Thursday, September 25, 2014

I've Come to Terms With the Fact That I'm Annoying

     Over the years, I've had to come to terms with the fact that some people find me annoying.  It's cool.  Not everyone can handle my brand of cheeriness.  I'm no stranger to being told that my happy-go-lucky morning-person attitude is revolting.  Probably because I heard it every morning from my mom as I tried to serenade her out of bed.  Friends at school would groan when I would be bouncing around at 6 am.  Coworkers would roll their eyes and keep walking when I would exclaim "Good Morning!" at 6:30 am.  My own daughter tells me to "go away" when she hears her door squeak open on a typical weekday morning.  I get it, but these days I have managed to find a whole new crowd of people to piss off with my happy.  I now have patients!

     This past week while working at the nursing home for school, I was asked to help feed one of the dementia patients who was not feeling too well that day.  I walked over to this sweet-looking elderly woman, who was holding her head in her hands and not even acknowledging that her food had been getting cold for the past 15 minutes.  I pulled up a chair next to her, sat down, and introduced myself.  The introduction was met with a groan, which was expected.  The woman clearly wasn't feeling well, so I gently asked her if she wanted to eat.  She shook her head no.  I prodded a little more, gently of course, and said that she needed to eat to feel better.  To that she snapped, "I'll eat when I'm darn good and ready to eat."

     Now, this was the first time my happy smile had been met with a grumpy retort, but I shrugged it off and walked over to the worker at the facility and told her that the woman clearly didn't want to eat.  She told me to go see if I could get her to at least pick her head up.  I steeled myself for more combat and return to my chair by the lady's side.  I asked again if she would like to try a little bit of her food.  She merely groaned at me.  That's when I was struck by a stroke of brilliance!  I would get her chatting with me, gain her trust, and then get her to eat!  Yeah, that would work.  So I began enthusiastically asking about her BINGO game I had seen her partaking in earlier in the evening.  That was met with more groans.  I asked about her family: more groaning.  I asked about her roommate, how long she'd been there, what she liked to do, anything to get the woman to acknowledge me and stop groaning.  Well, it sort of worked.  She stopped groaning.  In fact she stopped acknowledging me at all.  She just sat there with her head in her hands, ignoring her food.

     At this point I started to feel really bad for her.  I knew she needed to eat, but I knew she was probably getting sick of me flitting around her like an annoying fly, so I decided to quit beating around the bush and tackle the problem head-on.  That's when I asked if she wasn't feeling well, to which she replied that she wasn't.  I asked if she wanted to go lay down, and she said she did. That's when I offered a proposition: if she would eat a little bit I would help her to her room to rest.  I thought I had finally convinced her because she finally picked her head up and looked me in the eyes!  Then she said, "Would you just shut up?"  My classmate, who was sitting nearby feeding another patient, busted out laughing, as did the worker.  Not missing a beat I replied with a grin on my face, "I'll shut up if you eat for me."  (Yes, I was desperate at this point.)  To which, the patient simply put her head back in her hands and sighed.

     After my dismal failure with that particular patient, the worker rescued me, laughing that I would probably get hit if I kept trying to make her eat, and asked me to go feed another patient.  Something about the twinkle in her eye when she told me which patient I should feed next made me think I was being set up to fail again.  Then I saw my next patient.  She looked like she had led a rather rough life, and her wild eyes suggested she was a scrapper, so I knew I was in for it when I sat down next to her.  I introduced myself to her, and she looked at me like I was crazy when I offered to help feed her.  The guy across from us confirmed my fears about her when he said, "Now, don't go fighting this one, she's here to help you."  Great!  Well she couldn't communicate verbally, but I could tell right away by her body language the last thing she wanted to do was patronize me by eating that nasty-looking, foul-smelling, glorified baby food, but then I had another stroke of brilliance.  Eyeing the ice cream on her tray, I made her a deal:  eat your baby food, and I'll give you some ice cream.  Expecting the same reaction I had gotten from the previous patient, I was so relieved to see this patient break out into a huge grin and nod her head in agreement to my deal.  From then on out we were the best of friends, cracking up and laughing at each other, even when she threw her water across the table just for giggles.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

