feed a fever, starve a cold


Or is it the other way around? Greetings from my sickbed! It all started with a very painful sore throat Saturday; I’ll spare you some of the worse details, but let’s just say that life is very messy these days. We all know that time is the only thing that can actually cure a cold; however, everyone seems to have a favorite remedy to make things feel a little less yucky. This episode is dedicated to a few things I’ve been trying lately, and some things that are “supposed” to work…but kind of don’t.

1. Drink hot liquids. I feel like I’ve been living on hot water with lemon and honey. The lemon and honey soothe a sore throat and ease the obnoxious tickle. The hot liquid and the steam from the mug feel really good on nasal congestion. Bonus: water, tea, chicken soup, whatever, keep dehydration at bay.

2. Antibiotics. Mayo Clinic reminds us that a cold comes from a virus, so antibiotics that fight bacteria don’t do any good. Inappropriate or excessive use of antibiotics can also contribute to development of medication-resistant strains (aka the Superbug).

Table of illness accessories: tissues, DayQuil, tea, etc.

3. Chicken soup. It is warm and tasty and mild enough to soothe a tender tummy. WebMD tells me that it’s also an anti-inflammatory that relieves respiratory issues and (look away, squeamish readers) moves mucus through the sinuses faster. Mm mm good!

4. Herbal and mineral supplements. A lot of people take things like zinc, echinacea, or other substances from traditional Chinese medicine to prevent or treat colds. Studies show that, while most of these don’t harm, neither do they really do any good. In fact, some may interact pretty badly with other medicines (including aspirin and some kinds of birth control). Sounds like you should do your research and consult a doctor before you try supplements.

Incidentally, the title phrase is actually “starve a fever, feed a cold,” and it comes from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (holla, AP English!). I guess it originated out of some (totally incorrect) medieval folk medicine. The good folks at Mayo say that no matter what your illness, unless your doctor specifically tells you not to, you should eat at least a little to keep your strength up.

Friends, what do you think? What do you do when you are feeling poorly? Do you have any fun bits of wisdom from folk medicine or your mom/grandma/Chinese herbalist?

a word on public transportation


I should start by saying that I am indeed grateful to live in a city with a semi-functional public transit system. I have no intention of getting a car any time soon, for a variety of reasons, so it’s wonderful to have a rail and bus system that can get me all over the metro. It’s also nice that pretty much anybody can be found on the train or the circulator: tourists, schoolkids, summer interns, and regular working folk. WMATA has had some serious safety and efficiency issues lately, including a horrible crash last summer that killed 9, mysterious delays and stoppages, nasty burny smells, and seemingly endless weekend trackwork that forces station closures or track-sharing. But still, SmarTrip cards don’t expire and the system is generally cleaner than other subways (I’m looking at you, El).

The escalators at Rosslyn. I think walking up this beast equals a workout, don't you?

And now, for your edification, I present some useful information for a safe, efficient, and semi-less-stressful Trip On The Washington DC Metro.

1. Figure out where you need to go before you get to the station. Seriously, your life will be so much easier if you can say with confidence, “I’m taking the Red Line in the direction of Glenmont and I’m getting off at Union Station.” Or something. Know your transfers and which side of the platform you need to be on.

Hey, we could live in Osaka...

2. Pay attention to the turnstiles in the station. If you’re using a paper farecard (which I don’t recommend because they cost much more and they get lost and/or destroyed easily), don’t try to use a SmarTrip express lane and hold up the crowd behind you. Even those pesky summer interns have to get to their cubicles on time.

3. Walk on the left, stand on the right. Learn it and live it.

Don't act like this clown from unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com (on the Yellow Line).

4. If it’s rainy or cold, buses and trains WILL be more crowded. There will be many more passengers and we will all be carrying umbrellas, boots, lunch totes, messenger bags, and the Express. Never put your wet umbrella or shopping bag on the seat next to you, and don’t be afraid to get a little cozy. Just, you know, have a mint.

So those are the major survival tips for Washington’s Metro. If you get totally lost and confused, you can always ask a local for help; we want you to enjoy your visit, and if you’re polite and not too stupid, we don’t mind pointing you in the right direction. And now, just a little ditty to celebrate the Metro! (Check out GoRemy’s stuff, he’s pretty talented.)

interns and contracts and jobs, oh my


As some of you know, landing a job in the museum world is pretty darn tough. Even when the economy isn’t in the toilet, there are tons of qualified, intelligent, and eager would-be museum professionals all competing for the same handful of curatorial positions. Throw in lay-offs, unfilled jobs, a pack of baby boomers reluctant to part with income and benefits (and who can blame them, really), and a potential federal hiring freeze, and it’s harder than ever for those of us with brand-new MAs to get our feet in the door.

So we become interns and contractors, and some of us stay in a sort-of-employed limbo for quite a while, establishing contacts with grown-up curators (as I like to call them) and excitedly apply for the next Big Opportunity. I am excited to report that as of October 1, 2010, I will no longer be an Intern, but a Contractor at the Museum where I’ve been spending three days a week for the last two years. Quite the step up, no? I’m pretty sure the pay doesn’t change, and I know my supervisors will still call me Sarah the Intern…but I really hope I don’t have to give up my Intern Badge. It gets me discounts at the bookstore and my picture was taken on a Good Hair Day. Oh well; with a little luck, a little room in the budget, and a little office space, maybe I will get a full-time job there sooner rather than later.

Today was also my last day at the Historic House Museum where I have been a Curatorial Intern since June. I spent four months conducting research on some really great topics for an exhibition scheduled for 2011, as well as assisting with public programs, observing the operations of a small historic house museum, and getting really interested in library science and archival work. Nerd’s paradise! But at 5 pm, I replaced the last of my collection files, packed up my fan, and said goodbye to other museum and history nerds who created a great work environment. Sorry, cheesy. But so true! Every time I hear about someone who had a really bad internship, I always feel really grateful to my supervisors over the last several years. Even though I may not be on their level professionally and academically, or personally close, I’ve never felt belittled, sad, too young, or like Just The Intern Girl. So thank you, all my supervisors, for being awesome teachers and humans! And if you’re stuck in an unfortunate position right now, just remember: you won’t be an intern forever, and when you get a Grown-Up Job of your very own, you’ll know how important it is to be a Kind And Competent Boss.

Historic House Museum where I just wrapped up an internship

I believe I’ll round out the evening with a nice mug of tea and the October issue of Cooking Light. I’m excited about the Peanut Butter Banana Bread on the cover.

Hello world!


I was going to change that title, but I decided it fits this inaugural post pretty well. So here we are!

Some of my friends have really well-done blogs, and I love reading about their recipes, favorite books, fashion discoveries, and adventures. I hope that My Words Are Sparkly will bring you news about knitting, cooking experiments, Raymond (my betta fish), and the life of a twenty-something in Washington, DC.

I’m new to the blogging scene, and I’ll be playing around a lot with layout, colors, widgets, and exciting things like pictures. And as the lovely lady over at La Petite Pancake advised, I’ll be trying to find my blogging voice. Your ideas are totally welcome…and words of encouragement are nice too!

So welcome welcome, and get ready for adventure!

P.S. Once we get rolling here, I’ll look into doing some of those giveaways that other bloggers are so fond of. That’s a shout-out to you, Tenaciously Yours; I want that mini-skinny!

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