Of Custard Powder and Fables

I ordered Horne’s custard powder from Canada, and, to all the Britons out there, no, The Boffin is not starting divorce proceedings.  To the Americans out there, custard powder is a staple within the U.K. and many Commonwealth countries because custard is either served by itself, primarily to children, or it is served with so many desserts the same way you would with whipped cream or ice cream.  It is much quicker and easier to make than traditional custard because you don’t have to worry about curdled eggs.  All you have to do is heat with milk.

It was first invented by a chemist named Alfred Bird of Swansea back in 1837 because his wife was allergic to eggs and couldn’t enjoy traditional custard.  Mrs. Bird was a lucky lass, I say.

The British brand of choice is still Bird’s custard powder, and The Boffin still thinks it has a smoother, silkier mouth feel.  However, we decided to pick up a tin of Horne’s when we visited Canada.  I happen to like that brand better because it has vanilla, and it has four different starches which give it a fuller texture.  So we decided to alternate tins.  This is how an Anglo-American marriage works, folks.  Neither side claims superiority.

Besides, Bird’s is better for making custard creams.

Regardless, the Canadian company where I bought the powder sent a fable with its packing slip.  Service with a smile, so I thought I would pass it along.




Some of the Reasons Why I am on Twitter







Nothing But the Best for Mom.

I just came home from the pharmacy.  While I was there, I was in the greeting card aisle with a gentleman who was chuckling while taking a picture of a card and sending the photo via his phone.  Being in the States, it wasn’t awkward for me to say, “Oh, a really funny one to share with friends?”

He replied, “Na, it’s my mom’s birthday.  This is her card.”

I realized that he created a new definition of an e-card.

So, is he being cheap, or is he just using modern technology like the rest of us do with birthday greetings?

Hello There.

I just want to say that I know it has been a long time since I have posted.  The Family Boffin has been getting used to a new normal for the past year as far as our mental health has been concerned.

It turns out I am different flavor of crazy than I thought, so I have to find new and more effective ways of being a menace to society.

But it is not like anything interesting has happened nor is there anything for me to write about.  The U.K. and the U.S.A. have just stayed their usual dull selves this past year.

Meanwhile, I will continue to blather on about crumpets, toast racks, and 4-way stops vs. roundabouts.

Stay tuned to this spot.

It’s nice to be back.

The Sun Is Out to Get Me…Hip-Hip-Hip-Hooray!

The Boffin and I just dropped off The Sprog at Sunday school and were driving to the grocery store eastbound on one of the characteristically straight main roads that are so common in the grid system that connects Chicagoland. I was in the passenger seat, and the sun’s position was such that its rays decided that it would be fun to bore a hole into my temple. All I wanted to do was get some food, and the sun wants to play Space Invaders with my brain.

As I flipped the visor over, I opined in my genteel way about how the sun is harsher here in the Midwest as opposed to the Northeast. I believe I said something along the lines of, “The sun’s an asshole!”

This when The Boffin explained to me that the sun is no different here. We aren’t driving on roads that bend and twist as much. I am sitting in the same position for a longer period, therefore the sun has more of an opportunity to fry my cranium.

But I maintain since the sun takes advantage of the grid system and my vulnerablity, at the very least, it acts like a five-year-old with a magnifying glass, and I am a mere ant.

See.  It is just matter of time before it starts using me for target practice.  Dick.  "Giant prominence on the sun erupted" by NASA/SDO/AIA/Goddard Space Flight Center
See. It is just matter of time before it starts using me for target practice. “Giant prominence on the sun erupted” by NASA/SDO/AIA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Regardless, Chicagoland, the grid system is overrated. A few fluctuations in the roads can decrease head trauma. Or spouses like The Boffin from rants like mine.

ADHD: It’s Not Just for Boys

In the mental health front, a few weeks ago, I got to play with blocks and rings, an experience I haven’t had since The Sprog was a toddler, and, at the end of that, I had a guy with a bunch of letters at the end of his name tell me I have ADHD.

I know that is a flippant way of presenting this particular bit of information, but I am still wrapping my head around what it means, considering I am now reframing my life up to this point.  The methodology behind my neuropsychological exam was sound, and the psychologist did explain how he came to his conclusion quite thoroughly.  It makes sense.  In summary, the psychologist told me that I used my intelligence to compensate for the fact that I have the attention span of something my cat coughs up.  Although, I am pretty sure he didn’t use that particular phrasing. Maybe he did.  I don’t know.  I have ADHD.  Plausible deniability.

Seriously, lots of people picture ADHD as something belonging to hyperactive boys.  In fact, the diagnosis criteria was based upon clinical evaluation of hyperactive boys, and girls were, and still are oftentimes, lost in the shuffle.  Because, ADHD presents itself differently in girls.  They are more likely to exhibit the inattentive part of the ADHD, and it shows up as being forgetful, disorganized, messy, and introverted. She may also have a propensity to daydream a lot and may take longer to do tasks than other children do.  The hyperactive part presents as talkative and a tendency to interrupt.  And I am only scratching the surface, as far as behavior goes.  So, unless a girl is presenting symptoms closer to what the classic ADHD criteria states, or she is fortunate enough to be around experienced professionals who work with girls with ADHD, she can easily fall through the cracks.

