Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Between

From the Origin to the Destinationlies the Between, that place where
we live our lives.

It neither really here nor there,
a shadowland of becoming
in the midst of living.

Becoming in the Between
means always feeling displaced,
lost, never quite sure of the footing.

Why?  Because Between is not where we are going
nor where we are coming from;
 it is the murky fact that we are - unfinished.

Therefore despair not if you feel
lost in between:
it merely means you have not yet arrived.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Glimmers of Clarity

Glimmers of clarity do not come often.  But, occasionally, they come.

There was a sense last night, driving home from getting some last minute groceries, that I had suddenly had some clarity, clarity on things that I could not have predicted last Thursday.  It is always a shock when such things occur - I look so long for such things and yet am surprised when they suddenly appear.

What pushed things to the moment?
- A letter from someone indicating the positive impact I had on their life.
- Picking up the beginnings of a physical training program and finding that in doing, I feel more powerful and alive.
-The realization that for now, where I am career wise is where I need to be - for reasons that have nothing to do with my career.
- An acceptance of the fact that a part of my experience has reached the point of usefulness and I need to move on.
-  A realization (or maybe a re-realization, perhaps) of my importance within my family.
- Finally, a quiet acceptance of the fact that the principles of Christianity I claim to value need to be lived out more fully in every aspect of my life, not just spiritual part.

So what does this practically mean?

Well, for one thing it means that I am informally taking myself out of the job search market, at least actively.  I will review things that come in, but I am not going to go out of my way to search.

Secondly, it means accepting that there are things to work on and get better at, things that I can spend my time on beneficially.  Oddly enough, these things may hardly represent career enhancing issues.  Things like
- Writing
- Physical training (lifting, Heavy Athletics)
- Ichiryo Gusoku (Gardening and Cheese here, with perhaps a touch of quail and bees)
- Languages (something I truly love), with the intent of actually having something useful instead of just head knowledge.
- Iaijutsu
- Music (Harp here, I think)
- Family (yes, I know, it is a given, but still needs to be on the list)
- God (specifically both on a personal level as well as truly getting involved in a corporate body of worship).

In fact, as I look at this list, I see that precisely none of this directly would improve my career.  And maybe that is okay.  Because perhaps the more relevant question is this:  if I simply let go of my focus of my career (and my long running unhappiness therewith) would it put me any farther from fulfilling the true purpose of why I am here or would it move me closer?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When The Life Change Dost Not Come

And then the life change does not come.

The notification is innocuous enough, of course:  "Dear TB:  Thanks very much for our interest in our company.  We enjoyed our time together and wanted to let you know that everyone like you.  However, we have decided to go with a candidate which more completely matches the requirements of the position.  Kind Regards, X".  And there it sits, blinking on your screen.

You attempt to be somewhat philosophical about the whole thing, of course.  Had a feeling it would come nothing.  Knew that that the fit was not really there.  And, after all, you are still currently employed.  You were not really counting on this anyway.

And yet nagging thoughts appear at the back of your mind.

It has happened.  Finally.  You have been put into a slot that is neither in one side of your industry or the other, but rather a middle ground where everyone feels rightly that you do really do what they do and so, though your experience is "good", it is just not really right.  But the reality is that it will never really be right at this point.  You can only retool so much - the barriers that always seem permeable have suddenly, almost inexplicably, hardened.

For me at least, I try to take refuge in the fact that God is in control, that God promotes, and that for whatever reason He has determined that I need to remain here.  I would love to say that this is a totally comforting fact but if somehow it does not feel so.  It feels more as if I have been placed into a holding tank for some kind of opportunity that is never really going to materialize.

So what to do next?

I really have no idea.  For various reasons, relocation at this point is not really an option, which severely limits my opportunities.  Certainly there seem to be no real opportunities around here, or if so they are cleverly disguising themselves as something else.  Another industry?  The concern, of course, is the retooling comment above - and its corollaries time and money.

I would like to that somehow all of this is going to end well, that somehow this constant sense of "No" is because somewhere there is a greater "Yes".

I just wish I had the eyes to see it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting for A Life Change

So the hoped for life change has not appeared yet.
I am a lot more philosophical about this that I have been in the past.  Before, I would have been constantly fluttering from e-mail to phone, looking for a sign, an update, anything that would indicate that something was about to change.  If I was really agitated, I would go and check the Internet to see if anything had changed.

I would start my calculations, trying to come up with everything that I did not have to do if I started on a certain date.  I would dream (yes, I dream about work I do not have to do) about the sense of relief that would flood my life when the change occurred.

But, the change has not materialized yet.

And so, I go in about my day.  Have I checked once or twice?  Sure.  Did I send a follow up communication? Yes, but it has been a while sense I checked in.  Other than that, I just go about my day doing my thing.

Where does this philosophical bent come from, you might ask.  Surely it cannot  be because everything in your life has gone extremely pleasantly (it has not changed) or that you have a list of other opportunities should this one evaporate (I do not).    It has come, simply enough, from the concept - brought back to my attention last week - that ultimately it is God who changes and promotes.

I can do what I consider to be my best at anything:  twist, shout, polish myself to a brilliant sheen, say everything with a golden tongue. I can work my behind off, bend over backwards to make things happen, and sacrifice valuable time from other parts of my life.  And nothing will necessarily happen.

If I am brutally honest about it, almost every major thing in my life has happened in God's timing - and,  I might add, without the extreme amount of agitation I can put myself through.  The only time it did not was an error of my own choice (The Firm - perhaps right choice, but very wrong timing).  Everything else has simply moved through the system to conclusion.

There is my part to play of course - yes, I have to be diligent and work hard and keep my nose to the grindstone.  But the constant posturing and posing to move something ahead is something I simply need not do - when the time is right, God will act.

And so I patiently live my life, trying to improve things where possible and be better.  And wait, because at the point I least expect, the call to change will come.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Domiaiti Cheese

This is Domiati Cheese:


This is probably a cheese you have never heard of (prior to making it, neither had I).  It is a cheese of North African descent.  It is an unusual cheese in that it incorporates salt at the very beginning of the process and is stored in its own way (see below for more).

Simplified preparation process:  4 quarts (1 gallon) of milk, to which is add 2/3 cup Kosher Salt.  Bring to 100 F.  Add 1/4 TSP Thremophilic culture, wait 5 minutes.  Add 1/4 TSP Rennet.  Hold for 2 hours at 100 F.  Check for a clean break (indicating the curd has set), then cut into smaller sections.  Allow to settle for 5 minutes, then stir for 15 minutes.  Allow to settle.  Pour through cheese cloth and a colander and allow to drain, reserving the whey.  Placed the drain curd into a mold (I use a small Tomme mold) and turn several times for 12 hours.  Add another 1/3 cup Kosher salt to the whey and store at room temperature.

Why is this cheese interesting, both in general and in an emergency? Because it is designed to be stored at room temperature (which, apparently, is how it is done in North Africa).  The heavily salted (very heavily salted) whey preserves the cheese against mold and bacteria.  (Note that I have not yet tried this theory, but will have to put it to the test with a small test sample of a cheese.  No sense in wasting good cheese  unless I have to).  In the refrigerator as I store it, it will last a long time indeed (not, in point of fact, that it ever does).

Cheese - or any preservation of any food, really - is a Godsend.  It is a way to take a raw material and add value to the process and preserve it for the future.  Hopefully we will never reach the stage where things will become somewhat rationed (but, as we have seen with the avian flu, it can happen).  To be able to take something and turn it into a food for longer storage is a good thing.  To change that food into something that can quite possibly go without refrigeration for periods of time, even better.