Hello, spring! Glad to see you. Please, stay as long as you like. Really. I’m not looking forward to spending much time with your sister, Summer; I know she’ll stay too long.

Contrary to what some might say, I love the spring, and pray that it will stay as long as possible. Oh, sure, I looked with longing toward summer when it represented freedom and a vacation from the rigors of education; but now that I’m a working adult (strange though that still sometimes feels), summer means sleepless sweat-soaked nights in my un-air-conditioned basement, culinary ambivalence and crankiness over the seeming lack of variety when one becomes limited to unheated food (ALL cooking appliances produce heat to some degree, after all), and having to carry a sweater anyway because they insist on keeping our office at 65 degrees. Summer means pools of sweat on subway seats and stinky bodies, stinky garbage, and stinky me. Ew. Don’t get me wrong; I love the free movies and yoga classes and Astoria Pool and open fire hydrants, but really — MUST it be so blazingly hot? And don’t even start giving me lip about my being from Texas and saying I should be used to the heat. No ma’am. No sir. I do not live in the part of Texas that gets “dry heat”; Northeast Texas is just above the Big Thicket, which is swampy, so we get just as much humidity as this blazing city. However, the stately architecture of this great city acts as a big brick oven in which I must WALK every day, and I am AMAZED at just how many places have no A/C. In Texas, you wake up in your air-conditioned home, get in your air-conditioned car, and drive to your air-conditioned job (unless, God bless you, you work outside), and then stop off at an air-conditioned store or restaurant before going back to your AIR-CONDITIONED HOME. So give me spring, thanks. Or fall. I love them both.  Josh, perhaps I’ll share your enthusiasm for summer if you can figure out a way to air-condition my basment.  ;o)

But since it is spring, I’ve read and heard people talking about allergies a lot lately. I suffered (very mildly, I wouldn’t really call it suffering, actually) from seasonal allergies during my childhood years. My dad caught onto something when I was in high school that eased my allergies: local honey. The premise is similar to the flu shot; a spoonful a day of honey gathered from local bees gets local pollen circulating in your system, which helps you build immunity to the allergens. And to anyone who thinks New York doesn’t have local honey: au contraire, my friend. Go to the Union Square farmers’ market. There’s a man there who sells honey from his rooftop hives. Those bees don’t get any more local (unless you want them in your apartment)!

When I moved to New York, I suddenly found myself plagued with frequent inexplicable bouts of severe laryngitis, which frequent trips to the doctor couldn’t seem to explain. In fact, because of the lack of an actual medical diagnosis, my first university voice teacher gave me a D and told me I was doing it to myself and clearly not taking care of my voice. I assure you, that wasn’t the case. When I studied with the effulgent Barbara Law, she placed immense importance on vocal health as the foundation for vocal technique. Obviously if your instrument is not well-maintained, it will never achieve peak performance. Around the time I went off to college, my maternal grandfather started irrigating his nasal passages daily with home-brewed (sterilized) saline, using a baby’s syringe. My dad soon picked up the practice, and both of them would tell the family how clear they felt in the morning and how less often they got sick. My sophomore year in college, still being plagued with voiceless periods, my new voice teacher suggested I try the ancient yoga practice of neti — irrigating the sinuses. I resisted; it sounded so disgusting! Who wants to squirt water up her nose? And boiling distilled water, adding salt, finding a neti pot, it all sounded way too involved; and what if I didn’t sterilize everything properly and ended up giving myself a sinus infection? Now comes the part of the blog where you wonder if I’ve gotten a promotional contract from Blairex Labs:

That’s when I discovered Simply Saline. Now, nearly every morning in the shower I irrigate my sinuses. The unexplained laryngitis is gone. I get sick less frequently, and headaches less often. I breathe more clearly. Clean out your noses, people. They’re the filters to your lungs. Have you ever seen how nasty air filters get when you don’t clean them? Welcome to what’s IN your nose. I recommend you get it out.