The Case of the Missing Blogger

Posted on 12:45 In:

Since Wednesday, there has been a distinct lack of sightings of Macy, or Ned for that matter, around the Chesetown area.
Footprints in the snow around the back hill would indicate they have been there - but if so it can only have been before daylight. Which in sideways sleet and snow would be madness...

The Mazda has been gone all through the day. No one is buying the last Guardian or Grazia from Scotmid.

More worryingly, there have been sightings of a Doggie Day Care van coming to remove the Nedster from his home billet each morning. Pedestrians have been able to pass by Macy's front window without sounds of furious barking from within. Postal workers have gone about their business unmolested by a ball of black and white fury hurling itself in their general direction.

Macy has been a no-show at Pilate's classes, Sunday cinemas and book clubs...

It could indicate she has started her New Day Job.
This would go some way to explaining the sudden spike in clothes sales around the Edinburgh area in the past week as Macy has more money to spend.

It wouldn't explain the maniacal cackling from her house late of an evening though.
Not unless conditions were so good at her new billet, and the news from the Big American Bank continues to be so bad. Not unless the latest round of redundancies included some of those on her most hated list.


Posted on 09:36 In:

Bullying huh? Staff at Downing Street are feeling bullied and phoning a helpline?

I'm going to try and keep this short..

For what seems like more years than I can count I worked in the Financial Services Sector. Latterly at a Big American Bank.

A big macho testosterone fuelled Global American Bank.
Edinburgh's director, Wee Sam was a short man on an even shorter fuse. Senior management and lesser minions were bawled out on an hourly basis. I don't know if collars were ever seized, but the abuse got seriously personal.
You could spot anyone on the receiving end of a phone call - they're the ones with the receiver six inches from their ear...
You could recognise anyone heading to his office - by the walk.. the slump of the doomed.

And the bullying trickled down.

Senior and middle managers congregated in the smoking areas to plan how to cover their backs and find fall guys for whatever new crisis has erupted. Because there was always a crisis, and there always had to be a fall guy in this environment.
The "best" managers were the ones who could quickly identify and deal with a culprit.
This is how bullying gets institutionalised.

And the bullying was condoned because the US directors were even more aggressive than Edinburgh's.
Ha! There goes our Wee Sam on his way to get a bollocking on his next conference call with the US. Look at his walk - the slump of the doomed.

Through September to November I worked ten weeks with no weekends. I have especially fond memories of the weekend where I worked alongside thirty others through till half one in the morning Friday and Saturday night.

Because we were scared to tell them where to go.

Notoriously I asked for flexitime to allow me visits to the hospice and chemo unit. Although I was warned not to by another manger.... And we know how that panned out

So. If anyone's getting yelled at in Downing Street, it's probably not very nice. But if you are helping run the country, you might want to wise up and contact ACAS rather than a helpline run out of a back office. Yeah, and while you're at it, you might want to try and raise awareness of institutionalised bullying which is rife throughout some of our "professions".
Just a thought.


Doggie Day Care

Posted on 19:06 In:
I've been here before you know. Back in 1999 the Cherub had his First Day at School. It was a big and momentous event, and I'm not saying it was easy for either first born or doting mother.

Yeah, and here we go again.

I'm going back to work. Full Time. And this means Day Care for the youngest - Ned Dog.
Should be easy. I mean I've been through this before, and, as Sensible Self would point out he's, well he's a dog, come on. But being a Collie and all, puts him about half way between child and dog. Apparently they have the same reasoning abilities as a three year old human, though I reckon they have the edge on three year old humans for pester power.. and Ned and I have spent a lot of quality time together lately.

Anyway, with my first day at work looming, this afternoon we were off to Doggie Day Care; a renowned centre of Canine Learning, run by South African Ned (a human Ned? the omens are good). And here we are again. First Day Visiting the New School and Macy doing her best to sell this idea to new recruit.

My youngest gets to see the institution's facilities, the dog run, the agility training yard, and the pen where the other 30 of his classmates are kept.
He is intimidated.
He cowers.

