Friday, August 31, 2007

Nay Luck

Thank you so much for all the recent supportive comments, oh warm-hearted readers. Excuse me for not replying individually.

Excuse me, nay indulge me, for today's towering rage. I am writing this on my dad's computer as my laptop has just been pronounced extinct after a mere 14 months! Two pathetic months after the warranty ran out, the screen started to go black. A mere loose wire, I think, a trifle...

But Polish ponytail guy in the laptop shop tweaked and prodded and replaced various components, with other new components, fresh from cellophane. At one stage, he bit on a piece of gaffer tape and stuck down wires. About half an hour later he and the other dudes were shaking their heads and drawing in sharp breaths. A new screen was needed and would cost about £275. They recommended just buying a new lap top. The 'old' laptop cost £390 a mere 14 months ago.

I tell them I am tired and I will have to go home and cry before reviewing my options. I haven't actually cried. It is only money, nobody has died or been poked with needles.

I think I just feel scared and sad as my health has been a lot worse today and I am having no success 'Mickeling' my way out of anything. I feel semi-poisoned again. This certainly happens - I shouldn't be too surprised. Perhaps the disappointment is greater precisely because I was doing well before (she says, grappling for the positive?)

Anyway, I feel better for having let you know, that if I am without the world wide web for the next few days (weeks?) it will be an accident of fate and faulty components. In cyberspace no one can hear you scream. Except perhaps Sigourney Weaver and the ponytail guy at Laptops Direct, and you, oh loyal readers of blog.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I'm having trouble sending email again, so excuse me if replies are absent.

The screen of my laptop is also on the blink - a loose wire suspected. The guy at Dell technical support was trying to talk me through removing the keyboard with a screwdriver. I didn't know that was allowed? It seems a bit radical, like doing a spot of amateur surgery on a tendon or something. I had to go to my neighbour's to borrow the right size of screwdriver. By the time I came back, the Dell techie help man had clocked off and I was left alone to tinker. I was quite pleased when I put it back together with a few satisfying clicks and snaps.

It's still touchy though. I am tip toe-ing around my keyboard, trying not to offend it.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Mind the Gap

People have told me they like the honesty of this 'ere blog, so I am bound by honesty to report that I am feeling a bit melancholy this evening. Ironic, perhaps as the Mickel Therapy is still going well overall. (How many of you readers are hungry for more specific MT feedback and how many dip in for everyday bloggy observations?)

For Mickel watchers, one aspect of the therapy is to learn to cast a neutral and calculating eye on your life as is and compare it with how you think your life would have been if you had never fallen ill. Then you have to leave no stone unturned in your hunt for ways that you could move forward, even crawl forward, to make up some of the difference. I know it sounds too facile to be applicable ("well, of course we would get better if we could", etc) and yet, I have seen some progress in my attempts to press forward.

Today I had my meeting at the job centre and I will fill in a form to let me start some voluntary work and/or to earn a tiny bit extra each week. It is progress certainly, and yet I think some of the hovering melancholy comes from feeling the size of the gap between where I am and where I want to go.

I talked to my dear friend, Stuart tonight and he said when he started to get better from his lonely years of physical debility, he wrestled with frustrations and anger that arose as he met life's challenges on the way back up towards the 'real' world. I suppose it makes sense in a way. It can just catch you by surprise.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I knew it!

Hottest day of the year in Glasgow at 25 degrees Celsius. I have savoured every honey-glossed moment of sun. Ah, the temporary relief...


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Quietly Amazed

This photo by St├ęphan Reebs shows Glasgow University quadrant where I studied Arts and Social Sciences years ago. The weather in the photo is the same as today's weather, the same as most of the summer - this perma drizzel, adept at making me feel wistful.

After years of illness, I swore I would never allow myself to get annoyed by anything as external and uncontrollable as weather. As I wrote in a poem once, any weather is better than no weather (i.e. better than being housebound). But how shallow and myopic I was! This non summer is finally getting to me. Correction, I am allowing it to get to me. In a way, I am enjoying my objection, stoking it like a wee fire to entertain myself. I'll show this global warming! Any more of this and I'll fly off to the Caribbean! Aye....that'll be yer modern dilemma right there.

Wistfulness aside, things are going well. I am grateful. I have been doing some volunteer work and I have a meeting soon to ask about the possibilities of 'permitted work' - a declared and above-board scheme to help people on benefits graduate back to earning. It would be part-time and I'd see how feasible it could be. I'm feeling my way forward. At times I'm quietly amazed.

I'm also waiting on Nice Man to give me a lift to Tesco (everyone's local make-me-feel-guilty conglommerate). You can't be amazed all the time.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Rage against the machine

illustration link

So limited are the hours of sunshine this summer, that I feel compelled to go out to the park in front of my house at the first patch of blue sky. I had just lain down with my sunglasses and my book today, when a man with a leaf blower came out from a bush. If there is one artifact that can leave me incandescent with rage, it is a leaf blower that is as loud as a chain saw and uses planet-polluting petrol, when hey, a big rake would do, and hey again, only 3% of leaves are on the ground, so you might as well wait for the other 97% before you start moving them about. But leaf-blower man with his ear protectors couldn't resist. I gave up and went home. I couldn't look him in the eye, incase he saw in my gaze only arrogant pity at the folly of mankind.

Patio heaters, you ask? Oh, I love them too, in the same kind of way. What is this? Grumpy Friday?

I am going to see Nice Man's niece in a school play tonight. Enthusiastic, uncynical children in a musical extravaganza? That's what I need, surely!


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Random disparity and flying saucepans

Readers, let me not neglect you. Sometimes I use the random disparity of life as an excuse not to write. I mean, where does one begin? What will I write about today? When I try to write poems, I start with the general and try to work towards some emotion or situation that is distilled. But so often, the fabric of days is full of flotsam and jetsam, wholly miscellaneous.

Like when I smiled at my neighbour, Mylo, today. He does not know me but I know he is a record producer who is famous for making dance records from his pro-tool enhanced bedroom. He is so good at it, he is to produce Madonna's next album (allegedly). This might be Daily Record exaggeration, maybe not. Anyway, I sat in the sun on my doorstep and thought, there goes Mylo. Then I went inside and had beans and coleslaw for dinner as I felt too tired to cook. See what I mean, where's the poetry in that? Where does it all come together?

My wee niece, Maddy, was boasting to the librarian about how books were helping her become clever. Now I know all about dinosaurs and space and flying saucepans, she said.

More soon. We must chat more often.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

A waste of trees and cornflakes

When I was five or six cornflakes were easily my all-time favourite food. I was taken to visit some Irish relatives who had thirteen children in their family. Thirteen, said my mum, can you believe that? I pondered this statistic and apparently replied, What a waste of cornflakes. What I probably meant was, wow, how many boxes do you get through each morning?

I believed that the greatest freedom adult life could bring would be the ability to eat as many bowls as I liked. I could have cornflakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, when I grew up. No need for boring vegetables and stews! Minced-steak be gone.

Ah well, I still sprinkle cornflakes on top of my muesli most mornings. I never tire of them. I feel a strange affinity with cereal - the building block food from which all other food experiences grew.

In reverse, was their something I failed to appreciate as a kid and can't get enough of now? Yes, trees. I praise the Lord for the leafy relief of trees in cities. I think looking at them probably lowers blood pressure and calms neurotransmitters.

My Dad used to be a teacher in Edinburgh and he got a lift to school with other male teachers. One day he remarked on a beautiful line of trees in a field and they all burst out laughing at him and teased him about it later. Beautiful trees, they laughed. Trees?!