What is also important to note is the effect this can have if girls are undiagnosed and not treated.  Girls with ADHD are at more risk of developing depression, anxiety, and eating disorders than those without.  They are also more prone to self-injury and addiction.  A huge part of it is the self-flagellation that comes with the ADHD territory.  Why can’t I remember things?  What’s wrong with me?  Why did I just say that?  How can everyone else do these simple things, but I can’t?  And if other people are giving them flak on top of it, they are in that cycle of worthlessness that just drives them into the ground like an augur into soil.

I can give an example.  Now I’m 42 and graduated from high school in 1991.  It was about that point that ADHD was started to be diagnosed more because of more parental and clinical awareness and that was in boys, so my parents, teachers, and other people who were close to me would have had no idea what to look for.  And I mastered the art of getting A’s while doing homework for my other classes and taking notes during my lectures.  If I had to put extra work for the tough subjects like calculus, I did, but I would pressure myself to the point of tears and panic.  Not understanding something meant I was dumb because it just reinforced those shortfalls in those other functions in my brain.  I know this now, but when I was a teenager, I couldn’t ask for help because I just expected people to say, “But you are smart.  You should be able to figure this out,” like they did with the other things that were easy for them.

I have read that having ADHD is like being a speeding car careening down a hill or being in a Porsche with no headlights. I can relate to the car analogy, but it is not quite that simple.

Imagine my brain is a Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop 2-Door.

Sweet.  “00-Mini-John-Cooper-Works-2011” by Elmschrat – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

And you are thinking, “Well, it’s just a Mini.” Actually, it’s a Mini (2016 model) that can go from naught to 60 in 6.1 seconds on manual and has 228 bhp under its bonnet. It’s a Mini that lots of people underestimate and is pretty badass.

However, several things can happen when I drive my Mini.

  1.  Everything works.  I’m motoring on the Nürburgring and putting in impressive lap times.  People are saying, “Hey, look at Karen go,” and are asking me to go on tour.  I am panicking because I know I can’t drive like this consistently because…
  2. Sometimes, I think everything works, but I am using my Mini’s onboard, integrated navigation system.  I have complete trust in this GPS, but it is sinister.  It takes me onto a set of railroad tracks in front of an oncoming train, and I wonder how I got there when I just wanted to go the Loop.
  3. And then there are the times when I see where I am going, but the steering has cut out.  Plenty of times, I can use the brakes or the hand brake.  I can get the car into neutral or park, or I can do other things to keep me from falling off the cliff.  Once in a blue moon, I fail.
  4. It feels like I am in the middle of Nebraska on the highway for hundreds of miles with nowhere to turn off, and nothing interesting to do.  That’s when the car just drifts into Magic Happy Bunny Land where I can frolic with my furry friends.
  5. Other times, we are getting into inclement weather.  Blizzard conditions.  It’s nighttime.  The wipers are jacked up on high.  The radio is on blast, and I can’t turn it off.  Minimal visibility.  The car is sliding and slipping everywhere.  The only thing I can do is try not to close my eyes, hang on tight, and hope for the best.
  6. Of course, certain moments, days, whatever, I have no other choice but to park the car.  Out of gas.

But notice I haven’t totaled the car.

Because I have to say, as much as I have been negative this post, there is an upside to being a creative weirdo.  If that is what ADHD gives me, I’ll take it.

So where do I go from here?  I am readapting my lifestyle and looking into treatment options, including medication.  The same thing anyone else does when they get a diagnosis, and that is to find a way to manage it when you know there is no cure.

But I am learning to enjoy the drive while I do it.

If Canada Geese Organize, We’re Doomed.

As the weather gets colder, bird migration becomes more prominent around these parts, and I live in one of the Canada geese’s paths. One thing I learned is that, regarding human interaction, Canada geese are the assholes of the bird world.

They will not budge. They will not negotiate. They will not move an inch to accommodate us, and we will capitulate every time.

It is not just a matter of strutting across the street and waiting until their conga line passes over. Those bastards will sometimes decide sit down and have a rest in the middle of the road, and no one will do a damn thing about it. Canada geese will just trample and shit all over every square inch of land, and we just accept it like death and taxes. One time when I was relaxing by the waterfront on Lake Michigan, I saw a jet skier had to do some Steve McQueen stunt maneuvers to save his neck because, God forbid, the birds could actually fly out of the way.

Selfish douchenozzles.

All it would take is a disgruntled former employee of Perdue or Bernard Matthews with a talent for crossbreeding to create an army of these menaces with intelligence. We would be at their mercy.

We would be stuck in traffic for years.