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30/03/2012
[15:55] Today is a good day. The most major positive that I can tell you about is the completion of my first challenge! "Run 10km for 10 consecutive days." Starting last Wednesday and finishing today (including a double parkrun on Saturday where I got 19:44 for the first 5K, and an extra 11.5km of jogging with Geraldine on Sunday before my actual 10km that day) I have run 10km or more every day for ten days in a row. Averaging 42 minutes and 45 seconds for the distance I'd like to think that's not too bad. You know, for someone like me. I'm pleased to report I have no injuries, no aches, no pains and (after having just stood up to check) no tenderness or stiffness in my muscles. This is good, and bodes well for future challenges.

Otherwise meditation last night was OK. I think I've plateaued slightly in some ways, but it's still a great place to work out how to reach into myself and find out what makes me tick (and slow that whatever it is down). I'll keep trying (in connection with other activities which start soonish) to find a way to be even more (because I wasn't ever a particularly not-calm person) at peace with myself/my life/the world/people as well as improving my connection with - and at the same time distance from - my body and its limitations. It's all good.

The weekend's all about fun, I hope. Saturday I'm meeting Andy and Andrea in London to have a pub lunch by the river, go and see a low division football match (turnstiles and pasties, standing up every time it looks like there's going to be a goal and shouting myself hoarse) and then end up back in central London for dinner and drinks before running for the last train home. Sunday'll be a gentle tempo run of about 20K to work out any kinks from the 10K Challenge and prepare myself for Monday's return to 6K interval training, Tesco and a cycle over to my future rental property to look at furniture I might like to buy on account of me having sold everything I did have to sit, sleep or store things on/in with my house. Hopefully the rest of my stuff will be shipped back from the US soon. I miss it.

Anyway, back on Monday. Have a good one whatever things you're doing, big or small.

29/03/2012
[15:00] Let's just go with the positives first today to save time. There were delicious sweet and savoury pancakes last night, and some emails were sent of a useful nature. I actually turned down a chance of drinks with a friend because I didn't feel like it (for all kinds of reasons this was a good thing, just go with me on this). I still seem to be sleeping well, more often than not, even if having an open window (to keep from suffocating/cooking overnight) means I get woken quite early by the dawn chorus. It continues to be sunny here. Which is nice. I booked a trip this morning and through some judicious money-shifting was able to pay for it all straight away (leaving only the insurance and the money I'll be spending on the trip still to expend). That's going to be awesome, and excellent preparation for my Big Trip later on. There's meditation tonight and possibly other things of a fun nature (but probably not given response times). I've got the weekend pretty much pinned down in terms of things happening when and where and should be able to fit in the Tesco shop as well as a good bit of reading too. Probably no actual running (unless on Sunday morning) but after tomorrow that might be a good thing.

Today I've again done the cycle to and from town thing to check on the network cabinets/power situation at the old machine room again. This time with a tape measure and a pencil and paper. If everything is the size it's supposed to be and we can take the 'feet' off the new UPS when we add the second battery chassis everything should fit with 0mm spare. Otherwise we may have to do a bit of shoving and bending. Not best when you're dealing with 415V potential difference in a metal box. If the lights flicker and dim next Tuesday morning you'll know why.

28/03/2012
[15:35] I've already been into town once today for work. This was to find out why a reported "over temperature alarm" was going off in the old machine room. It wasn't, someone (probably one of the movers putting stuff in there as it's now more of a storage area than anything else) had set off the room alarm and didn't know how to deactivate it. I did that and then spent some time working out how to move all the switches and things we still have in there from the room UPS to a floorstanding one. Turns out we're going to need a bigger boat. By which I mean a couple of pluggable PDUs. Don't worry, it's nothing you need to concern yourself with.

And the positives just keep on coming, sort of. Today's run has been achieved even if I felt pretty leaden of foot. The weather at least is still extremely wonderful, so it was nice to get out and produce a bit of Vitamin D naturally. I made everyone in the house chicken wraps last night which when down very well (no pun intended). I'm grateful I was taught how simple and easy they are to do. I even made sure there was a pot of Greek yoghurt to 'blop' from. That's very important. Meditation was OK but noisy outside again. And it was packed too, which was surprising given how good the weather was. I have a few things to do at work and organisation for the weekend seems to be going well. I might even be having drinks with a friend later on in the week too.

Anyway, as usual I turned up early for meditation yesterday, but wasn't allowed upstairs until I'd sat down with one of the people there and told them how I was 'doing' and why I was coming to meditation so regularly. I gave them the short short version (think the ceremony at the end of Spaceballs) just so I could get upstairs and sink my mind into the place where everything else goes away for a while. It felt a little pushy, but given it's all free I can't begrudge them some attempt to sell me on the spiritual side of meditation and Raja Yoga. Still, I may end up going on the free day-retreat in a few weeks down by the river (with "free vegetarian lunch"!) if for no other reason than because the meditations will go on for longer than an hour at a time.

I think that's it for today.

