Monthly Archives: February 2012

Soup Interruptus!

Today has finally been the day to try out my last “January” soup recipe.  I have slipped a little on this front and not been as far ahead in trying out these wonderful recipes as I would like.
It would be amazing if there were some excuse to make it OK but at the end of the day the person I answer to in this area is me.  I think I’ll let myself off this once.

So todays soup is the Chicken & Lemon (Greek Avgolemone).  This was very easy to make and that turned out to be a distinct blessing this evening.  I prepared the chicken stock and had just finished poaching the chicken.  Lemons sliced in half and squeezing them in my hand, at which point my work phone started ringing.  There was no number displayed so my first instinct was to hit the silence button, then after a moment I remember I need to answer as I am on call.  Little did I know what I was in for.  I calmly answered the phone while continuing to slice and squeeze lemons, also adding the rice into the pot and letting it simmer.  All the while taking in the information regarding the situation I needed to address for work.

I was surprised at how easily I managed to carry on my soup production with my brain engaged elsewhere in the world.  Although I did not venture as far as trying to shred the chicken whilst on the phone.  They may simply be bad manners!  After completing the call it was time to start simmering, and to get my work laptop up and running to begin the process of rectifying our latest issue.  On the surface this seemed like a simple prospect.  The systems have been throwing up similar kinds of problems for a small while so as my laptop awoke and my soup sat gently on the stove I had absolute confidence that this would be fixed in a jiffy.  Oh how I love when the world has other ideas for my time.

Two hours after commencing the simmer the soup was still bubbling away on the store and I was darting into the kitchen to check on it and stir.  Followed by promptly returning to the cold reality of my laptop keyboard and the ongoing puzzle that I was mid solving.  I had suppliers and colleagues on the phone and slowly (oh so very slowly) we managed to hone in on the difficulty.  In between phone calls I was able to wolf down some very delicious soup, I will look forward to a serving that I can savour sometime soon.  Follow by another few hours of problem solving, after all this is what I am paid to do, and in my heart what I enjoy.  What can be better than diving through the systems that make up a companies operation and finding the little wart causing aggravation and deftly slicing it from the software.

In this line of work the victory is also made even sweeter by the time and effort you have to put in to get there.  This was one satisfying victory as I now have the starting point to prevent this from coming up again and we all know prevention is better than cure.

All in all a good evening, the sugar coated taste of a hard won success intermingled with another lovely soup that I would be proud to cook and serve up to guests.  This recipe will be on the recurring list although hopefully with a less dramatic presentation next time.

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Two years ago…

Well here I am awake.  I had tucked myself in with a lovely hot water bottle, as it has been quite chilly lately.  I couldn’t get to sleep as yesterday I was reminded of where the journey I am documenting with this blog began.  I was running through all my old diaries and writing the entries in my new electronic journal program.  I had decided that to make a start it would be an idea to just pick a day at a time and do all the diaries for that particular day.  Some diaries have long entires some have little or no entires.  2010 has no entry for 7th February, it does however have some long entries from 8th February for over a week.  This is when I started to find the new way I have been living my life…

Then:

At the beginning of 2010 I began to feel incredibly disillusioned.  By the middle of January I was feeling that with the amount of heart and soul I was putting into my work that I should be doing something that mattered to the world.  Something that amounted to a greater good, rather than just lining the pockets of a shareholder.  I had re-upped my commitment to work in 2009 after a previous “I hate my job” event, I had done so by buying my own property close enough to walk to the office.  I hoped by making my life whole again in terms of gathering my belongings out of storage and back into my new home, that I would help to heal the obviously broken things in my life.  Naturally the lustre wore off and as stated I found myself back in the same situation again.  I was unhappy at work and work dominated my life, this domination is somewhat of a theme and I have had the tendency to make work my entire identity to the exclusion of almost everything else.

As the days of the New Year bedded in work was (as ever) insanely busy.  I even had a brief last minute trip out to New York to support some of our systems in operation there.  During which I felt ill from start to finish.  By sheer force of will I pushed myself through and not only accomplished my work but also managed to get some sight seeing in, as this had been my first (and to date only) trip to New York.  I was letting work drive me crazy with the amount of output being expected. Then had an epiphany when I realised my concern for a colleague of mine, who was likewise working himself to distress, was a distraction.  Could the idea of helping someone else be a better path for me?

