So my hours at work changed and I am getting home later. This means that it is later when I put together dinner. One of the great things about cooler weather is that I am one step closer to pulling out the crock pot to cook soup and stews for dinner. It also means that I have been looking for meals that would allow me to save time cooking, but are also healthy and yummy too. One of the things I came across was a number of websites that were encouraging the idea of meal prep. The idea is that you get ingredients for several meals, usually 4-6, and cook them one day on the weekend, storing the meals into containers to be frozen to eat later or kept in the fridge to eat that week. Sounds good right? Hmmm, hold that thought.
I found a website that allowed you to sign up for a meal prep challenge. The blogger would put together meals, send out the shopping list of ingredients needed and even include how many containers and what types were needed to store each meal in. Sounds even better, right? It did until I received the email with the list of meals that were to be prepped. There was not one meal that we would eat as listed. Most contained exotic vegetables or seasonings that would be extremely hard to get in my local stores. Or they contained items that were just not something that we would eat (hello brussel sprouts). As someone who only recently discovered the yumminess of roasted sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts are not in my immediate plans.
So to prep meals in advance, I would have to substitute a lot of things, which would mean guessing at the amounts to buy. One of the nice ideas about meal prepping is that you are told how much of each item you need. To replace those meant I would now risk getting to much or too little and the prep would fail. I then came across several blogs where they discuss the idea that meal prep takes nutrients away from the food, so if you are trying to eat healthier like we are, losing nutrients would not be something that we want to do.
I then came across the idea of sheet pan meals. The concept here is that you cook the entire meal at once on a sheet pan from start to finish in 45 minutes or less. Take a protein, such as chicken, and add vegetables. Season or marinade the chicken and roast the vegetables.at the same time. There were even sheet pan ideas for breakfast and dessert. I have several recipes bookmarked and I tried my first sheet pan meal last week and it worked out great. I made Asiago chicken and roasted vegetables at the same time. We added a salad and the whole thing took about 40 minutes from start to finish. Not bad for a week night meal. And of course you can make it as healthy as you want.
Now I just have to figure out what to try next? Any ideas?
My husband is a list maker. He has a list of things he needs to do. There are those that are on the list for the week, such as mow the lawn and weed the flowers. And those that are on the list for the month and even long term. When he completes something, he crosses it off the list. He also doesn’t add something to his list if he started it and forgot to put it on it. I will sometimes race to his list and add something he is doing just so he can mark it off.
Me, I am not a list person. I know what I need to do. I keep that in my head, but I don’t need a visual reminder of things that I might not get to. That would be too depressing to keep seeing things I need to get to, but would rather do something else instead. So as we put the last piece of furniture back in place in the man cave/media room, I reminded my husband that he could cross the project off of his list. He reminded me that we still needed to get the paint off the door hinges, but that wouldn’t take long, so he crossed the project off his list. He then began to see what other projects were on his list that he would focus on next. I hoped he would just relax for a little while. The DIY project reminded us both that we are both getting older and at times the project kicked our a$%. But as luck would have it, or in our case, bad luck. Another DIY project fell into our laps.
On Monday morning, I heard my husband yell from the bedroom. The dog and I hurried upstairs where I found my husband in his t-shirt and undies. “Why were you yelling?” I asked him.
He pointed to the closet door. “Open the door,” he replied.
I opened the closet and saw that the shelves had pulled away from one wall and there were clothes and blankets and pillows and shoes piled three feet high on the floor. I looked at him and back at the closet. I took a step into the mess on the floor and reached my clothes for work and backed out of the closet. “Hmmm…looks like all of your clothes are on the floor.”
“Really? I didn’t notice,” he said. “Oh right, I did because I saw you step in them to get to yours.”
I reached back in and pulled up a pile of clothes and laid them on the bed. “I’ll be right back,” I told him as I raced back down the stairs. I found his “To Do” list and wrote, “Closet Makeover.” He’ll be able to cross that off as soon as we finish.
Going back upstairs I found suits and dress shirts laying over the banister and the bed was covered with blankets and pillows. “Get dressed. We can finish clearing this out after work,” I told him. My husband was staring at the wall where the shelves had fallen. “He didn’t put them into the studs. Who doesn’t put up shelves in the studs?”
I assumed he was talking about the previous home owner. “Don’t worry. You’ll find all the studs when you fix the closet.”
Buttoning his shirt he looked at me and asked, “Where did you run off to?”
Handing him his belt, “I was putting the closet makeover on your to-do list so you can cross it off when we finish.”