27/03/2012
[12:05] I went for a long walk yesterday evening. The weather was fabulous and I just didn't want to spend it indoors doing anything (although I did end up doing the massed washing up for the house, which was getting ridiculous). I couldn't find anyone to walk with though, which would have made the occasion so much better. I'm becoming much more comfortable with my own company (not that I wasn't before, but when you know there's someone out there for you it is much easier to deal with periods of solitude) but by the end of what was probably around 10K of walk I was just a bit fed up. Sometimes even people like me want a bit of company now and then.

And so to the daily Positives Report: Weather's still fantastic here. Blue skies, warm air and light-to-no-breeze. I'm out with my work running partner at lunch time today (so it'll be slower than yesterday's 43ish minute run) and then there's meditation this evening. I might even make wraps when I get back for me and a housemate (just need to remember to get some greek/plain yoghurt at some point before then). My deposit has been accepted by my future landlady so the house is mine.

I can't think of much else to say today. I made some purchases, but they're not due for a few days. Should be interesting to use one of them in a few weeks.

26/03/2012
[11:35] I think on the whole that was a good weekend. Sure there were some low bits; the bittersweet feelings as a favourite television programme or two is watched. Sadness when theme tunes aren't hummed or danced to any more, and when extra, personal, additions aren't added at the end. No discussion of the plot or interactions between characters whose backstory is so well known. So many tiny, tiny things which contribute to such a great loss now that all of that has gone.

Positives though. Positives are where it's at these days. On Friday I got to leave work early and the sun was shining, I (with the help of friends) collected two sofas and lifted them over the back wall of Keith's house and stored them in his front room until I move (all without incident!). I went to various pubs to see friends, have dinner, celebrate someone's birthday and, ultimately, go home happy and sober before I stopped enjoying myself. Saturday I ran the parkrun, twice (although I'm not sure the timing was quite right for my second time through the finish line given what is listed on the results page), Tescoed, read in town, had a missed connection and ended up cycling for two and a bit hours doing three of the "big" hills in the countryside around the southern outskirts of the city, and then had a quiet night in with the first delivery pizza I've had in months. Sunday I basically ran a half marathon (11.5km with a friend at a slow rate, and then 10km on my own at a much faster pace) and I'm still pretty much ache/injury free, which is brilliant. Sunday afternoon and evening was another birthday celebration with friends and food and amusement.

Today is obviously a work day, but the sun is shining again, which helps. I have a run planned, a lunch to eat and my work running partner (while not running with me today) is back from her cycle accident seemingly none the worse for her concussion. I also have one or two small things to do which I will get done over the course of the week, mails to reply to and possibly a moderately interesting mail to compose towards the tail end of the week. Or wait. I'm not sure.

I guess things are... OK today. I'm getting by.

23/03/2012
[11:25] Meditation was pretty poor last night. I mean, the hour before everyone else turned up was pretty great. I really got close to clearing my head of the stuff and things, the huff and kerfuffle that occupies my waking thoughts for the most part. However, then the people with the lead feet and the coughs and the shuffling and the inability to sit still arrived and the music and the "led meditation" monologue started and it was suddenly so much harder. Good practice though, I suppose, for being able to meditate places other than in 'perfect' environments/situations/locations.

Positivity-ly speaking, after meditation I took myself off to the restaurant next door and treated myself to fish and chips. I can't actually remember if I have ever eaten at a restaurant on my own before. It was a little sad, but ultimately... what the hey? I needed a decent meal to keep my strength up and to feed the mind as well as the body, plus I fancied it and it was great quality for the price I paid. The talk I went to with the housemate was OK with some really interesting bits alongside a rather meandering and sometimes downright unconnected series of topic changes. There was some lovely mist/fog as I cycled into work this morning (after continuing the apparent new habit of sleeping well, again) and it has now burnt off to leave another lovely day which I will enjoy getting out to run in in about an hour or so. All seems well enough body/fitness-wise, which is good, and the weekend is looking like it should have a few fun things in it.

With luck and a following wind this evening after work I'll be getting help from a friend or two (one with a van) to get two sofas and a matching footstool thingy from Shaun's place to Keith's for storage until I can move into my rented house. Those and the other things I've been offered by good friends will take some of the financial load off me in the coming months while I try to build a new life's foundations from the decimated remains of the old.

The weekend will follow the usual routine this week. However I'll be doing something a little different at parkrun which I'll talk more about next week if I remember. I should make sure to get some filling food at Tesco afterward. There's a friend's birthday meal on one of the evenings of the weekend and a pub trip for another friend this evening which I should go to. Sunday will have a run in the morning (shorter than usual for various reasons) and I'm sure at some point I'll be back in Waterstones reading my current book (and probably moving on to a new one).

Am I getting the most out of my life? I don't know, I'd like to think I'm at least now doing more with it than I was at some points previously. What I am doing is remaking it because, as it turns out, this isn't something that ever actually stops happening. I wish I'd realised that sooner and embraced the concept more fully before the requirement to do so was forced upon me. Hopefully I can do more with my life and through that doing find a new completeness to replace what I've lost.

