Sushi and the “Wasabi Challenge”- get rid of that runny nose or problem sinus

Now for those of you who don’t know what wasabi is, it is a Japanese horseradish as it’s roots are used as a spice, (looks like a light green bird terd)… Most often this is used to mix with soy sauce for dipping sushi rolls into kind of a mustard dip of sorts…

Wasabi is not so much as “Hot”, but gives kind of the same sensation (if mixed heavy) as Vick’s vapor rub, without the mint, producing vapors that stimulate the nasal and sinus passages and behind the eyes and can be quite painful if mixed very strong, though it generally only lasts a few seconds…  In small amounts sit is very tasty, but if you can’t smell you also have problems tasting things too and found wasabi to help with problem sinuses…

While in college I learned to really enjoy sushi with a friend of mine, Doug “Slago” Holland… We would have a kind of stupid male challenge, lets call it a challenge of endurance of sorts, the Wasabi Challenge- and what we would call a “Wasabi-Hit” as I seemed to hit or kind of a burning feeling behind the eyes to the point of producing tears… We would be given small bowl is to mix the soy sauce ad the wasabi into for dipping, so the two of us would try to mix a batch that we both had to endure…

We started off just enjoying this new kind of food, but suddenly we noticed mixing it heavy would cause a little bit of pain for a couple seconds, and we also noticed it would clear up a stuffed nose…  We both have some sinus problems and found this was one of the best methods to get rid of a stuffed nose or sinus and the need to have tissues to blow your nose was needed…  So if we had the beginning part of a stuffed nose or sinus, we would go have some lunch or supper at a local Japanese restaurant that had a sushi bar…  We also noticed if you had a really clogged sinus, mixing up a heavy mix of it in the soy sauce the person sitting with you can even hear the clogged sinus start to break up…

It’s been years since college, and the Wasabi Challenge between the two of us, but since then have learned that to break up a stuffed nose or sinus at the beginning stage or even at it’s heaviest part, having a dish of Sushi with a mix of wasabi in it is one of the best natural ways to get rid of the nose and sinus problem…

Often we would say after a mouth full, “Wow what a Wasabi Hit” as we would have tears running down out faces and if we had colds or sinus problems would also need to blow our noses…  So each time I enjoy sushi, I think back to those funny but good times with my close college friend Doug “Slugo” Holland and smile thinking of his first introducing me to this great food and the help it has given me over the years with the beginning of a cold or a stuffed sinus…
Charles Taggart, EzineArticles.com Basic Author

So next time you have a runny nose or your sinuses start to get stuffed up, try going to a sushi bar or stop and get a pre-made sushi dish at your local grocery store that has some Wasabi and soy sauce to help get rid of your problem…

One of my Heroines- My High School Art Teacher, Julie Stevens Czerenda

I was in 9th grade when a new Art teacher was starting her year at my high school, from what my friend’s and I had heard, she was fresh out of college…  My friends and I had gotten into class just as the bell rang, sat down laughing, carrying on as often students do…  The new Art Teacher stood behind her desk, looking at the class student list…  She quietly in a soft voice introduced herself; “Ms. Stevens”, where she informed us she had just recently graduated from Saint Rose College in Albany NY, and how she loved art, then started her speech about what she expected from us students…  Little did I realize then how much this teacher would help change and influence my life then…

The past Art teacher, though a great artist herself, was also part of what is called the “Happy Hand” art teaching methods of the 60’s and early 70’s- keep the kids occupied creating things and all is good…  Problem is, in her last few years, the students started to get out of hand, not cleaning up and often threw clay to stick to the ceiling and so forth…

This new teacher- Ms Stevens, proceeded to tell her tail of spending two weeks cleaning up the art room, and it was clean…  As she told us this, her voice seemed to get agitated at the thought of what she had to done…  She had scraped the clay off the walls and ceiling, no easy feat with a 16’ tall room, – swept and mopped the floors, and even scraped the gum from under the tables and chairs- it seemed a “New Art Room”…  She started to bring her voice to a more powerful statue, and informed us there would be no gum chewing, no tobacco chewing, no sodas or drinks, “you are here to learn ART”…  She then turned quickly to point to one of my friends Mike,  told him to swallow what ever he had in his mouth…  The color of his face told all, as he seemed to turn greenish as he swallowed a mouth full of tobacco chew and was enough to make all the students also swallow their gum or what have you they where chewing on…

