Saturday, February 6, 2010


doesn't she look a little like Reese Witherspoon?

I’ll try not to go on and on with this one, and permit those who hear the live version to bear the brunt of my ruminations about snot. The thing is, snot-related issues make up a substantial piece of the pie that is my life these days, so if we’re going to be friends, blogosphere, you’re gonna have to hear about it.

I have allergies. I’m allergic to something mysterious that is present in every home I’ve lived in, in every season, in a variety of countries and phases of the moon. Probably dust or pollution or something else annoyingly omnipresent. Every so often I’ll have a couple of days or weeks where I’m inexplicably normal, but otherwise sneezy snottiness is a permanent condition. Over the counter allergy pills used to fix me right up, but in the past few months booger has really taken over my existence, settled right in to the corner office, and shows no inkling toward resignation.

I thought I’d tried everything. I tried pills of all varieties, and quadruple doses of pills of all varieties. I tried inhalers. On the advice of homeopathic Dr. Nicole, I tried taking copious amounts of vitamin C – advice being to “gradually increase your daily dosage until it gives you diarhea, then take it down a notch”, I was up to munching 12 of those orange flavoured tablets a day, still snotty, no sign of reaching my limit. I even tried cleaning my apartment. For a little while I tried wearing a surgical mask at home all the time, which made me think of Hannibal Lector with his muzzle, and also scared Justin a little. It might have worked anyways, but I couldn’t get it to stay on while I was asleep.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t get through a 35-minute teaching period without blowing my nose 85 times, which inevitably caused the whole class to burst out laughing – I know they’re just stupid little kids, but for some reason there’s nothing as infuriating as being mocked by a room full of 7 year olds. Every garbage can in my house was overflowing with tissues and my nose was so clogged that my ears felt blocked. I couldn’t breath through my nose at all, so I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t even taste my food.

At this point, I became slightly obsessed and started spending hours online researching alternative allergy remedies, sifting through all kinds of quack ideas, and hippy granola cure-alls. (That’s how I came upon that wacky “clean your house” idea.)

Anyway, I’m proud to announce that all those hours were not in vain. I have found my miracle cure, I’m sure of it, in the form of a Neti pot. If you’re not familiar with Neti, basically it’s a contraption that looks a little bit like Aladdin’s Lamp. You fill it up with a luke-warm weak salt water solution, stick the spout in one nostril, lean over a sink, and tip your head to the side at just the right angle as you pour the water in to your nose so that it comes out the other nostril. Then you do the same on the other side. Weird, huh?

It’s actually an ancient Indian thing, practiced by people who do yoga. I guess the idea is that by keeping your body in good condition, flushing out toxins, and improving breathing, your mind is clearer and you can meditate better. Not to blaspheme against the Neti, which IS going to change my life, but – mental clarity, shmental shmarity, I’m interested in its attack on snot.

The Neti will solve all of my problems. I’m sure of it. It flushes all the gook out of the nose. If you do it daily, it also gets your cilia (the little sweepy hairs in your nasal passages) working properly again, since they get sort of paralyzed if you have chronic nose issues like me. It also clears all the dust and pollution and mystery allergens out of your system, and helps with asthma symptoms. It also does your homework and takes out the trash and cooks your dinner and handles that Sunday night phone call from your mother.

It’s the perfect solution. It makes so much sense. I can’t see how it could NOT work.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that all the Neti pots appear to be made in China, they don’t seem to actually be sold here. I ordered one online from Wales, along with some non-iodized salt (can’t find that here either), and paid a hefty shipping fee, but hey, the Neti is going to change my life, so what’s a few extra kuai?

And then I waited for my package to arrive. I kid you not, I thought about that Neti every day, almost all day. I even started contemplating objects that could be converted in to a makeshift Neti to use in the interim. I couldn’t walk past a teapot vendor without eyeing the spouts to see if one was nostril size.

Now the wait is finally over... my Neti pot has arrived!

I’m a little bit nervous, because the whole thing reminds me of people who can put a strand of spaghetti up one nostril and have it come out the other, which freaks me out. Justin will be relieved to see the end of the ominous surgical mask, though Daniel sees this as the beginning of my “descent into lala land.”

I’m off to try it out, and will let you know how it goes!


  1. ok. it is official. i am totally hooked. your blog is incredible. that old risa way of writing is brilliant and i love it.

    also. the neti is life changing. totally addictive and pure simple magic.

    i travel with it. and use it twice a day and sometimes carry it in my purse if i am going for a sleepover.

    please report back on your progress. and yes. she absolutely looks like reese witherspoon.

    p.s. please post a photo of you in a surgical mask. please.

  2. By the way, referring back to your earlier entry - your grandmother used to make a delicious chicken anus, served with chicken feet, meatballs and gravy. Your Uncle Paul was particularly fond of this.- Dad

  3. Risa, the bonkers words that come out of your mouth now come out of my screen, and its pretty funny.

    I'm curious to see how the neti thing works out, since even though i am not snotty and can breathe, my nose has been like 25% blocked for like the last six years. Basically, the result is "breathing - yes/smelling - no". It would be nice to smell everything again.

    (FYI Dad: you could have just put that comment at the bottom of the post that was about chicken anus. You don't need to just put your comments on the most recent post.)

  4. Oh, also! When i went to humber and 1/4 of my class was chinese students, they all laughed their heads off when people blew their noses in class. Finally one of them told me that public nose-blowing is so completely taboo in china that it causes embarrassed/shocked laughter.

  5. Risa, your blog is hilarious. I can hear you talking and it just cracks me up!
    I look forward to my Sunday telephone conversations with your neti.

  6. Not too sure about Taboo on Nose Blowing Theory, Deanna. There certainly isn't anything against public urination or public phlem spitting. Or public walking around in your teddy bear PJs and slippers. Maybe its just the way I do it, with a honk. The local custom is to go tissue-free, plug a nostril, and just shoot a snot rocket to the curb.