“Thank you,” he said as he kissed me and walked out of the bedroom. “We’ll start designing the new closet tonight. I don’t want to look at my suits hanging over the banister for too long. We should be able to do it this weekend.”
“Wonderful,” I replied trying to sound cheery and feeling my body ache at the thought of another DIY project. Oh well, at least I’ll be getting a new closet.
We have a new dress code at work. For those of us who work for the medical center, we were directed to go to our learning page where we were assigned the dress code policy. We were given a date that we had to complete the assignment which consisted of reading the policy and taking a test. The test asks if you have reviewed the policy. You answer yes and you pass the test. You are given a certificate and are now expected to follow the new policy. The new policy states that it also applies to those employees that are considered to be contractors. Unfortunately, the contractors were not given a copy of the policy, so they are not aware when they are violating the policy.
Some of the new dress code policies make you go hmm and wonder what they were thinking. Some of those are:
No Wrinkled Scrubs–Let’s see, you are a nurse in the middle of a 12 hour shift. How are your scrubs not going to be wrinkled?
If a male employee wears a sweater, he must wear a shirt and tie–He can’t wear a turtle neck or tee underneath. Really?
If a female employee wears a v-neck sweater, she must wear a shirt underneath–If I wear a v-neck, the shirt I’m going to wear underneath is probably going to also have a v-neck, so I’d be showing the exact same thing right? So is the problem the sweater or the v-neck?
No chiffon–I’m not sure I own anything made of chiffon, but I have made sure to cut the tags off of anything remotely silky. I can deny it is chiffon if I don’t have a tag that says that’s what it is right?
No clingy clothing–items listed were pants, leggings, tights, dresses, shirts. In other words, don’t wear anything that might be considered revealing. So you can’t wear tights under a non-clingy dress, but you can wear nylons under a regular dress. Are nylons made out of chiffon? If so, that’s banned.
Dresses and skirts must be no more than 3 inches above the knee. This is a good thing since tights and leggings have been banned. Short-short dresses definitely need something underneath when at work. Some people have no idea that they flash the patients when they bend over. Several women in my office, that are also contractors, violate this policy daily. They have yet to meet a short skirt or dress that they didn’t think was okay to wear to the office. They are wrong of course, but they don’t know it. When the patients see them we usually get the comments asking if they are coming back from the club, dressed in the dark and my personal favorite from a very elderly husband of a patient, are those girls working here or are they working girls out there? He pointed to the outside.
No Flip flops–really? This had to be made a policy? We work in a medical facility. There are not to be any open toed shoes of any kind. Including flip-flops. But apparently people have been wearing flip-flops in their offices and their argument is that they don’t deal directly with patients. And besides, they only wear blinged out flip-flops so those should be okay. Hmmm, no. Not okay and now banned.
No crop pants more than 3 inches above the ankle–really? So not 3 1/2 or 4 inches because that is moving into capri territory. And does anyone really know the difference between crop pants and capri pants? I don’t but apparently it is more than 3 inches.
So what about you? Do you have a dress code where you work? Do you follow it? Or are you a rebel and do your own thing?
So…work….I said earlier that I would post one last time about work and then not say anything more until I have a new job. I used to enjoy my job and looked forward to going in to work. I still enjoy some parts of my job, mainly those involved with taking care of the patients, but the other things have taken a toll, not just on me, but on the whole department and it is a struggle to just go into work each day.
Late last year I wrote about my former manager telling me I should look outside the department for other job opportunities. At the time, we didn’t know that she was doing the same thing. The search began for a new operations manager and I hoped that the new manager would come in and work to get things back on track. Ummm, no. In fact, it’s been seven months and things are worse than they ever were. We aren’t being managed because it has become apparent that she is in over her head and doesn’t know what to do. So as a result, she isn’t focusing on the main issues, but is taking small things and working on those while the bigger issues remain unresolved. We have staff being written up, staff being terminated and others, like me, looking for other jobs.
I knew that things would be different when the new manager didn’t meet with the individual sections to learn what they do and understand what a typical day is for them. She cut the weekly staff meetings to once a month and for the meeting agenda, she completely eliminated my section as well as others. We were no longer given time to discuss changes that were coming down or concerns that we might have. I still had a weekly meeting with her and during our first one, she told me that the previous manager had “spoken very highly of you and told me that you are the one to go to when I need help because you have been here from the beginning.” I quickly learned that meant I was there to dump all the things on that she didn’t know what to do or didn’t have time for. The first time your manager says they appreciate you, it feels good. The twentieth time they say it to you it means nothing. They are just meaningless words being said to pacify you.