22/03/2012
[16:20] I decided yesterday that it would be the start day of a challenge for myself. Just a short one. I'll fill you in on it later on. For now though it's something for me to work on and it gives me another thing to focus on.

Positives-wise it's another lovely day here. Cold and clear and sunny. Drinks last night were pleasant, and I got to have a burger and chips for the first time in ages. My stomach is rumbling again just thinking about it. That might be something to do with being perpetually hungry at the moment, though. Tonight is meditation again, lunchtime was a nice time to be outdoors and after meditation I'm off to a seminar on Alan Turing and the Enigma Cipher with one of my housemates.

I signed my rental agreement, then scanned and emailed that off and will be paying my security deposit early next week when my pay clears. Then it's just a case of waiting for the whole of April to go by before I move in to my new house and start spending most of my salary on somewhere to live and have room for all my stuff when it eventually comes back to the UK. There's a slim chance I may be able to still put down a deposit on a house before five years have gone by, but it'll mean much higher monthly payments than I would like. Still, this is the situation I find myself in, so it's the situation I will deal with.

I think that's it for today. I'm glad yesterday's entry garnered the interest that it did. It's nice to know some people are still reading.

21/03/2012
[16:00] Mornings continue to be the worst time of day for me. I think it's because I'm so full of energy and there isn't much to do my mind strays and I think about things. I'd get up and do something (read, write, do some exercise which was more than just my morning stuff) but I want to be able to spend more than an hour or two on it and still be able to go to work without feeling like I've shot my bolt for the day. Getting up at 05:00 doesn't really work for the house I'm in at the moment for various reasons. Perhaps once I've moved I can do something about it. Until then, well, I'll just have to be strong.

Positives. Last night's science thing was fun. After meditation (which was interesting, more on meditation below) I headed the 200m or so down the road and met up with Cat inside the building. We grabbed some drinks and somehow managed to get seats at the front of the presentation room for the various short acts. I ended up volunteering to mix the carbon dioxide icecream and creating a few laughs of my own at the same time due to my interactions with the performer, the bowl and the copious amounts of liquid CO2 sloshing about the place. So that was pretty cool. There was also cheese and crackers (but not plates, oddly) and drink, so I didn't go completely without an evening meal. Given I'd cycled into and out of town four times and every other time got a snack from the market I wasn't feeling too hungry by the time I got back to the house some time around 22:00. My session was pretty good too. Definite progress. Oh, and all the bits of kit I went to get up and running after I left work last night? I got them all running. So that was good too. The weather is fabulous here today so I did 10K at lunch time.

Speaking of running and meditation... I've decided to acknowledge the fact that my running has always been a form of meditation for me. There's a passage I read in novelist and runner Haruki Murakami's memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running which comes pretty close to what happens to me after about 5K (the distance/amount of time it takes for me to stop thinking about my life: "I just run. I run in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way: I run in order to acquire a void... The thoughts that occur to me while I'm running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky as always." I feel like maybe I can combine those thoughts and feelings with a form of Vipassana meditation and perhaps begin to extend my runs to marathon distance and beyond into the ultra distances. Some of my inspiration also comes from a section of one of the books in the Nulapeiron Sequence (Context, I think) by John Meaney which details 'running monks'. After becoming extremely interested in them I Googled and it turns out they actually exist. Meaney probably based them on the Japanese 'marathon monks' of Mount Hiei. These monks are from the Tendai school of Buddhism which was a denomination brought to Japan by the monk Saichō in 806 from China. Anyway, interesting stuff and food for thought as I work to clear, calm and clarify my mind. Perhaps more on all this in a later journal entry.

Tonight I'm out for drinks with a friend, which should be fun.

20/03/2012
[15:35] Busy day. Which is a positive in and of itself. In to and out of town after a major power cut fixing switches and servers and all that jazz. In fact I'm off again now to look at power circuits shortly. OK session, meditation this evening and a science seminar cheese and wine thing after that. And the weather's pretty nice too. Did I mention I seen to have the house I was after too?

19/03/2012
[12:00] Running really does seem to soothe the savage breast. Mine at least. After not really getting to run at all last week post half-marathon (lots of cycling around during lunch times looking for somewhere to live) I was feeling really hacked off. I mean seriously. I'd like to think I'm a nice person, fairly pleasant to be around (if not even fun, sometimes). But by Friday evening I was ready to start climbing the walls... Which was actually something I considered on the way home from work; going to the climbing wall. Instead I ended up getting into the house, dropping my stuff, changing, pulling on my running shoes and making my way down to the river and then out to the lock and back again by roundabout highways and byways. 15K later it was dark and I was back at the house (I can't call it home, it's not home) and feeling quite a bit more settled. For the first five or six kilometres my head was as whirly and full of Life Stuff as it is for most of the day, but as the feet pound lightly and the scenery scrolls by the mind starts to clear, everything drops away and all that's left is the Path. Whether it's tarmac, concrete, gravel or grass it's still the Path, the route, the direction to go to find a modicum of inner peace. If only for a few hours. I ran 15K on Friday, the parkrun 5K on Saturday, and 19K on Sunday morning before most of the city even realised it was a new day.

