Friday, February 20, 2015

The Invasion

Silence....This blog site has been quiet for over a month. I didn't actually push PAUSE on my life, although it definitely felt like it. In the midst of a life hiatus, I managed to find a place to hang my jacket for 8 hours a day. Although it is not in that dream job, it is employment, and for now, I am happy to be earning a wage. I am still in the industry of cooking, albeit a bit off on a tangent. I am cooking on food trucks at my old university, which is less cooking and mostly customer service. I have always thought of myself as someone who should always be behind the doors which divide the kitchen from the customers, as I have managed to increase my kitchen vocabulary to heights which would embarrass even myself, but apparently I have a skill with clientele as my new job. I am actually good at serving people, at least through a mobile food truck window. So I am currently working there, earning a union wage and slowly feeling the creativity shrivel in my body. Hence, the disappearance. I am always looking for new, more fertile work, as I feel the downfall of union work seeping into my pores, invading my mind. It is no wonder these employees have become the simple worker bee, with no real movement upwards, these people toil without any desire to create or impress. I feel out of place amongst the crop of cloned employees.

I digress, regardless of how the title of this blog does seem to be about an invasion of my world of unions, but it is not about that at all. My body has been invaded by another being, albeit tiny, but able to multiply quickly. I have the dreaded COLD, and have tracked it's invasion over the past five days. This so called invader has taken almost everyone I know captive, moving on to next victim easily, most likely via a cough, sneeze, or simply in the moist air carrying our friendly conversations. I have managed to avoid such a named bug, COLD, for quite awhile, where usually my warriors that fight off invaders in my body are fit for the task, and COLD only gets his foot in the door, before the soldiers stamp on his toes and the door slams shut. In this case, my relaxed lifestyle over the past months, and recent employment have probably taxed my army a bit too much, leaving the windows and doors open for COLD to sneak in unassuming, jumping warriors one by one. Now, the war is on and my troops are winning, as I can tell by my symptoms to date. Here is the play by play time line of this JEN vs COLD war to date, in case you experience the same war going on inside your body. Please remember, these day-to-day descriptions all depend on how large your army is, and how strong your warriors are.

DAY 1 (Monday): The Friendly Tickle

COLD is a nasty little being who comes into your house, past your guards, most likely with your friends. He's like that dude that gets by the bouncer in a nightclub, sneaking in while somehow creating a distraction. In my case, my army of immunity warriors had the longest vacation in history. There were a few times I had to call in part of the troops to fend off COLD, but it has definitely been a long vacay drinking 1516 and red wine by the poolside. So when I had to go back to work, these soldiers were probably pretty groggy, not used to getting up every morning and having to fight off new foreign enemies from bus riders. These new enemy troops didn't speak the same language and the terrain of the bus and new colder work environment was foreign. The day before I really noticed my army was failing, I worked an off shift, at night, in the cold. Definitely, this was not a normal war scenario for my troops. Then, after my shift, I had a few too many beverages, making my soldiers weak, and BAM, COLD entered through an open door in my fortress.

 I woke up the next morning, feeling groggy but generally on par for the day. I spent my first day of a week off of work, reading week at the university, entertaining the enormous task of "Spring Cleaning". Reorganizing, moving furniture, renewing my living space, thus hopefully reenergizing my being. Unfortunately COLD had begun his stealth fight, soldiers dropping quietly, and by the end of the day, unbeknownst to me, I was missing a brigade and a small part of my body was invaded. My throat had the slightest tickle, which I racked up to the dust in my cleaning tirade bothering breathing. So, as my groggy soldiers were being taken out one by one in a dust storm, and COLD took over my throat to reproduce, strengthening his army, I decided to have a few drinks after my house cleaning, and weaken my troops some more... 

Day 2 (Tuesday): The Lump

My eyes were blinded by the mid-morning sun as I a woke, and immediately felt and unusual phlegm filled mass in the back of my throat, similar to swallowing a frog (like anyone has actually done that). I recognized this instantly, knowing my week off was probably ruined, as COLD has invaded my body. The war was on. That feeling in the back of my throat is exactly like a familiar scene in movies, when a small army sees a much larger enemy army coming over the hill towards them. The lump was actually COLDs army! As I tried my best all day to divert the army into the narrow gully into my stomach, thus drowning the brigade in a pool of acid in my stomach, the enemy kept multiplying, and my soldiers were tiring in the action of detouring this mass of enemy fire to the acid pool. This exhaustion my army was feeling, took toll on my energy too, as I slept most of the day watching Netflix, while the beautiful sunshine outside teased me. I watched my hummingbirds sparkle in the sunlight, feeding from the feeder, as I lay dazed on the couch, as if three quarters of my blood was drained from my body.

Finally I got up and realized I needed to feed my army, and go to Safeway and get some grub. I also had an appointment with a friend, so I killed two birds with one stone (what a horrendous saying!) and went out for drinks with him, whilst my provisions were at my feet. As the night went on, the war was silent, in fact, going outside revived me a bit, making me feel better, when in fact, both sides of the war were actually resting for more intense fighting the next day. The entertainment that evening made me forget that there was a battle going on inside my body until I grabbed my bag of provisions. When I arrived home, I medicated with Neo Citron, and fell asleep, along with my troops. In the quiet of the night, the enemy had another surprise stuffed up his sleeve... 

