Reasons to be Cheerful 2

Posted on 08:54 In: ,

The experiment continues, five reasons to be cheerful need to be listed today if I am to achieve 25% increase in happiness, fitness and general well being.

And who better to test this theory to the nth degree? OK, here goes, this week's reasons to be cheerful.

1. I have a dishwasher that actually cleans dirty pots
2.W is feeling slightly better today
3.Capri Sun is on two for one at Scotmid (strictly speaking this is cherub's reason to be glad)
4. We saw not one but two rainbows this morning.
5. Got a great photo of Ned, hey?


Posted on 23:46 In: ,
Sunday afternoon and June the hospice nurse has had to sit me down in the relatives room.

Macy, we're going to get a doctor to check him out. We'll hold off until she's run some tests..
Did you see if there were any tremors at all? Yes....
And has he been sleeping most of the day?

You know I don't think you should take him home tonight. I know he wants to go, but what if you found yourself on your own? and all that panic?

We need to keep him tonight and see how he gets on.

It looks like he's got an infection.

What's happened is that he's got very toxic drugs, and these have built up in him. He needs liquids and to be monitored here.
I don't think he should go home, even if you do feel like you can cope.

You know, he's a young man, sometimes they can bounce back for a wee while.
But they have such low immune systems....sometimes it is a tummy bug, or some other wee thing..

(Holds both my hands) Was it very scary for you?

Me (welling up) was just ... nice... having him home.


Posted on 23:09 In: ,
Saturday in Midlothian is sunny. I have to drive W to the hospice for drugs to be administered, but W's well enough to suggest a combined trip to the garden centre I've been mithering on about getting to.
"Hospice" and "garden centre" as a trip is not designed to delight the cherub, but, hey, we've got him and old Jock dog in tow too.
So it's sunny, and W is well enough to walk around the garden centre with us. We stock up on border plants to fill up the hanging baskets, a fuschia to fill up the gap under the front window. At least ten minutes are taken up deciding on a colour scheme for spring bulbs. This spring we'll have a riot of pink, purple and white. And daffodils and tulips by March.

Hey - look, we're having a family day out. And it's fine. Even if W isn't going to see the daffodils. Sometimes you just enjoy it while it's there.

This could be a funny story

Posted on 14:09 In:
This could be a funny story - maybe for those with a very bleak sense of humour... or maybe it is a good example of Irony.

I met W in a pub, The Prince of Wales, Aberdeen, April 1992. I was visiting a friend, he was visiting a different friend, we had a couple of drinks..

Back in London we went to any real ale pub, but especially The Turks Head and Swan in Twickenham, the Flag and Lamb in Covent Garden, the Dove and the Spanish club in Soho, the Half Moon in Putney and the red brick place down by the canal at Seven Sisters which did good Bloody Marys for hang overs.

We moved to Edinburgh, which is also good for real ale pubs - Clark's Bar, the Star and Smithy's in Canonmills, the Abbotsford and Bow Bar in the centre of town, the Sheep's Heid Inn and the Pear Tree out in the sticks; and not forgetting our "Family" pub when then cherub came along, the Starbank Tavern down at Trinity.

In between pubs we went to real ale festivals at Earl's Court, Meadowbank and the Caley Ale House.

We visited Bruges especially for the beer....

So when W came to stay on Friday night the first thing I offered him was a drink.

"Ah a cup of tea would be grand".
A cup of tea?? It being Friday and all?
W - with a big grin and putting on his best West of Scotland accent, "Aye, a weee cup uv teea!"

Might have lost something in the telling and all. Maybe you had to have been there.


Posted on 09:23 In: ,
More new territory. W is staying at mine now for the first time since late 2002.

This is the SENSIBLE thing since, as he said he can't stand staying at the hospice and isn't really up to cooking for himelf anymore; as I said, old Jock his dog is already here anyway; what neither of us said outloud but were thinking, "who in their right mind would want to be on their own at a time like this?"

So far this houseguest stuff is a breeze. The guest doesn't eat much, is off alcohol and was always good company anyway. Plus he doesn't really overstay his welcome what with only being awake for a couple of hours at a time ...

True there's the small details like remembering he can't undo his own shoes, keeping the epidural line away from the dog when it's playing, and not being able to recycle the sports section immediately I get the paper. But you know that's the small stuff.

And the cherub is dead chuffed his dad's staying over.

