2010 September : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

The Next Phase of Cold & Flu Recovery

Ah yes, I’ve hit rock bottom. The worst has passed and healing is on the way.

I’ve achieved that next, all-important phase of any decent common cold cycle:

Today I recovered my dignity.

I looked down at the same clothes I’d been wearing for 36 hours, front dotted with chicken soup stains, collar reeking of fever sweat and said to myself, “For the love of all that is decent! I need a shower.”

And shower I did. The first time in three days I felt like actually cleaning myself up a bit. The first time in three days I’d cared.

This may sound like a small thing, but it’s a big step on the road to recuperation.

Emerging from the shower, I felt like a new woman. It was one of those showers that not only cleans the skin, but refreshes the soul.

And then…I took a big step…I actually left the house. For only an hour, but it’s progress.

I ran an errand to the post office, then went to Trader Joe’s for some sort of food other than broth. While there I scared the beejeezus out of an old lady when I got on a brutal coughing jag (it sounds ugly even though I cover my mouth).

As soon as I got my breath back, I left the store quickly and retreated back into my home triumphant, but weary.

I’m not 100% but I’m making good progress.

Hey, I might even feel good in time for the weekend. Imagine that!

What’s Your Go-To Remedy?

So yeah, it’s Tuesday and I’m still nice and sick.

This whole cold thing has settled deep into my chest. I have that raspy almost smokers cough sounding voice, and when I laugh, I get on a wheezing cough jag that doesn’t resolve until I see stars in my eyes and my ribs hurt.

Fun stuff.

And so as I do when I feel poorly, I begin to remember all the suggested home remedies that friends and family have provided over the years. Many of them do actually make me feel better.

Here’s my top five, in no particular order.

1. Pho Noodle Soup

This was the remedy I went with yesterday and it did help for a while. The uber hot beef broth cooking the thinly sliced meat paired with the yummy rice noodles. It just screams hydration and the protein in the soup is good nutrition.

The warm soup always makes me sleepy, and getting rest is good for my immunity.

Add a healthy dose of that Sriracha Rooster sauce, and it all just says to me “oh yeah…I’m on the mend.”

2. Sopa de Camaron

I don’t know what it is about Mexican shrimp soup, but it’s like a cure in a bowl. The veggies, the hot broth, the shrimps and a bit of avocado to smooth it all out.

Very satisfying, filling and warm. Again, it puts me right to sleep and gives me nice dreams.

3. Chicken Soup

Known colloquially as “Jewish Penicillin” there has actually been some research that suggests that chicken soup inhibits inflammation which helps a weary cold sufferer endure through the inevitable cycle of the common cold.

I’ll take chicken soup in all forms including with veggies, with noodles, or with a big beautiful Matzoh ball floating in there. It’s all good!

4. Pinto Bean water

This one is recommended by frequent commenter Ephraim. There have been times when, struggling to find something palatable to eat, I’ve dished up a bowl of beans and added a lot of the water that the beans were cooked in to make it more like a soup, thus easier for me to swallow with a sore throat.

Can’t deny it, it helps. And what’s not to like about bacon flavored bean water? Am I right? I think I am.

5. Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, Dayquil, Sprite

Parodied in the South Park SARS episode, there is no denying the “middle class white man’s cure” is helpful.

I think with the addition of some saltines, this is the perfect comforting treat for when I am down on the couch with the crud.

It’s especially comforting when brought on a TV tray by a doting mom (or husband) who will check my temperature with closed lips applied to my forehead.

Really, at the end of the day, the best “cure” for the common cold is rest, hydration and managing the symptoms. All of the above help toward that end.

Meanwhile…*hack coff* I’m still in the middle of the indignities of this upper respiratory attack.

Bleah.

Floating in Blue

A few weeks ago, one of our beloved Betta fish took ill (as Bettas are wont to do).

At wits end wondering how to help our little female fish through the rough spot, The Good Man consulted with a fairly fish knowledgeable employee at the store where we got the Betta.

Most fish owners will just dump an antibiotic like Tetracycline into the tank and hope for the best. Not knowing exactly what is wrong, we didn’t want to go that route.

The pet store guy recommended something called Betta Revive as a first defense.

It covers a broad spectrum of low-level medications to address a whole host of potential fish illnesses.

One of the main ingredients in this remedy is Methylene blue.

For those a little short on their anti-psychotic knowledge, Methylene blue, also known as Thorazine, became a heavily favored drug for psychiatric use in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Apparently, it also has an antifungal effect, so is included in the fish remedy to ward off the dreaded Ich.

We got the Betta Revive and made up a fresh batch of water and added the remedy. Predictably, it turned the water a nice shade of medium blue. Pretty much the color of airplane toilet water.