I had a reasonable social life with my friends, although they were few in number in Southampton.  I had only lived in the area for just over two years, and had not been the most outgoing of people.  I did (and still do) have a number of very close friends which are the kind you know the you can call on when the chips are down.  The type of friend that at the end of a very stressful and upsetting day will force feed you Vodka (a true story but not the one I am telling).  With the dating I had done I had resigned myself to living a life without love.  I had concluded that I was not worthy of love and that I would never have anyone.  After all I had hit thirty which was the magical number for me.  The age that I had envisioned by which I would have happily settled with someone and be considering starting a family.  In those terms I hadn’t only given up on romance but also on the idea of one day having my own family, something that I have always had very strong feelings about.

So with my moments of despair ever closer together, having looked at the possibility of selling up and getting the heck out of dodge.  The idea of scrapping the life I had lived thus far and starting again from scratch seemed about the only option there was.  Until 8th February 2010 came to pass…

The Beginning:

It was a Monday much like any other.  I had made arrangements for a friend to come over and watch a DVD.  My obsession with Farmville was in strong form as I spent most of the DVD on the internet farming.  Fortunately my friend didn’t mind, I am lucky to have good people around me.  On a whim I decided to check an old account on a dating site I hadn’t used for a while, I still do not know why I decided to do this.  As usual there were the admin messages advertising products and events.  However whilst I was online a message came through and asked “Do you remember me?”.  The answer was very simple, No.  I didn’t, I hadn’t seen the username before and there was no picture available to jog my memory.  Of course shortly thereafter a picture was sent that I did indeed recognise.  We ended up talking until midnight before making a hasty retreat to bed, both of us needing to get up early for yet more work.  I was tired the next day but it was worth it.  The conversation just flowed, I was able to feel happy about something when I was numb to almost everything else around me.

Fast Forward:

What happened next was a complete whirlwind.  By the time Valentines Day had arrived (an event that I had always hated, due to being perpetually single) I found myself in the formation of a relationship.  This was a significant adjustment for me, forcing me not only to weigh what my work required of me but also what my partner needed from me too.  Another urgent business travel requirement came up during the first few weeks and in complete contrast to my normally obliging character I declined it, I just could not leave.
I was out of work on time as there was someone to pick me up and take me home.  On the long and difficult days there was someone that would cook a meal and help me to unwind.  I was starting to experience something that I now know to be a balance.  My life wasn’t all about work, I wasn’t going to live forever without love.  The door was opened to new experiences as I learned about different values and beliefs.  We took trips to places I had never known existed, or had never envisaged going to.  Like all intense relationships it quickly burned out, but not before I got a good look at the way life could be, about how people can be.  That is one of the most powerful changes there have been to my life so far…

Now:

It is interesting to look back just those two years and to see how dark a place I have come from.  I still work for the same company, still have the same demands for results aplenty.  I have remained single since that time.  Yet I do not feel that I am missing anything, nor that there is anything with which I cannot cope.  I continue to maintain a balance of work and life.  I accept that whilst my work does exist to make money for a shareholder, it also makes money for me.  Allowing me to keep a roof over my head, food in the fridge and also the great freedom to learn more in my personal time by attending self improvement courses.  I still check that dating site on occasion because you never know who else is out there.  I do believe that a great love will enter my life again, in the form of someone new.  I allow myself to hope for anything my heart desires and know that if I follow my heart then my true path is where I am treading.  I choose to live free from despair, I cope with things as they occur and give my best to every situation.

Doing all this has not been easy, with practice, it gets easier.  Many things have changed in my world and are continuing to change as the time inexorably sails on by.  The most important thing I have changed though, is the way I think…

A message you don’t have to forward to 100 friends…

Last year in a moment of inspiration I composed the below message in response to the large number of chain text and emails that demand to be sent to large numbers of your friends.  I know that some of my friends and family enjoyed the message and passed it along.  I therefore saw fit to release it once again for the enjoyment of others.

***

When I need to unwind, you give me your friendship
When my hands aren’t enough, you give me yours
When I need someone to listen, you give me your attention
When I feel alone in the dark, you are there and you turn on the light

You are amazing in both who you are and what you can do.

May this message bring:
A smile to your face, a warmth to your heart, a light to any darkness around you and the love of a friend!

If you like this message then feel free to keep it or pass it along, the love is yours either way.

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