Sunday, October 9, 2011

Home Remedies

Mom is always right. Whenever you are at a crossroads or run out of ideas, just remember that Mom is always right. I say this as I sit here with my mom's home remedy for the cold, a warm tea made from lemon juice and honey. After a week of taking the dreaded "Western medicine" made of 1000 chemicals that may increase the chances of growing a monkey tail out my butt, I decided to return to Mom's advice and make the lime juice, honey tea. I added apple cider vinegar for good measure. That's a tip from the Mother of healthy living Patricia Bragg. (Check her stuff out at While Patricia knows all there is to know about healthy living, I'm not quite ready to go on the raw food diet just yet. So I'll settle for the quick fixes, or little gems of wisdom my Mom has passed down to me now that I'm a mom.

I suffer from sore throats quite a bit so when Mom's in town, she makes a horrendous concoction of garlic, red onion, lemon juice, and honey. Blend it all together into a chunky pink salsa of sorts and stores it in a glass jar in the fridge. I think she puts about 15 cloves of garlic and a whole lot of red onion. It's safe to say that if that doesn't kill in the infection nothing short of an atomic bomb will. I admit that I caved in this time. I took myself to urgent care and got my handy Z-pack. Yes, this time around, I opted for a  methyl-substituted nitrogen atom which has been incorporated into a lactone ring instead of reeking like a vampire killer by day. Ahhh, the torment of being a hyphenated American! I just really didn't feel like stinking!

When I arrived at urgent care, they asked me what I was there for, and I said, "for the penicillin". I know what I have and what I need. Why aren't we trusted to medicated ourselves? Same with school. My daughter has a cough and I know what it sounds like and I know that it's not that bad. There's nothing I can do about her sounding like a cat with a fur-ball stuck in her throat but I do know she's not that sick if she's still running around and bouncing off the walls like usual. The first thing the school asks is if I checked with the doctor. It's a bit infuriating. Season after season, we get sick, kids get sick, they get everyone else sick. It happens! After a few years, I think I know a thing or two about colds and coughs. Why must I spend a copay and time just to validate my judgement as a mom? So I said "yes, the doctor said we just have to wait it out. Nothing much else to do". That was last year so I don't really need to go waste my time and money to hear the same thing again to put the school at ease for fear of me being an idiot. Of course, my mom suggests I should have told her I needed the penicillin for myself because she would have brought some from Mexico. You know what, she's probably right! I spent $30 and 2 hours to get the generic of what I already knew I needed.  It should be available at the local CVS just like Tylenol and Robitussin like in Mexico.

Another home remedy that every good Mexican should know is the power of Vicks! Yes, absolutely. Vicks should be up there with the color of the flags: verde, blanco, colorado y Vicks! It's a point of national pride, just like soccer. What you do is after a warm bath that loosens up your congestion, you head off to bed, have your grandmother, mom, or whoever is available, massage your chest with the mentholy-goopy goodness. Next, massage the bottom of your feet and  immediately put on the warmest socks you have. Head up the leg to the back of knee. Massage that area in a circular motion with the Vicks. Same goes for behind your elbows. Wear long sweat pants and a long sleeve sweat shirt. If you're brave, then go ahead and rub some Vicks on your upper back and just a tiny dab on your upper lip, just outside your nostrils. Ahhhh! Wrap yourself up like a burrito and go to sleep. You'll start to feel your pores open up and the Vicks penetrate. You'll start to sweat and eventually go to sleep. If you can drink some warm lemon juice and honey tea before bed, then you've got yourself a great home remedy. You'll feel like a new person in the morning. Guaranteed! You can still fake it and call in sick or convince your abuelita to make you a warm caldo de pollo, but you'll feel much better.

Mom also suggested I take a walk around the block. Not for exercise but to clip a few eucalyptus leaves off of the neighbor's tree. Ayy! Apparently she snapped off a few branches herself and made some for her and my dad back in Texas. She knows my neighborhood by plant and fruit tree. Has no idea what street she's on but will take a long walk and come back with groceries. Make a left at the avocado and a right at the naranjo.

So the next time your mom or grandmother comes at your with a spoonful of garlic and honey, just take it. Or the next time you think they're cooking up some hot chocolate and remove the lid off the pot to find a bunch of twigs boiling in water, just drink it. And the next time you burn your hand on the stove and grandma grabs the butcher knife, don't be scared. Relax. She's just going outside to cut off a piece of her aloe vera plant to heal your burn. There are countless home remedies out there and if you just remember my mantra--- Mom is always right!--- you'll be feeling much better . . . a bit stinky, but much better. Plus, you're guaranteed to not have fluorescent green poop the next time you go, and no third nipple will appear, nor will your pinkie toe grow longer than your big toe, and that's worth all the temporary nose pinching and hallucination-inducing Vicks trip you'll experience.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Authentic John Leguizamo

I had the pleasure of seeing John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown tonight at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. I -could- not- stop- laughing. From start to finish, it was comedy but not the slapstick comedy criticizing things he observes about the outside world as most comedians do (think Seinfeld). It was John looking at himself, his internal struggle with life (as we can all relate), in a very open and honest way. As a fan of his films, I loved his imitations of Al Pachino, Patrick Swayze, and Steven Segal. To Wong Foo was just on last night so I stayed up to watch. He made such a good-looking woman that his best friend hit on him thinking he was a real Cha Cha from the hood.
He talked about landing his first tv role as a Colombian drug lord in Miami Vice, getting slapped around by Sean Penn, his first love, his daddy issues-and boy does he have daddy issues-, and the loving advice from his wise grandfather. Spot on imitations, and his fun and funky period dances (70s, 80s, 90s) take the audience back to those relateable moments in time that we've all lived.
What struck me most about his performance is that it wasn't a performance. It was John telling the story of his life, as natural and unscripted a scripted performance can be. It's his life disguised as a play--- John's therapy session with a few hundred people. Never once do you think you are watching an actor. You are watching a friend reenact his experiences ---who just happens to do a great Pachino imitation and has fantastic set designer friends. He did have one Seinfeld moment I must confess. "Why isn't phonetically spelled phonetically?" he asks, but it related seamlessly to his real-life struggle as he hit rock bottom, lost his best friend, realized he was still broke despite his fame, and used all of that as inspiration to write his plays. It seems he may have come to terms with it all---his career, family life (despite his dad suing him), and personal demons ----but after all the struggles, it makes one wonder if he's learned anything from them and is finally getting paid properly for this performance.