Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person

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The wonderful convenience of freezer meals – or not?

As you know if you’ve read some of my other posts, I don’t particularly enjoy cooking. I enjoy it even less during the week after work. My go to? Picking up fast food on my way home from work.

However, the past few months, I’ve been making a concerted effort to do more of my own cooking – inspired by a trip to the doctor and a few weeks of high blood pressure readings. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that fast food is not exactly what you would call a low-sodium way to eat.

So, in keeping with that plan, I spent most of last weekend making more meals for the freezer so I could have yummy homemade food during the week without the bother of starting from scratch every day.

I made this 20-minute Tuscan Pasta. I fried some mushrooms (just till they browned a bit) and added them to the recipe. Boy was it delish! (OK…ignore the fact that Parmesan cheese is high in sodium…a serving of this dish is still way lower in sodium than my usual fast food choices – by about 75%, so still a win. )

I also made this Black Bean Mexican Chicken dish. It was low in sodium to start with, but I used low-sodium tomatoes,which really put it in the blood pressure sweet spot. Even when I added some aged cheddar to it and baked it in the oven… it was still sodium-safe and super tasty!

I made some other stuff, too, but don’t have recipe links for them so we’ll move on.

When I walked in the door from work this evening, I was thinking, “What delectable delight do I want to pull from the freezer today??”

I hmmmed and I hahhhhhed and happily ran through my mental freezer-meal Rolodex. There are so many options from so many weekends of cooking! But nothing tickled my fancy. WHAT??? That can’t be possible.

You know what my taste buds did get excited about? Toast with peanut butter and Nutella. Yup. Spent all that time cooking – this past weekend, as well as other weekends – so I’d have all that yummy food to choose from and I go for toast. With a glass of milk.

Livin’ on the edge, folks. Livin’ on the edge.


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Markers and cheesecake (Or: See how easily I get distracted?)

I was in my craft room Friday night, practicing some hand lettering exercises and watching Father Brown (as one does on a Friday night).

I had my brush markers and other pens around me, but realized I needed some finer felt-tip markers, which were on the ottoman in the living room.

No biggie – I’d just go get them.

I should explain to you that I am not a rich, eccentric billionaire who lives alone in a massive mansion where the living room (one of several, in that imaginary place) is a block away from the craft room. I live, rather, in a cozy, two-bedroom condo. On the floor plan, the “craft room” is actually the dining room. It could also be a den, if one so chose. For me it’s a combined office/pantry/craft room. All that to say, this ain’t a huge place.

You would think, then, that I would be able to do the 30-second (max.) round trip to get the markers easily enough.

If you did think that, then we probably don’t know each other very well. Because that didn’t happen.

Now, I did succeed in getting the markers easily enough. I even picked them up and headed back towards the craft room. Now I just had the 15-second return trip to contend with.

But, you see, the kitchen is between the living room and the craft room and I had to pass through it both ways. I successfully made it through the kitchen in my outbound trip. Inbound? Not so much.

This is what I got up to go get:

And this is the no-bake cheesecake that I decided had to be made on my way back to the craft room:

Sadly, it didn’t even turn out well!

It didn’t set at all, even after being in the fridge overnight. I had to put it in the freezer yesterday and after several hours it sort of set, but went liquid again after about 20 minutes. It tastes fine, so I won’t throw it out, but I definitely won’t make it again. The next kitchen distraction (because there will be a next one) will just have to be something else. 🙂

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I fought the couch…and the couch, not surprisingly, won

It was a lovely afternoon. A belated Easter dinner at my youngest brother Al’s house last Saturday with him, his wife and my next youngest brother, Bill. Lynn served a fabulous baked ham and scalloped potatoes, followed by carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. (Seriously…this is the best cream cheese frosting that I have ever had!! But I digress…)

After gorging on all the delicious food, we comfortably ensconced ourselves outside on the patio to continue our visit. It was a beautiful, grand spring day, which have been rather few and late this year, and we wanted to take advantage of it as much as we could.

Later, as Bill and I were about to head out, Al asked Bill to help him move their old couch to the upstairs den. Bill, happy to help, dropped his backpack and they started in. Now, had this happened at the beginning of the visit, it would have had a different result. However, throughout the afternoon, they had each had a few wobbly pops and as they started grunting it up the curved staircase, it struck me that it might not be such a good idea for them to be doing this on their own. So, as any non-wobbly-pop-drinking big sister would do, I hopped up to help out.

It’s a lovely couch. Very well made. You know something about well-made couches? They last long, yes, and they are comfortable. They are also heavy. H-E-A-V-Y. Heavy. It’s important that you know that. It’s also important that you know that it’s more of a modern design. Not one of those puffy, soft-edged things (like I have). It has angles and edges. Leather-covered, but edges all the same.

Another critical piece of this story is that Al was at the top, Bill was in the middle and I was at the bottom.

As we struggled along, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Friends episode with Ross’s new couch. Happily, there were no cries of “Pivot! Pivot!” and our episode ended much more successfully with the couch in one piece.

By the end, there was only one small ding on the wall (they are planning on repainting, anyway) and one other…minor…incident.

At one point, the couch slipped backwards. On stairs, backwards also means downwards. I refer you to three paragraphs ago where I described how we were each situated. What did the couch hit when it slipped backwards and downwards? (I’ll give you a couple of seconds…) Yes – you got it! Me!!!! Remember the heavy bit I mentioned and the edges of the modern design? My soft edges were no match.

