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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Neti Pot

If there's anything good about getting older, it might be that you don't seem to catch as many colds, since there's a point where you've pretty much had them all. Maybe that's why I might be one of the last people on the planet to learn about the Neti Pot.

Some of you already know about how it's a little pitcher that you fill with lukewarm salt water (any kind of salt - just no iodine or additives). You just poke the spout attractively into one of your nostrils, lean over the sink, sort of downward and sideways, and pour the solution in so that it drips right out through the OTHER nostril. Presto! Like being able to wash out the inside of your head!

There are lots of easy to find YouTube videos that explain and demonstrate this better than I can. But aside from making you (you with a cold, that is) feel instantly MUCH better, it can prevent the cold from becoming a sinus infection. Also it can be important to use when you think your immune system has been compromised, such as having been on a plane, or a crowded subway in flu season, or in a room full of people sneezing. It washes those nasty germs right out before they can "take hold"!

I got a really ugly plastic one from CVS. You can get artful ceramic ones. Or official Himalayan ones. Or one of the videos I watched shows a kid just using a funnel - once you get the idea that you just need a way to channel salt water through your sinus cavity you can pretty much do as you please.

I'm happy to have learned a new trick, and the cold is pretty much history now.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ipad envy

Judging from the buzz, I guess I'm in the minority. I think the new ipad gizmo sounds great! I've held off on getting a smartphone because for me it would just be a toy. I don't really need ANY kind of phone, much less a smart one, but I do love the idea of the 3G connectivity.

There's a lot of joking about the name. It does seem that the product will be more useful to women than to men, since most of us already lug around some kind of bag that the ipad would easily slip right into. Guys, on the other hand, are more used to sticking stuff in their pockets, no?

People are compaining that there's no camera included. But I already have a perfectly good camera! And I ought to be able to load photos onto this thing pretty easily, right?

I have been waiting a while to figure out how to completely re-vamp my electronic life. I have a land-line phone that I rarely use; but I need it for the DSL internet connection. On top of that, I pay a monthly charge to my ISP. All this being said, my laptop is slow and frustrating to use - defintely time to upgrade to something else. (Ongoing excuse for sparse blog posts - they take TIME!) My cell phone is really just for emergencies (though free on weekends); for that I pay a minimum fee. No cable here, because there's no TV. My favorite gizmo to date is the little portable DVD player that lives under my pillow. I can envision a future where the ipad is my ONLY computer, the land-line phone is a thing of the past, and maybe I upgrade the cell in some way? Remains to be seen how it might all work, but I'm optimistic.

I think it's all right down my minimalist alley.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Freezer housekeeping

Everyone tells you to label and date everything you put into the freezer, right? But then what? How do you keep it all from getting LOST in there? It's a little premature for me to post this, since it just happened yesterday, and this is FAR from the final resolution. But I do think these baskets (5.99 at the Container Store) are going to help me keep things in rough categories. At the very least, I can pull out each one and rummage through it. And there won't be stuff getting lost in the back.

I suppose that if most of your freezer contents are of the commercial packaged variety - neat boxes that stack - there would be less need for this. But I'm a saver of dribs and drabs - things that make cooking easier and less wasteful. Cubes of pesto and lemon juice. Blobs of caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms. Bits of leftover wine to deglaze a pan. Chopped herbs. Single servings of brown rice, various legumes (a snap to do in the Crockpot) and pasta (don't knock this til you've tried it).

Most of the top shelf consists of various forms of animal protein. For the last two months I've been working through this, trying to get it used up. You can see I still have a long way to go. Reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals made me aware as never before of the evils of factory farming. So I'm not buying any meats or poultry that aren't from small-scale sustainable sources - and even these I expect to cut way back on. Still, it doesn't seem right to discard what I already have, does it?

Why didn't I do this thirty years ago?
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