Informing us she might look small but she is a lot stronger then she looks, as her eyes focused mostly at my table of friends, who she could tell where some of trouble makers,  held up the local phone book and tore it in half…  You could have heard a pin drop and the hollow sound of the breeze as it came in through the window over the mouths that dropped and stare of astounded eyes focused on the town phone book, now in two halves in her hands…  Later I would find out she had spent the night perforating each page of the phone books for an easy tear…

This teacher meant business, and her business was to teach us art and no fooling around…  Little did I know I too would use this same method later in my life, when student teaching a class that had some 14 year old students that had made past student teacher cry and had gotten into fights with teachers…

On this note, her voice changed to a softer tone, telling us to use the paper and draw the flag that hung near the door for the last 15 minutes of class…  And that the next class we would build files for our work, have meeting with her one on one about our projects and she would be teaching us about drawing and shading techniques…

The years flew by, learning of light and dark, how to create different forms of shading techniques in pencil, pen and ink and water color…  We would be sat in circles around the subject of objects she would have us draw, paint and look deeper into the art history- artists and painters through out history- giving reference to their styles of shading or kinds of art they worked on…  Some of the student she also I would find out later, where just naturally talented or gifted in the art’s, their creativity and abilities she knew she couldn’t out do, but she couched us, challenged us and helped to mold us young future artists, art teachers and photographers and graphic designers of the future…

My friends and I had some problems, the glands and teenage youth filling our minds more with thoughts to girls then what we where suppose to be learning…

Often she would challenged me further, away from groups with more challenging demands then the rest of the class and I also heard she did this also with the other naturally gifted art students too…  She earned the respect from me and many students that Art was a great thing to learn- it combined all of the studies; Writing, Music, Science and Math- to do and the joy it brought us understanding in our creative talents…  Even those that might have been challenged in creating art, she pushed to learn and appreciate art…

It was from Ms Stevens I learned and became very good with using Pen & ink, her teaching me Stipple, Hatch and Cross Hatch shading techniques…  Instead of smaller pieces of paper, she would have me work on larger more complex pieces, pushing me more and more to do more, be more realistic, the foundations classes of visual problem solving…  Often she had me sit in a corner to keep me from wasting my time flirting with the girls…

The years went by, and I started to spend more time in the art room, going there often during study hall, to continue to work on the large projects of subject matter she challenged me with…  She also had us look up artists or illustrators, and it was July I thank for my finding this one illustrator- Murray Tinkelman who was a master of Pen & ink illustration…  Later I would have Murray Tinkelman as a professor, teaching me illustration, this because of Ms. Stevens…

Julie had worked hard to gain funds to increase the art budget, and added to the art room a ceramic wheel for making bowls, vases, goblets and such…  She was going to be taken an intro class on how to throw clay and work on the wheel the summer before and had plans on other classes on ceramics that summer…  She wanted me to try it out…  She sat me down, and told me to ball up some clay, get my hands wet in the water bin and get the wheel spinning, then throw the clay ball into the center of the wheel, and it would stick…  This seemed fairly easy in concept, but I didn’t quit make center,  the clay went flying off the wheel, hitting me square between the legs…  She blushed and tried not to laugh too loud at my pain…  Little did I know this too would entice me to know and try to become good at using the wheel at Syracuse University, gaining the backing and intrigue of one of the Master Professors in Ceramics, in my ability to use the wheel left and right handed, and my hand strength in being able to throw off the hump, using 25 pounds of clay at a time to build mugs…  An interest in another form of art because of Julie…