I have to admit that I didn't use the rest of Saturday as fully as I would have liked. But sometimes it's OK not to go out and be Doing Things every weekend, isn't it? I did Tesco, helped someone take their shopping to their car and cleaned the house a bit, but I didn't go to any of the seminars I'd been thinking about.

Sunday, after the run I did head into town and spend a goodly amount of time in my usual seat in Waterstones making some more progress on the current book I'm reading. A muffin and plenty to drink made that as pleasant as it usually is. Half way through the afternoon I got two different invitations to a curry for those people who'd been skiing for the past few weeks. Luckily I was able to turn up early enough that I could get a main course in before I had to head off for one of the two paid-for-ticket seminars I have booked. That was pretty awesome (more of a stand-up routine by one of the hosts of a Radio 4 show). It ended up going on long after it was scheduled to finish (which was brilliant) so I got back quite late and just headed to bed.

The weather is absolutely perfect today, so I'm back to my usual lunchtime running schedule and potentially the gym this evening. It looks like Monday and Friday evenings are currently the only ones I don't have anything fun happening so perhaps they'll be when I'll do gym-like things.

Positives: Plenty of running, almost certainly found a house to move in to (only not for seven weeks or so), the fun of last night's seminar/talk thing, running today in wonderful weather, feeling really quite pleased with my body and weight at the moment, lots of people complimenting me on various things and a bit of proof that I'm not totally without redeeming features, even if they may be evident only in my writing, rather than in person.

16/03/2012
[11:30] It's my brother's birthday today. Happy birthday to him. He's been a source of groundedness and sensibleness recently (even though he probably doesn't really know it). I don't think about him much, we don't talk much, but whenever we do speak his words remind me that you can deal with everything if you keep calm, accept your place (created by your own actions) in the world and try not to dwell on what's gone. No matter how much it Was. Because now it Is Not. So yes, he's awesome like that.

I had a particularly bad morning today. D'n'B Man next door started up his earth moving equipment at exactly 03:07 this morning and hadn't had his fill until some time around 05:00. Tiredness lowers my mental defences somewhat. Still, life goes on and I'm still kicking.

Positives today include (abbreviated) morning exercises, fixing various desktop issues for the DBAs, patching a large number of machines (successfully), planning on going for a run after work (another house viewing at lunch time, probably the last), having friends who're happy to listen, chatting to new people and being happy that I have the strength to survive and flourish despite what can happen in my life.

Meditation last night wasn't particularly good as for some reason I just wasn't able to get into the right frame of mind, but the time before anyone else came up to the room (about an hour) was useful to sort through my thoughts and gain a bit of peace for a while.

The weekend will consist of the usual, say it with me now, "parkrun, Tesco, reading in Waterstones, a long run on Sunday and some other stuff". In the evening there's a science festival thing I've got a ticket booked for, so I'll be off to that. Otherwise, whatever comes up.

15/03/2012
[14:40] The whole of this morning, rather than sitting at my desk in an office, was spent tramping around woodland and fields discussing how to run about 1K of fibre optic between a Hall and a farm. Frankly, even if it had been absolutely pissing it down (bright sunshine was burning off the mist) I couldn't have been much happier with where I was. It's just a shame it had to end (we finished doing the site survey and I also have to go and see two more rental properties). I do love being outdoors. I'd like to think that the future could contain a job where I spend more time not at a desk.

Positives other than this morning are that I went to the gym last night and actually enjoyed it for the most part. I've done a lot of cycling today already and there's more to come (I haven't managed to get a run in since the half-marathon and it's frustrating me). Tonight is meditation again, which I find myself looking forward to more and more. I'm applied to take up something new soon which could be equally good for me, if not more so, we'll have to see as it doesn't start until next month.

I'm just back from looking at two more rental places. One was very dated and had forced air heating. Not something I've ever been particularly keen on, and it was furnished (badly, like from the 70s). The other was a second floor flat (having its own connotations for me) with no storage for bikes. It was still in the process of being redone and was going to be awesome (condensing combi boiler, new kitchen, bathroom, all white walls, gas hob, electric oven, fridge, freezer, washing machine, great rooms, plenty of storage) but I just don't think it would work for me, despite being a little cheaper than the house I keep mentioning. I think that house is going to win.