Silver linings

Posted on 19:06 In: ,
But hey, it's not all bad news, endlessly. One upside is the old friends now re-appearing to visit W. There's the friends I'd almost forgotten because they were his friends.

Tonight it's "Hi" to B flying in from Dublin en route to Madrid. You can tell he's a bit shocked by the states of W, but hey, beers can be drunk, guitars tuned, and stories caught up on.

Communication 2 Talking to Cherub Child

Posted on 09:59 In: ,
Since I found out about W's cancer, I think It's fair to say that I've never been sure what to tell the cherub.
Advice from the professionals at Maggies and Marie Curie has been the same - tell the truth, be honest, but not brutally honest. Don't hold out false hope, but equally don't tell him bluntly that his dad will be dead before Christmas. Children experience time as being so much longer than adults, and an expected lifespan of 4-10 more months is pretty vague anyway.

So communication with the cherub has been pretty much as follows:-

From dad "You know how I've been having tests lately for this cough I've got? Well they still don't know what the problem is, but it does look like I might need to have an operation. If I do I'm going to need you to help look after me when I come out, make me soup and stuff. And let me win on the x box right?" (November 2008)

From dad "Well they're going to take half my lung out. The good news is that it's going to be my left lung, and because your left lung is all squashed against your heart, it means that it's so much smaller than the right lung. So if you have to lose a lung it's definitely the best one to lose." (December 2008)

From dad "Guess what? they didn't take the lung out at all! They've left a big scar on my back like I've been attacked by Jaws, but they decided it wasn't worth bothering with the lung. So I'll be home sooner" (January 2009)

From dad "Well they've finally found out what's wrong with me. I've got a really rare kind of cancer. It starts in your blood cells, and that's why they took so long to find out. This is good news though, because these doctors are going to be paying special attention to me now" (February 2009)

From mum "Cherub, has your dad told you all about his cancer? Do you have any questions?
Cherub "No" (April 2009)

From mum "Cherub, you know your dad's quite seriously ill don't you? The doctors are doing all that you can, but first of all the operation was no use, then the radiotherapy didn't work, so now this chemotherapy is sort of the last attempt"
Cherub "OK" (May 2009)

From mum "You know you could do a project with your dad this summer, maybe build a blog, or a photo album or something. Would be nice to look back on later"
Cherub "Nah" (June 2009)

From mum "You know Maggies Centre have great people to talk to. There's people there could talk to you about your dad's cancer and how you're feeling about it."
Cherub "Nah" (June 2009)

From dad "What d'ye mean your pals don't know I've got cancer? Do they think I'm just bald because looking after you makes me tear my hair out? Does Andrew think I'm sleeping all the time because I'm some kind of old lazy git?
Cherub shrug (July 2009)

From mum "I think old Jock dog's going to be staying with us permanently now, seeing's how your dad's not going to be able to walk him or anything when he gets out the hospice"
Cherub "OK" (August 2009)

Anyways it looks like our communication is failing spectacularly. Yesterday W, who has been in the hospice for the past fortnight, attached to various tubes, and hobbling 10 yards max, got a text from the cherub checking if he was down the park.....

Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Happiness by 25%

It must be true! It wouldn't be published on the internetweb if it wasn't would it?

For those people who can't be bothered to click the link, basically listing five things a week to be grateful for results in happiness levels increasing by 25%, energy and optimism increasing.
What's not to like? And frankly, I'm the ultimate test case for this one....

OK here beginneth the experiment... five things to be grateful for per week for the next ten weeks.

Week One
1. The dogs are getting on better than expected. Having had full blown fights on night one, we've now settled down into a peaceable enough routine. Both have no opinions on what to watch on telly, both think I'm great.
2.When I leave the Big American Bank at the end of this week there are some people (they know who they are!) whom I will never have to meet again.
3. I live in an area which has access to broadband. Not amazing speeds by a long chalk, but we do have some kind of string driven broadband.
4.The Wire is being repeated - and this time round I have a Sky HD box which records automatically for me.
5. Madonna is older than me!

Vote Vote Vote

Posted on 09:37 In: ,
Yay. My first poll, though technically a statistically insignificant sample, has confirmed that the Dybbuk is a pompous twat.
However no-one's perfect. It's not entirely impossible that I have highlighted the Dybbuk's only failing. There are many other qualities to consider before rushing to condemn. Today let us consider Tolerance - or his lack of.
Dr D was, to put it mildly, IMMENSELY IRRITATED if he had to wait five minutes whilst the checkout person chatted to a customer. It didn't help that often it was actually me doing the chatting ...
Who was right?

