I haven’t posted in about five days – that’s a long run for me. Generally, I’ve been posting every two days or so. Based on the title of this one, you probably can guess why. Sometime after posting, I got into battle with an oncoming cold. The enemy began its approach towards the evening of whatever day it was – could feel my throat tightening and that ominous pinging threat it might breach the chest. Now, for the record, just in case I come off as a hypochondriac, I’ve had pneumonia a couple of times and it ain’t fun. It is particular unfun when your electricity goes out like last year. So, I tried a couple of remedies.
1. Denial. “I am in perfect health.” Breathe in health; breath out what’s not. Status report: Dear God, the truth is I feel crummy.
2. Gargle with 1/3 Peroxide to 2/3 water and swish it; spit. (this is actually much better for cuts inside your mouth, but hey). Warning, it tastes utterly foul.
3. Emergenc-C – fabulous product, loaded with 1000 mg of Vitamin C and – wait for it – 24 nutrients with 7 B vitamins AND antioxidants and electrolytes (always makes me think of vacuums). This apparently helps – doesn’t cure it, but I’m still in the battle.
4. Ibuprofen – for those weird random aches and stiff muscles. Helps.
5. Alcohol – the drinking kind. Since I was not going anywhere, it might cleanse the inside of me (file under denial) and it might help with sleep and if none of those, I wouldn’t care…
A. Ordinarily, I recommend a hot toddy: 2 lemons to 1 orange; cut ‘em up, squeeze into a saucepan, fill pan with water, bring to a boil, pour into a mug 2/3; add 1/3 alcohol – your choice, but I usually go with Southern Comfort because that is what was on the original toddy recipe way back when. Rule No. 1: no microwave – it zaps the vitamins in the citrus and for sure kills the alcohol – can’t have that. Rule 2 - add sugar or honey to taste, ’cause it is bitter and the honey helps your throat. This actually does work very well, but I didn’t have any lemons or oranges on hand.
B. Making do with what I did have on hand – I made a dirty vodka martini. For the uninitiated, a dirty vodka martini is made with vodka, dry vermouth and a small amount of olive brine (juice for us layabouts). Now, purists have their idiosyncrasies – a martini with olives means Spanish green olives with pimento or not. There are extraordinary varieties of olives to be had and you can get as fussy as you like for that wonderful sensitive palate. That is just the olives; we haven’t begun to discuss what call brand of vodka would be best. If you thought debates between liberals and conservatives can get heated, name your favorite vodka and someone will argue with you. Others will not referee, they will be arguing with the first two as to what is the best vodka.
Insert: My mother commented about her drinking days, “One martini is never enough; two should be, but aren’t; and three is just way too many.”
I am continually stunned by the size of martinis in restaurants these days. They used to come in the traditional martini glass, but now they’ve supersized ‘em. Gigantic. They also charge you about $12. for a martini that size, but certainly you are getting value. The drawback for me is the martini gets warm – yuck. Also, I’m on the small side and they were what I’d call a grown up drink. I am not that grown up. Here’s a five star rated vodka martini recipe. Note: 6 fluid ounces of vodka – and that is for one serving. Right.
When I started making a martini at home, I first had to get past the idea that this was a road to ruin based on attending AA meetings from the time I was six years old. Beer and wine had passed the test mainly because after a while, they leave a funny taste in your mouth that is unpleasant. But martinis….I didn’t have the proper equipment. You’ve got to have a shaker, the correct martini glass, and Spanish green olives… so, I made do. I got the Spanish green olives; I think I used a sealable Tupperware tub for the shaker, and whatever glass I had on hand. Not successful. Really not. As I recall, some type of fuzz showed up in the glass; creeped me out, so I tossed it. I would see these fancy-dancy martini kits, but they were serious large martini kits and that would mean the possibility of serious drinking and I worried about it. Last year, while shopping for a gift for a friend of mine who wanted special appetizer serving dishes from Pier 1, I came across a rather nifty ensemble. The martini shaker was smaller than usual and it came with a
drainer strainer cap, so I didn’t have to fuss with a strainer instrument – keep it simple is my motto whenever possible. But the piece de resistance was these tiny martini glasses. They hold about an ounce without spilling. Ah….. With a shiver and a blown kiss to my AA critic, I bought ‘em.
My vermouth was so far past its used by date by years, it scared even me, so I skipped the vermouth. The Spanish green olives I’d bought, ditto. I did have a little container of Greek olives, which I love with cheese, crackers, etc. Hmm. Not classical, but it might do in a pinch. Just a note. Whether green or Greek, be very judicious on the juice – it should sort of drip into it because if you pour a little dollop, it can turn into a GLOP and it wrecks it. The color of my martini is almost a rose depending on how careful and judicious I am. For the record, I do not see any formatting allowing for accents, so forgive the debasement of text here. According to the best bartenders I’ve consulted, it is the ice in the shaker that helps the vodka and olive juice mix and produces that curious oil float that glosses the martini. Ready for the fight? I prefer Stoli. Stolichnaya for those who care about these things. And the reason I prefer Stoli is that a friend of mine once told me – and she would have known, trust me – that Stoli never gave her a hangover. I believed her and it never has given me a hangover.
Back to curing the cold. Ordinarily, I have one mini martini – on a wild and crazy night, maybe two mini-martinis. Keeping Mom’s advice in mind, I don’t do three. However, I was determined to knock this bug out, so I did do three. Went to bed almost immediately. Next morning? The fight was still on, but it hadn’t gotten worse. So, a neutral score.
Next cure: Apple Cider Vinegar – I read this on the internet and since I was coughing gunk up, I thought well, it can’t hurt and it got a heck of a lot of rave reviews, and I just happened to have Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) on hand. Why? I don’t know. It was an unopened bottle. This is how writers get into trouble. They read things and then try ‘em. Remember Little Women and eating 8 apples in a half hour up in the avocado tree? Yeah. For those too lazy to click the link (and you know who you are), you do 1/3 ACV to 2/3 water, take a sip, gargle, and now the tricky part: still holding it in your mouth, bend over – try to touch your toes and stay there for three minutes, every couple of seconds click your tongue on the roof of your mouth. I’ll bet you it works on hiccups, too. Being the scientific type, I set aside an old container to spit after three minutes and see what if anything appeared. Well, here’s the thing. It takes practice. You thunk on the roof of your mouth and it can go up your nose – trust me, any sinus problems you might have had will clear pretty damn quick and you might even have tears come to your eyes. Thing Two: It worked. Admittedly, it took a while to work up to three minutes – the damn stuff gets foamy in your mouth from the gargling and thunking and you’re better off with a small sip. Three minutes can feel like an eternity hanging upside down and thunking and swishing. I used the microwave timer and in truth, I rarely last the entire three minutes, so I just do more of it in smaller sips. But, it does work.
The over-the-counter stuff has good points and bad points. I, myself, do not do well with time release pills. I once took a Contact and it was in my system for three days and I was on the ceiling with that stuff. Just as I would come down, the next release would kick in. That is when I discovered the Physicians Desk Reference – a marvelous book, probably outdated by the internet now. Plus, they ruined the taste of cherry for me.
Why would I write about this? Because I am bored out of my mind and I have a blog to keep up with. And, the Daily Prompts were weird this week – “Write about your greatest fear.” Yeah, right, like I want that on the internet. No siree. But the truth of the matter is I am a Maven. If you have never read Malcolm Gladwell, you are missing out. He is fantastic. Most famous for his “The Tipping Point,” he described three types of people who affect change. This is a good summary. Bottomline, a Maven loves information for information’s sake and cannot, absolutely cannot refrain from passing it forward.