannah helped me get dinner ready.  Super easy – copycat Chipotle burrito bowls.  I just took a chicken breast and tossed it in a bit of olive oil, then rubbed on some taco seasoning mix and cooked that up while Hannah chopped up the veggies.

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Um, turns out Rummy likes to know if you are really done with your plate or not – and if, ya know, you had any leftovers, she’s be happy to take them!

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After dinner I realized I had never gotten the mail and outside my front door was another package for me.  When I opened it up, I saw that it was from my friend Karli and her Mom Kandy.  The card was so nice.   It said:  “Hope – It’s just one little word, but sometimes it means everything.  Wishing you brighter, better days ahead.”   She said that she and her Mom and all my friends at “beef” are all thinking of me during this time and to stay strong and savor all the happy memories.  Just.so.sweet.

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So with my second after work workout, I ended up with over 15,000 steps for the day!

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I think I’ll continue to do that a few times a week just to get some extra steps in – it’s not like I have to rush home to make Tony dinner.   We still had dinner at like 7:15 which isn’t too late at all.

So this New Years Eve is going to be a tad bit different.   Last year I worked my day job, got out early, but it wasn’t early enough to come home before heading out to the restaurant – I ended up going to the gym in between and did a 5k and ended up not getting home until 2:30 in the morning – up nearly 20 hours!  I sent this picture to Tony a few minutes before midnight last year.

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And when I got home Tony wasn’t feeling well, but he made me go to bed, but we ended up getting up early on New Years Day to go to the emergency room, and he ended up being in the hospital the first 8 days of 2014.  I look back now and wonder if that was the time that he started getting really sick, and I just never saw it as that – just another medical hiccup and we’d move on.  I can’t look back and think what if, should I have done anything different.  All I can say for sure is that Tony is still the love of my life, I miss him so much each day, but I just have to somehow embrace the future without him. 

So tonight?  We’ll be having a 3 year old spend the night.  Hannah’s best friend has a 3 year old and she and Jacob promised to watch him tonight, so he’ll be coming over later on today.  I think I need to go on Pinterest to get some crafty ideas – I know there is a way to make homemade play-doh – any other suggestions for a 3 year old boy other than watching movies??

Happy New Year to each and every one of you – my life is richer having you in it, and I am so thankful that so many of you have reached out to me to help me keep my head above water – I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know!  Hugs and Love!

Hannah Got A Job!

So of course since Hannah and Jacob moved in with me, they had to quit their jobs in the city.  You see, I live in the “sticks.”   Like 55 miles NW of the city of Chicago.  When I lived in Oak Park, Chicago was in my backyard – now?  Not so much!

So the restaurant Hannah and I wanted to go to on Saturday night that was booked solid?  Well, we saw a coffee shop on the same street and Hannah took a picture of it, came home and Googled it, saw that they were hiring and submitted her resume Saturday night.  On Sunday while I was on my walk, they called and asked her to come in for an interview yesterday at 11.  When I didn’t hear from her for an hour, I pretty much knew she got the job.  And sure enough, she did.  Not only that, they hired her basically on the spot, had her fill out her HR paperwork, handed her an apron and said “do you want to stick around for a while and get a lay of the land?!” 

Before she knew it, she was helping customers at the front, winging their iPad register, making drinks, etc. – all by herself without any training while the other employee was in the back making food!  She’ll get her schedule later this week, but will most likely be working about 25 hours a week – best of all are the hours – 6 am to 6 pm is when this place is open.  When she worked at Panera the closing side work could take hours and sometimes she wasn’t even leaving work until 2 in the morning.  So proud of that girl!  She took this picture when we were making dinner last night and posted it on my Instagram page with a caption that read “Bizzy in the kitchen with my new barista!”   Thankfully the shot isn’t too low – I’d already taken my bra off for the evening.  Tia, I am sure you understand!

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I still have beef tenderloin leftover from Christmas and made a beef, egg white, baby spinach breakfast tostadas – I guess this could be considered  a low carb breakfast – each tostada only has 6 grams of carbs.

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The green stuff?  I am calling that a tomatillo creama.  I bought tomatillos over the weekend to make salsa.  The recipe I found online called for a pound of tomatillos, but I bought a pound and a half, and the directions said to cook the tomatillos at 475 for 30 minutes – I should have known better – by the time the timer went off, I was left with hardly any tomatillos at all!  So Hannah and I tweaked it – we added sour cream, cilantro, garlic and lime and it turned out really good.