Communication No 1

Posted on 09:25 In:
To put it mildly, communication between W and myself had been woeful right up until his first operation. There had been a lot of bad feeling and resentment on both sides for years. So I wasn't immediately aware of the storm brewing.

First hints came via the cherub after weekends at his dad's.

"Dad's going to have to go into hospital for tests."Tests? "For his cough...I think" Well he did have trouble with his tonsils a while back.

"Dad's had this test that's made him radioactive!" Funny story..

"Dad's still off work" Well it's December. Bad time for flu"

And then I got a text from W "Going to hospital for op Will be in a fortnight. I'll tell kid. Not you"

And I still thought it was tonsilitis. I phoned a mutual friend, Linda, a nurse by trade, who gave me the first full update.

"Well Macy, it looks like lung cancer. They're going to operate to find out for sure. But you know I know Mr Wilson the surgeon and he really is one of the best.. and it's amazing what can be done these days". I still remember hearing that outside my work, 8:30am, December 9th. This came completely out of left field. I was stunned.

Linda filled me in on the tests to date, the prognosis, W's remarkably cheerful outlook. W told the cherub his upbeat version of his diagnosis, which may or may not have involved a full cure by Christmas.

Further tests meant that the operation was actually scheduled for 13th January. By this time W and I were actually being civil in the same room, as I needed to bring the cherub into hospital for visits. However any updates on W's actual condition were left to Linda.

"Well Macy, they didn't remove the lung in the end. But Mr W got a good sample away for biopsy. We still don't know for sure if it is cancer, but Mr Wilson thinks so"

"No it's not a good sign they didn't remove the lung as planned."

"Well they're still doing more tests. And W's been asking about this pain in his leg too. They still can't find anything, but there's no such thing as coincidence in medicine."

"Well the tests are taking a long time, we have another meeting with the consultant in February"

"Well Macy, it is cancer. It's a rare type of cancer, not lung cancer, it's an Angio Sarcoma. Very rare, that's why it's taken so long to diagnose. And that's how it's in his bones as well as his lungs"

W only phoned me after this diagnosis. It was a short phone call because we were both still in shock. The official report was that he had 4-14 months left to live. His official line was that I was only being told because of the cherub. I don't know if he realised that I was crying.

Today Macy is Unwell

Posted on 09:28 In:
Brain hurts. Can't even type word alcohol without feeling sick again.

Half of Cheesetown in same state following the Wedding of the Year.

Why Cheesetown?

Posted on 10:08 In:

An explanation is in order.
A long time ago when The Bridge was being built, the builders lodged here in the wee village down the road.
Their lodgings were basic, and the landladies made of stern stuff, and they only ever got cheese in their sandwiches at lunchtime.
So they called the place Cheesetown.

We could get boyfriends

Posted on 09:26 In: ,
Saturday evening is going to be the social event of the Summer here in Cheesetown, and I've been invited. My co-dog walker, whom we shall call Petal, also single, also able to remember the 80's, and also living in Chesetown with dog and a dangerous shopping habit, has kindly extended her invite to me and the cherub.

Seriously and all sarcasm aside here, it will be mega, a very alternative bring your own food, and drink wedding. Music will be from musician friends of the couple and anyone who wants to bring along their own instrument, and half of Edinburgh's creative industry people will be there.

The Petal is super stoked "Hey there'll be loads of arty types, we could get boyfriends!!!"

The last "boyfriend" resulted in my back teeth being ground to the bone and a complete loss of trust in psychologists / men over 45 and my own bullshit detector.
The "boyfriend" before that is currently lying in a hospice out at Fairmilehead. We know how that one goes.
All my spare time is spent job hunting / fighting Big American Bank re their stingy redundancy terms and dog walking.
Seriously I need a boyfriend slightly less than I need Anthrax right now.
But it was sweet of her to include me in that kind of world for a whole minute.

