Posted by: Lottie | September 1, 2010

North of the Border

A couple of weeks back, I had the opportunity to head up to Scotland for a few days, staying in Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Even though it took just over 7 hours to drive, some of the scenery is breathtaking. The last time I was in Edinburgh, I was 10 years old and don’t really remember that much of it, so it was a whole new experience seeing what Scotland had to offer this time around.

Scotland Flag

Scotland Flag

Driving up from Edinburgh, over the Forth Bridge and up towards Aberdeen, the scenery opening out onto this wide expanse of hills, greenery and breath-taking views. This country amazes me with the spectacular scenery that it has on offer.

Click here for more photos

:o)

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Posted by: Lottie | July 10, 2010

Relational Creativity

Now I always wondered from whom and which side of my family I inherited my creative streak; My lovely Aunt, Constantina has evolved her creative streak into paintings (and they are quite good to!)

Sisters By Constantina Wood

Sisters By Constantina Wood

Her art reflects her love of storytelling as well as the quest for self-discovery and one’s spiritual transformation. Her earliest work covers her own personal spiritual process and aspects of womanhood. The image of a soul passing through the worldly plane is vividly conveyed. A series of etchings illustrate the mythology and mysticism surrounding the Baal Shem Tov, Israel ben Eliezer, one of the early founders of the Hasidic movement in Poland in the seventeenth century.
Her unique style is influenced by medieval illustrated manuscripts, Russian and Coptic iconography, the Old Masters and an infinite imaginative capacity. Constantina’s art is both immediate and energetic; vibrant and alive.

You can find more information about Constantina and her work on her website

Descent of the Holy Spirit- egg tempera on wood

Descent of the Holy Spirit by Constantina Wood

She is also showcasing some of her work on the Bayswater road on the edge of Hyde Park in London.

So if any of you are in or around that area on Sunday’s commencing from the 11th July, go and say hello and have a look at her work.

:o)

Posted by: Lottie | July 6, 2010

Back in the UK – Part 3

When we experience something new, whether it be changing jobs or moving countries (Sorry, I’m going from one extreme to the other in that analogy). It’s not just about learning about the differences or being adaptable, it’s also about the experience to learn a different perspective about yourself and your character.

So, I was thinking and asking myself “What have I learnt while I was in St Lucia?”, and I came up with the following:

  1. It’s a dream for some people to own/manage/run a bar in the Caribbean near the beach. But in reality, behind that facade of smoke and mirrors, it’s challenging and harder work to make it work and live the dream.
  2. I’ve learnt that working for your own company is, as mentioned above, hard work, but the rewards do balance things out.
  3. I’ve learnt how to scuba dive. Meeting and becoming friends with a whole new group of people from around the world. Having the opportunity to see turtles and a dolphin in their natural habitat, is just out of this world! (literally & metaphorically).
  4. I’ve learnt to not taking things for granted, however small it may seem.
  5. I’ve learnt that creativity is the key to many things, oh and thinking outside of the box.
  6. I’ve learnt to never think that something is what it appears at the surface – to understand the book, you have to read deeper than just glancing over the front cover and skimming the first couple of pages.
  7. I’ve learnt that some things in life can be a double-edged sword.
  8. I’ve learnt that opportunities for something different don’t come around that often, it all depends on the decision that you make, matters the most.
  9. I’ve learnt that I’m too much of a trusting, caring and thoughtful person, especially to people that I care about.
  10. Experiencing the wrath of a category 3 hurricane; Well, okay, I slept through most of it.
  11. Experiencing a 7.4 scale earthquake. A minute was way more than enough.

:o)

Posted by: Lottie | June 28, 2010

This is what happens…

….when you try wearing any type of new leather/canvas/whatever closed shoes after wearing flip flops for 4 years – your feet are literally covered in plasters that are covering blisters!

Oh and the same also applies with the other foot as well – plasters on the same toes and back of the ankle…

My Right Foot

Posted by: Lottie | May 12, 2010

Back in the UK – Part 2

Now that things are getting more settled and beginning to get some semblance of normalcy. It’s down to browsing through all the job sites, contacting recruitment agencies and trying to step back on that career ladder.