I am starting back with my Bitesized Fitness strength routine.  Although I am not doing the one that you have to pay for – just the free one.  Yesterday was chest and holy cow can I feel it this morning!  This set took me about 20 minutes, then I walked 1.75 miles.

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On Sunday I made my refried bean soup with cilantro rice.  Jacob couldn’t believe how a bowl of soup could be so filling!  I added some of the tomatillo creama, and cilantro and a bit of Cabot cheese to the top of my dish.  So good on a chilly day.

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Work was really busy yesterday, which was nice because the day went by super fast.  After today I have Wednesday and Thursday off, but have to work again on Friday.  I’ll take a 3 day work week any time though!

I decided to make Asian lettuce wraps for dinner last night.  Before Jacob had met Hannah, he’d never even heard of lettuce wraps.   We followed this recipe, which was really good.  The only thing I did was added sriracha (duh) and we used bagged broccoli slaw, zucchini and water chestnuts for our veggies.

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Helen, guess what?  I get to eat dinner at the dining room table!  I know, shocking.   That used to drive me insane that Tony and I ate in front of the t.v. every.single.night.  The only time I could get him to eat at the dining room table, which is the only piece of furniture we bought brand new together, was when family came over.  I also reheated the leftover potstickers from Christmas eve on the side.  And you will note, in the tiny blue bowl – Hannah chopped green onions for her wraps.  And she bought an icky red onion for the burrito bowls we are making tonight.  I don’t know where I went wrong with that girl in her love of onions!

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It’s nice having help in the kitchen to clean up after dinner too!  After I did some computer work, I settled into my comfy chair with the electric blanket, and Rummy LOVES the heated blanket.

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I opened up the mail before dinner and my Aunt sent me a belated Christmas gift.  Just like I am my Mom’s favorite, pretty sure I am my Aunt’s favorite too!  I’ve needed a new mouse pad at work too – love it!

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So yesterday I zeroed out my scale, but not before jumping on it. 

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First off, lets disregard my half painted big toe, shall we?  So basically I maintained my weight these last 49 days and that’s been a Christmas miracle with everything that’s going on in my life right now.  The only thing I need to do now is get rid of the fricken Chex Mix in my house – it’s like crack to me!   But I have to say, I am proud of myself for not putting 10 pounds on these last several weeks – I am an emotional eater through and through, so I have to pat myself on the back for this.

I have some link love today.  First off is Nicole of Prevention RD.  Her 12 week maternity leave went by with the blink of the eye and she went back to work yesterday.  I love her recap of the first few months of being a Mom!   Look at how fricken cute her baby is!!  Those baby jeans are so cute!

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And Skippy wrote a wonderful post about Tony.  She and I have become very good friends off-line and I had to call her the Dad Tony died so she could hear it from me that he passed away and not on the internet.  We cried together on the phone that day, but she helped me keep it together, and I will be forever grateful to her for that.

I got all my steps in yesterday too!

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I have no idea if that’s my actual weight, but I don’t really care.  Still working out my 2015 goals, not sure what they’ll be yet.  For now, just trying to get up each day, and putting one foot in front of the other. 

Winter is finally settling in – we haven’t had any measureable snow yet this year, but right now its 6 degrees but with the wind chill it feels like –6.   I guess I’ll wear a coat today!

Healthy Apple Ring Mock Buttermilk Pancakes

I had a few organizational goals that I wanted to get done over the long weekend.  One was to organize my clothes.  Since Hannah moved out I basically made her room my closet.  I had stuff in dressers, on shelves in her closet.  When Hannah and Jacob moved in, I basically just took all the clothes and threw them on the extra bed in my bedroom.  I kept my door shut for company for sure, because my bedroom looked like a trailer park for a few days.

My other goal was my back room – which is basically MY family room.  I did the MY in caps because Tony never really hung out in there.  My comfy chair that’s in there was too low for him to get in and out of, and since he had a laptop, there was no use for him to use the house computer.  I had SO many condolence cards, mail, just miscellaneous stuff back there that I called the back room my Shanty Town.  So I had to take care of those two problem areas, because the rest of the house was fine.