Dogs are Expensive

Posted on 09:09 In:
OK forget the costs of doggie insurance, vets bills, and replacement carpets. I'm talking about day to day running costs of dogs here. Right now I have two - Ned the border collie who lives here permanently has been joined by Jock W's dog "whilst he's in the hospice".
Now Jock is, to be brutally honest, very old and very stinky. Ned is only 3 and practically perfect, but has been violently sick for the past two days. Chez Macy stinks of dog; you could cut the air in that living room with a knife. So to Tesco's to buy (1) dog food and (2) carpet shampoo and maybe (3) newspaper. That's all.
The cost of this shop???? £37.93
That's right £37.93, I can hardly believe it, but I refer you to the invoice:
  • Dog food = £3.13 (must be cheap, I have a 50p off coupon...)
  • Carpet Cleaner = £2.96 (15p cheaper than Asda apparantly)
  • Dishwasher tablets - £7.00 (HAD to buy these, buy one get one free!!!)
  • Soda water x 3 = £1(great for cleaning stains, I am so thrifty!!! ho, and buy 3 for £1)
  • Hair conditioner x 2 £5 ( fantastic, buy 2 for a fiver, cost of one = £4.40! rip Tesco off for 3.80!)
  • Stationery x 2 £1 (stationery, love stationery, cheap stationery as good as it gets)
  • New scarf £5 (great colour, very trendy, they cost £12 in M&S)
  • T - Shirt £5 (but it's a Wardrobe Essential, it says so on the label)
Chocolate and newspaper..... I know, I know, how Tesco stiffs you, but look, I got CLUBCARD POINTS TOO!

So off to the Edinburgh book fair with the cherub today, to see Darren Shan talk about his work. For those who are not aware of the Darren Shan phenomenon, he is the one writer today who is almost guaranteed to get boys between 11 - 16 back to reading books. This man is such a draw that the Cherub and I have had our tickets booked since early July.

And of course half of book reading Edinburgh was there today - all wanting books signed. And to give Mr Shan his due, he will sign every book given, and talk to each child he meets. The downside of this is that book signings can last up to three hours and longer.

Now I need to stress that I am not pushy, I am not knowingly a drama queen, and generally have the patience of a minor later day saint. BUT as the cherub and I queued patiently for the first hour it became apparent that we were not going to meet Mr Shan before having to rush back.

I looked around at all the other kids with whole families in tow, and quite frankly thought, stuff it. There has to be some way of wringing a silver lining out of this cloud. Reader, I actually went up to the organisers, and pleaded for my kid to jump the queue given that this could be the only high point in his life before his dad died.

The technical word for this is shameless, and I am so seriously not proud. However thank you everyone at Edinburgh book fair for arranging for the Cherub's books to be quietly signed.

Featured Blog

Posted on 16:15 In:
Featured blog at Maggie's online hey???? Get me.....
Maggie's Community | Home
That'll be why Ian Rankin no less gave me a nod of recognition at the Book Fair today.
( )

Ok alright already so Maggie's has an online community of 316 max, and only a dozen of these blog.. DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS. Who cares? Whateffah! I'm FEATURED.


Posted on 17:21 In: ,
The following is from a poem by Ted Hughes in the "Birthday Letters" collection that W gave me many years ago.
I think it sums up what I feel looking at these pictures now.

It was not meant to hurt,
It had been made for happy remembering
By people who were still to young
To have learned about memory

High Summer

Posted on 08:26 In: ,

Given that this blog is called "The View from Macy", I thought this would be a good morning to add a view.
This is the view I can see as I type here on the 16th August - High Summer in central Scotland.

In the background, behind the grey cloud are the pentland hills, in the centre of the picture is Cheesetown's 900 year old church looking suitably grim, and inthe foreground is my garden which has gone completely to pot since no one in their right mind is going out in this weather to mow lawns or prune roses.

Note. This blog is not sponsored by the Scottish Tourist Board.

Vote Vote Vote

Posted on 08:46 In: ,
OK so for some light relief, time to turn the spotlight on The Dybbuk.

The Dybbuk was the man I almost married after W. One year later I still think I had a lucky escape. However I wouldn't want to think I was being unduly harsh on the Dybbuk or anything. Sometimes it's good to have other people's opinions on things.
Let me start outlining some personality traits through the blog to get other opinions.