We floated our sick fish in the blue water, changing it daily, for about a week. She’s mostly recovered and is eating again, which is a good sign.

I’m blathering on about blue water to get to a point. It’s coming, don’t lose me now….

Over this past weekend my body decided to avoid the holiday rush and succumb to a nasty early winter cold.

It the usual stuff, runny nose, sinus pressure, achy joints, low-grade fever and a raging, uncontrollable cough.

I feel like crap and I’m a little depressed. In an effort to cheer myself up, I took a nice hot bath last night.

While soaking, I thought to myself, “Hey, I wish I had some of the blue water to soak in. I don’t know if what I have is viral or bacterial, so a broad spectrum fix might be just the ticket!”

I mean hell, it’ll make my scales lay down nicely and the Thorazine will help me feel aaallll right about the world.

I asked The Good Man if I could soak in some blue water. Gonna have to get a big container of the stuff, but I’m ready!

He gave me that one-eyed squinty look that says, “I’m just going to nod my head and walk away.” And so he did.

I may be sick, but my creative brain is always working out the angles. Even if The Good Man doesn’t buy into all of my (fabulous) ideas.

Restoring Balance

September 25, 2010 by · Comments Off on Restoring Balance
Filed under: Bay Area, bebidas, borracho, California, carnival, Celebration, cursing, dancing, free, fun, giddy, gratitude, laffs, latent childhood, life, memories, Music, Opinions, party, work 

Yesterday I used this blog as my confessional. I had to get that story off my chest because it had been top of my mind since it all happened Wednesday night.

Once I published that post, I had to remind myself that really, all in, my day on Wednesday was incredible (in a good way). It’s time I make sure that I don’t let the end of the evening cast a pall on rest.

So now that the yucky stuff is off my mind, let’s talk about the good part.

The event I attended on Wednesday night was one of the largest and most overwhelmingly fun corporate events I’ve ever seen.

And let me say this, I once worked for a company that rented out AT&T ballpark for the company Christmas party, ok? So I’ve seen some huge corporate sponsored events!

They got nothing on this.

The event, as mentioned, was a “customer appreciation party” and it was held out on Treasure Island.

For those not familiar with the Bay Area, Treasure Island is a man made island, created for the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939.

Treasure Island sits at about the halfway mark of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. To get to the island you take an exit off the bridge.

I was included as an extra special guest of one of the main sponsors of the event, so I got a hard to obtain ticket that got me to the island an hour before everyone else.

It was, literally, a carnival. But everything was free. Since we were among the first on the island, there were also no lines.

Imagine going to a carnival and NOT waiting for the ferris wheel! Or not standing in line for cotton candy! I walked up said “yes please” and they put a corn dog, French fries and a big bag of cotton candy in my hands.

And it was a GOOD corndog. Have you any idea how long it has been since I had a really good corndog?

Prior to the corndog (thankfully) I was coerced into riding one of those Drop Zone rides. The kind where there is a central tower and you strap in to the seats, then it takes you up to the top and drops your ass back down?

Yeah. I hated it.

I screamed a single curse word in one long note the entire journey downward.

The gentleman working the ride said, as he let me off the ride, “I like you, you say what’s in your heart.”

Vowing no more rides, I switched to playing all of the carnival games. You could play as many times as you wanted over and over.

And STILL I couldn’t manage to win anything. *sigh*

Then, after a while the good food came out. Tables of fancy and delicious treats of all kinds. We ate our fill and partook of the free flowing beverages as well.

Then, around 7:00, the music began, and by music, I mean full on concerts held at two different stages, one indoors, one outside.

We started with English Beat. Ok, I’m a child of the 80’s, I knew some of their stuff and they were pretty good.

Next up was Berlin. I’m a huge fan of Terri Nunn. She is a goddess, so I was pretty happy to see Berlin live, though I’d seen them play before. They put on a great show. Ms. Nunn knows how to work the crowd and had everyone enchanted.

Now that the music was really going, it was time to start making some choices. They had acts going on both stages and you had to pick which show to attend.

The main acts of the night were the Black Eyed Peas on the outside stage and Don Henley inside.

I talked it over with my group including my boss and several coworkers. They all wanted to see Black Eyed Peas. Look, I don’t mind the Peas…but we’re talking Don Henley here.

One other woman in the group said she wanted to see Henley too, so we walked away to choruses of “you guys are so OLD.”