Of course, having Hannah home meant that I had someone who would keep me on task.  I started going through all the cards/letters/mail I had gotten so I could write a spreadsheet to eventually send thank you cards out.  In the process found $150 in cash, a $50 check, and a few gift cards I had forgotten about – thank you Mike and Cindy, David, and Julianne for your generosity!  It was just so hard to read what people wrote in the cards, and it still brought tears to my eyes over the weekend, but at least I have a start to send out my thank you cards.  Hannah and I plan on making something with all the cards we’ve gotten – we may have to check out Pinterest for that.

Um, Hannah also made me donate 210 COOKING MAGAZINES. Yep, you read that correctly.  When I tried to protest, she said “Mom, you can find anything in these magazines online, just donate them to the library!”  Okay – she’s completely right of course, and now that it’s been a couple days, I don’t even really notice that they aren’t taking up two shelves of my bookcase.

12.27 002 I basically spent about four hours cleaning this back room, organizing, putting bills in line for payment online – I couldn’t believe how much stuff I got done in just one afternoon.  I still hadn’t gone grocery shopping, so I suggested we go out for dinner.  Jacob wasn’t feeling great all weekend, so he stayed back and Hannah and I had a date night out!  Our first choice was the Onion Pub.  We got there at 6:00 – I was thinking we were completely early but there was already a good 45 minute wait for a two top and no room at the bar to sit and wait.

So Plan B!  A mere three minute drive from the first place.

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Everything looked so good – we’ve been here before.  I narrowed it down to two things, and at the last second said “the seven flavor chicken” – I saw the words “wok fried” and just assumed it was not breaded and cooked that it would come with some sort of stir fry veggies.  Nope.  I got “lightly” breaded chicken in a sweet sticky sauce – mind you, it was delicious, but just not what I had in mind – I had been without veggies for so long, but oh well!  Hannah’s was delicious – she does a sushi roll and the tempura veggies – two giant thumbs up from her.  After we were done I eyed all the dishes I passed by – definitely getting a noodle veggie dish next time.

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We ended up bringing some soup home for Jacob.   Eating out was my reward for having my cleaning pants on for a long time on Saturday!

The kids and I are getting into a routine I guess.  I shouldn’t really be calling them kids because they’ll be 23 in a few months, but I realize they need their privacy just as much as I need mine.  And while I don’t mind spending time with them, Saturday night I ended up hanging out in my comfy chair, stalking Pinterest on my tablet on the side, I watched multiple episodes of Surgeon Oz.   OMG, I watched a whole show about an aortic heart valve replacement – just what Tony had in 2007 – and it was fascinating.  I’d never really realized what an intricate surgery that was, and I don’t know why I didn’t think it because it was his heart.

The dogs have surprisingly accepted me.  I fully expected Red, the big dog to be my lap dog, but this picture he only laid with me for 5 minutes – he prefers to be on the floor near someone, not actually on someone.  Um, Rummy, the Boston Terrier, is a bit of a diva.  She likes to be UNDER the covers at all times.   She’s super affectionate too – it’s as if when she walks into the room and sees me that she thinks “OMG, Biz is still here!” and she’ll come up and jump all over me and kiss my face.  In this picture Rummy is laying under the covers:

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I made my (OUR) meal plan for the week, and realizing I had some apples that needed to be used up soon, I decided to make some apple ring buttermilk pancakes.  Except I didn’t have any buttermilk – so I did the age old trick – 3/4 cup of milk mixed with 2 tablespoons white vinegar – just let it sit for 5 minutes or longer and you are good to go.

3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
cooking spray
1 small apple
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the milk and vinegar and let stand 5 minutes.  Ad din the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, egg, melted butter and mix until combined.  It’s okay if it’s a bit lumpy.  Let your batter sit at least 15 minutes to let the baking powder do its magic.  I used a 1/4 cup measure for each pancake, so each pancake comes in at 114 calories, 18 carbs, 1 fiber, 2 protein and 3.7 fat.  Once the batter was in a pan sprayed with cooking spray, I laid one slice of apple on the batter, pressed it down and with the mixture of the 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, sprinkled a bit of that over the top before flipping.

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I used a teaspoon to scoop out any of the core if I needed to.