14/03/2012
[12:00] I had a letter waiting for me when I got back last night to the house I live in. It was from the bank. I'd put a significant chunk of the proceeds of my house sale into a bond as I was planning on not needing it. As I wasn't going to be coming back to the UK for a while I went with 5.5 years as a sensible starter period to lock it away for. Now that things have changed I sent the bank a letter asking (and giving some details as to what had happened in my life) if I could get it back out again, please, so I could buy a house. As more than 14 days had gone by from opening it until Big Life Decisions were actually made the answer was a solid "no" (they cite the Terms & Conditions). This more than likely means I now can't buy a house for the next 5.4 years. Of course I have absolutely no idea what will have happened to me in the next five and a half months, never mind five and a half years, but the chances are it won't be home ownership. I'll put some effort into asking again, trying another avenue of attack to get them to release the money, but I don't hold out much hope. This could mean roughly double what I put into the bond will go on rent rather than paying down a mortgage while I wait to get access to my money. I'll look at the numbers more closely to see if I can maybe buy and use a smaller deposit/get a higher mortgage payment rather than wasting money on renting long-term.

Positives... I took a cycle into town yesterday afternoon to look at a network cabinet that was/had been making odd noises. It wasn't any more so I closed the support ticket, got myself a muffin at a cafe and then went to meditation. The landlady whose house seems like the most sensible option at the moment seems to like me a lot and is already looking to get a plumber out to see if anything can be done about one of the three things I had issue with in her property (low flow on the shower). Of the other two (no water meter and no combi-boiler), one is easily solvable and the other, well, I can live with I expect. She doesn't even seem to want to ask her tenants to show anyone else around any more, which is nice. Chances are I'll take the place along with all the wonderful, generous offers of furniture from my friends. My new life continues to start again.

It was cold this morning so I turned up the collar on my coat as I do whenever the weather isn't great and I'm cycling. Sometimes it's the smallest things.

[15:45] So I went to see another place to rent. Waited ten minutes. Called the rental agency. Turns out they had no record of my appointment and, oh sorry, the place got let yesterday.

13/03/2012
[15:55] You know what? All I did last night was watch downloaded television. It's the first time I've done it in... well, I can't remember. To have an evening of pure downtime just for me was brilliant. Plus I had soup and bits to eat so dinner wasn't a hassle either.

I was due to see another house (a flat actually) just before lunch time today but when I cycled over there at top speed (so as not to take too much time off from work) it turned out that the agent didn't have all the keys to the front door so we couldn't get in. That was rather annoying. I'm almost loathe to rearrange the viewing as I've been getting on very well with the landlady of a place I saw over the weekend. As I've said before, it's not cheap, but I think it has everything I need from a house with only a few flaws... and frankly all the houses without flaws I've tried to get so far have gone to couples instead of a "professional single male."

Lunchtime session went well. In fact right now I think I'm doing OK. As someone smashing said today, you have to keep moving forward or you risk falling off. Wise words.

I'm off to town shortly to investigate why a rack of network equipment is making "a funny noise" and then it'll be meditation time again. I really do enjoy the evenings where I get to sit quietly and get my head together. I would much prefer to be outside though, come the summer, getting some long walks or runs in.

12/03/2012
[14:55] Over the weekend (Saturday really) I ran the gamut of house renting experiences. I got a call that I hadn't had my offer on a place I liked accepted, I saw a truly horrible house and one I really think I could live in, even if the water pressure for the shower is a bit low and it doesn't have a combi-boiler like my old house did (so gas and electricity bills will be more expensive than I was used to). The location's mostly OK and while it's quite expensive it is somewhere I think I could get used to living. At least for maybe a year or something. Until my life picks up again anyway. As usual I went to Tesco. I know I bought grapes, they're on my reciept, but I'm damned if I can find them in the house now. Maybe they fell out on the way back.

What also happened was that I did a lot of running. Saturday AM was parkrun where I put in a respectable 19:32 for 5K. I wasn't pushing as I just wanted to make sure my left ankle was OK. Also I needed to keep my powder dry for the next day when I ran my first ever officially-timed half marathon. Obviously I wasn't expecting to be in the country when it took place so never applied for a place. Luckily there was someone who didn't want to run it any more so I was able to take his. Unfortunately you're not allowed to give someone your place (you have to send your number back, suffer a heavy refund charge for same and then the new person has to apply for the place and pay the full price) so I had to run in the "male super veteran" category (50+ years old, I think). As such I thought it best not to come in the placings that got a prize (1st-5th) as that would just be rude to the other people in the category (and attract unwanted attention) so made sure to slow down enough to come in 6th for 'my' age group with a time of 1:29:15 (124th overall) which isn't too bad. What I missed most of all were the mental/vocal pom-poms of someone I knew being on the course to cheer me on. There was no-one, no cheerleading squad rooting for me. It said "Phil" on my race number so as I ran people cheered for Phil. That made me sad even as I enjoyed the wonderful early Sunday morning weather. I missed being supported, even as I dug inside of myself for strength I knew I had but hadn't ever tapped before to run the furthest I ever have in one go. I'm proud of me, because no-one else is anything other than pleased for me.

