Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Washenzehands??

Do people wash their hands? Do they do it often enough?

I wonder how many times a day I do it? 20? 25? How about you? Do you do it enough? What about the guy at the restaurant making your lunch? The guy at the meat counter packaging up your steak? The guy whose hand you just shook? The person who touched the door handle before you did? The list goes on and on.

One of the best ways to get sick is by not washing your hands. I wonder what percentage of people wash their hands after they use the restroom. I know many people do not. I think we need one of those signs like in The Far Side comic to be put up over the restroom door that flashes in big letters “DIDN’T WASH HANDS!” when someone walks out who did not. It’s gross. Just plain gross. I don’t think the offenders realize that they are basically walking around wiping their fecal matter on door knobs, telephones, pens, grocery carts, computer keyboards, hangers at stores, food, basically anything they touch. This contains bacteria that spreads illness like colds, flu, and diarrhea.

There are many times when you should wash your hands. A few include: after using the restroom, after touching animals, before and after preparing food- especially raw meat, before eating, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing in your hands, before and after treating wounds, after touching someone who is sick, after touching garbage (this list could go on and on…)and when your hands look and feel dirty!

Unfortunately many people who do go to the effort of washing them do it incorrectly. I know many folks think that washing their hands involves waving their hands quickly though a stream of water. Soap?? What is that?? And for those who actually do use soap: did you make sure to lather well then rub your hands vigorously together for 10-15 seconds? Did you get the fingernails and wrists and backs of your hands? (Contrary to popular belief, dirt does get in those places too) Personally, I prefer paper towels to dry off. (I hate those hand air dryer things, but that’s a whole different story) Oh and don’t forget to turn the water off with the paper towel (remember when you turned it on with dirty hands?). You should also hang on to the paper towel to open the door on the way out of the restroom, as I’m certain many people have touched it without washing.

I don’t see what the big deal is people. Water, soap, and a few extra seconds of your life in exchange for not ingesting your and other people’s fecal matter. The answer seems obvious to me.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Greeting Cards

Every time a silly little holiday or birthday comes around, I make the dreaded trip to the card shop. I’ll spend an hour looking at each pathetic card over and over again. They are all terrible. I’ll usually find one that is kind of half-passable. Then I stand there and wonder if I went to another store if I could find something better. At this point in my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that I could visit every card shop/aisle in LA and still not find the perfect card. They are either too mean in the wrong sort of way, not funny in the slightest or over-the-top sappy. For example, in shopping for a Father’s Day card I was looking for something simple. I thought I’d find a cute picture of a Papa Bear and Baby Bear on the cover and it would say “Happy Father’s Day!” on the inside. Do you think I could find such a thing? Of course not! Is it too much to ask for a simple card these days? I don’t want some thing that goes on and on about sentimental crap and I don’t want some supposedly humorous thing about something that doesn’t even apply to my family. Since all of the printed cards are such crap, I come up with this brilliant idea that I’ll buy a blank card and fill in my own note. Either the store won’t have any blank cards, or they have some strange animal with bugged-out-eyes on the cover, which is somehow never appropriate. And so I finally head back over to where I began and read them all again. After at least 45 minutes of looking at cards, I finally give up and decide to go with the half-passable one I saw 35 minutes earlier. Then I flip it over and !!! $4.95!! For a stinking piece of paper that doesn’t even say anything like what I want it to! What a rip-off! So I buy the stinking card, and get the heck out of the store.

Later, I am off at the party/ gathering, whatever… the time comes to open presents. Now one of two things happens. The person picks up the card, glazes over it for ½ a second and then grabs for the good stuff, or they pull out the envelope, set it aside and go straight to the good stuff. !!! And then they pitch the card with the wrapping paper!

Most people don't really even like the card all that much. So why the heck do I torture myself trying to find the perfect one? Or at this point, the half-passable one? There are a few times where a card is good. Little kids making cards for people is cute. But that is different because it is not really going to the store and buying a card. So there is only one time I can really think of that a card is good: when it is holding money. But honestly, it could be in a piece of construction paper for all I care. Just give me the dough!

I say we take a stand against such rip-offs! No more cards. Just don’t buy them. And if we need to know who stuff is from, let’s do what we do at Christmas: put those little sticky tags on there! Yes!! And if you feel you have to send something, how about an e-card? Many of them are free. (Okay, so many of them suck too, but at least they are free. Plus, I think people look at them longer than they look at the paper ones.)

Let’s all breathe easy next holiday or birthday and skip the card. So what if it was traditional. Let’s make new traditions. Let’s not shell out five bucks for what is basically a piece of garbage from the start.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Celebrity Chefs!

Celebrity Chefs are definitely growing in popularity these days. Probably a lot of that has to do with the FoodTV Network. I remember watching cooking shows on a variety of channels before FoodTV while growing up, but about the only household chef name I can think of from that time is Julia Child. As FoodTV came on-air, the popularity of chefs took a giant leap forward. There are some I think are great, and some I don't' think a whole lot of. A few of my favorites are: Alton Brown, Wolfgang Puck and David Rosengarten. As of yesterday I have met two (almost all three) of these chefs!

