Despite the reason why I was going to Virginia to celebrate my Uncle’s life, I had such a great time at my Aunt’s house hanging out with family, cooking and relaxing.

Before I left I asked Tony if he wanted me to make him any casseroles or anything for when I was gone, and he said “here’s an idea – how about I figure out what to eat right before I want to eat it!”  I guess he gets a bit sick of my meal planning. Open-mouthed smile

My travel yesterday sucked ass.  I flew United.  My first flight was supposed to leave at 2:50 through Charlotte, and then arrive in Milwaukee at 5:06.  Tony was going to pick me up and we were going to find a place to eat in Milwaukee before heading home.

No such luck.  My first plane was delayed, so I wouldn’t make my connection, and the next flight wouldn’t get me to Milwaukee until midnight!  So I scored and got a direct flight from Chicago that would leave at 4:47 and get me into Chicago at 5:30 – nice!

Except the flight kept getting delayed by 30 minutes, then another 30 minutes.  We didn’t end up taking off until 7:30, and we stayed on the runway at Chicago for nearly 25 minutes waiting for a gate, so by the time Tony got me and we got home, it was nearly 10:00 p.m. (or really 11:00 eastern time).  So I am tired this morning!

In any event, here are some Top 10 Things that happened to me and Tony the last 5 days.


1.   I survived all my flights!  The flight coming home was REALLY bumpy.  The woman next to me was scared too, but she had her husband rubbing her arm telling her it would be okay.  I just closed my eyes.

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2.    One morning I may have made bacon.  Then cut up some potatoes and used the bacon fat to cook the bacon.  Then maybe scrambled eggs in more bacon fat.  It is the south after all!

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3.  Survived the hot east coast weather.  While the weather broke here a couple days ago, they will still have temps in the 100’s today.

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4.  While this plate of food doesn’t look very special, I marinated the pork in a basil, garlic and olive oil marinade and made a zucchini gratin that I didn’t think would work out, but was delicious.  I also made jalapeno corn bread and my Mom, who doesn’t even like corn bread loved it!  I will make these recipes again soon so I can share the recipes.

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5.  It was a wonderful memorial service for my Uncle.  I met his brother Preston for the first time and his wife.  I also saw Dave’s son (who we call Little Dave) whom I haven’t seen since I lived in Virginia in 1989.  We are the same age, but he just got married a few years ago and has a beautiful 2 year old daughter named Josie.  I was also able to see pictures of my Uncle without facial hair!  He even had a professor who taught my uncle in the 70’s attend the memorial!  You can read his obituary here – such an accomplished life!  (thanks Tony for telling me I didn’t have the link up!) 😀

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6.  I enjoyed spending time with my cousins son Jamar.  He’s just about to turn 2.  One morning I got up with him so his mom could sleep in.  I put him in a comfy chair, put a blanket on him and turned on cartoons.  I said “I am going to make a pot of coffee and then I’ll fix you something to eat.  Do you like bagels with butter and jelly?”  Why I thought he would respond to me when he doesn’t quite talk yet, is beyond me – it’s been a while since I’ve been around little kids!  Every time I took the camera out though he would come by me and say “cheese!”

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7.  It was nice to spend a string of days with my Momma too.  She’s been so busy lately at home, it was nice to just relax, read the paper on the deck every morning while drinking coffee and just talking.  See the dress I am wearing?  I tried it on with no bra, um turns out that because of the way the straps are, my genie bra was showing way too much, so being klassy like I am, I just took it off! Open-mouthed smile

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8.  I got to see my cousin Pam.  She is really the first woman I looked up to.  When I was probably in middle school, she and her boyfriend (now husband) stayed at our house overnight.  They were back packing across the country and I thought that was the coolest thing ever.  Plus I was an avid letter writer back then, and she always found the time to write me back – I wish I still had those letters!  She is a breast cancer survivor, however, its come back – you can see Pam’s spotlight on cancer in this article.  I love you Pam!  I also got to see my Great Aunt, who is my God Mother – aged 82 and going strong!

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9.  Bill’s BBQ.  Hands down the best BBQ I have ever had.  It’s a minced pork sandwich with a vinegar slaw with coleslaw.  I was so excited to eat it I didn’t get a good picture of it, but if you are ever in the Richmond area, you must get a pork bbq and a limeade!

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10.  My Aunt Martha.  She wouldn’t let me take a picture of her, but she is about the strongest woman I know.  Sometimes its just as hard to be the care taker as it is to be sick.  She took the best care of her husband with strength and devotion.  She said a couple months ago, he started coughing really bad at night.  She went to go see how he was doing and said “are you alright??”  He said “no, I am hungry, can you make me a pizza?”  So at 2 in the morning my Aunt stuck a frozen pizza in the oven.  I know she will miss my Uncle desperately once the family goes back to their jobs and lives and live without her husband will now become her new normal.  Thanks for everything this weekend Aunt Martha – I love you!


  1. Didn’t make one single pot of coffee while I was gone.
  2. Never ran the dishwasher, because he always cleans his dishes when he is through and puts them away.
  3. Cooked a steak in the toaster oven.  Never thought you could do that!
  4. Probably watched every John Wayne movie to the end if he was flipping channels and one came on.
  5. Didn’t watch 1 minute of any food related show while I was gone.
  6. Sat outside and listened to podcasts while smoking a cigar with a glass of whiskey on the rocks – I bet he did this most nights.
  7. Only ran the central air in order to keep the dog alive – if it weren’t for the dog, I am sure he would have been just fine without it!
  8. Never planned a single meal – he winged it and turns out you can do that!
  9. Confident his meal consisted solely of a protein, meaning no side dish or veggies or fruit on the side.
  10. While he survived 5 days without me, he texted me Sunday morning “I miss making you inedible breakfasts.”  He always makes me spicy eggs on Sunday mornings!
  11. forgot to add another one!  Tony got my car washed and vacuumed and filled up the gas for me to get me going this week.  Thanks honey! 😀

So all in all, it was a great weekend.  Lots of tears, but lots of laughter too – it doesn’t get any better than that.  Oh wait – except it does!   My brother called us on Thursday morning.  He had a PET body scan the week before to see how the chemo treatments were going.  My mom took the call and went outside on the deck.  We all knew what the call was about.

My Mom walked in crying so hard.  All she could say was “It’s Charlie.”  We all immediately start to cry and then she realizes that she forgot to preface it with “it’s good news!”  The scan showed only one small lesion on his spleen, which is not active, which means it’s working!

Charlie posted this on Facebook.

This is what “stage four lymphoma to complete remission in four chemo treatments flat” looks like. Can you see how much lighter my feet look?


So when one life ends, another life is saved!

I have no idea what I am going to eat since I didn’t grocery shop – should be interesting to see what I can make out of what’s left in our fridge.  You don’t think work would mind if I brought a beer for lunch do you?  Seems like that’s about all I have in my fridge now! Open-mouthed smile

Have a great day – what was the highlight of your 4th of July??