I didn't hang around after the race was over just in case someone spotted my number and enquired about my youthful good looks. Instead I went home, showered and then spent lunch, the afternoon, evening and dinner with a lovely friend of whom I have seen far too little in the last five years. Unfortunately the evening had to end far too soon due to the fact that the person who owns the house adjoining the one I'm in at the moment has some kind of mental disorder which means he likes to play building foundation-damaging drum and bass music at random hours of the day and night. Over the weekend this meant Friday night until 00:30, Saturday between 11:00 and 16:00, and Sunday morning from 03:30 to gone 07:45 (I left the house at 07:45). That, coupled with the running meant that I was a tiredy... person by 20:00 on Sunday evening. Tiredness still didn't stop me waking up before 05:00.

So, positives... I found a potential house I wouldn't be utterly miserable in, did parkrun in an OK time, did my first half-marathon in an OK time without being hauled out of the race and disqualified, spent half of Sunday in good company talking about interesting things, had nice food and generally survived until Monday.

I went to look at a house I probably won't like today with Shaun coming along for the ride, by which I mean I don't have to cycle as he drove, but found that the appointment was for tomorrow. I can't do tomorrow, so as the next viewing after that has four other people going to see it and my track record for getting places I want when other people are applying is poor, I've just cancelled my slot. I've been doing some research on adding new physical disks to a running server and then creating a RAID1 pair and... well, probably that's it. Oh, I'm so far behind on downloaded television I might actually see if I have time to watch some this evening. Either that or go Hashing. I think it's over a week since I watched anything, I think. I've lost track. And the science festival starts today, so maybe I might go and do something at that instead. Oh and tons of great new music arrived on my friend's server recently. I miss sharing it.

Today I was sent this YouTube video. I like it.

09/03/2012
[12:35] I have been given a book called "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis. It's at least second hand and has multiple sentences underlined in blue biro by a previous owner. For once I don't mind the vandalism. It tells me that someone else read the words and felt them, identified with them. That means at least they and Lewis went through something vaguely similar to me. That's two other people. Not a comfort, so much as a fleeting feeling of solidarity. It's a hard read. Not because I don't believe in God - nor am I (as far as I understand it) a spiritual person in any way - but because Lewis' own honest journaling of his grief and pain is so astonishingly raw and real, strikes a chord (touches a nerve?), and allows me to see to a much, much lesser degree what it must be like for others to follow what I have written. It's an upsetting book. I don't like upsetting people, so I'm sorry if anything I've written here has been painful to read. It was painful to write. I can't claim anything approaching the emotional impact that Lewis has achieved in scarcely 64 pages of text, but what I've written is how I feel, edited for public consumption. There's far more I could have said. I probably could have written it all somewhere private. Unexpunged. I can't explain why I haven't, except that this is my journal, and I have been writing it in this form for more than thirteen years now. I could change my habit, but I choose not to and to continue to make it public. Similarly, as much as I value your reading of it - I am grateful that you do and the support many of you have offered me - you are equally welcome not to do so in turn.

Lewis' experience was obviously a different and far more distressing one than mine is (his loving wife died of cancer), but I can feel so much resonance with his outpouring of loss, grief and bereavement. I wish I was even half as articulate as he in expressing himself in words, and as such I hope that I don't cause offence or distress with the clumsiness of mine. I think it's a book I will return to repeatedly, as I progress through my life from here (hopefully improving) to show myself how far I may have come.

Positives... I arrived fully one hour early for meditation last night. Even after sitting in a cafe having a hot chocolate and a cakey thing beforehand that meant I had an hour on my own without ambient music or any distractions, and then an hour being 'guided' by the meditation leader along with those others who turned up. Two hours of calmness. I do think it's helping with the chaos that roils and storms inside my head. I made asparagus and parma ham pancake wrap things along with my first attempt at a hollandaise sauce for dinner with my housemate. They were tasty. I slept most of the night (which is no mean feat), but had some very strange dreams. I got up this morning (not always an easy thing) and did some morning exercises. In a little while I have another house (a ground floor flat this time) to view and one this evening after work too. Along with the one tomorrow afternoon I think I may be getting closer to finding somewhere I can live and rent at least contentedly, alone, while I get myself together again. As usual they're not cheap, but there are more important things that money right now. Tonight there's a quiz at the boat house which apparently I'm on a team for, so that's the evening filled. Over the weekend I'll be doing some running. More about that on Monday.

I hope your Friday and weekend is pleasant, productive, relaxing and enjoyable.

08/03/2012
[13:40] Over the years I have saved 4,318 emails from Kris. All but the 11 most recent ones are wonderful. With those odds though it's impossibly easy to go into that mail folder and randomly select an email which instantly shows how much in love we were with each other and how confident we were in facing the future together. Many of the emails make some mention of problems we had; stresses, strains, difficulties with moving either her here or me to the US more recently. Lots show that we hated the fact we were apart so very much in the time we were Together. We faced and dealt with dozens of issues, big and small, shared secrets, stories and excitement. The sheer size of the corpus of experience is overwhelming (so overwhelming that I had to find somewhere quiet for a while after reading a few of them, yes I know it was a silly thing to be doing) and taken even in small parts speaks of something so special, so supremely amazing, that I'm left struggling to comprehend fully how everything changed so utterly.

