A Harmonica & Overnight Oats

10 Mar

Yesterday was a good day at work for stories. I can’t imagine any job being more entertaining, more full of simple pleasures, than this one. When I arrived at work, another care manager was preparing to help give a resident a hydro. She hadn’t used the hydro in a while, and requested my assistance in drawing the bath water. (A “hydro” is an overgrown bathtub that allows our residents to transfer from wheelchair to a “hydro seat” and then we pull up a self-sealing door to make it into an enclosed tub.) It isn’t exactly hi-tech, but definitely requires some practice in learning the different buttons for locking the door, starting the jets, draining the water, etc. The resident we were helping is quite an individual. Abigail* hails from Minnesota (and has the lovely midwest twang) and plays the harmonica. Who plays the harmonica these days? No one! And boy, does she play it. Any requests, no problem. Granted, the songs that she knows aren’t all in my repertoire, nor would she know how to play any Blackeyed Peas if I suggested it…but you get the gist. The residents make a request, and off Abigail goes, lustily making music. As I helped her undress in the chair next to the hydro, the last thing that she gave me was her harmonica. She looked me in the eye and said, “Better put this somewhere safe, huh?”

I replied, “Sure thing, Annie. You know how much I love it when you play for us.”

“Oh, you do, do you? Huh. That’s good. Give me my harmonica.” And without further ado, naked Abigail unabashedly played me a song on her harmonica. It is an image that I hope to never forget. And then, when she had finished, the other care manager walked in, having finished gathering bubble bath and a washcloth from Abigail’s room. Abigail said, “Oh! You missed it.” And off she went again. We looked at each other and smiled a special smile. I think it meant, “Who else has a job quite like this? We are so lucky to know these incredible individuals.”

After helping with the hydro, I went down to the Bistro to help lead social with the other residents. We have this huge white board that is blocked out in a crossword puzzle diagram. There’s a packet of 27 different crossword puzzle clues that fill the grid perfectly. A few of my residents are total pros at the crossword puzzle. They sit in their rooms and do them; they come down to social and do them. I am totally floored by how sharp they are, and how quickly they shout out the answers to the clues. Faster than I can write. One of the clues I read off was:

“For Me And My ____” I looked up from the clue, confused. I asked, “Is this a song?” 5 sets of eyes looked back at me in astonishment. “Well of course it is,” one of the answered.” “Me and my gal!” another said. “You should ask your grandma about it, I am sure she knows it!”

“But I don’t know it,” I said. “Will you hum it a little bit?”

They did better than that. Starting tentatively, but gaining confidence after the first stanza, 5 wonderful women sang for me.

The bells are ringing for me and my gal,
The birds are singing for me and my gal.
Ev'rybody's been knowing to a wedding they're going,
And for weeks they've been sewing,
Ev'ry Susie and Sal.

They're congregating for me and my gal;
The parson's waiting for me and my gal.
And sometime I'm gonna build a little home for two,
Or three or four or more,
In love land for me and my gal.

Do you know why the birds are singing,
Do you know why the bells are ringing?
I'm gonna give you a big surprise -
I'm gonna tell you why.

The bells are ringing for me and my gal,
The birds are singing for me and my gal.
Ev'rybody's been knowing to a wedding they're going,
And for weeks they've been sewing,
Ev'ry Susie and Sal.

It was so wonderful. 5 ladies singing together. They all know the words. And when they finished, one said, “Huh, we’re all gals. Maybe we should have sung, “For me and my guy.”

*Name changed.

Got home late at night, we have barely any food in the fridge or cabinets (yes, I need to go shopping) but I couldn’t stop thinking about this recipe that I keep stumbling upon on almost every single food or fitness blog that I visit. Rather, it’s not even a recipe really, but more of an approach. An approach to oats. So I scrounged together the most basic elements of the dish and, in 5 minutes, voila, done-zo. Pop it into the fridge and sleep until tomorrow. Wake up, and it is ready. Eat it. Repeat. And oh, my, goodness: it is good. I can’t wait to try it approximately 31 other ways. Baskin n Robbins, watch out. Your 31 flavors of ice cream may just be outdone by my 31 flavors of oats.

Overnight Oats

Preparation method #1 (out of at least 557)

Oats (I used a multigrain blend: rye, barley, oats, wheat)

Yogurt (any variety. This time I used Danon Raspberry Light – it was hiding in the back of the fridge)

Milk (vanilla soy this time around)

Mix-ins and Toppers (I added them in the morning but they can also be added the night before depending on whether you care for the crunchy factor or not. I do.)

Overnight oats are just what they sound like. Raw oats that sit in a bowl overnight with any kind of liquid and “magically” cook by morning. The liquid seeps into the oats slowly, like marinating them, and the texture and flavor that results is indescribable. Much better than plain Jane oatmeal (which is not bad, but this is just better). Proportions may vary. I used 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup of soy milk and 1/4-1/2 cup of raspberry yogurt. I ate mine cold the next day, but I can definitely see the beauty in zapping it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Or more. On top, I added dried blueberries, some Nature’s Path cereal, flax seed and a few pecans. Not for any reason besides the fact that it was all we had in the house. I plan on blogging about some more exciting and creative mixers and toppers once I go shopping and start experimenting. I have a feeling that this breakfast may become a main staple of my diet. ENJOY!

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Posted by on March 10, 2010 in Breakfast, Healing Spoonful


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