The turning point for me came just before the holidays. One of my employees went to cover the morning meeting and came back extremely angry because she had basically been made to look as being totally incompetent at her job in front of other employees. She was told that if she couldn’t do her job in 40 hours “you will need to look at being retrained because apparently you have problems with time management.” Really? So it doesn’t have anything to do with our clinic increasing from 2 doctors to 4 which meant the workload increased while staffing didn’t? The answer is no. It doesn’t matter to the manager. That employee began looking for a job that night after work.
A few days later, my manager made the comment that “I don’t understand why your section is struggling with the workload. You did this job for a year by yourself.” Hmmm, yes, I did the job by myself for a year. But I had 2 doctors that were only there a total of 4 clinic days. I now have 4 doctors, each with 3 clinic days, so I have a total of 12 clinic days a week to cover. I also didn’t have any of the Administrative Assistant duties that were passed on to me when that person quit and they decided not to fill the job. I also didn’t have to complete so many meaningless reports, most of which were repetitive, but have to be done separately to keep other people happy. We also weren’t required by the government to capture all of the Meaningful Use data in order to meet the guidelines for insurance reimbursement. So yes, I was able to keep up with the workload. It was much smaller then.
Going home that day I told my husband that it is easy for her to say what she did because she has never taken the time to sit with us to see what we do. She hasn’t even asked to see the spreadsheet that breaks down my sections tasks for daily, weekly and monthly. She hasn’t done that for the other sections either. So I began looking for another position. I have started with internal job openings and will eventually look outside the organization. Last week I was called for an interview. The job I applied for and the description of it from the director were completely different, so that wasn’t for me. But fingers crossed that I will find something soon.
If not, I can always hope to win the lottery.
I recently read a blog post on The Adventures of Travel Penguin and one of the things that stood out to me was a question of when was the last time you laughed. I admit that I had to stop to think about it for a few minutes. I mean we probably laugh several times a day, but I would say that most of them fall into the category of nervous laughter or laughing along with others regardless of whether we think something is funny or not. But when was the last time that you really laughed at something that was just stop you in the tracks funny?
I have to admit that it took me a few minutes to think back to when I truly laughed and it didn’t have to do with memory and age :), but had more to do with the fact that we really don’t have enough laughter in our lives. For me, I have been focused on dealing with work lately and that hasn’t been a fun situation. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. I should be able to put things aside that do not bring me joy and focus on those things that do.
So to answer Travel Penguin’s question of when was the last time I laughed, I will tell you that it was about two weeks ago and it involved our new car. I had a job interview after work so when I came home, my husband said that he wanted to go out to dinner. He said I could tell him about the interview and didn’t have to worry about dinner. One thing about our new car is that it is synced with our phones and it will read the texts out to you.We have chuckled once or twice when it reads a text that has words misspelled because it reads them exactly how they are written and the text will make no sense at all. On our way home, we were stopped at a red light and the car gave the notification that my husband had received a text message from a friend. He pressed “Read Text” and the car read off the text which was “Hahahahahahahahahahahah!” Hearing the car try to read a message of ha ha’s was just so weird and she sounded too funny and we laughed. We laughed for several minutes and I even texted him the same thing just to hear it again.
As we were driving, my husband looked at me and said, “Should we be worried that we are laughing at something so silly?” I looked over at him and said, “You’ve been making me laugh for 25 years, nothing is too silly to laugh about.”
So when was the last time that you truly laughed? If you can’t think of something and your car can read your texts, get someone to text you a bunch of hahahahahahahahaha’s and you’ll be laughing soon enough.
I am not one for New Year resolutions. I feel that resolutions are things that I never complete. The intention is there, but they always seem to fall by the wayside and then I feel like a failure. Instead, I have put together my Wishes for the New Year. After all, wishes can come true.
I Wish to Find a Healthier Me
I have tried to adopt a healthier way of eating. This year I want to continue making better choices and maybe reach a point of doing it without having to think about it. Vegetables are still my biggest struggle, so I will continue to try to find ways to prepare them and hopefully they will get easier to eat.
I Wish to Say No to Dunkin
Okay, I love Dunkin Donut’s coffee. The only problem is that it is hard to stop at ordering just a coffee when you are presented with all the delicious donuts that just go so good with the coffee. So, I have decided to stop visiting Dunkin. I will take my coffee from home and just keep on driving. It’s the only way I’m going to do this.
