RIP Wendy Richard

My parents and I don’t have the same taste in television shows except for a shared fondness for British comedies. One of my and their favourites of all time is Are You Being Served? Mr. Humphries “I’m free!”, Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy. Love them all.

I was sad to learn this morning that Wendy Richards, Miss Brahms in AYBS, passed away yesterday from breast cancer that had metastisized to other organs. Very sad, but she left a huge legacy of comedy and dramatic acting for which she will always be remembered.


You don’t grow out of it

I was one of those kids that mothers curse their children with when they get older, a challenging child “just like you”, who will make you apologize to your mother for all the grief you put her through. Full of the curiousity that killed the cat, stubborn, determined, too smart for her own good and eager to make sure everyone knew (correcting teachers was a favourite pastime).

I was — and still am — a very fussy eater. I could happily eat the same things on a regular schedule and never get bored. I don’t want to experiment, I don’t want to change things up. I don’t want to broaden my palate. My taste buds are perfectly happy, thankyouverymuch. My sister is not considered by anyone to be a fussy eater, yet she is more rigid in her eating habits than anyone I know, including me. The main difference between us, and the reason that I’m classified a fussy eater and she isn’t, is that she isn’t open about her dislikes. Unless you eat with her regularly, you’d never know just how particular she is. You’d never know that she  rejects new foods based on look or smell, even if she knows that she likes all of the ingredients that make up that food.

There are varying degrees of aversion that most people — not just fussy eaters — have towards various foods:

There are foods you wouldn’t eat if you were starving and they were all that was standing between you and death — mushrooms, any meat that looks like it actually came from a living creature (that includes insects and grubs, shellfish, anything with bones or recognizable body parts, and meat that is pink or bleeding), and tofu if I can smell it fall into that category for me.

There are foods you don’t like but could force yourself to eat if you had to in order to live (and I mean an immediate threat of starvation, not “eating grossitemA will help prevent diseaseB”) — bleu cheese, asparagus, cauliflower, refried beans, and creamed corn fall into that category for me.

And there are foods you’d prefer not to eat but could eat to be polite or because they are good for you — broccoli, wax beans, whole wheat anything, cashews, walnuts, tomatoes, and peppers fall into that category for me.

Fussy eating is something you don’t always grow out it. And there’s no reason you should have to. People really need to stop trying to make us feel ashamed for knowing what we like and don’t like. As long as your nutritional needs are being met by what you eat, why does it matter to anyone?

Surefire hiccups cure

We’ve all tried the usual thing to stop hiccups — holding your breath, drinking water, drinking water while holding your breath, eating a spoonful of sugar, etc. I don’t know about you but they rarely work for me on their own.

The key to stopping persistent hiccups is to calm the spasms in your diaphragm. Holding your breath alone doesn’t always accomplish that, nor does drinking water or just ignoring it and hoping the hiccups go away. I get hiccups fairly frequently (including this morning) and I’ve never yet had the following home remedy not work — give it a try yourself the next time you have a case of the hiccups that won’t go away:

  1. Right after you hiccup, exhale completely from your diaphragm. (Contract your upper abdominal muscles near the diaphragm as you exhale.)
  2. Inhale completely from your diaphragm and then hold your breath.
  3. While holding your breath, drink as many small sips of water as you can (aim for about a cupfull at least, if you can).
  4. Hold your breath as long as you can after you stop sipping the water and then exhale. The hiccups should be gone.

The entire process above should only take about 20 seconds or so. If your hiccups are coming too frequently, the process above may be interrupted by a hiccup (usually that interruption will come during the initial exhalation in step 1) — just restart.

Happy Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras) is the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent. For many of us, it’s better known as Pancake Day, a day to pig out on pancakes and syrup.

I almost always forget about Pancake Day until it’s too late. When I was living at home, my mother would make a big pancake supper. When we were older and no longer living at home, we would usually get together at Smitty‘s for pancakes and omelettes. And when I first moved up here to Ottawa, work colleagues and I would head to the pancake house that used to be at the corner of St. Laurent and Industrial (it later became a Hooters — I don’t remember what it is now). On my own, I usually go for Eggos instead of pancakes because I don’t own a frying pan and I like waffles better than pancakes, but the intent is the same. I haven’t had Eggos in years so there are yummy times ahead today. 😀

Interesting sites:

The Me Project 2.0: Week 2 begins

Have been eating somewhat better this past week but keep forgetting to eat regularly. For a binge eater, that’s not a smart thing to do because then when you do eat, you go overboard. Actually ate breakfast this morning, though, which is something new for me.

