Saturday, September 12, 2009

'Tis the season for handwashing

Chicken pox, mad cow disease, swine flu — we have odd names for serious and not so serious diseases. Swine flu is one of the more serious ones and as a nurse I encourage all my readers who work with kids or in health care, who are pregnant, elderly or in other high risk groups to get a flu shot. One should be enough according to the latest studies.

I have written before about eating soup when you are sick, but congee (rice soup) is a comfort food. Soup can do much more for you when you are sick than just providing you with salt, fluids and memories of mom taking care of you when you came down with something. Spicy soup like Tom Yum can help relieve congestion, clearing your head and easing your aches and pains.

Capsaicin, the hot in hot peppers, has been proven to reduce inflammation, relieve chronic pain and help prevent strokes and heart attacks. More and more research also shows that hot peppers help with cancer prevention.

If you do not get a flu shot, you should at least know the symptoms of swine flu. Everything you remember from the last time you had the flu is also a symptom of swine flu: fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue. But with swine flu you may also get diarrhea and/or vomiting. In children abrupt cognitive or behavorial changes can occur, possibly due to Reye's syndrome (do not give children with viral illnesses aspirin, give them Tylenol instead).

If you think you may have swine flu, see your doctor! It's worth your time and the cost of a visit even if you find out you have regular flu and not swine flu. And regardless of whether you catch regular flu or swine flu, stay home and rest. If you want True Thai soup, send someone to pick it up for you. Do NOT eat out or go out in public unless it's absolutely necessary. Remember that illness is especially hard on people who live by themselves so do try to help friends, relatives or coworkers who may be sick at home without enough groceries to get by.

To avoid the flu, wash your hands. Yes, yes I know everyone says this but everyone tells you to wash your hands because it is the very best way to avoid disease. Especially if you live in an apartment building, attend school or work in a place with lots of other people. We touch everything with our hands, and then we touch our mouths and noses with those same hands and that is how germs get into our bodies. And the best places to get germs on your hands are hospitals, medical clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores and all the other places sick people go.

This has been a TRUE THAI HEALTH ADVISORY urging you to take basic precautions (handwashing!). Take care of yourself this flu season.

Friday, September 11, 2009

From the land of Thai blue waters...

I love this tank top my cousin Beth sent me from Thailand. But I have to admit that this is kind of a phony picture.

I don't drink. I have eaten everything on True Thai's menu, but I've never had any of our beers or wine. Never.

I tried to drink once at my 25th birthday party but it turned out I'm allergic to alcohol, just like my dad was.

He never drank at all but on his 60th birthday he accepted a glass of Singha and discovered he was allergic to alcohol by breaking out in hives.

I think it is just as well. I've heard of many bad things happening because of drinking, but I've never heard of anything good happening because someone was drunk.

Sometimes when I see a table that's had one too many it's hard not to notice how much fun everyone is having. Then I feel a bit left out, but only a little. When that happens, I usually take a break and go over to the Los Campeones gym to work out with Carla.

So no, I cannot tell you from personal experience that I know Singha is a great beer, but I do know that everyone in Thailand thinks so.

That and they gave us some great free table umbrellas!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Singing to King Rama IX at 9:09 pm on 9-9-09

I tried to call home at 9 this morning but my sister said, "NO! Can't talk now, we all have to sing to the King!"

Thailand is exactly 12 hours ahead of Minneapolis, and at 9:09 p.m. Thailand time the entire nation sang the national anthem to King Rama IX to commemorate this being the ninth day of the ninth month of 2009. Already there is a video on YouTube of everyone singing to the King.

UPDATE: You can read about the sing-a-long at The Bangkok Post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You like us, you really like us!

Thank you all so much for voting for True Thai Restaurant again! This is Minnesota Monthly Magazine's 2009 Reader's Choice Award for Best Thai Restaurant and it will proudly go on our Awards Wall!

This is our second best of award in 2009, having earlier won City Page's 2009 Reader's Choice Award for Best Thai Restaurant.

Your votes gave us our 17th 23rd major award since opening in late 2002. Fifteen awards have been from Twin Cities magazines, five from online restaurant ratings services (City Search and Zagat), and three are from Thailand.

Each one is very special to us, whether it was awarded by a restaurant critic or from "foodies." Everyone at True Thai from our servers to our kitchen staff are very proud when their hard work is recognized with a new award.

If you haven't seen our Awards Wall, it's in the new part of the restaurant. Or you can see it on our Flickr page.

Again, thank you to Minnesota Monthly, and thank you to all our fans for again voting us Best Thai Restaurant in the Twin Cities!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day

As you may know, I am a full-time Public Health Nurse (P.H.N.) for the Ramsey County Department of Public Health. The career counseling service that prepared my resume told me I was the fastest hire they'd ever worked with. They mailed my cover letter and resume on a Monday night at the main post office and first thing on Tuesday morning the Dept. of Public Health called me in for an interview. At the end of the interview they offered me the job.

You must be thinking, wow, Anna must be a really great nurse! No, Anna speaks Hmong, and in 1994 I was the only R.N. in Minnesota who spoke Hmong! Tens of thousands of Hmong were immigrating to Minnesota, but no one at Ramsey County spoke Hmong. They put me to work immediately.

I like being a nurse because I like helping people. In addition to my work for the County, I worked as a volunteer instructor for the Baby Steps/Baby Ready program and the Face to Face Clinic. I also served on the Adolescent Health Work Team, and the Frogtown area Planning Committee for Children's Initiatives.

I spend the rest of my time at True Thai, but before we opened the restaurant in 2002, I moonlighted as an R.N. for several different home healthcare agencies, not unlike police officers who do security work in their off time. People need nurses and there never seem to be enough to go around.

While I was taking nursing classes at the University of Minnesota, I worked as a secretary for the Physics Department. Before that I was an accounts assistant for the University of Minnesota Foundation. Before I moved to Minnesota, I worked as an accounting clerk for Purdue University, and as a Statistics & Budget Clerk for Berea College's Labor and Student Life Department.

By now you must be thinking, Anna really likes working for universities! That is true, but there is a very good reason for that. My first job in the United States was working as a Lab Assistant in the Soil Science Department at the University of Kentucky. I arrived at the airport in Lexington at midnight, and went to work the next morning at 8 a.m.!

My sister was working on her Ph.D. there and got me a job working for her advisor. All day long Anna would look at dirt under a microscope.

I am posting this on Sunday because on Monday the restaurant is closed and Anna is going to catch up on her sleep!