I Wish to Drink Less Coffee and More Tea
It is hard to believe that I didn’t used to like coffee. That changed when my husband would leave for work. He would fill up his thermos and take a travel mug with him, but there was always enough coffee left in the pot for a cup. So I began to drink coffee. Unfortunately, I have never been able to drink coffee without sweetening it and adding yummy, flavored creamers to it. I have decided that I need to find more flavored teas and replace my second or third daily cup of coffee with the teas. So far, I haven’t been doing too bad. I found a tea by Stash called Christmas in Paris and it smells like Andes Candies Mint Chocolate and it tastes good too. It is a special edition for the holidays, but I am going to try other brands and hopefully will find others that I like as well. I don’t have to add all of the added sugar and flavored creamers, so I am saving calories, which is a good thing. And is should be pretty easy to do if I succeed at the one above, stop going to Dunkin :).
I Wish I Can Drink More Lemon Water
I recently read an article where it said that drinking lemon water has many health benefits. The first was that it works to ease inflammation. If it can ease the pain in my joints that I have it will be worth it. It is also supposed to help with digestion and keep you hydrated. More positives in my opinion.
I Wish I Can Find Exercises That Don’t Hurt
Two years ago I fractured my hip. Don’t ask me how. Neither I or the many doctors that I saw could tell me how or why. Some said I could have sneezed or coughed too hard. Another said I could have bumped it several years ago. Regardless of how I did it, the goal is not to do it again. So I have had to limit the way I exercise, which means not doing anything that can cause a break again. I want to find something that allows me to exercise without a big impact on my bones and joints. It is a work in progress.
I Wish to Learn How to Crochet Left-Handed
I have always wanted to learn how to crochet. My mom and grandma tried to teach me, but as they were right-handed and I was left-handed, they always became frustrated that I couldn’t learn from them. I have done simple crocheting in the past, but I want to learn how to do more complex patterns and maybe make something. I found a website that teaches how to crochet left-handed, so I am going to find time to watch and learn. First, I have to see if I still have my crochet hooks and then pick out yarn. I’m looking forward to that.
I Wish I Can Find a New Job
I have decided that it is time to look for another job. I had hopes that things at my current job would get better, but they have not, so it is time to find something else. I want to be happy at work and that is something I am not any longer. I will write about what has happened recently and then I will not write about work until I have something new to tell.
I Wish my Family and Friends Continued Good Health and Happiness
This is going to be a work update. Our new manager started in August and while she has been settling into the job the office has been in chaos. It has been interesting to see how people are trying to make themselves seem wonderful in her eyes, as if they are the perfect example of “Employee of the Year.” Oops, maybe they are trying so hard because the new manager actually was selected as “Employee of the Year” at her previous job. Anyway, it has been more of let the backstabbing begin and then the mudslinging starts.
Our office has been in transition for a while. We had the old manager leaving and the new manager coming on board. The plan was for the old manager to continue to come to our office for two days a week to help the new manager learn her position. That idea, while great in theory, lasted about two weeks. The old manager has done much of the training by phone and teleconference. Another area of transition is with our doctors. One is leaving to work at another community site. His replacement, while we know who it will be, has not been fully credentialed at our facility or with the insurance companies, so that has caused a delay. The physician leaving wants us to slow down on giving him new patients and our other physician is taking on the majority of the patients and is feeling overwhelmed and overworked. Our head nurse doesn’t like our new manager and has already complained about her to the director of the center. Added to this are rumors of cutting staff and people are worried about their jobs.
Employees are trying to get the attention of our new manager and they don’t necessarily care if they throw another employee under the bus in order to do so. Tension and animosity is growing in the office. I had one employee straight out lie to try to get out of doing a task that she was given more than a year ago by telling our manager that she “volunteered” to do it because my section was too busy and it is time we took it back. Of course, I was called into the office and questioned about this. I explained to my manager that the task the employee was given had never been my sections to do and that she was given the task because she didn’t have enough work to do and they were trying to justify keeping her position full-time. I also let the manager know that there had been a nasty, hostile confrontation with the former manager and the employee in June during my weekly meeting and to please verify it with her. She did and now she knows the truth. As for the lying, co-worker, I discuss work and only in front of witnesses. Any further conversation doesn’t happen. I keep our interaction limited and the door to my office closed.
