I Try To Be Helpful

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind.

We had all of our kids and grandkids, my parents, daughter-in-law and her grandparents. 18 people in all.

It was amazing, exhausting, and destroyed my back. And apparently, my right baby toe.

On Saturday, we tossed the leftovers in the freezer and went to the Smoky Mountains to spend a few days with our mountain friends.

Lizzie, AKA Mountain Girl, prepared a crown roast for our dinner. I didn’t have to lift a finger, which was convenient, because my back. Damn.

On Sunday, our friends, Lizzie and Ruel (AKA the Bass Player) have band practice with the drummer of The Madison’s, Lee.

Only they call it Church.

I went to Catholic school and went to church every morning before class.

Church in the mountains is way better.

After band practice, we got out the leftover roast and turkey for dinner.

When we were finished, I went to the kitchen to put things away. Lizzie was in the next room, but couldn’t see me.

Me: Okay, so I’m putting this leftover meat in baggies.

Lizzie: There’s a marker on the counter. Just label the bags.

Label the bags? That’s not how leftovers work. You put leftovers in bags or bowls and then put them in the fridge and leave them there until they could win a blue ribbon at the county fair for grossest thing on the planet. You throw that away to make room for the next science fair project. 

Except that bag way in the back. The one just out of reach. You can’t remember what it is, something from the fourth of July maybe? Anyway, at this point, you’ve gained respect, if not reverence, for the thing shoved way back on the bottom shelf of the fridge. 

You should go ahead and get that. Seriously. What could be unleashed could make COVID look like a stubbed toe. 

Not to negate the misery of a stubbed toe. Even though I have no specific memory of injuring my toe, I have apparently sprained my baby toe. It’s been angry and purple for days. I think it’s trying to abdicate.

But I digress. 

I grabbed the marker and wrote “meat” on the bag.

leftover meat

Me: Okay. It says “meat”

Lizzie: You have to be more descriptive.



Me: “Tasty meat?”


So, on the next bag, I wrote: Meat Part II. Make Soup.

leftover meat in a clear plastic bag

Me: Okay, I labelled it and left instructions.

Lizzie: Thank you!

The only thing left was the turkey. What is there to say about turkey, just days after Thanksgiving? What could I possibly put on a baggie that would not just be redundant?

So, I labelled it “This is clearly turkey.”

leftover turkey in plastic bag

Me: Turkey is labelled and put away.

Lizzie: Awesome. Thank you!

Me: It’s weird you label your leftovers.


Me: You’re never getting a blue ribbon.

Lizzie: I blame you for that.

Me: I blame you for the Delta variant.

Lizzie: Goddammit Michelle.

Lizzie: I blame you for auto tuning.

Me: It’s still weird that you label your leftovers.

So, it goes without saying, that it was a perfect weekend. I had a hard time returning to work. It seemed so silly when there were pretty mountains just a few hours away. Well, 4 hours and 35 minutes away. If I’m driving. If Randy’s driving, then it’s more like 5 hours and 20 minutes away.

We’ll just call it an even 5.

I guess it’s time to jump into the holiday season.

I’m going to bake some cookies next weekend. Perhaps, learn what a sugar plum is. I mean, I assume it’s the obvious, but I’ve never had one, so who knows?

I hope you are all safe and well. I hope your meat is properly labelled. And if not? I hope you win a blue ribbon.



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  • I like Lizzie’s way.
    I do it your way.
    There is no middle ground.
    To label or not to label, really isn’t even a question.
    It’s a Philosophy.
    My philosophy includes questioning the Universe, ‘Ew what’s that smell?’ and ‘How long ago did we eat green things?’
    I’m a good Philosopher.
    You’re an excellent Philosopher to go up against Lizzie the Goddess of Leftovers, like that <3
    You can label my leftovers, anytime 🙂
    We'll Philosophize the fuck outta them plastic bags 😀

  • So glad you got to visit them. They are always awesome in your posts. Everybody wants to be friends with them!
    I used to date my packages of meat. What they are is fairly obvious when looking at the bag, but the dating tells me I’ve left things too long. Now that it’s just me, I know what everything is in the fridge/freezer and my decision is based on – do I really want to eat that again, ever?

    Happy holidays to everyone and hopefully this year will finally end.

  • I’ve been labeling freezer items for a while now, clearly not as creatively as you. I will have to rectify that. I’m glad you had a great Thanksgiving with your family and awesome friends. I’m not baking much this year, I am infusing vodka to drink this year away and ring in a hopefully better new year. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Cheers!

  • I have to say, I’ve never labeled my leftovers. They never last that long, but now when I buy the meat I usually buy bigger packages and break them down. Those I label. Glad you survived your holiday gathering! For the first time in 30 years, it was just hubby and I. It was weird!

  • Here’s to Blue Ribbons in your future as well, Michelle. You deserve them.
    I’m afraid I bypass the whole ‘blue ribbon’ scenario and go to sentience. Then I make them pack their little bags and go to college. No ignorant, free-loading left-overs in my fridge, I’ll tell you!

  • This is going to sound weird but I mean it sincerely: you can label my leftovers anytime. Although we do have a pretty good system at our house of throwing away leftovers if they’ve been in there more than a week. That makes us sound a lot more organized than we actually are when the truth is most of our leftovers stay in there longer than a week, but most don’t reach blue ribbon status.
    I think we’re all missing potential benefits from letting leftovers sit for that long, though. Seriously, penicillin was discovered in a moldy petri dish. Who knows what wonder drugs could come from a bag labeled “MEAT” left in the back of the fridge for a year or two?

  • When I worked in a restaurant I sometimes had to label stuff that went back into the refrigerator, but since those labels were written in black marker on the lids of the tub the stuff was in, you always had to look at them and wonder whether they had been through the dishwasher or not, so you kind of had to open them to find out what they were anyway. The date was the important part.
    Blaming you for auto-tuning was a cold shot.
    As of last night, I have played my Les Paul every day for a month. I still suck, but I’m beginning to remember how to play some of the stuff I wrote, and that is nice.
    I knew some gay guys in a punk band in Oakland who called themselves the Sugarplum Fairies, but I don’t think even they knew what a sugar plum was.
    It may snow this week, and it will definitely rain, and I turn 61 in nine days.
    Fantastic Negrito calls his shows “Church without the religion” but I sort of consider rock and roll to be my religion, so maybe church works just fine by itself.

  • Thanks for the post, it was nice to take a few minutes out of my soon to be 15-16 hour work day… I also don’t lable hahahah

By Michelle


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