My Senior year I went off to Boces to take a Commercial Art’s Class, and there where the best artists of the different school systems, all challenging each other in their abilities in who was the best…  I helped that year too, when she asked me to use my 35mm camera to take photos, candid’s of people in school, as someone else had tried but so much of their photos where too blurry…  So much of the year book that year where photos I had taken…  She also taught me to follow though, as she didn’t give me credit for being part of the Year Book staff, as I thought I had better things to do, chasing girls and hanging with my friends, but a lesson learned…

It was this year; an illustration I did of an Indian head chief became the school hall passes, letterhead and the front of future yearbooks…  Little did they know the words I had hidden in the feathers about the principle back then…

Off to college I went, majoring in Commercial Art at Chamberlayne Junior College in Boston.  Later I would find my way to Syracuse University, majoring in Illustration under the guidance of one of the high school artist heroes, Murray Tinkelman…  My sophomore year, I started taking some ceramics, and junior year picked up a 2nd major- Art Education…  The ceramic interests was because of Julie and picking up Art Education also was because of her influence…  I finished with the Dual Major and master credits in Art Ed, Ceramics and Presentation…

I chose to come back to my hometown without a stoplight, and heard Julie was leaving the high school to teach elsewhere and had recently gotten married, she now being Mrs. Czerenda (though I still called her Ms Stevens and still have problems thinking to her as “Julie”)…  She wondered why I didn’t add my resume to fill the opening, as she told me she would have recommended me for the position, but I felt I needed to follow and build my own studio…  I just am wanting to wait till another time later in my life maybe to become a professor, but will use the influence and understanding of teaching art to help teach business people how to create websites and take photos of their products…

Julie now lives in Connecticut, has raised her son, and is now enjoying making jewelry and also teaching young children art, which I am sure she is loving as she is and always will love children and their enjoyment of creativity…

So my foundations of understanding drawing, painting, intro to art history, ceramics, photography, advertising, illustration and then later Art Education is because of the care, teachings and inspirations of my High School Art Teacher, Julie Stevens Czerenda…

Even now, memories and of the past show their images in my mind or dreams or with reading some of her blog or FaceBook entries, she still finds ways of sharing inspiration and ideas…

Julie, I thank you for opening the door to this great field of creativity and what would become my life as a Visual Problem Solver in the fields Art…

You can visit Julie Czerenda’s Blog: http://www.juliesheartsdesire.blogspot.com

And you can visit her Jewlery studio sales at: http://www.julescz59.etsy.com

Spring Morning Songs of Loneliness, Good Morning and Love…

Winter and it’s silence is now over, the spring nights now are filled with the sound of millions of little tree frogs and their little voices calling out their love song that fills the evening, night and morning, becoming like a massive chorus song that seems to fill the air… So soothing the sound, refreshing to hear after so many nights of winter and only hearing the sound of the cold wind and no sound of any animals in the night… The little tree frog in it’s attempt to locate a mate, calling out in the darkness, then listening ad calling out again…

It’s 6 am now, Easter Sunday, the window left down and I was woken by these small creatures that fill my wetlands with their song of loneliness in search of love… The tree frog is maybe an inch long, no larger them the end of my thumb, with suction cups at the end of it’s fingers so it can climb trees, blades of grass and cling to leaves or even glass, as they sometimes will cling to my studio window at night to watch me draw at my drawing table… How sweet this sound is to my ears, soothing in it’s rhythm that seems to fill the night in waves of sound, soft, then getting louder, then soft again…

Slowly it is joined with the morning songs of birds, as they start to wake, still too dark to fly, but calling out from their resting places in the trees, their still making nests, no eggs yet under feathers, as I watched yesterday some picking up small twigs, pieces of grass, yarn and twine… Further into my wetlands I also hear the morning sound of the geese that nest back there, honking their good mornings to the other geese, knowing a pair or two are nesting in tree branches have set up like an Indian tepee, so there would be enough room for the female to lay her eggs and maybe on a cold night, both of them could be within it…

The morning light is just now starting to turn the sky from black to a deep blue, showing the horizon of the hill the sun will climb slowly from behind in the next half hour, to begin this day… It is this morning song that starts my days, and ends them into night, that makes living in the country so enjoyable…

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