Sneezing My Way to Friday

It’s Friday and this week has been one “Mell of a Hess” as my mom used to say.  It started out when I woke up with a sore throat on Monday.  Now this was after a weekend when my stomach just hadn’t felt quite “right.”  “Oh, man….what now?” I wondered.    I didn’t have to wait long to find out.  The nasal floodgates soon opened and, as Capt. Ahab would say, “Thar she blows!”

Since it is Friday and time for the Fave Five, I thought I’d list five things I learned as I researched ways to shorten colds.

1.  Chicken soup, also known as “Jewish Penicillin” actually contains ingredients which can shorten your cold. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the ingredients on hand to make any chicken soup so I improvised.  I made some spicy lentil soup and threw in some turkey kielbasa for good measure.  I told my sister-in-law that, in the spirit of diversity, I was promoting a Moroccan/Polish healing collaboration.  I don’t know that it worked, but the heat did make my throat feel better.

2.  An early doctor in the 1920’s promoted the theory that most cold and flu viruses enter our body through our ears. Certain natural healing sites today promote putting hydrogen peroxide drops in your ears to kill the cold viruses.  I decided not to try this.  I just couldn’t get past the part in the instructions where it says “wait until the bubbling and stinging has subsided…..”

3.  Feed a fever, starve a cold. I didn’t try this either.  Frankly, there wasn’t much food that sounded all that great to me this past week anyway.  So I decided that I needed some comfort food.  I happened to have a brownie mix handy and I do remember reading somewhere that dark chocolate is now considered to be a health food so I figured that I’d make up a batch of “healthy eating” for myself.  I’m still enjoying the fruits of my labor.

4.  Put yourself into a calm state and visualize an army of dust-busting maids swabbing down your insides with disinfectant. OK, I tried to visualize this but somehow, the thought of a green team of energetic dustbusters tickling my insides with feather dusters did nothing but make me sneeze.  And speaking of sneezes, did you know that…..

5.  The reason we say “God Bless You” or “Gesundheit”or just “Bless You” when folks sneeze dates way back to the Dark Ages when a sneeze could indicate that you might be coming down with the Plague? If you really want to make yourself paranoid, visit this site to find out what hearing sneezes different times of the day can mean according to superstitions in Thailand.     Did you know that if you sneeze at a meal, it means you are going to meet a new friend?  Let’s hope so, because I can almost guarantee you that you will be cleaning food particles off of that “new friend.”  And it is believed that a fool can’t sneeze.  Well, hallelujah!  I must be a genius.

I hope your week has been healthier than mine.  To read about what others are posting for their Friday’s Fave Five, visit Susanne’s site at Living to Tell the Story.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go wash my hands and open another box of tissues.


True Confession Time

Veggies on CounterOK, it’s time to confess.  I can’t WAIT until our organic farm produce subscription ends, which will be Thanksgiving weekend.  It’s not that I can’t keep up with eating it.  No, that’s not the problem.  Maybe part of the problem is that a lot of the stuff we have been getting is stuff I’ve never eaten nor had any desire to eat.  For example, what the heck do you do with that yellow thing?  It’s hard as a rock.  I guess it is some type of squash but where’s the pull tab?  How do you open it to get to the edible stuff?  See that green Acorn Squash?  I almost cut off my fingers the other week trying to cut one of its siblings in half in order to sit the halves in a shallow pan of water to bake.  Gee whiz…..the knife literally bounced off the skin of the darn thing.  I FINALLY found mention in one of my cookbooks of a method to microwave the whole enchilada which would soften the outer skin enough to slice it open.  Of course, by the time I found this, I had managed to hack a jagged gash across one side of it and when I microwaved it, the innards became outards.

Rotted Green PepperThen there’s the little matter of rot.  This used to be a green pepper.  I didn’t need the whole thing for my cooking so I put the other half back in the vegetable crisper.  Apparently it can’t read because there is nothing crisp about it.  Of course, I think it’s been in there about 4 weeks, which might have something to do with it.  And tomatoes…..I can’t eat one more BLT sandwich.  I’ve been faithfully eating tomatoes  in BLTs all summer but if I have to look at one more slice of tomato next to a slice of bacon, I think I’ll run for the hills.  And believe me, I NEVER thought I’d run from a slice of bacon.

Veggies in FridgeI do have some vegetables that I think I’ll get to before they go bad.  I’ve never eaten a leek that I know of but they appear to be related to onions so I plan to just use them like onions.  I like radishes so those will go into a salad.  And this week’s shipment included carrots for the first time, probably the only vegetable that I truly can say I like.  That red thing?  It’s a sweet pepper.  I have no idea what you do with it but I suspect it is the kind of vegetable that becomes limp and slimy when you cut it up and add it to cooked dishes.  Ugh!  I always fish those out and stack them on the side of my plate unless I’m at someone’s house, in which case I force them down.

But the BIGGEST reason I’ve fallen off the organic farm wagon is the bugs.  I am so tired of finding bugs in my produce.  I could get excited about a head of cabbage but not when I start to peel off the outer leaves and find a slug crawling around in there.  Mixed greens don’t excite me at all when I observe things crawling around in them.  Aphids on my broccoli are just a tad too close in appearance to the broccoli itself for me to be comfortable eating the florets.  No, when I signed up for produce, I didn’t think I was signing up for wildlife, too.   If I didn’t think it would kill me, I’d take a can of Raid to those darn critters.  Instead, I’m just pulling out the stuff that is hard for a bug to hide in and the rest gets left in the bag it came in and goes right into the trash can.  Yes, you read that right.  I am tossing it.  I can not move beyond the bugs.  Next year, I’m getting my organic from the supermarket where hopefully, the mud has already been washed off and any critters have been flushed down the drain.

