I’m sipping at my wild rice soup and thinking about what to do with the rest of the leftovers. I have a hand with leftovers. I’m very good at reshaping them, freshening them up and making them seem like something new. Of course there are some leftovers that are best untouched like lasagna or the nibbles out of the turkey meat.
I have done a lot of event cooking. Planning and preparation for groups of 20-50 for an entire weekend , usually Thursday night through Sunday lunch. I plan those meals with an eye for leftovers. I know if I cook extra of something on Friday and I can use it in a meal on Saturday it will save time as the program gets more intense and I won’t have as many leftovers at the end. It saves money too as I can buy more ingredients in bulk when they are shared throughout the weekend.
Then I started thinking about leftover time. You know, those little pieces in the day where there isn’t enough time to start a new project before the next scheduled event. The time spent waiting, for someone to arrive, for the Doctor to call, and in line. The time that shows up suddenly because you finished a task early. The time you know from experience will show up because something or someone always runs late. Even the commercial breaks could be considered leftover time.
I must admit that I am not nearly as proficient in my use of leftover time as I am with my leftovers from dinner. I squander it away like dropped pennies. I have a tendency to eat when I’m bored, so while it may not be a great surprise that I’m good with food leftovers that doesn’t serve me when it comes to leftover time. I am a reader and there are some kinds of books that don’t mind being picked up and put down in small pockets of time. Those tend to be fiction without much suspense or action. Anything else I’m liable to stay up until 4 am to finish rather than put them down. Not good candidates for leftover time.
I’ve certainly been given plenty of suggestions over the years of things to occupy me in those leftover moments. Most women have had kegels suggested to them. There are breathing and stress release exercises. There is the one minute meditation. Every physical therapist I’ve ever worked with has made a suggestion about exercises during those leftover moments, “when you think of it.” I am sorry to report that physical therapy exercises are about the last thing that comes to mind in those little bits of leftover time.
The reality is that even if I do think to take a quick walk, or pick up a little around the house, or empty the dishwasher I’m more likely to reach for a video game on my laptop. I have whiled away hours of leftover time pressing the buttons on an online slot machine or matching slingo dots. In fact I feel almost virtuous if I reach for the crossword puzzle book rather than the computer games.
So maybe, with the crazy mad rush of the holiday season upon us, I could make better use of those leftover moments. Maybe I could be a little more conscious of breathing and letting go. Maybe I could reach for the computer and write for ten minutes rather than find something to eat. Maybe I could even try a physical therapy exercise or two.
What do you do with your leftovers?