I met Wolfgang Puck about a year and a half ago. We were having a fabulous dinner at Spago in Beverly Hills (yes, it lives up to its reputation- a definite "must-eat-there-at-least-once-in-your-lifetime" kind of place), when Wolfgang Puck came out to our table to ensure we were enjoying our meal. Despite the fact that we were in his premier restaurant, I never in a million years thought he would actually be there. It was really great to know that despite his celebrity status, and how incredibly busy he must be, that he still takes time to go into his restaurants and check on his patrons. He was a very nice guy.

Yesterday, I got to meet my favorite celebrity chef: Alton Brown (AB). He was doing a cooking demonstration and signing autographs at a local mall. My husband Cocles got us really great seats up close to the front of the demonstration. AB made funnel cakes. It was really a well done presentation. AB was just as funny as he is on his show, even when answering people's questions. His assistant chef did a great job steathily clearing used containers out of AB's way. It was quite enjoyable.

AB actually did 3 demos. We watched the second one. Then we headed over to the really long line to meet AB and get his autograph. The line was so long, that I didn't quite make it up to meet him before he had to go over and do the third demonstration. Unfortunately, being as that this was in a mall, the acoustics were terrible. While I could kind of half see what was going on, I could only catch a few words here and there. One of the phrases I did hear was that David Rosengarten was in the audience! I wish I could have seen/met him too, but there was no way I was giving up my spot to meet AB.

So after the third demo, and another half an hour or so of waiting (total wait time was approximately 2 hours!!) we finally got to meet him. He was super nice. One of the things I thought was the coolest was that he put out his hand to shake mine and said "Hi, I'm Alton." Well, of course I knew who he was, but the fact that he had enough manners to introduce himself properly and not assume the "mmm, I'm a celebrity, everyone knows who I am so I don't need to introduce myself" attitude was just very impressive. I got my copy of "I'm Just Here for the Food" autographed, and Cocles and I got to say a few quick words to him. He was super-nice. I wish I could have monopolized him to ask a million more questions, but the mean guy trying to keep the line moving was doing just that. (Think: Santa's Elves taking you off Santa's lap and putting you on the slide in "A Christmas Story" only, luckily AB was nothing like Santa) So we were pushed on our way, having met my favorite celebrity chef.

Many times you hear of people meeting celebrities and being let down because they are jerks, or don't want to have anything to do with you. I can see how fans could become quite the annoyance, but it was really great to meet AB and find out that he is the nice, funny, food-knowledgeable guy I watch on TV. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Women!

Quite frequently, you hear women complain about men and men complain about women. I’m going to do something a little abnormal. I’m going to take the woman complains about women option.

A long long time ago, things were fine. Men and women each had their separate “jobs” in society. To be blunt about it: Men were the hunters, protectors and providers. They brought home food that they hunted. They built shelter, protected their families from danger. They provided many of the essential elements to survival. Women bore children, gathered and provided things as well. Women would gather berries and such types of nourishment, keep the home clean, cook the food, and provide medical attention. They also raised the children, made clothing, etc. They provided different elements essential to survival. The beauty of this is how men and women work together to provide what was needed for survival and prosperity.

Then the damn feminazis came along.

Some silly woman (Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, etc…) came along and started to change things. Now don’t get me completely wrong, there are some women’s rights things I believe in: the right to vote, equal pay for equal work…. The thing that I have issues with is women who think women are equal in every way to a man. Hello!! They are not! They are not supposed to be. For example: women are built to bare children. Men are built to provide for and protect those women while they are pregnant. Therefore, men are designed to be physically stronger than women for the sake of the survival of our species.

For some reason they conveyed the message to women that they needed to get out of the kitchen and into the workforce. They could have it all! Be a mother, have a family AND a career! But at what price?

I can see how a lot of women are in the workforce. Heck, I work full time right now. I can also understand getting a higher education. What I don’t understand is the need to do this, and basically compete to “be the man” or “the breadwinner.” And what I really cannot comprehend is how women can say that being a full-time housewife/mother is not a job! (Yes, I did say housewife!) And how they think they can work 40+ hours a week AND be a housewife and a mother! Would you work 2 full time office jobs? And if you did, expect to do them both well? I don’t think so. Most people have a hard enough time doing even one full-time job well.

This is where the problem with our society today begins. Mrs. Career Woman (Mrs. CW) decides she should work 40 hours a week and have a career. Mr. Husband (Mr. H) is also working, because he is the man and thinks he should. They decide the only way they can afford to have the things they want is to have a two-income family. Then, Mrs. CW gets pregnant and has a kid. A couple of weeks later, she heads back to CareerWorld and dumps her kid in daycare. She ends up missing out on many of the wonderful things you get to experience as a parent. The first steps, words, etc…. Not only that, but some stranger who has god-only-knows-how-many other kids to watch simultaneously is now imparting his or her morals and beliefs on Mrs. CW’s child. The poor child is exposed day after day to many other kids, and their germs. The child gets ill, and Mrs. CW feels more stressed about having to leave work than about the health of her child. The cycle continues and continues. I think it is things like this that has changed our society to the sad state it is in today. (I will save the details of that for another time…)

It is really a shame that so many women have been brainwashed that you cannot be a success or be satisfied with life unless you have a career outside of the home. They are so judgmental towards those of us who want to stay home and make a better life for ourselves, our husbands and our kids. Behind our backs, we are referred to as “lazy” or “unemployed.” To our face, a simple “oh” with a look of disappointment is all we get. What is so wrong with a woman wanting to be at home? What is so wrong with raising your child yourself? With taking care of your husband? Running your household?