Day 3 (Wednesday): The Cough

Sunshine blasting through my window, warming my face and prying my eyes open. Another beautiful day and I wondered what was going on on the battlefield. Without moving I sucked in a deep breath, filling my lungs, and I noticed COLD had taken over not only my throat, which still had those soldiers running into the acid pool, but also some of my lungs. Somehow, the cloning of the enemy soldiers caused an overflow of troops, and my soldiers couldn't contain them in the gully running to my acidic stomach. In turn, the abundance of enemy troops invaded my esophagus and lungs. It wasn't much of an invasion, but enough for me to take notice. The war seemed steady all day, and my soldiers fighting in my lungs were forcing me to disperse of the enemy by coughing them out. This action is quite violent to the enemy and home soil, additionally causing neighbouring countries (people) to be invaded by COLD if they are in the line of fire. 

Knowing I needed to strengthen my troops, I went outside for a walk, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Being outside, confused the enemy and COLD began to retreat, as my army gained strength from my getting some exercise. My two hour walk in the sun rejuvenated me and my troops, pushing the enemy out of my body. I coughed up a storm, away from as many people as I could, avoiding the catapulting action it caused, flinging soldiers from my lungs. Once I finished my walk outside, I met up with some friends, and it seemed my cough subsided a bit. I chose to not go overboard with the libations, thus making my army inebriated, and ate instead. You know the saying, "Feed a cold, starve a fever"? I did just that, allowing my troops to replenish. That night I went home, watched more Netflix, dosing off after more Neo Citron.

Day 4 (Thursday): The Enemy Is Green!

I love waking up with the sunshine on my face, that's why I sleep with the curtains open. I generally never shut my curtains, unless I am "entertaining". This morning the sun woke me as usual, but there was something amiss. My lungs felt solid, as if the enemy had multiplied exponentially in my lungs in those eight hours. My soldiers woke similarly, the enemy right on top of them, daggers in hand. Luckily that sleep was the one thing I needed after some food in my belly. I got up and my army went into psycho-mode, killing the enemy fire and soldiers left, right and center. I spent ten to fifteen minutes coughing out the enemy violently. My sinuses also had been invaded and those troops were ejected too, into the Kleenex tarp wrapped around my nostrils. Cough after cough, I saw those enemies with my very own eyes. It had been a long time since I stared into the green eyes of COLD, but he was a familiar enemy from the past. Dressed in lime green, his exterminated troops violently left my fortress, via The Cough, The Sneeze or The Forced Nose Blow. Each time my body felt a bit lighter, and stronger, readying for another expulsion of enemy soldiers.

After that morning battle, I made myself a cup of coffee and ate some granola bars, while reading the rest of my book in the sunshine in my newly arranged, yet thoroughly unfinished apartment. COLD subsided after the violent battle, and allowed his troops to rest. I got dressed and went outside again for an even longer walk, enjoying the sun and numerous eagle-sightings, delighting me immensely. My obsession with bald eagles had subsided but I still get immense joy out of seeing such regal birds soaring above. I have moved on to birds in general, but spying two hummingbirds at Lost Lagoon made my smile, and identifying rare birds here in Stanley Park, kept my day occupied, rather than focussing on my inner battle. After a quick visit with friends again watching the hockey game, I made my way home. 


Netflix on, watching The Mind of a Chef, I began to fill my stagnant creative cooking files with new ideas. Perhaps, this war in my body was just what I needed. A kick in the ass to start creating again, in the kitchen. While I woke up my creative side, my body began a new expulsion method, Sneezing! I hadn't sneezed much this time around with the battle of COLD, but i sneezed about ten times, each time I let loose, shooting enemy troops far away from my fortress. This caused minor damaged to the outside of my castle, as I coughed and sneezed simultaneously, and spit my upper lip a bit. I put some lip balm on and continued the battle. After the main battle subsided i was hungry. I made a late night snack - a grilled cheese sandwich with pancetta and basil, with a side of shrimp chips all drizzled in Sriracha. Spice was the new chemical warfare for COLDs army, and it worked.
My nose began to run from the Sriracha sauce, so much so that I blew my shnoze so much, there was a pile of dead enemy soldiers inside Kleenexes on my coffee table. "Take that COLD!" I wandered off to sleep, after another Neo Citron and two Tylenol sinus tablets, to combat the silent night battle.


Day 5 (Friday): We are Winning!

I woke again with the sunlight on my face, and ran my tongue over my upper lip to find the small cut still there. I got up, heavy chested, and plugged nose. I knew what I needed to do. This wasn't an invasion but the aftermath of my immunity soldiers doing their job. They fought a good battle so far and the tides had turned. We were winning! I just had to do my job and remove the dead enemy soldiers. With more energy and gusto, I blew my nose hard and coughed up a storm. Immediately I felted freed of the weight. Those lime green soldiers removed quickly with force. I was ready to make a great meal, creativity file opened in my head. I made a meal of sautéed nugget potatoes with pancetta, beans, peas, corn and bok choy, topped with something I saw on The Mind of a Chef - poached scrambled eggs. I wanted to see if it was as easy as it seemed on the show. It was! The eggs were light and fluffy, like a creamy foam on a pint of Guinness!  I laid the eggs on the hash and added fresh basil (the basil wasn't the best idea but the only herb I had). It was delicious and I was happy to have finally started cooking again.

A freshly brewed cup of coffee and I sit here writing, another sign that I could be back to normal, if not back to even better than normal. I feel much better, regardless of the aftermath: my lip split, my throat a bit scratchy from coughing out the enemy, my nostrils a bit red from blowing out bad guys. I actually feel refreshed in a way. Perhaps, getting sick isn't as bad as it seems. I was lucky enough to not be working this week to properly deal with the inner battle. Will I get the rest of my Spring Cleaning done? Meh, who cares really.... I have tomorrow to do that. I just wanna get back outside. Fight on troops! We are winning the battle inside and out!