I had a choice: Stand my ground and absorb the impact or go backwards (and downwards) with the couch. Needless to say, I did the former. There was no conscious decision, mind you. There was no time for that. While I have had my fair share of clumsy moments, thankfully, in this particular instance my brain knew that downwards and backwards would end only with me under the couch at the bottom of the stairs, with Bill likely squished under some part of it, too. So I stood my ground. We got it back under control and successfully made it to the top. Yay!!!

You’d think, then, that the title of this post should be “I fought the couch and *I* won”. If I had written this immediately after the couch made it up the stairs, it might have been. But within a half hour – still in the car to drop Bill off at his place – I started to realize that I might have won the battle, but definitely not the war.

By the time I was ready for bed I knew that I was in for a world of hurt on Sunday. The couch, it seemed however, was too impatient to wait until Sunday for its final coup, preferring instead to begin during the night on Saturday. You don’t know how many muscles you use to do simple things like lifting your head or fluffing a pillow until those muscles aren’t in a good mood.

The straight line bruise (remember those edges?) on my upper arm is almost gone today – it’s now just that yellowy-green colour that seems to only exist subdermally and nowhere else in nature. My neck and shoulder / upper back, however, still remind me that I lost. They are mostly good, but every now and then I’ll turn a particular way that they don’t like and they are not shy about letting me know it. (Three hours in the theatre this afternoon to watch Avengers: Endgame might not have been the best decision I’ve ever made, either.)

And so, I concede this loss to my worthy opponent. (And next time, wobbly-pop brothers will be on their own with heavy furniture…seriously, what was I thinking? I’m too old for this… ) 😉


How not to impress people on the first day at your new job, or “What did you do now?”

(Queasy stomach alert: If you don’t like injury stories, please don’t continue. It’s not totally a hurl-your-guts story, but some tummies are extra-sensitive and if you are on that side of the scale, you might wanna pass on this one…)

I started a new position at work on Monday past. Unlike most new positions the last several years, there wasn’t anyone I knew at this new one. I was starting with a completely blank slate (other than the references that got me the job). There’s a lot of power with a blank slate – you can put ANYTHING on it. And on that first day, being the time of first impressions and all, what you put on it can be very, very…very…important.

What did I put on mine? This:


No, no…please – hold the applause.

Like most of the injuries I’ve had in my life (including breaking an ankle BEFORE a softball game), I don’t have a great story to go with it. Not even a lame “I took a dive to save a tipping printer” office story. Nope. Wanna know how I did it? (Don’t bother popping popcorn for this…honestly, it’s not worth it…)

Picture it: Sicily… Just kidding. That’s a different show… 😉

Seriously, though…I was heading down to the cafeteria for lunch. I pushed the elevator call button and leisurely paced back and forth in the hall while I waited. Soon enough, I heard the chime announcing an elevator’s arrival and I turned to head towards it. (In a movie, this is where the music would become louder, to indicate something big was about to happen and bring you to the edge of your seat.)

I’ve mentioned my age before, but in case you’ve forgotten, I’m 48. I’m not new to this whole “foot at the end of your leg” thing, or walking, or any of that stuff. I’ve been doing it for quite a while now. Yet somehow (and I’m really and truly not sure how), I stumbled as I turned. I didn’t trip on anything…it’s a flat floor. I didn’t slip on any spills…it’s a carpeted floor. There weren’t even any wrinkles in the carpet. I just…stumbled.

Not being one to give in to a challenge, I was sure I could recover. I took a step forward and tried to regain my balance. Nope…didn’t work, so I took another step. Nah ah…so another step. And another. And another. Flashing occasionally in my mind at the same time was, “Man, I’m glad nobody else is here!” With each step I was angling closer and closer to the ground and after about the fifth, I knew it was a losing battle. Well, to be honest…it was a lost battle because down I went – THWUMP! And I went down harrrrrd – right in front of the now-open elevator doors.

Having my priorities in the right place, the very first thing I did was look inside the elevator. The Bad Fall Gods had taken pity on me again. Not only was there no one in the hallway, there was no one in the elevator!! YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! There are definite perks to taking a late lunch.

Then I got back to the business of the moment: How badly was I hurt?

I did a quick check (still on the floor). Nothing was broken. My head felt odd and fuzzy, but only inside as I for sure hadn’t smacked it on the floor as I went down. My shoulders were feeling the impact, though, and I knew that would only get worse as time went by. I must have landed on my forearms as opposed to my hands, so thankfully there was no damage my wrists.

I picked myself up and tried to shake off the fuzzy headedness. That didn’t work (the headache lasted a few days), but since I was still hungry, I continued with my plan to get lunch. While sitting there, eating my sandwich, I discovered the carpet burn on my left forearm, which I did by innocently putting my arm on the table, as normal, to hold my book, the edge of the table cutting right across the scraped skin. O.U.C.H. I am very proud of myself, actually, for not having sworn like a sailor at that moment.

Anyhoooooooooooo…fast forward to me telling my new boss what had happened, which involved paperwork (every boss’s dream), and spending the rest of the afternoon repeatedly explaining to my new colleagues what had happened. If THAT didn’t fill them with confidence in me, I don’t know what would.

Take THAT, blank slate!!!