Ned is introduced to a couple of the less noisy dogs - Misty and Fern are let out of the pen to "make friends". He's coping dogfully, but still prefers to cling to my side. This is bringing back painful memories.
There are a couple of dog toys around. Look Ned! Toys! I throw one of the balls, and create a scrum of fur and teeth at the other side of the pen.
Ned goes off the idea of toys.....

We then introduce Ned to a couple of the other dogs. Oh here's Bruno, here's Fritz! Let's meet them...
Ah dog is not meeting his new friends: he's - well he's crapping in the corner.

THAT never happened last time round with Cherub!

Look I took him up Craigie hill to make up for it... at least with his limited verbal skills, I don't have to explain to him that he's going back for half a day tomorrow.

The Day the Sun Came out at the Hospice

Posted on 17:49 In:
It was an idea I had a while back.

It's obvious really. The Internet has been in existence forever. We're all over Facebook and Blogger and shopping online, and hitting Google everytime we need to find out something. We've got music online with Spottify and free video calling with Skype and document sharing with Googledocs.
Except that a lot of cancer patients aren't getting the most out of this technology that can help in so many ways - whether it's simply something to get through the long nights or a way of keeping in touch with distant friends and family, or leaving last messages and photo albums.
I put the idea of rolling out this technology to the hospice. And the hospice were immediately interested.

Since then Gail, the Occupational Therapist has ran with the idea. She unearthed a laptop, donated but unusued till now. She download Skype and tested the set up, so that today we could give our first demonstration of video calling to the Day Care group.

Today we linked up Alice with her son in Australia.
And our video link showed two faces lighting up.

The sun came out.
As Gail said "A glass eye would have to cry".

The hospice is now arranging regular video conferencing sessions for patients. If patients can supply e-mail addresses for all those kids, cousins, grandkids and friends, the hospice will arrange to set up video calls. The hospice can link them with distant friends and family in those important last months.

Next step Flickr photo albums....

PS The photo above is one that W took during his last visit to the hospice - the week before he died. Seemed fitting. It was trying to connect him with NZ that sparked the whole idea.

Back to Black

Posted on 09:50 In:
Back to black because it seems only appropriate.
The not-unexpected e-mail from Kirsti has arrived.
Sorry to tell you and Cherub that Jock was put to sleep tonight. For reasons you know plus further advice from two vets. I feel quite upset about it so please dont call to discuss it. I have asked for his ashes back and i'll keep them for you two if you think you would like them.
We know the reasons - he was old, he was pining, he was practically senile, crippled with arthritis and missing W.
There's no happy ending unless you remember the good times. So for what it's worth let's remember the dog who:-

1. Was adopted as a "puppy", but who turned out to be fully grown. And, so remained a small muppet all his life.

2. Who loved camping. Except he couldn't figure out how to get in a tent, so had to bounce on top of them repeatedly. This was not popular with other campers
3. Who liked nothing better than running mad down the side of a mountain. Sheep optional.
4. Who loved pubs, especially quiz nights which came with CRISPS... In earlier days he couldn't walk past Clark's bar without calling in to check on beer or crisp availability.
5. Who never knowingly let post into the house without first destroying it- or admitted defeat to let go of a stick.
6. Who, as first baby, hated the cherub with a vengeance when he first arrived: hiding under the bed when he cried. That he managed to eat the whole of Cherub's first birthday cake when W and I foolishly left cake and dog in car together is unrelated to this.
6. Who had formed a team with W. W even took him to work with him. Having been with W for the last 15 years he was never going to adapt.

I like to think of him as having gone to that happier place where there are unlimited postmen to chase, sausages on demand, and nobody telling you to "STAY and WATCH THE HOUSE".

Jock Dog 1993 or 1994(who knows) - February 2010

Sweet, Sweet St Valentine's Day

Posted on 18:01 In:
Yeay! It's that time of year again, and to mark it I've done another quiz.

Except I've made this one real easy. What with my current run of luck, and Spring fast approaching, all you have to do is guess what I'm going to be doing for Valentines day.

This should be a no brainer.

The Tale of Tufty Squirrel Rolls On

Posted on 10:27
Oh yes. Time to revisit an earlier post....
Unless you are squeamish.
In which case ... don't. Just don't.

