Today my husband turns 54!  We met the year he turned 40.  I’ll never forget that birthday.  Tony’s parents had already retired to Florida, but their house here was still on the market.  Tony lived there, and when we met, we would live at my house M-F, then pick up Joe on Friday night and head to Tony’s parents house for the weekend.  It was a cool house – indoor pool, lots of land for the kids to walk around, horses across the street.   Well Tony’s parents came up for his birthday and it was the first time I’d met his parents.  They were super nice, welcomed me with open arms.  I just kept remember his Mom saying “this is unusual, we never meet anyone Tony is dating!”

Well, the day was cold and rainy – all of a sudden there was water rushing in the kitchen and it started to flood.  We spent the better part of an hour trying to sop up all the water.  What I thought would be a relaxing afternoon turned out to be not so much.  We decided to spend the night at a hotel.  We ended up meeting a friend of his at the bar at the hotel for drinks.  Turns out his friend just needed Tony to drive him to get his car picked up.  I don’t remember all the details, but I remember sitting at the bar by myself for the better part of an hour while Tony helped his friend out.

It’s weird because both Tony and I have had similar situations where in a friendship, we were always willing to go out of our way to help that person, but when we asked for it in return, suddenly they were too busy or it just wasn’t important enough for them to reciprocate.  I used to be best friends with a woman before we moved.  If she needed someone to hang out with while her husband worked nights, I was there.  If she needed a ride to the store, I was there.  If she needed someone to watch her kids, I was there.

I talked to this woman on a daily basis and probably hung out with her 3-4 nights a week.  We moved an hour away 13 years ago.  I thought “I’ll wait until she calls to see how I am doing!”  Well, I waited six months and she never reached out to me, simply because I was no longer convenient for her.  That was the same with Tony and this one friend – here it was his 40th birthday, and he only walked to meet us for a drink because he needed Tony to give him a ride to pick up his car.

In any event, this is now our 14th birthday we are celebrating since we have been together.  We’ve had quite a ride these last 14 years – watched our kids grow up and move on with their lives.  We’ve been through more than our share of medical issues, but I firmly believe that I came into Tony’s life when he would need me the most.  I can’t imagine how he would have taken care of himself through all his illnesses if he were still a bachelor.  We just grow stronger through each obstacle that comes our way, and are the best team together.

PicMonkey Collage - tony collage

He’s funny.  He makes me laugh.  He calls me “Biz Ann May Alcott Difazio Papa John’s Velatini.”  Every couple years he tacks on another name.  He loves his son more than anyone else on the planet and is so proud of him.  He enjoys a cigar every once in a while and a chilled glass of Grey Goose.  And he loves me more every day that I know him, so I am blessed.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TONY!

I was going to grill out on Saturday night but the weather was a bit iffy.  So I switched  to Plan B.  One of Tony’s favorite things growing up was Sloppy Joe’s – I think his Mom would buy the Manwich brand to add to ground beef – I know my Mom added onions (ick) and Manwich to make Sloppy Joe’s – regardless of the onions, I always thought that Manwich was way too sweet for my taste.  Had I only known of Sriracha back then!

A couple weeks ago Karli  posted on her Facebook page an article about kicking up the standard Sloppy Joe.  One was the Reuben, and long time readers and my family know that I will just about knock you down for a Reuben.  Perfect combination of meat/salty/cheezy/sour on grilled rye bread – it’s the perfect sandwich combination in my book.  So when I started making the Sloppy Joe’s, I realized – hey I could make mine a Reuben!


My sandwich?  Two slices of deli corned beef, topped with a piece of Swiss cheese.  I broiled that in my toaster oven to melt the cheese, then put 1/2 a cup of the sloppy joe’s on the cheese, added 1/3 a cup of Bavarian sauerkraut that I heated up in the microwave and added some sweet pickles on top.

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Holy balls, this was delicious!  Tangy, slightly sweet, sour, salty.  An umami sandwich through and through.  It was a good thing I slept in Saturday morning and only had some toast and an egg before dinner.  So delicious!  Tony thinks that if there is a hell, that’s what they would be serving.  I would just think I am in heaven!  Show of hands, how many of you would eat that?

My NYC trip recap will start tomorrow.  So excited to share it all with you!

Tonight I am making Tony grilled lollipop lamb chops with asparagus orzo and I made his favorite carrot cake for dessert.  And the Chicago Bears are playing – let’s hope they win on Tony’s birthday!

Oops – I almost forgot to announce the winner of Sunny Anderson’s cookbook!

Drum roll . . . Min: 1 Max:  62  Result:  41 (from


I voted most days so glad you mad it to the finals, better luck next time! I was debating about entering this contest because I am still sulking over not winning your salsa but I can’t pass up a prize opportunity.

Congrats Diana!  Sorry you didn’t win the salsa, but shoot me an email and I’ll get the cookbook off to you.  Make it a great day!