Thursday, December 18, 2008

The common cold...the usual suspects

As I'm pondering how insanely hard it is to take one's temperature when one can't breathe out of one's nose...I was thinking over a conversation I had somewhat recently with my sister.  While everyone (generally) agrees that we can't seem to come up with a cure for the common cold, I've come to realize we really can't figure out the causes of colds are some of the ones that came up in our conversation, and another one or two I threw in for good measure:

1) going outside in the cold with your head wet (see also: going to bed with your hair wet)
2) getting your feet wet while outside in the cold (see also: going barefoot when it's cold...equal time for both ends)
3)going from heated inside air to chilly outside air (I never turn my heater that let's this one out)
4)  sugar (my sister's friend advised her of this theory I have never heard...that people get colds/flu during the holiday season because starting at Halloween and going thru Valentine's Day people are eating a ton of sugar that they normally aren't and it lowers their immune system.  So apparently the daily nickle-sized pieces of chocolatey goodness in my advent calendar are really a plot to make me sick so I boost the economy by buying nasal saline, soup, puffs plus and generic nyquil caps....WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO??? (I'm ok, really I am....)
5)stagnant air (when air conditioners are running, the air is constantly circulating and being filters...assuming you actually change your filter like you're supposed to... so when the weather cools down, the a/c stops running and you are now breathing stagnant air.

102.5...Someone just told me you don't normally get a fever with a cold...but this isn't the flu...and it's not allergies...then what else is it?  By the takes way longer to take your temperature when you have to gasp for breath from your mouth every 20 seconds or so (diminished lung capacity...I'm sick...ok?)

Ah well...back to Nyquil and a blissful night of tossing and turning and blowing my nose 400 times (or however many tissues are in almost 2 boxes of tissues...the boxes don't say...I wonder why that much to ponder, so little brain matter left in my head.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Christmas Pickle and other fine holiday traditions...

There are some crazy holiday traditions out there...not just those your own family made up...but those that have been passed down from a culture for generations.  Two of the odder ones I know of are the Christmas pickle, and the Christmas spider.  Mostly odd just because they are words you'd never think would be linked to each other...what would a spider or a pickle have to do with Christmas?

You may have seen a pickle ornament in a Christmas store and wondered what lunatic came up with that?  Actually, it's a German tradition...where you hang the Christmas pickle on the tree and the first kid to find it in the morning gets a special gift.  I thought it was strange, but stranger still when I told my parents about it (thinking it was a modern gimmick)only to find out that they knew about it and it really was a Christmas tradition, but they knew better than to incite a jealousy frenzy on Christmas morning so they never did it.

One of my beading magazines featured a beaded Christmas spider...which reminded me of the traditional German Christmas story of the little widow woman who was very, very poor and worked so hard to clean her home and decorate her tree for the Christ-child's visit that night.  But after she went to sleep, a spider came down and spun her web all over the woman's Christmas tree.  When the Christ-child came, He saw what the spider had done and knew the woman's heart would be crushed, so He touched the web and turned it into silver and gold (hence, from that day forward we put tinsel on the tree to remember the miracle).  

I'm curious about what other Christmas traditions may be out there...and if they involve equally unlikely pairings.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

not EVERYTHING chocolate-covered is gold...

Some people say anything deep-fried is great...others say bacon makes everything better...

There was a time when I thought nothing bad could come covered in chocolate.  I was wrong.  So wrong.

Partly from my travels, partly from the travel channel...I have learned that not everything chocolate-covered is drool-worthy.   I submit the following:

chocolate-covered marzipan (apparently there are a lot of people with strong feelings about marzipan, unfortunately, my strong feeling is in the pit of my stomach.....not even the chocolate coating made it enjoyable)

chocolate-covered crickets, ants,etc (they've been around forever...and I DON'T mean the ones you faked your little brothers out with by coating rice krispies with melted chocolate....I mean actual once creeping and crawling bugs- bleck!)

chocolate-covered pineapple, oranges (I know not everyone will agree with me here...and I'm all for chocolate-covered berries...and I love pineapple...but it simply should never EVER be paired with chocolate....and anyone who knows me know how I feel about oranges/citrus...why waste perfectly good chocolate?)

chocolate-covered squid (yes, you read that's actually popular in asia...don't ask me why...they also like dried fish strips on their ice cream....)

I don't think the originators of chocolate ever pondered how their masterpiece might one day be corrupted.  But in the quest for new and glorious chocolate and mystery ingredient combos...we've crossed the line!  What's next?  Chocolate-covered bacon? (shiver)