I had high hopes that things would be different and sort themselves out once the new manager came on board, but that isn’t the case. A number of co-workers are looking for other jobs. They used to hide that fact, but now it is being discussed out in the open. Their feelings are if the manager knows, maybe something will change. I’m getting tired of waiting for the change to come. In my opinion, the wrong people are looking for other jobs. The one’s causing the problems are the ones that should be looking elsewhere. I spoke to my husband and he knows that I have set a date in my head of when I will have enough. Either things get better or I start the search for a new job. As always, he is supportive. And I love him for that. It makes it easier to go into work every day. Until then, I have made the quote below my new motto and have put it on the bottom of my computer monitor where I can look at it each day. I also have it written it Italian, which makes it harder for people to know what it says:
“Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction.”
I have always been an obey the rules kind of girl. And when it comes to driving, I pay attention to the speed limit. If it is 65 mph, I go 65 mph. I don’t go 75 or 80 mph. I stay in the right or middle lane and let those that want to speed go around me. Living in Kansas, the roads were not as congested as they are on the east coast and the drivers were better behaved. Moving here four years ago, I pretty much left the driving to my husband. I occasionally remind him that the speed limit is 30 not 35 and he smiles and tells me he is going 30 mph. He knows how I feel about speeding and always does the best he can to stay at the speed limit when I’m in the car. Do I think he does when I’m not around? No. But it is different when I am with him.
Or it was different. Once he began commuting farther for his job, he has adopted the east coast way of driving, which is scary. If you have any doubts about east coast driving being considered one of the worst in the country, you can read more here. Now, when I drive with him, I always make sure my seat belt is secured, there are no projectiles that may go flying if we have to suddenly stop and I find myself closing my eyes so I don’t see the speedometer. It seems that the only way to drive on the Beltway is defensively. Fast. And pray that someone is looking out for you as you try to get from Point A to Point B. 65 mph is 80 mph. Too fast for me, but apparently too slow for those hurtling down the highway around us. If you have five feet between you and the car in front of you, someone will take the opportunity to pull their 10 foot vehicle between you. Conversation is virtually impossible as words such as a&%hole and stupid f*#k are uttered quite frequently to describe the latest near miss as we attempt to navigate our way around town. I have learned what white knuckled truly means and have learned not to eat anything heavy for fear of getting sick if we will be in the car for longer than a few minutes.
But last weekend, when another car pulled out from a parking lot and apparently didn’t see the 4 cars in the lanes next to them and proceeded to aimlessly drive towards us, we were saved a serious accident thanks to the quick defensive driving of my newly crowned King of East Coast Driving husband that saved us and the people behind us from getting hurt. And let me tell you, if they had damaged my new car, they would have seen a 5’ 2” Italian, Scottish, English, French (and the numerous other ancestries in my background) woman bring a case of whoop a$$ down on them that they would never forget. And I have a picture of your license plate. Just saying. 🙂
Next month, my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary. It really is hard to believe that we have been married for that long. Looking through the pictures that my husband has been scanning lately, we looked so young back then. When we first planned to marry, the Army decided that my husband would be deployed when we wanted to get married, so we went to the Justice of the Peace and were married at the courthouse. It was a Friday and on Monday, when my husband went to work, he learned the deployment was canceled, so we were married again three months later in the church, but we celebrate the August date.
We didn’t have a honeymoon. We couldn’t afford it back then and we talked about someday going somewhere to celebrate. Before long, years passed and while we have gone on vacations, we still never had what would be considered a honeymoon. When we moved to the east coast, we talked about going to Vermont in the fall for our 25th, but when my husband started his new job last year, he had to start earning vacation time all over. We didn’t want to take a whole week to go somewhere so I was tasked with trying to find somewhere close by that we could go to for a long weekend. Many people have talked about going to the Poconos, but they also say that it was years ago and they weren’t sure if the places they visited were still nice. One day, while visiting one of the blogs that I read, Mistress Maddie was discussing her recent Memorial Day getaway with a side stop to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. She included several photos and the one from the veranda of the Harry Packer Mansion with a view of the mountain side covered in trees totally caught my interest. I kept looking at the picture and thinking that the view must be incredible in the fall.
I began to research the town and learned that they have a fall festival every weekend starting in September and all through October. They also have fall foliage train rides which is something that we also want to do. I sent some links to my husband to get his input and researched places to stay. While the mansion is booked up, we were able to find a little bed and breakfast in town that had an opening for when we could take leave. We are booked and planning our stay. I have started my packing list…yes, I know it’s early, but can you tell that I’m excited?
So thank you Mistress Maddie for being such a wonderful tour guide in your descriptions of your travels. You inspired us with a place to visit. While our trip won’t be as wild as yours are 😉 we are thankful that you helped us decide where we wanted to go and we will have a cock-a-tail in your honor as we relax and take in the view.