Things seemed to be going well to start off with, high spirits, enthusiasm, eagerness, determination (with a slight pinch of desperation??), coupled with an aptitude for doing something positive and hopefully at some point, getting some type of result.
Yes, I know there is a recession going on and yes I realise that there are a greater number of people going for the same job than there would probably have been, say, five years ago, but then several recruiters have mentioned that I’m going to find it difficult to get back into work due to being out of the country for the past 4 years, my heart just sank.

By the recruiter(s) saying what they did, are they sublimely saying that my career in IT that has spanned 13 years is now over? All the skills and experience and knowledge that I gained before, have become useless and redundant? I’m not just talking about hard-technical skills here, I’m also talking about communication skills, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, SDLC knowledge and such like, that they’ve vanished into thin air, never to be seen or heard from again, no goodbye, no more birthday cards or fondest wishes?

When I mentioned this to a friend of mine, she said that while you’ve been out in St Lucia, you’ve broadened your horizons, you’ve taken on new challenges and become a more rounded individual. Doesn’t this account for something?

:oS

Posted by: Lottie | May 6, 2010

I’m very sorry for posting this…

..no, I am, honestly. I just have one of those lavatorial sense of humours, and this is included. Made me laugh out loud. Enjoy!
(received via email)

This is the funniest thing I have ever read. If you ever had a colonoscopy or are planning on one, you can’t miss this one!!!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

Colonoscopy Journal:

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.
A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.
Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.
I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!’

I left Andy’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ‘MoviPrep,’ which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America ‘s enemies.
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.
Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I am being kind – like a mixture ofgoat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon..
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ‘a loose, watery bowel movement may result.’

This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle.. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ‘What if I spurt on Andy?’ How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked..
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.
At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.
Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, ‘Dancing Queen’ had to be the least appropriate.
‘You want me to turn it up?’ said Andy, from somewhere behind me.
‘Ha ha,’ I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling ‘Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.

Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

On the subject of Colonoscopies…
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous….. A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

1. ‘Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!’
2. ‘Find Amelia Earhart yet?’
3. ‘Can you hear me NOW?’
4. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’
5. ‘You know, in Arkansas , we’re now legally married.’
6. ‘Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?’
7. ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…’
8. ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!’
9. ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!’
10. ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.’
11. ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?’
12. ‘God, now I know why I am not gay.’
And the best one of all:
13. ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?’

Posted by: Lottie | April 30, 2010

Reverse Culture Shock

We’ve all heard about people telling us about a culture shock if we go away, which naturally I did have when I went over to St Lucia. What people don’t tell you is the reverse culture shock hitting you when you come back; bumping at you sideways so you end up on the floor saying “Oww, whatdya do that for”?

Maybe I’ve been too used to always seeing cheese flavoured crisps, but since when did crisps have weird, posh sounding flavours? Roasted Chicken and Thyme, Thai-style Chili; When did cold-calling change from being a person reading from a script, hoping that you were going to say the magic words to them so they could pounce and sell you this dream product, to an automated service that starts off with “Please do not hangup”?

Walking around Tesco’s getting food reminded me of a scene from the film, “Moscow on the Hudson”, which some of you may recall was an 80’s movie with Robin Williams as the lead role, who defects from Russia and stays with this American family. He offers to go to the store to get some food and sees row upon row of coffee. His feeling of overwhelming awe at shelf upon shelf stacked with all these different varieties and the amount of coffee is something, that at this time, I can honestly and truthfully say I can personally relate to. The richness and wide variety of produce is overwhelming!

All the little things aside, even after being back for a couple of months, it’s still weird and strange with a small pinch of surrealism for added measure. Now that I’m back, I’ve found that there are things that I used to take for granted, that I now can appreciate alot more.

There’s still some moments where something occurs or someone says something to me and I have to pause for a brief moment to recollect my thoughts.

The most scariest thing I’ve noticed about myself since I’ve been back? I’m walking faster. Not around the house, that would just be stupid, but when I’m walking along a road or around the town centre, it’s like I’m on a mission.