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Remember the tablet I bought for Tony when he was in the hospital?   I had to just look back to find out when I got it for him.  November 20.  A mere 12 days before he passed away.  It boggles my mind how fast and slow time has gone these last several weeks.  Well, I decided to keep it, it had a 30 day money back guarantee if Tony didn’t like it, which he decided he hated it the first day I showed it to him, but it was before I bought a case for it and it was kind of slippery to hold onto.  Well, turns out it’s a life saver in the kitchen – no more printed out recipes all over – just go to my Pinterest page and bam!   Both Hannah and Jacob gave these pancakes two big thumbs up.  But I think they would think anything tasted good after packing up and eating fast food for the last couple of weeks before moving in with me.

I ended up getting my walking shoes on – new shoes with tags still on them that I just bought at Goodwill a couple weeks ago for $4.99 and hadn’t tried out yet.  It was 28 degrees and a bit windy, but sunny!  I started out down by the river, then did a big loop around my neighborhood – according to my fitbit I did 4.11 miles in 60 minutes.  I got back and told Hannah and Jacob how comfy they were and Hannah looked them up – they are $115 shoes!  Crazeballs that someone would give those away!

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I love walking, but the problem is my mind starts wandering about all the things going on in my life.  I thought I could drown out my mind with music, but that didn’t work too well.  I ended up wearing Tony’s headphones.  He never liked headphones that go in your ear.  When I left him for a week at St. Mary’s when he was still having tests done and I had to come home from work, that first Monday I was away from him, Tony called me at work.  In our brief chat he mentioned that he wished he had brought headphones so that he could listen to podcasts.  Never thought of that.  So I called the gift shop and had them send Tony some headphones, but I was specific – they had to be over the ear and not in a girly color.  I had the older woman write on the note “Now you can listen to Doug Benson – Love Biz” and she kept asking me “are you sure you want that on the note, it doesn’t make sense to me!”  No worries.  Later that morning Tony sent me this picture of himself with his new headphones on – I love how crooked his glasses are in this picture.  Again I have to pinch myself that just four months from the date of this photo I’d watch him take his last breath.

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And just when I started to really get all weepy about my life without Tony, what my direction will be, I suddenly looked down and saw this:

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A giant heart painted on the road.  So random.  So Tony.  I think it was his way of telling me that he’s still with me.  He still loves me.  And that eventually I’ll find my way in this next chapter of my life.  I still miss him so fucking much though.

Merry Christmas!

Not going to lie, a big part of me wanted to just go to bed Christmas Eve and wake up on December 26 and skip Christmas all together.  My grief is still so raw that at any given moment I can feel myself start to tear up and it’s all I can do to not to go into a full blown crying fit right then and there.

But, life moves on.  Without Tony and each day I have to just keep telling myself to put one foot in front of the other and just . . . get on with life.

The kids moved in on Wednesday, along with their two dogs.   This is Rummy – she’s almost 3.

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And here is Red, almost 12:

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We decided to have wontons and fried rice for our Christmas Eve dinner.  While the kids returned the moving truck, I whipped together the wontons.

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I may have made a few!  We had leftovers though.  And my fried rice wasn’t anywhere near as good as Tony’s, but it was pretty tasty.

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I made the Christmas tree of balls again – super big hit – every ball was eaten!

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I started out our dinner with shrimp bisque – very tasty and a lot easier recipe than some of the others I found on Pinterest.

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I ended up getting a beef tenderloin, because the price dropped right before Christmas – score!

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I ended up using Tieghan’s rub on my tenderloin – it was really good!  I ended up making a blue cheese sauce on the side, but turns out no one in Tony’s family likes blue cheese!

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And you can never go wrong with crab legs!  It was perfect timing because while I let the meat rest, I threw the crab legs in the oven at 375 and cooked them along with Hannah’s amazeball tater tot casserole – so simple – tater tots mixed with sour cream, cream of broccoli cheddar soup, milk and then cheese on top and bake it.  It’s her signature dish Open-mouthed smile

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I love my new stove!!  Not only do the burners get hot super fast, I got to use the internal meat probe for the beef – I can see exactly what temperature the meat is at the press of a button.  Took it out at 125, rested the meat 20 minutes for perfect medium rare.

Here is the best picture of the night – me helping Hannah crack her crab legs!  Um, let’s just say she didn’t like the sound or the taste of the crab legs.  I actually have two legs leftover so I’ll be making a crab cake for myself over the weekend with the leftovers.  Photo credit goes to my grand-nephew Sean!