But it has. And it's no longer within my power to affect it. Even as I know I'll always want to. I can only affect how my life goes from here. Which is what I try to do to the best of the ability that I find myself with each day.

I saw another house last night. Location, cost, upkeep; they were all perfect. It was just too damned small. Once all of my stuff arrived I'd have been knee-deep in boxes (or all the stuff from the boxes). At least I think I would. Apparently also it was hugely expensive to heat. Prohibitively so. So, another place crossed off the list. I have three more places to look at for the moment. One today, one tomorrow and one on Saturday. They're all quite expensive, but their locations are pretty good and they all seem in good order so I should see what's what with them.

Positives... I went to the cinema with two friends last night. Saw an amusing film with plenty of fun and explosions. Not completely brain-dead either, which was nice. I slept moderately well, the weather is a whole lot better than yesterday, I've been for a 10K run, and I have a bit of work to do. I have meditation as usual tonight which will hopefully continue to help me calm my thoughts and give me the peace I'm so very much trying to find. My cold is slowly going away and I have at least the beginnings of a few ideas for things to fill my time up which could help distract me from remembering that half of me has gone.

07/03/2012
[14:00] Today I have mostly been getting chilled to the bone and completely soaked looking at ugly, horrible rental properties all over this city during my lunch hour. Why can no-one have somewhere nice to rent at a reasonable price? Just somewhere that looks like its been taken care of a little, maybe loved, at least now and then. I hate this. I miss my house, my home. It doesn't feel like I'll ever find somewhere I can call mine again that I won't feel miserable in.

No, wait... positives. Positives. A positive: I now know there are three more places here I definitely never want to live.

06/03/2012
[14:20] Positives: I came to work. Nothing has gone wrong at work. While I didn't get the house I wanted to rent I get my couple of hundred pounds arrangement fee back soon (and I probably wouldn't have liked the house anyway). I had a useful session. I have meditation this evening. Dinner with Kate tonight should be nice. I have a roof over my head. My next four house viewings are tomorrow (now approaching twenty viewings) and one of them might be OK. More friends have emailed me with supportive things to say. I got through dealing with more paperwork and standing in front of the glass partition doing the worst thing in the world without breaking down, again. My cold seems to be finally going away.

Really, what do I have to be sad about?

05/03/2012
[12:30] I tried climbing at the local wall here on Friday. It wasn't terribly great. I may go again, but probably not for a while. It's not particularly good. I did end up talking to three people who in turn invited me out for a drink at a local pub afterwards so I didn't end up getting to bed until gone midnight. So that was a pleasant way to spend the evening if nothing else. On Saturday morning I did the parkrun. As I wasn't pacing Ian this week, and rather than push myself utterly I just followed someone round and tried not to get left behind. I got a reasonably good time considering (19:40). It's nice to know that despite feeling like I've had every single bit of stuffing knocked out of me I can still run a reasonable 5K. The rest of Saturday was the usual Tesco shopping, lunch and then going into town to read in Waterstone's for the whole afternoon as I seem to find myself doing now, if nothing else, to fill up the day. Weekends now consist of trying to find the mental energy to find things to do to distract myself from loneliness. I was supposed to be called with an invite to a party in the evening, but it never happened, so I stayed at the house and caught up on a bit of downloaded television for the first time in a few weeks. I was in bed by the time one of my housemates returned from two weeks of skiing. We saw each other in the morning though as I contemplated the torrential rain and decided not to go for a long run. We chatted, caught up and then both headed out to meet some of the other people who had been on the holiday and come back at the same time. Tea and cakes in town and then I was back in Waterstone's again. Eventually I just became too frustrated with things and cycled home in the worsening weather (very heavy rain turning to sleet and then snow (which didn't stick) with high winds) and felt quite miserable. I did some housework in the afternoon and then made pizzas with the housemate before Top Gear, which I found myself nodding off during. Early bed followed.

Moreso than ever before life feels like a meaningless treadmill of weekdays followed by a weekend. Then repeat. Before, filling the evenings and weekends (and the working day to some degree) was simply something to do as I counted down to seeing Kris again, and then after we made the decision to emigrate, a countdown to leaving everything behind and beginning our new life together (with all its ups and downs). While I waited here I could pick some fun things to do, exercise (also fun) or enjoy being in my home doing nothing much at all to fill the time, because behind it all there was the knowledge that it wasn't forever; something new, something equal parts wonderful and difficult was coming. Everything was leading up to Change. I was happy and utterly scared. But more than anything else was just a real feeling of anticipation. Now I don't see anything good coming any more, even if one day something will. It makes every moment, every evening and weekend, so much harder to do something with when everything I believed in has been pulled out from under me and I don't have love to look forward to sharing, all I have is the remembrance of random snatches of a favourite, purposefully off-key song or something else that makes my vision go hazy. I've been set back so far on the journey I thought I'd begun. I know there's fun to be had, so many things to do and meaning and purpose to be found in my life and everything else. I know because I've experienced it before. Now though I have to try and let die off all the feelings I had and stop thinking about the past because that's all just wasted energy, and concentrate on what I can affect, which is me and my future. It's hard though. So very hard.