:o)

Posted by: Lottie | April 22, 2010

Messing about by the river

As most of you might, nor might not know. There are three man-made lakes in Milton Keynes- Furzton Lake, Willen Lake and Caldecote Lake.

We spent a leisurely morning, gently strolling around the perimeter of the lake, watching the world go by. There wasn’t much going on, except for a few people walking their dogs, people cycling or running, a few guys fishing in the lake and parents helping their young child feed bread to the geese and ducks. So tranquil and peaceful, and just generally losing yourself in your thoughts.

Furzton Lake, MK

:o)

Posted by: Lottie | March 6, 2010

Back in the UK : Part 1

“When one chapter closes, another one is just beginning”

After spending nearly four years in St Lucia with the hope of new beginnings, new dreams, new prospects and a new life. It’s come to an end, with a ground-breaking thump.

I had the opportunity, I grabbed it with both hands and took the bull by the horns. Not a lot of people have that type of opportunity in their lifetime and I followed through with it – not just talked about it, but actually, physically did it, with both feet jumping straight into the deep end. Sold everything I had and transported myself 4,400 miles onto the other side of the Atlantic, into a country I hardly knew – away from friends, family and my career. My life as I had known it over the previous 30 years, paling into insignificance at the challenges of what laid ahead.

Due to a lot of contributing factors, it all blew up in my face from various differing angles, all in the space of a couple of weeks. The fallout was catastrophic, the clean-up even more so. The recovery slow and tedious and seemingly never-ending.

I don’t know why it ended up all happening at the same time. It’s not down to one thing in particular, it was just an amalgamation of different things, hurtling towards me from all sides. It just adds to the experiences that we call life. Makes us the people that we are and a very big learning experience on life’s path.

As one of my friends so eloquently said to me at the time “It sucks to be you at the moment”.

So what am I going to do next? I have no idea what the future holds….I am only human after all.

:o)

Posted by: Lottie | January 2, 2010

I’m in Heaven…Chocolate Heaven

Now, those of you that know me, know the relationship that I have with chocolate and how we act when we get together.

For those of you that don’t know me, and/or never had the opportunity/pleasure in working at the same company as me then, I will explain.

Start dream sequence…..screen goes fuzzy, dream clouds float by….you get the general idea, right?

Ever since I started working in IT back in 1995, I have always had a thing for junk food – more specifically, the sweet stuff. I’m not just talking about the odd bar of chocolate, I’m talking about a drawer full – Mr. Kipling cakes, bag of sweets, numerous chocolate bars, crisps, biscuits, maybe the odd apple….I might hasten to add, before you get the wrong idea, that they weren’t all eaten on the same day and my diet didn’t just consist of this type of food. Even on my 21st, my work colleagues got me a spaghetti jar fulled with sweets & chocolate….(was I really that predictable??)

So, back to the present day. I’m not as bad now as I was back then – maybe I’ve just grown out of that phase, who knows. But I still immensely enjoy eating chocolate. The only problem is, there isn’t much selection of chocolate over here in the local supermarket, it’s about 2 shelves holding about 10 varieties of chocolate – Oh Henry’s, Dairy Milk, Three Muskateers, Charles’ chocolate (very yucky!), Snickers, M&M’s, Crunchie and Picnic (the latter two costing nearly EC$4 each!!!) and maybe Hersheys bars, if we’re lucky! So as you can tell, not a whole load of choice.

So, I suppose I could have sent a very nice, grovelling, heartfelt letter to Mr. Cadbury to ask if they could just pop a few bars of chocolate into the post for some well-deserving ex-pats in dire need of some decent chocolate. It probably wouldn’t have gone down too well, and maybe if I had sent the letter, it would have been filed under “B” for bin.

Instead I asked a few friends (who sorta know about the relationship that I hold for chocolate)

A very big and heartfelt thank you go to Mr. N and Mr. J for being compelled due to my brilliant charm and feminine persuasive skills to send over some much needed and very yummy chocolate.

I’m off to sample some of this chocolate…..who wants to place a bet as to how long this chocolate will last?….
 
 loads of chocolate!!!
 
:o)

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