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Thanks to my brother for your box of loot – more Chex Mix!  That stuff is like crack to me.  And my niece made me this cute mug – love the color!  It’s another Pinterest project – just a sharpie marker on a plain mug – love it!

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I got this beautiful scarf from Shelley in the mail – she says she names all of her projects and this one is “give Biz a hug.”  Love it!  Thank you!  It will definitely come into use because Hannah and I plan to be walking buddies!

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, no matter what you celebrate.  I plan on getting a lot of organizing done over the weekend, hit the gym, get some steps in and meal plan for next week.  It’s been so long since I have done that!  Have a great weekend – see you on Monday!

Life is Change . . . She Said Yes!

If I were to describe the last six weeks of my life I would say this.  It’s like I am on a Merry Go Round, and it keeps spinning faster and faster and I keep trying to get the operators attention to have them slow it down or stop it, but no one is there to hear me and it just continues to spin around and I just have to hold on for dear life.

One thing I do know, is that life is change.  While obviously I have had the biggest life change when Tony died, life does in fact go on without him, whether I like it or not. 

One good change that has happened?  HANNAH GOT ENGAGED!

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Yep – Hannah and her boyfriend of five years got engaged a couple weeks ago.   Not only that but . . . they are moving in with me.  Like today.  They have been living with Jacob’s Mom in a Chicago bungalow where they had a type of in-law suite in the basement with their own living space, and only had to contribute a small amount towards the rent and it was a perfect situation.  Fast forward and Jacob’s Mom ran into a high school sweet heart at the grocery store this past fall, they rekindled their relationship, they got engaged and MARRIED on 12/13/14 and she’s moving in with her husband obviously and that means no more super cheap rent for the kids.

I’ve never lived alone.  In fact these last few weeks have been the longest I’ve lived by myself in my whole life.  But that won’t last long because today not only do I get two young adults moving in, I also get . . . two dogs!  I really hope the older dog becomes my lap dog, we’ll see.  Their tiny dog just wants to lick the tears off my face!

So for now, the Merry Go Round keeps spinning around – so I guess I’ll just settle in and enjoy the ride!  CONGRATS HANNAH AND JACOB!  I love you!

Christmas Tree. . .Balls.

How about we start off today’s blog with some good news. . . the winner of the Ninja Blender!   I loved reading each and every one of your Christmas stories!

True Random Number Generator:  Min: 1   Max: 100  Result:  64

Erin

Love ya, Biz. I think it would be hard to delete the DVR. Just one more thing that breaks my heart for you. My favorite Christmas memory is the last one I had with my maternal grandmother. She had been sick for a few years and that Christmas was the last time I saw her before she passed away. Fast forward to October and she slipped away before I could get up there. It’s the biggest regret I have in life, that I couldn’t get up there to see her before she died.

Erin – please send me your mailing address to mybizzykitchen@gmail.com.  Congrats!

So yesterday was a tough day.  I haven’t read all the comments to yesterdays post, mostly because I didn’t want to cry at my desk, but this weekend I will.  One of the things I’ve done is to just . . . keep busy.  It seems if I slow down and take a breath, the reality sets in that Tony’s not here.  So strange.  Over the weekend I met up with Hannah, her boyfriend and their friend (and mine!) Melody with her son Carver.  I decided to go to Pilot Pete’s because the restaurant is an a small municipal airport.  He didn’t seem too interested in the planes when I brought out my tablet and he started to watch a Mickey Christmas!  Courtney, have you ever taken your boys there?

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The food was surprisingly really good!  We split the friend calamari, and Hannah and I both got the pulled pork bbq sandwich – it was so much food, I probably ate 1/3 of the pork sandwich.

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Mel’s son REALLY like his mac n cheese – I love this picture of him!

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Thanks Mel for the loot too – you didn’t have to give me anything, but I am loving the lipstick!

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And I brought out a few of my hundreds of snowmen.

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Sunday I spent the afternoon at my Mom’s for our Christmas with my sister and her family and Hannah and Jacob.  My Mom is going to be spending Christmas in Austin with my brother.  Sadly, I had charged my battery to the DSLR and promptly left it in the outlet at home, and my iPhone battery was about dead.  Dammit!  I brought all the meat and cheese!  The secret to my mac n cheese?  Shredded butter over the top before baking – it gets a nice bread crumb crispy topping, but super creamy underneath.  And Hannah and I being goofy!