Today I'm into town to patch in some new network kit and then seeing two potential rental properties. Neither is cheap, neither is in exactly the right part of town, but there's a good chance they'd be nice enough and somewhere I can reestablish myself for a while while I work out What Happens Next. This evening I may Hash if I have the energy.

I can do this. I know, because I am doing this.

02/03/2012
[15:35] If I'd left this job the next person in the role would have been doing a lot more network-oriented stuff. The Networks guy has been doing everything himself for far too long and he needed some backup. As I'm now (still) the person in the role I'm suddenly doing a lot more network-oriented stuff. This is good as I really wasn't getting much out of my working day before now and was seriously looking forward to leaving here and starting something new, whatever I might have ended up doing. It could have been anything, that's what was beginning to excite me so much. I'd made a lot of contacts to do volunteer work for a start, while I found my feet in a new place, one of the things I'd got organised was at an endangered wolf center which would have been amazing.

Anyway, in last couple of weeks I have been spending a lot more time away from my desk doing physical networking, seeing where all our network kit is across town, and just before that (while I still thought I was leaving) was seriously beginning to get up to speed on Cisco CCNA qualifying knowledge. Obviously at the moment my desire to learn (or do much of anything) has been a bit... curtailed. But I am slowly finding within myself the desire to pick up the pieces of me which were so painfully blown apart. It's up to me to make this new role I have something I enjoy more and something I'm proud to be paid to do.

In other news, despite the fact that I'm living at a friend's house and for the last two weeks and until Saturday it's been just me and the cat (I'm not so keen on cats, really), I've finally gathered enough energy to start looking at places to rent on my own. It feels strange to have to start all over again paying probably more than double what my mortgage was as rent (and having to buy furniture and white goods again), but I've become used to having my own space (and fridge/freezer) or at least only sharing it with one other person with whom I was already sharing more than living space and crockery. Sharing with other people, even friends, just doesn't feel right any more. I have to move out. If nothing else, I need somewhere to put all of my things when they come back from the USA.

I've been to see a few places in the last couple of days and been quite depressed by the whole endeavour. Even more depressing is that my forseeable future's lunchtimes and immediately-after-works are filled only with house and flat viewings, or important appointments of other kinds. Lots of rushing around on my bike to see ugly, cramped (but still expensive) accommodation when all I can think of is the house and furniture that I sold. It wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was mine.

Still, I'm sure I'll find somewhere I can call home again, eventually.

The weekend stretches out in front of me, uninvitingly. My aim is to try and find some joy with which to fill it.

01/03/2012
[09:00] I didn't emigrate to the USA. Even though I sold my house and all the electrical goods and furniture, locked the money from those sales into investments and a long term bond, shipped all of my other possessions and gave notice on my job, I'm still here. I would have left on 20th February.

Instead I'm now in the first stages of divorce. It's not something I could have believed I'd ever have to go through and I'm so very sad about it. In fact even now it still feels completely and utterly unreal. But when one person gives so many reasons why the marriage can't continue there's no other option.

I had completely committed myself, body, heart and mind to making the very best of what I saw as another part of the biggest adventure ever. Marriage was such an exciting adventure, emigration the newest chapter to be written.

I am very lucky to have an employer who, through my line manager, has allowed me to keep my job (thus saving me from complete loss of all aspects of my life here and meaning I at least still have a salary), and a number of wonderful friends one of whom has allowed me to move into his boxroom while I work out what to do next. Right now I don't really know what that is, other than to try to rebuild my life and regain interest in it. At the moment not a lot of things are interesting. I was in the final stages of closing down, shutting off, cutting all ties with everything and everyone here. I was so ready to go. And now I have to reconnect with the bad as well as the good, with the things I was pleased to be leaving as well as those it's nice that I'm not. I'd become so lonely here, so while I liked this place, I knew it was time to go because the most important part of my life, the other half of me, was now elsewhere. It was going to be a huge and difficult change for me, but for all the very best reasons. Now my loneliness has so much greater depth. Now there's no-one out there waiting for me, who I'll see again soon, or who I can share everything with. Here I remain.

I miss Kris tremendously, every moment of every day. I miss her smile and her laugh, her heart and her intelligence. I miss having her presence in my life, even when it was on another continent, and knowing that I was a presence in hers. Every day I remember all kinds of things about our life together, the most random, strangest, most wonderful things, big and small. Only now they make me so desperately unhappy because there's no-one to remember or share them, or my new experiences, with. The vows I made are on their way to being nullified, and that too makes me unutterably sad. My heart is broken.

This will probably be my only post about what has happened. The many reasons for the end of the marriage are shared, complicated and private and not something to be aired in public. What I've said above only skims the surface of what I think and feel. The upshot is that now all I have is me, and it's me and me alone that I have to rely on to give my life meaning again.

Wish me luck.