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.