I also made this Christmas tree . . .ball appetizer!  I found it on pinterest – I’ll link to it later, but it’s basically homemade pizza dough, wrapped in mozzarella cheese, baked and then dipped into marinara sauce – really good!

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And Hannah and Jacob gave me the cutest bag!  I put this on Instagram and there was interest for people wanting one, but this is a one hit wonder and its all mine! Open-mouthed smile

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So my oven died on Friday and I went and bought one on Saturday and it was delivered last night.  It is so nice it makes my kitchen look even worse than it normally does!

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It’s a Frigidaire – it has a convection oven, an internal meat thermometer and a ceramic cook top.  I literally didn’t want to use it because it was so pretty, but I broke it in with . . . pizza!  Duh!  Hannah, Jacob and my Mom went in on a gift for me – something I’ve wanted for a while – a baking steel!   It’s super heavy and it needs to heat up to 500 degrees for 45 minutes, but it was worth the weight.  The crust was perfect!

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That picture doesn’t do the pizza justice, but it was delicious!  I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and I woke up late this morning.  I’ve literally got 10 minutes to get ready and out the door.  No problem!  Only 1 1/2 more work days this week – woop!  Make it a great day!

Going from Us and We to I and Me

Fourteen years ago today, Tony and I got married on the beach in Naples, Florida.  Long time readers will know that Hannah was my maid of honor and my step-son Joe was our best man.  Tony’s parents and my Mom were the only other ones in attendance, and that’s exactly the way I wanted it.  Small.  Intimate.  Although my twin sister will give a dig every once in a while and say “it was really nice being invited to your wedding!”  But that would have opened up a whole other layer of people, and I didn’t want it to be a 100 person event. 

Tony and his son spent the night before our wedding with his Dad, Hannah, my Mom, my MIL Bonnie and I spent the night at their other property.  The day was busy – I had a manicure, pedicure, had my hair and makeup done.  Pretty much the best way to tell me and my sister apart was that I normally don’t wear any makeup and she doesn’t leave the house without it.  I remember looking at myself when it was all done, and I thought “I look like Jennifer!”

The wedding didn’t take place until 5:30 on the beach, and I just couldn’t wait until it was time to see him.  I always told him that I didn’t care if we lived in a card board box, all I wanted was to be with him.  Finally it’s time to head to the beach, and I wasn’t nervous or anything – I just couldn’t get to him fast enough.  He hugged me, gave me a kiss and said “your face smells like pancakes.”

I would have thought we’d have 40+ years together.  From Thanksgiving week until today, it’s just been so surreal.  I’ve been looking back at pictures I’ve taken in the last couple months of Tony, and now that I know, it looks as if he had been slowly dying and I didn’t either want to see it, or just thought that this was another medical hurdle we’d jump over and move on.   We’d look back and say “can you believe you were sick during another holiday?!”  That always seems to be the case with him.

Since Tony’s sister and her family are coming over for Christmas, I finally decided to decorate a bit.  I was alone on Saturday night.  I love our pre-lit Christmas tree.  It snaps together in three pieces, you put all the plugs together and bam!   Of course you know I have a lot of snowmen ornaments.  But once I put this ornament up on the tree, the tears started to flow and they just wouldn’t stop.

12.20 weekend 030

The tears suddenly turned into full blown sobbing as it does from time to time.  I just wanted to go back.  Go back to 2007 when the kids were littler and I’d have seven more years with Tony.  All of a sudden I heard a noise in the bathroom.  Huh.  I was the only one home.  I walked in, turned on the light, and . . .the toilet seat was up!  Now I’d been the only one home for a couple days, Hannah’s boyfriend or any man for that matter hadn’t been here to leave it up.  I suddenly thought “that’s Tony!”  He always said he was going to haunt me and my tears and sobbing stopped and I smiled.  It made me feel better.  The tears have a long ways before they subside.  I am still strong to people around me because if I wasn’t, I’d just be a basket case all day and not want to get out of bed.

PicMonkey Collage 1

PicMonkey Collage 2

tennessee kissing

This is the last picture we have together – the selfie I did at the hospital on November 12.   I would have never guessed that three weeks later I’d be saying goodbye forever.

our last selfie

All I know is that I miss his hugs, kisses and . . . that smile.  Happy 14th Anniversary babe!  I miss you more than you’ll ever know.  I just have to move on from WE to ME.  And it breaks my heart.

i love that smile