Both Hannah and Jacob had to work over the weekend so I had a lot of alone time.  It was actually nice to be able to blast my music and not have to walk on tip toes in the morning because they weren’t sleeping!  I have a bit more traveling coming up – next weekend I’ll be back in Virginia for another family reunion, the following weekend I am in Michigan with my Dad’s side of the family celebrating a high school graduation, and then I am going on a beef trip to Denver!  I swear I’ve traveled more this year than I have in the last ten years. Open-mouthed smile

So I knew I had some organizing to do, and well, I knew it was finally time to go to the bank and get Tony’s name taken off the account.  His debit card was still active, he had a credit card that was still active with no balance that had to be closed.  I haven’t really changed much to the house since he died, other than our bedroom.  Clothes are still in the drawers, his clothes are in the closet and his pants are still hanging on a hook on the back of our bedroom door from the last time he wore them.  While I am not ready to change any of that stuff, I knew it was time to take care of the banking issue, but it was a step I didn’t really want to take.  Handing over his death certificate to the banker, her telling me “oh I am so sorry, he was so young!” nearly brought tears to my eyes.  But I don’t let anyone see my sadness in real life.  Not sure why, but for some reason I feel I need to keep it to myself for now. 

But before I went to the bank, I was waiting for an exterminator to come to our house.  The window was from 10:00 to 12:00.  I’ve had a stack of papers, cards, and letters piling up on my desk for months.  My desk drawer too was chock full of stuff that was so out of date and had to be sorted through.  All in all I threw out a giant black garbage bag of stuff I didn’t need anymore.  I had a bag of stuff from the funeral home that was below my desk that I haven’t looked at probably since Tony died.  The sign in book for his memorial, and then I pulled out the spiral bound emails that Hannah made for me.  When Tony and I first started dating it was basically love at first site.  We met online at the end of May, met in real life on June 5 and we moved in right after the 4th of July.  The fall after the summer Tony and I met I switched jobs, and I printed out every email we sent to each other that first summer we met.  So glad I did that!

I read an email that Tony sent me on July 17, 2000.  I was leaving him for a family vacation for 9 days that I had obviously scheduled way before I met him.  Reading this really did bring tears down my face as I read it.  So crazy that this was literally six weeks after we met!

7.18WE 017

The part that choked me up the most?  “I will miss you while you are gone. . . “  Just knowing that I won’t feel his hugs anymore was a bit much.  So reading that, and going to the bank was just another reminder that he’s not here.  Just another step that puts that chapter of my life behind me.  And I really wasn’t finished writing that life.

But, as life does go one, Hannah had her best friend and 3 year old son over on Saturday for sushi night.  Hannah and Mel LOVE sushi – while Mel can do the raw stuff, they decided to keep it all veggie.  I am seriously impressed with their knife skillz!  They sautéed mushrooms in teriyaki sauce, sliced up mango, cucumber, radish, green onion – it was quite impressive.  Mel bought her sushi rice at Whole Foods, but as luck would have it, my local store sells it too – I guess I never looked for it before.  It’s a super short grain rice that is kind of fat and sticky.  Once cooled, it is easy to make the sushi.  Hannah doesn’t like spicy stuff, so just some of the sushi had sriracha mayo on them.  Hannah’s favorite though?  The teriyaki mushroom!  Turns out we are both starting to love mushrooms!

PicMonkey Collage - sushi

Um, turns out Jacob and I preferred steak.  I did a quick pan fried sirloin steak with a mushroom jus, with pepper jack twice baked potatoes on the side.

7.18WE 040

I had a bit of a lazy morning on Sunday, but then got my act in gear and spent several hours organizing our kitchen – I have come to realize, well, I just have too much shit.  Is it really necessary for me to have four whisks in the container next to the stove?  So I basically pared down a bunch of stuff and put it in a box to give to Hannah and Jacob when they move out.  I am not in a hurry to have them move out, but you know what I mean!

It was a perfect sunny and 80 degrees yesterday and I knew I wanted to grill.  My store had whole chickens on sale for .99 cents – sold.  Tony and I had learned our lessons on grilling whole chickens – didn’t matter if we did the beer can method or what, but 9/10 I’d bring the chicken in, only to cut into it and it would still be raw in the middle.  So for the last couple years I’ve taken the back out of the chicken and butterflied it so it literally cooks in about 45 minutes over some pretty hot coals.  Tips on roasting the perfect chicken:

  1. Butterfly it (check out this video on Youtube)
  2. Pat it dry
  3. Place sliced lemon underneath as much of the skin as you can
  4. Rub the chicken with 2 tablespoons of softened butter
  5. Season to Taste:  I used 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper and 1 teaspoon of Greek seasoning

I cook my chicken on top of my cast iron skillet on a cookie rack.  It’s slightly indirect heating – my coals are on one side of the grill and I turn the chicken around clockwise four times during cooking.  The best part about grilling this way is that it cooks evenly all over the chicken, and any chicken drippings get caught in the cast iron skillet so you don’t have coal flare-ups.  The butter is the secret to the perfect color skin and it’s so crisp.  I love seeing the lemon peek out of the skin on this pic.  And this was taken with my iPhone!

7.18WE 018 - focal wide

My motto:  grill once, cook twice.  I cooked up some chicken legs for Jacob’s lunches later in the week and we had corn on the cob on the side.

7.18WE 022

7.18WE 031

After I cleared the grill, I could hear Tony telling me I used too many coals.  I just wish he were here to say it.

7.18WE 016