The solution to the problem with our society begins with rethinking of the women. Mrs. Housewife takes her full-time job as a housewife and mother very seriously. She wants to be there for her husband and her child always. Their health and well-being is the main priority in her life. She takes pride and pleasure in caring for them the best that she can. It provides her with as much, if not more satisfaction that any career would have. Mr. Husband is overjoyed. He gets to provide for his family, gets well taken care of and knows his child will be raised well, with the morals and beliefs that he wants. The child grows up knowing their self-worth and respects themselves. And the cycle continues…

I cannot imagine too many men out there would not want to have the women they love enough to marry, take care of them and their child and have that be their main and only concern. If more women would allow their husband to protect and provide for them, they would see how wonderful things would be for them, too. It really is quite wonderful in so many ways to act like a true lady and be accompained in life by a true gemtleman. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and things that are out of people’s control. Generally speaking though, I think that a “return to family values” would make a happier more peaceful society for everyone.

In closing, I want to recommend a book that I received from my mother-in-law shortly after I got married. It is called “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. (Here is a link to it.) I read the book, and I absolutely loved it. Now I don’t know a whole lot about Dr. Laura- I hear she has some off-the-wall ideas and I’ve never heard her radio show. However, I highly recommend this book. She makes a variety of good points and has examples of things you can do to improve the quality of you and your husband’s life. It was so refreshing to know that I am not the only woman out there who has these thoughts. I recommend all women read this book and consider what she has to say. You can learn a lot of good things. I also got a lot of good laughs from this book.

-Pix


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Mise En Place

I'd imagine many of you are wondering what in the heck "Mise En Place" is.

Well, for starters, it is pronounced Meez-Ahn-Plahs. It is a term used by chefs around the world. Simply put, it means "to put in place." For chefs, it means to have everything prepared and ready to go before you start cooking. All of the ingredients and cooking untensils you need should be ready and available for use.

What does this have to do with me?

Well, I am a trained chef. And while I no longer work in a restaurant, I did so for many years. I even went to school for it. I love to cook. The one thing we would always say to all of the other cooks on the line before beginning another evening's show (as I like to refer to it) was: "Do you have your Mise En Place?"

Well, for me it not only includes having all of the ingredients and utensils, but it is being in the proper mindset, as well.

I thought the title was kinda fun since my blog is the place where I can get my mental Mise En Place ready for all of you readers out there.


There you have it! :)

-Pix


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

XM Radio!!

I got an XM Radio for my birthday from my husband! It rules!!
(Okay, okay, so it isn’t quite my birthday yet, but I got part of it early, and the rest of the parts will be arriving any day now.)
It is SO awesome!

I got this one:


We got the car adapter kit so we could hook it up in my car. It is so nice. The sound quality sounds at least as good as a CD, there are no commercials, and the display shows what band and song is playing!! There is also a station that displays the weather and loops the traffic report all day, any time I want it! (Which is a must have in LA traffic)

I am especially excited, as I am in my car over 2 hours every day with my commute to work and back home. My CD collection was getting really boring, and it seems that every station here either plays commercials all day long or some strange music from distant countries (weird stuff, that I don’t want to torture my ears with).

The XM Radio has been such a relief. There are tons of channels to choose from, and I have yet to flip through (with a handy remote control, no less) without finding something I like. I’ve been very pleased with the variety of music available.

The coming soon parts:

Due to the practical design of the dashboard of my car, there isn’t really anyplace good to mount the unit. Luckily, after doing a bit of searching around the internet, we found this:



It looks like it will be perfect in the cup holder! I can’t wait for it to arrive! (hopefully Thursday or Friday this week)

I also decided I was tired of fooling around with streaming audio on my computer at work. (So many hassles, perhaps a topic for another day…) XM radio does have a unit you can buy and attach to your computer, but I decided not to go that route. The least mount of things I have sucking up resources on my computer, the better. So, I decided to get this:



Pretty slick looking, huh?

Besides, I’m already taking the receiver out of my car, so now I get to use it even more!
It should be arriving tomorrow. Yay!

I love getting new toys to play with!

I highly recommend getting XM Radio! It’s fairly easy to set up (especially when you have a great husband do it for you ;) ) and well worth the money. The subscription fee is just under ten bucks a month. If you want more info, check out the website: http://www.xmradio.com/

Kudos to my husband for getting me such a cool, fun and useful birthday present! :)