Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Praise of the Mandolin

 This is only a very slight reprieve in my treatise on  bleach. Oh, I have more to say about it, I'm like a germophobic Charles Dickens over here, but I felt like a change of subject.

Ever since my initial disappointment with the mandolin, which turned out to be the result of operator error (me, I was the operator, and I didn't get how to use the mandolin), I've really come to appreciate it as a kitchen essential. I don't use it very often, but when I do use it, it works so beautifully!

Besides making ridiculous, Martha-inspired carrot ribbons, and slicing onions (or anything else), you can also shred cabbage, which I've been doing a lot of lately. 

Finely shredded cabbage, at its finest! 

It's for these recipes. Yum! Healthy and delicious, and most importantly, easy to make.

But, as I've said before, you have to be careful because you can easily maim yourself with the mandolin. But, you know, nothing in life is 100% safe. Weigh the risk of (minor) digital mutilation against the benefits of ultra-thin vegetable slices and I think it's obvious which way the scales tip.

Monday, April 29, 2013

An Affirmation of My Position on Bleach

A while ago, my sister-in-law made a comment about how much more relaxed I am these days. When I asked her to elaborate, I had to laugh because it seems that she'd mistaken my silence on certain issues for sanity. It has been said that when a fool remains silent, even he may be considered wise. Perhaps I should heed that sentiment sometime... but for now I'm going to go on writing about bleach.

She mentioned that my intensity came across through some odes to bleach that I blogged a few years ago, and also through my penchant for long-distance endurance challenges. Now, it's true that I haven't had the time to pursue any marathons lately, but my ardent love for bleach has not waned. What has waned is the amount of time that I have to write about my love for bleach. So, joke's on them! I managed to convince Peter's family that I was less crazy, simply by virtue of having less time to publish my idiosyncrasies on the interwebs. (Or is the joke on me since I'm still writing posts about how much I love bleach?)

Regardless, I really love bleach. I've made peace with the fact that it's not very green. Household use of bleach is pretty benign, I think. It dissociates into a salt and water compound within 24 hours. I verified this with an actual chemical engineer. So go ahead, bleach it up!

I cleaned out my dishwasher this week. It was horrifying. I never would have thought to clean it out except for the fact that the bottom was growing mold. I'm actually embarrassed by how long it took me to clean it out after I noticed the mold. I was going to post a picture of the before and after. But I decided that I would be shunned by all decent society if people knew how much mold was growing in the dishwasher while I was still using it to wash dishes.

I did an initial cleaning which helped, but underneath the trap at the bottom, I could still see nastiness. We removed the trap only to encounter nastiness exponentially greater than could be seen outside the trap. There was an entire stagnant-water ecosystem under there complete with billowing algae fronds. I'm not a light weight, I can deal with gross stuff. I was a nurse. But this nearly made me gag. I cleaned it out, all the while trying not to throw up. And then I ran a cycle with a cup of bleach inside the top rack. Now that dishwasher is as sparkling white as a snow-capped mountain glistening under a bright winter sun (you might have to use your imagination)!

After a lot of elbow grease and a hefty dose of bleach

Also, Isla has pink eye. Poor thing. It's pitiful. This is new, none of us have had pink eye. Again, I'm not a light weight when it comes to grossness. I can deal and have dealt with nearly every type of bodily fluid common to man. But the ever-flowing founts of green mucus that are my baby's eyes? It's kind of getting to me. So, basically I've run amok with the bleach.

I am so, so thankful for bleach. Really, I'm almost verklemt writing this. Admittedly,  I may be a little emotional at the moment as a result of caffeine consumption and an extended stint during which we've been cooped up inside due to illness- John had a cold, now Isla has pink eye. But to think that some people don't have bleach with which to cleanse ecosystems from their dishwashers and eye gunk from everywhere else- I can't bear it! If that makes me crazy, then check me into the institution! I'm sure such establishments use a lot of disinfectants, so I would probably like it there.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

An Amendment to My Position on BB Guns

Hi blog friends! This might be an odd topic on which to return from my blog hiatus. But, you know, I don't know... Right! I've noticed that the more children one has, the less one blogs. Yet, there's so much fodder for blogging during these little years- so much wisdom and nonsense out of the mouth of babes, so many scenarios that are simultaneously pitiful and hilarious, but so little time to collect one's thoughts! I'm living that truth!

A few years ago I wrote a post on what you should avoid if you'd like to maintain the integrity of your eyeballs. I believed that I was qualified to write such a post because at the time I was working as a nurse in an eye surgery center, also Peter is an ophthalmology resident. You can read it here, but the things I mentioned that can wreak havoc on your eyes were: BB guns, bungee cords, and exercise bands.

However, I concede that I stand partially corrected. BBs usually intersect with the ophthalmology world in the form of surgeries required to remove BBs that have been lodged in a person's eye socket. However, recently Peter had a case in which a BB gun was actually instrumental in revealing an eye problem! A small boy had gotten a BB gun. While using it, which necessitates closing one eye to focus on a target with the other, he realized that he had blurriness in one of his eyes- something that he was not aware of when using both eyes, as the clear eye compensated for the blurry one. His mother made an appointment at Peter's clinic, and he was diagnosed with an infection. The infection is treated and now all is well.

So! It appears that you should buy your child a BB gun!* If he gets a BB lodged in his eye, who do you call? An ophthalmologist! If, while using the BB gun, some sort of eye deficit is revealed, who do you call? An ophthalmologist! Your kid gets the Red Ryder BB gun that he's always wanted, he might have an underlying visual problem that the BB gun will help to identify, and Peter gets job security! (And by extension of Peter's job security, I get to continue my non-stop bon bon-eating lifestyle.) Everyone wins!

* I'm totally kidding. Do not get your kid a BB gun. Or, at least, don't do it for the sake of his visual health, but if you want to support Peter's job security, who am I to stand in your way?