My sleep is still really messed up more often than not. I have until March 15 to get myself back on a dayshift pattern or I’m going to have to buy cartons of 5 Hour Energy in order to stay awake at work. (Hey, maybe I’ll actually get a workstation light this time.) This happens when I’m obsessively working on something — I think better at night so I end up doing much of the work during that time. So hopefully it’ll naturally go back to “normal” once (a) the Joomla site is done and (b) I’m back working like normal people. Slept partially normally last night but I also have a bad cold that came on me suddenly yesterday so I slept most of the day as well — and I’m still tired.

Have started to let my nails grow again. Still forgetting to take my supplements as often as I should so I’m still battling the koilonychia, but the spooning isn’t as pronounced as it was.

Hey, the good news fairy stopped by

on Friday and I found out that I start a new contract (at the place I worked at last year) in three weeks. So, time to finish that Joomla site I’m working on (we’ve set the launch day back a few weeks) and finish decluttering before joining the gainfully employed again, at least for a few months.

One thing this Joomla site is teaching me is that I have a shockingly short attention span, and that I’m really easily bored. *This* is why I can never get my own site redesigns finished (I have one that has been in the works for several years now and I’ve long since gotten sick and tired of the “new” design). You’d think someone with as many OCD issues as I have wouldn’t have that much of a problem with attention sp…oh, look, a shiny thing.

Hell or the high road

Clearly I’m not nearly as spiritually evolved as I might wish I was. I mean, I don’t relish in or support being mean for mean’s sake, but sometimes a little biting sarcasm is just what the situation calls for, especially when someone is being an ass. I don’t personally think quickly enough usually to be the person being sarcastic, but I do appreciate a skilled artisan. In November, a commenter at Failblog put it well:

“Hi, you must be new here. Allow me to explain. This is failblog, You can choose to remain silent. But remember anything you say can and probably will be held against you. Unlike the law, where you will be provided representation, should you not be able to defend yourself, we will continue to burn you. Should you make friends (unlikely in most cases) they are allowed to defend you, but doing so opens them up to our derision. Thank you and have a nice day.”

Failblog can be a harsh place at times, and it’s frequently full of inane crap, but it also includes some of the wittiest — and most delightfully sarcastic — comments I’ve read. The comments on its sister site, ICanHasCheezburger, on the other hand, in addition to being LOLcatted into incomprehensibility, are full to bursting with warm fuzzies. Wit and sarcasm have no place there, except on the LOLcat images themselves, and you’ll develop cavities or diabetes from the sweetness.

In case you haven’t guessed already, I’m not all sweetness and light. 

And the high road is usually the boring road.

Contemplating mortality

I know that death is an inevitable part of life. I know that. I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of surviving, of being left behind with a gaping hole in my life.

My uncle had a heart attack a few days ago. He’s still in the hospital, but appears to be recovering fairly well after surgery to install a shunt.

It’s made my parents start looking very seriously at preparing for their own deaths. They long ago bought a plot in a small cemetery near where my father grew up, and they bought a headstone a few years ago. Now they are looking at prearranging and paying for their funerals. And they are preparing things so that my mother knows what to do if my father goes first. We had a very matter-of-fact conversation about it last night and that was more frightening than I expected it to be. I’m not prepared for the inevitable, not theirs, not mine.

In my current rather suppressed state of mind (which isn’t helped by the fact that I am desperately tired), XUP’s post about seven steps to eternal youth struck a nerve. I’m older than my years, sadder than my life experiences should have made me, less of a participant in my life that I would ever have dreamed. If you’re as old as you feel, I’m 90. 

XUP, thank you for posting that — I just may have to adopt it as my manifesto.

Jesus the Jew

I’m watching the new Channel 4 (UK) series, Christianity: A History:

“[an] Eight-part history of the Christian faith, looking at its origins, development and turbulent past. High-profile British personalities examine a religion that has particular resonance for them.”

I’ve watched several of the five episodes that have aired so far, but the one I’ve found most interesting was episode one, “Jesus the Jew”, which follows Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson‘s exploration of Jesus in his own time.

I have had a fascination with Jesus — as a historical figure, as a cult leader, as a phenomenon — most of my adult life. (In truth, I have a fascination with — and simultaneous aversion to — religion in general that started with an obsession with Greek and Roman mythology in my teens, but I grew up in Christianity and so that is the one that most consistently grabs my attention.) Despite having been raised a church-going Protestant, I’ve never been baptised, christened, or confirmed and so have never considered myself really a Christian (to my mother’s eternal disappointment). I’m definitely not one now and no amount of proselytising will ever make me one, not even on my deathbed. But that doesn’t quell my interest in the historical, mythological, and scholarly aspects of Jesus the man or the early centuries of Christianity. Continue reading “Jesus the Jew”