     Well now that you've sat through another silly story of mine, I'll share some lunch ideas :-)

Monday: Ballerina Bento Box

      This idea is straight out of Everyday Bento, which I love!  It has such cute ideas for be not boxes for your kids, and even a section about adult bentos.  The ballerina slippers come with a side of carrot sticks, cheese cubes, raisins, grape tomatoes, and cucumber "wands".

Tuesday: Sandwich on a Stick
(or if you're Jose Jalapeño, "Sandwich on a steek!")

     I don't know why, but every time I try to pack my daughter a simple ham sandwich, she won't eat it.  She complains that by the time she gets it at lunch the bread is soggy.  So, I decided to send her to school with these little "sandwich on a stick" kabobs, and she loved them!  She told me the bread wasn't soggy at all, which makes no sense to me, but whatever, she ate it.   Simply thread some bread cut into cubes, some ham rolled up, and some cubed cheese onto a skewer, and there you go.  I added some pickles (her favorite), some tomatoes and broccoli, half of a banana, and a bit of Ranch to dip her veggies in.  Typically I'm not big on Ranch for her veggies; I feel like it defeats the purpose of eating healthy veggies if you douse them in preservative-filled, saturated-fatty, creamy sauce, but she asked for it specifically, and I knew it would gather to eat more of her veggies than usual, so what the heck!

Wednesday: Princess Quesadillas

      This was a super simple lunch.  I made ham and cheese quesadillas for her that morning, and use cookie cutters to make the different shapes.  I cut some cucumbers into cute little hearts, added some grape tomatoes, and gave her half of an apple to go with it.  She ate all of this one too.

Thursday: Breakfast for Lunch

      I love breakfast for dinner.  We have that at least twice a month.  I like it because I typically have more time in the evening to make all the things I really wanted to eat for breakfast.  Plus, J's more awake, and more likely to help.  Well, this is the same basic concept.  I took a waffle, and cut it into strips for Monkey to dip in the syrup I provided (I only gave her a little bit, so her teacher wouldn't kill me for giving her a sugar rush at school).  I added some turkey bacon, a boiled egg, half of a banana, and some edamame.  Yes, the edamame has nothing to do with breakfast, but you know I like to throw a little green into her lunches.

Friday: Asian Chicken Salad
      This one is actually used some leftovers from the previous night's dinner of Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps from SkinnyTaste (recipe to follow).  I chopped up some lettuce, added the leftover chicken, and supplied the homemade Spicy Hoisin Dipping Sauce in these adorable little sauce holders to use as a dressing.  I then packed Monkey some crackers, tomatoes, and half of a banana as sides.  This was another one caused her to clean out her box, which makes Mommy happy :-)

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 TBS soy sauce, plus 1/4 tsp dark soy sauce (or more of the regular soy sauce)
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 TBS rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
pepper to taste
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, ground
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 TBS diced scallions
6 iceberg lettuce leaves, rinsed

Spicy Hoisin Dipping Sauce
4 TBS Hoisin Sauce
1/2 tsp chili sauce (I use Sriracha)
1 TBS warm water

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl filled with hot water to soften a few minutes.  Remove stems and chop fine.  Set aside.

Combine soy sauce(s), oyster sauce, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, rice wine, sugar, and pepper in a separate bowl.

Combine ground chicken, mushrooms, and water chestnuts in a new bowl.  Add soy sauce mixture.  Mix and let marinate for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix ingredients for Spicy Hoisin Dipping sauce, and set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds.  Add chicken mixture, stir fry until brown, breaking chicken mixture up as it cooks, about 4-5 minutes.

Serve by spooning 1/4 cup of chicken into each leaf.  Top with scallions and hoisin sauce.

Enjoy :-)

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