A few days ago a new VitaMix 5200 arrived on our doorstep, followed within hours by the onset of a bad summer cold. Perfect timing.
Since then I’ve been living on fruit smoothies and roasted garlic soup. The VitaMix has offered a refreshing way to deal with the unpleasant side-effects of a nasty cold. I’ve also tried other unconventional remedies.
My friend Jenny brought a box of Wellness Fizz tablets, Vitamin-C plus herbal supplements to dissolve in warm water. Consumed 3 or 4 times a day, Wellness Fizz claims to boost the immune system’s ability to fight back. Even so I’ve had to resort to Zicam, decongestants, restorative yoga and lots of sleep…
No miracle cures, only modest relief — but I’ve found some pleasant distractions.
With the Help of a Few Good Books
When too ill to socialize, exercise or work, listening to jazz and classical music can be wonderfully distracting. Likewise a good book or a riveting movie. Forced to slow down while recovering, I’ve found time for some fine books.
I loved Camilla Gibb’s The Beauty of Humanity Movement: A Novel. Set in Vietnam, the story introduces an aging cook — an itinerant street vendor — famous throughout Hanoi for his phở. You learn about Old Man Hung, his history, the proper way to make a bowl of phở — and the experiences and people who’ve touched his life over the years. The story is richly embellished with the details of everyday life in Hanoi, thanks to the author’s background as a social anthropologist. You can almost smell the lemongrass and cilantro on every page…
From Vietnam to Paris, in just a few hundred pages.
This weekend I immersed myself in 1920s Paris with the Lost Generation, thanks to Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife. Her novel deals with Ernest Hemingway’s early struggles to become an author, and his years in Paris with his first wife, Hadley, “who loved him before he was famous,” as an Amazon reviewer wrote.
Although told from Hadley’s point of view, the story sheds some light on the experiences, adventures and troubled relationships that inspired Hemingway to write his first two novels, including the ground-breaking American novel, The Sun Also Rises. You’ll meet some of the luminaries of 20th century literature such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, John Dos Passos, Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, Ford Madox Ford, among others.
After a vicarious weekend in Paris with artists and famous writers, I’m anxious to re-read Hemingway’s memoir of this period, The Moveable Feast — and learn the story through his eyes.
And as for this cold — Enough, already.