So there I was this morning chatting away to Cas, who had just heard the sad tale of George. Which led, of course, onto us talking generally about sick dogs. And who could talk of sick dogs without mentioning Ned and his finest hour lately.
Turns out Cas has further information - it wasn't a white squirrel was it?

Well erm yes, but I'd assumed his stomach acids had erm, bleached it...
No, no, no, no! Sharon next door had AN ALBINO squirrel. It used to visit their back garden. It's disappeared lately.. they were wondering.

Look, since the bin men have now safely taken away the evidence, I've found a picture of a nice fluffy albino squirrel instead.

Indeed, it is a truth universally acknowledged here in Cheesetown that the tale of the Small Boutique Counting House is becoming Dickensian in length if not in scope.

But look ye! The final instalment is here!

Yes having come through the arduous selection process for the Small Boutique etc - and who could forget the first interview, the structured interview, the test presentation, the meeting with the Finance Director, the meeting with a team member, and the battery of verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and personality tests?

I Got the Job.

Of course.

So, to bring everyone up to date here, I had a think.

And then I turned them down.

Yup. I had to.

Because the Extremely Esteemed and Revered Institution in Edinburgh (EERIE) offered me a job.

Or to re-phrase it, the Extremely Esteemed and Revered Institution in Edinburgh offered me a fantastic job, doing lots of interesting stuff, and meeting lots of interesting people other accountants. No financial services, lots of real edgy erm accounts stuff. Grand prospects. And I wanted that job.
I wanted that job so badly I told them so in the interview.

And I got it.
Yeah two jobs in the biggest baddest recession since whenever.

Let me give you the full picture. The news came by telephone whilst I was working on W's old PC. I'd gone onto his old Spotify account and was playing the last tunes we'd been listening to. Back in September I'd been trying to convince him that Beyonce was worth listening to. And there I was being told of my fantastic new job, right outside the door to "his" room. And for the first time in a month or so I was sobbing my heart out. Because it felt like karma. Call me an old hippy, call me a trivial deluded fool if you want, but it felt like karma.

So that's what karma looks like: sat on the floor, howling my eyes out, with Beyonce banging away in the background: "All the single ladies....All the single ladies... All the single ladies...All the single ladies", because you are, erm, happy?

Oh and here's a moral too: If you are running a Small Boutique Counting House, don't drag out the recruitment process so the stars go and get interviewed elsewhere in the meantime, hey?

The Explanation is Overdue

Posted on 07:42 In:

Sensible Self has been on my case for the past week. And since she is SENSIBLE, there is no arguing with her. Worse, since she is a SELF, there is no getting away from that nagging voice either.
Sensible Self: So you are just going to leave the blog there are you Macy?
Macy: Yes.. I thought so.
Sensible Self: Thought so?
Macy: yes, well it would be a good place to leave it and all. What with starting in the pits, then going full circle back to employment and after W.
Sensible Self. Except full circle would bring you back to the pits wouldn't it??
Macy: Pffft.....pedant.

Sensible Self: If you are going to do that big gesture, finish the blog thing, then you should write a big grand closing entry shouldn't you? Closure. Closure would be good.
Macy: Yup.
Sensible Self: So why don't you?
Macy: Oh, you know, I just don't want to. I miss blogging. I miss cruising around all the other blogs out there.... Some of those bloggers have started to feel like friends you know?
Sensible Self: Well you can still read other blogs! Good grief! Since when did reading someone else's blog mean you had to write your own?
Macy: But it wouldn't feel right..... also I miss the WRITING.
Sensible Self: Well you'd better get back to the blog then hadn't you?
Macy: I will, yeah, right, I will!

Sensible Self: Because some Big Stuff has been going down lately, and you wouldn't want anyone to think you're only going to blog when you have some big news to impart.
Macy: Like some drama queen?
Sensible Self: Exactly. Get back to writing. And mention the Forthcoming Attractions.
Macy: Like the Small Boutique Counting House saga?
Sensible Self: That would be a good one to get going on yes.

Macy: Thinking I might resort to the old blue grey format as well....
Sensible Self. Look I'm SENSIBLE. Sensible people do not, by definition CARE about background colour.

Nuff said.

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.

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