Posts Tagged ‘great broccoli cheese soup’

Photos by Susie Nelson

Photos by Susie Nelson

Time to think about working again.  Sigh.  My skills need some refining as I’ve held my stick out of the fire for five years or so and most probably with the leaps in technology I’m obsolete along with my software.

A new project coming across my desk, I pulled my Adobe software out of the closet and attempted to load it onto my recently purchased laptop.  Prompted by the electronic program administrator to activate it, I was given a number to call to do so.  Making my way through their labyrinth of a phone system, I discovered my $800 software was no longer supported. Purchased over seven years ago, it was out-of-date and there were no upgrade options available.  This, naturally, left the only option open buying the newest and brightest version, again.

The laptop, several months old, came with Windows 8 on it.  I know I’m an old dog, and new tricks don’t come as easily as when I was a pup, but Windows 8 makes me swear like a sailor with his hand caught in a winch.  Made to accommodate touchscreen users, not I, it has eliminated my familiar start panel on the lower left and things keep showing up uninvited on my desktop to confuse the easily confusable me.  From what I understand they’ve come up with a free upgrade for others technically challenged such as myself to make life a little easier when logging on in the morning.

Compared to others in my immediate peer group, I am the most advanced when it comes to computer skills.  That being said, I am often the one to call if something goes wrong. If technology keeps moving forward at warp speed, I may have to find someone to call myself. My mother is horrified of the computer and runs screaming from the room should I suggest she attempt an email or sit at the keyboard.  Her cell phone, used only to make outgoing calls is useless as a message receptacle because she refuses to learn how to check her voicemail which reached peak storage capacity sometime in the winter of ’02.

My daughter is struggling to bring her skills up to speed as well.  Running a day care in her home for the past decade doesn’t leave much time for playing on the computer.  Another stumbling block is the computer itself which was probably put together when Jobs and Wozniak were tinkering in their garage.  You could crochet an afghan in the time it takes to open a page or download a file.  It the sound still worked, I believe it would actually creak while performing a task.

Grocery shopping, bill paying, going to the library or purchasing tickets at the local movie theater our computers are our go-to tool for everything these days.  Yesterday I bought night stands for my mother on the Internet in fifteen minutes without ever allowing my coffee to get cold.  I speak to, electronically at least, people all over the world I wouldn’t otherwise ever have contact with and the wealth of information available with the click of the mouse is absolutely mind-boggling.

I remember, yes I do, when the Selectric typewriter was introduced.  For those of us who typed for a living this was an amazing machine.  It had no return bar and instead of individual keys striking the ribbon and the paper, it had a ball that rotated to the correct letter as you hit the keys.  Another innovation, in my field at least, was the telex machine with a keyboard similar to a typewriter rather than the original awkward keys which, when struck, punched holes in yellow telex tape as your hands moved across the keyboard.

Faxes were a painful experience as well back in the day.  Each sheet had to be inserted on the roller individually and then swirled around on the cylinder until read. Molasses moves at a faster pace.

Once I worked as a church secretary.  As I’ve said, I’ve covered the spectrum when it comes to employment, only omitting rocket scientist and lion tamer.  The church was Greek Orthodox, a religion I had little familiarity with when I accepted the position.  Having an artistic background as well as being a passable writer, they hired me on those merits without as much as one “oompa” passing my lips and a total unfamiliarity with the word tzatziki. Part of my job was to produce the weekly bulletin as well as a monthly newsletter.  Money usually a factor in the operation of a church office, they were decades behind in their equipment.  Midweek I was introduced to “Nicky”.  Nicky was the huge mimeograph machine monopolizing the majority of one of the back rooms.  Nicky was a dirty bugger, ink smears defacing his front and back.  Noisy as well, and most unforgiving for handlers having no idea how to make him purr like a kitten.  Fueled by ink, Nicky used a rotating drum to reproduce images. By the time I managed to print out the first bulletin it was difficult to tell which of us was which.  What a mess.  Great bulletin, however.

My first job requiring computer skills was in the late 1990’s.  I could key at about 100 wpm at the time, a plus for passing the typing test, but didn’t know the difference between portrait or landscape other than if hanging something on the wall.  Needing the job, I may have hinted I had some skills, a stretch of imagination even Pinocchio could boast about.  On the job I found myself seated in front of a MAC armed with nothing but a smile and a glib tongue to get me through the day.  Over the next month, I used my key to get into the office around 4:00 a.m. and literally taught myself how to use the darn thing in those stolen hours before the other employees arrived for work.  Once you get the foundation, building on it comes much easier. At least that’s what my algebra teacher always drilled in me in college but my foundation is still wobbly and don’t ask me to multiply a binomial.  Really, don’t.  I can’t even successfully balance my checkbook.  The shortest job I ever had was teller in a bank.  I lasted until lunch when for the good of the institution and my reputation, I extended my resignation.

Even though summer is still here, in our world it feels a bit early fallish. Soooooooooo, here’s my offering for the day. Hope you like it!

As I look back, we certainly have come a long way Baby.  It’s happened at such a steady grade it’s almost inconceivable to comprehend how far we have come.

BTW the grapes in the picture are cotton candy grapes.  Interesting.  My other half doesn’t like them.  He’s old school when it comes to this sort of thing.  Says if he buys a schnauzer he doesn’t want to come home with a pit bull.  I thought they were fun.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 Tbsp. butter
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. bail
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
3 cups fresh or frozen broccoli
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Garnish with lemon slices and bacon crumbles

Steam broccoli and drain well. Chop 1 1/2 cups coarsely, leaving the rest whole. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over top. Set aside.

Cook bacon. Drain on paper towels. Crumble.

Melt butter in stock pot or Dutch oven add carrots, celery and onions and sweat for about 5 mins. until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 mins. until fragrant.

Add broth, salt, white pepper, black pepper, basil cayenne pepper, and parsley. Bring to simmer. Add broccoli to pot and reduce heat to med-low. Simmer for 10 mins.

Whisk in heavy cream. Do not bring to boil. Add cheese and continue cooking on simmer until cheese is melted. Add 1/2 of the bacon to soup, reserving remainder for garnish.

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