Walking My Way Across Route 66

With a grandbaby AND my sixtieth birthday on the way, I’m really trying to turn a new leaf and start living a healthier lifestyle.  Not that I’ve been living a life of debauchery, mind you, unless you call periodically eating the frosting off of a cake from the local Giant grocery store a “life of dissolution.”    Well, OK, maybe “periodically” isn’t quite the correct term.  How about “regularly” eating the frosting?  But hey, I’ve been donut-free since April of this year and that is a major accomplishment for me.   However, I learned long ago that when you push one ping-pong ball under the water that another one pops up somewhere else, hence the frosting cravings.

Let’s face it though, if I want to be around a good long time to enjoy this grandbaby and my children, I really do need to make some changes.  One shift we’ve made this year has been signing up for weekly deliveries of local organic produce.  Now I’m trying to add some regular exercise into the mix.  Since my favorite exercise is cerebral, this has not been easy.  But I’ve found a neat little online tool that is helping and I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s called Get Fit on Route 66 and it is the brainchild of AARP.  Registration is free (you can just click on the link I’ve provided) and anyone can participate.  They’ve come up with 66 different activities you can do for exercise.  You are encouraged to start out with at least 10 minutes of exercise a day and to work your way up to 30 minutes a day.  When you register, you pick a little car icon from several “classic” car choices.  This will be your icon that tracks your journey across the country from Chicago to Santa Monica.  Each day that you exercise, you just log in at the website and enter the date, the amount of time you exercised and what you did.  Then, and this is the fun part, it tells you where you currently are.  For example, the first day I walked for 30 minutes and after logging in, it told me that I had made it to Joliet, Illinois.  It even told me some fun facts about Joliet.  Each step along the route, you’ll be learning about the various towns that you are “passing” through, it’s shared history with Route 66, and you’ll be provided with different links to places of interest in those towns, should you care to delve further into the area.   If you exercise 45 minutes a day, in 8 weeks, you’ll be in Santa Monica.  Fat chance!  I’m taking it slow and saving face only because the dog huffs and puffs louder than I do. Give it a try.  And if you pass through Pontiac, Illinois, look for me.  I’ll be sitting outside the Log Cabin Cafe taking a little breather before my next leg of Route 66.

Leaf Lace Shawl BlockingOn the knitting front, I finished the Leaf Lace Shawl and it’s on the wires blocking as I type this.  I just checked on it and it is just about ready to come off of the wires.  This is the first time I’ve tried using blocking wires instead of just pinning my knitting out when blocking and I must say that it was pretty slick.  We’ll see how the final product looks when it is no longer under restraint.

Serenading the ER Staff

There is something about getting stuck with a needle that makes me want to break out in song.  Actually, it makes me want to break out, period, like….head for the nearest exit.  But since I’m an adult, I try to contain that impulse by singing as I’m having blood drawn or getting shots.  My doctor and her nurses are used to this.  When I have an appointment when they know I’m going to have blood drawn, the nurses always greet me with “What song are you going to sing for us today?”    It’s free entertainment and I usually end up with several of them standing in the doorway, laughing and applauding as the technician finishes filling the tubes.

Swollen Hand

Well, yesterday I woke up still fighting a red, itchy rash on both arms and one hand and noticed that I also had some new welts on my back and under one knee. Jeepers, creepers. It’s been 3 weeks and enough is enough. I’ve cut out every medication I can think of that could be causing a reaction. My doctor and I thought perhaps the Prednisone or the new antibiotic she had prescribed were causing an allergic rash so we stopped that just shy of the week’s course. But I’ve been off those for one week now and I’m still experiencing a spreading rash. My arm is swollen and warm to the touch. So yesterday was the final straw. To find out about my adventures in the ER, click here

An Early Warning System for PMS

Now I’ve heard of everything, or so it seems. I was reading the paper today and saw an article that mentioned a new service that tracks when your loved ones of the feminine persuasion are going to be going through PMS. No kidding! offers to help you know in advance when your wife, mother, sister, girlfriend, etc. is going to be going through premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Now how you use this information is entirely up to you but I’m assuming that PMSBuddy is thinking that “forewarned is forearmed.”


That got me to thinking that there might be a need for something similar for those of us who have moved beyond PMS to “PDHS” (Pretty Darn Hot Syndrome). How would something like that work? Read more here.

A Much-Needed Brightener


I was up with the birds this morning, mainly because the itching, prickling feeling on my arms was not conducive to sleep.  So Fresca the Wonder Dog and I went down to the TV room to knit a little and watch the Crufts dog show.  I was just getting nice and drowsy when I could hear my hubby stirring upstairs and so began the day.  It’s been 12 days now since my initial skirmish with the poison ivy, but who’s counting?  Right! Who’s winning? The ivy or Dee? Click here to find out.

One of These Hands is Not Like the Other…

Swollen HandOne of these hands is not like the rest….as that old singing game goes.  Can ya guess which hand doesn’t belong to my body?  Actually, it IS my hand but it sure looks like it should belong to someone twice my size.  In the continuing miserable saga of my battle with poison ivy, here’s where we stand:  Rash – still in quite a few places.  Blisters – stopped oozing and now drying up.  Itching – mostly tolerable; occasionally forgettable.  Swelling – out of control on my left side where the bulk of the poison ivy struck.    Medication – heavy-duty antibiotic and 50 mg. of prednisone a day for 5 days.  However, I woke up this morning with a red rash Click here to read more of this sorry tale