Ten guidelines for a hospice visit

Posted on 08:03 In:
Last night Cherub Child and I went to visit W in the hospice. We are moving into new territory here. Since his 13th birthday Cherub Child is no longer cherubic, and since we split up W is no longer technically The Love of My Life, so between the three of us we are designing some new non standard visiting rules and conventions.
Convention 1. It is Cherub Child's job to wake W, whilst I try to look that obviously I'm just passing through the hospice anyway.
Convention 2.We catch up with details of who's been visiting - and some of the better presents he's had. Thank you the beer lover who travelled from Glasgow to bring finest bottled beer, the music lover who bought an mp3 and filled it with music, old friends who've been doing washing and ironing, new friends who've sent cards and photos.
Convention 3. We move through to the lounge of the hospice. W shares a room, and last night, e.g. there was a woman sobbing over the comatose man in the next bed.
Convention 4. W's dog, Jock, comes on hospice visits too. He gets the place on the sofa next to W.
Convention 5. We dim the lights in the lounge so it feels more comfortable. W's bald head and drawn face are less obvious.
Convention 6. The coffee machine in the lounge is temperamental, and we know this. A good ten minutes can be spent trying to get drinks out of it.
Conversation keeps to the general:-
What Cherub Child is doing
The latest X Box game
Jock's Ongoing Flea Problem
Me being made redundant as of next month

Convention 7. Future plans, e.g to meet up and take W out the hospice for Sunday lunch will be kept vague.
Convention 8 .We do not discuss the latest prognosis in detail in front of the Cherub. The official line is that doctors are doing everything they can.
Convention 9. Visits need to be kept short as W can only manage to stay awake for half an hour or so.
Convention 10. Any crying will be done in the car on the way home very surreptitiously so that the Cherub doesn't notice.

17 People

Posted on 07:18 In:
What do you know? Who'd have thought it?? Overnight 17 people have looked at my blog!!!
Deduct half of them as spam and porn merchants, another half dozen as cruisers through blogger, and ONE WHOLE NEW PERSON is taking an interest!!!

Note from Sarcastic Self - "You think there are only 9 spam merchants in the universe????

The Fairy Story

Posted on 18:28 In:
Once upon a time there was a little girl called Macy. And when she was growing up they told her to be good, and Stick In at School, and everything would turn out alright in the end. She would Grow Up and Get A Good Job and be married and live happily ever after.

Everything would turn out alright in the end (and bad stuff only happened to other people).

So she Stuck In at School - and did keep passing exams with monotonous regularity. And she did get a good job - or at least it was well paid. And she was good - except when she met The Love of Her Life - when she was very bad and had a very good time. But then she settled down with him in the end and so that turned out alright too. And first they got a cute dog, and then they had the most beautiful baby in the world, known as Cherub Child, and they lived happily ever after.
  • Macy fell out with The Love of Her Life
  • Macy moved to Glasgow with a man who shall henceforth be known as the Dybbuk
  • Macy realised she had made a Big Mistake
  • But by then The Love of Her Life had a particularly nasty form of cancer
  • And then the big Bad Credit Crunch Happened and the bank that Macy worked in made her redundant.
And Macy learned the hard way that Fairy Stories are just that.

The first entry

Posted on 17:12 In:
SO after thinking about blogging for a year, here I go. Driven to it as a refugee from Maggies Online Community.

Now Maggies is an excellent foundation for anyone affected by cancer. [In fact if you are reading this, and are close to someone with cancer Go To Their Site Now]. Starting a blog on their site after finding out my ex had cancer has been great therapy, but ..I feel a fraud. I don't have cancer. W does, and it's his cancer, and there's only so much I should be writing about it.

And I've got other things to write about too: the Big American Bank who are shortly to make me redundant; my last partner (aka the Dybbuk); clothes; a demented mother; an autistic dog; gossip; my cherubic child who is rapidly descending into teenagerdom.

The View From Macy is a bit too wide ranging for Maggies, so I'm going to have to take my chances here in the big wide grown up blogger world.

To Be Continued - once I figure out all the gizmos that come with a Blogger account here.

Welcome to the car crash...

I have a complicated bereavement. I was only reconciled with my ex, W, months before he died of cancer. Luckily (for him) I was made redundant and able to care for him while he died here at home - October 20th.
Currently getting through it with our son, aka the Cherub, dog Ned, and friends here in CHEESETOWN.

Who Needs a Booker Prize?

Who Needs a Booker Prize?
Sunny Thinks I'm Stylish

Wylye Hearted This Blog

Alive and Kicking

Not Forgotten