No matter. I’ll cut to the chase. Don Henley put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Like…top ten concerts of my life (<--I should do a blog post on that). Let me tell you right now…Don Henley is 63 years old. I once heard Billy Joel talking about how, as he aged, he couldn’t hit the high notes anymore. Don wasn’t having that problem. Think about the song “I Can’t Tell You Why” and all the high parts. He sang ’em. Every one. Nary a crack in his voice. It wasn’t just that he sang all the songs that I knew, it was that one, his backup band was amazingly tight, and two, he had a certain way of capturing the audience every step of the way. Captivating is a good word to describe. This guy is a genius. I went in saying “yeah, I like Don Henley pretty good” and came out swearing my allegiance and praising him to the ends of the earth. A. Mazing. After that was a choice between Steve Miller Band and Montgomery Gentry. Although I would have liked to have seen Montgomery Gentry, it was midnight by that time and I had an early morning meeting. So I chose home over the last acts of the night. As mentioned, I spent the better part of an hour in line waiting for the shuttle bus, so I may as well have stayed. No matter. When I did finally get home and lay down in my bed, my ears were ringing and the refrains of “Desperado” were still singing in my head. And I gave thanks that I got to live such a good day in my life (shuttle bus incidents not withstanding).


Ms Terri Nunn onstage (on the screen) taken with my iPhone

My Magnetic Personality

For years I have told friends that I am a “freak magnet,” and for years, I’ve had them tell me, “Oh, don’t be silly! Everyone says that.”

Then we go out to a bar or a dance club or a restaurant and sure enough, the wackiest person in the room will find their way to me like a moth to a flame.

I don’t head out to the bars and clubs much anymore, so I think I’ve grown a little soft in my ability to head off the loo-loos who inevitably end up sitting next to me.

Wednesday this week, I got invited to a “customer appreciation event” associated with my job.

Well, ok. Appreciate me!

It was a HUGE event with piles of free food, an endless flow of free booze and lots and lots of live musical entertainment.

While I had a gosh dang good time, I was always aware of the fact that I was having a gosh dang good time along with my boss and several coworkers.

I had a few glasses of wine then switched to water about two hours before my anticipated departure time.

At the end of the evening my boss, coworkers and I parted ways at the shuttle busses. The various busses were on different routes to take people back to their hotels and parking in different parts of the city.

Sadly, my route was the most popular, so I stood in a very long line for about forty-five minutes. People were yelling at each other for cutting in line, being snotty and aggressive, and generally at the end of their tether.

I practiced my meditation and art of being calm while I waited my way to the front of the line. Finally I got on a bus and found a seat.

And here’s where my magnetic personality comes in.

The drunkest, largest male human I may have ever encountered stumbled his way onto the shuttle, looked over his seating opportunities, and flung himself into the seat next to me.

Then passed out.

Hey, fine. I’m down with that. It will make for a quiet ride.

Oh nooo. That would be too easy.

As the bus jerked to a start, The Mountain next to me woke up and began making those burping, choking sounds.

“Dude,” I said, forcefully, “are you going to throw up?”

He looked at me somberly and nodded.

“THEN GET OFF THE BUS!” I hollered.

Well. He was at that stage of drunk where all your bones have gone gelatinous, and was unable to stand. Or move. Or do much of anything other than….

Begin vomiting.

He at least had the grace to vomit toward the aisle and not on me.

However…this is where I lost my mind.

I’d been up for a 7am meeting, working hard all day, celebrating heavily all night, and at 1:00 in the morning, wedged in at the window seat next to a vomit breathing dragon, I’d lost my sense of humor.

“Somebody help me! This guy is throwing up!” I yelled to my fellow travelers.

I heard someone go “Ew.” But that was all.

So I tried again, “Help me! Please! This guy needs to get off the bus! He’s throwing up all over the place!”

The bus driver walked down the aisle, saw the guy throwing up, make a “yuck” face and turned around and went back to the front of the bus.

“Are you serious?!? You aren’t going to help me!?!” I yelled at his retreating back.

I was ignored.

So I ratcheted up my freak out and began yelling with renewed energy.

Finally, the guy who appeared to be the friend of Captain Puke came over and in the most condescending way possible asked, “Are you ok?”

“NO!” I replied.

“Do you want out of that seat?”

“YES!” I replied.

So he grabbed my arm and tugged and I pushed off with my legs and we sort of drag vaulted me over the top of the now passed out guy.

An incredible gentleman in the back of the bus stood up and told me that back home in Chicago he commutes to work every day on a bus, and was used to standing. He gave up his seat for me. I thanked him profusely.

When we finally arrived at our destination, as we exited the chartered shuttle bus, we all filed past Barf Boy. He was still passed out in the seat, vomit all down his front.

His friend…the guy that told me what a “good guy” his friend was as he dragged me out of the seat?

He left the unconscious man on the bus.

Fabulous.

What a talent I have, attracting the elite of the world to sit next to me.

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