Ain’t missing you

To be fair, I’ve never been a big drinker of alcohol at any point in my life, though I certainly have enjoyed the odd strong drink from time to time, mainly when eating out, or flying somewhere. Generally a glass of wine, or a vodka and coke, but that really is about it for me.

So fine, when I was told last July, that because of the strong(ish) pain killers they were putting me on, I had to stop drinking alcohol, it wasnt the end of the world for me. Yes, there have been a few air flights where I’ve missed that drink, or when celebrating my 60th (twice this year), that it might have been nice to celebrate a bit more, but such is life. Christmas, I had non alcoholic wine, and last September, I stayed off the pills for 3 days (period to clear system), so I could drink at my friends wedding, but that really has been it! And yes, then, I was taking them again as soon as I got back to the hotel. I wasnt in real pain (non stressful activity, and hot weather for a week helped), but I quickly got back to the pill plan, and was grateful for them!

What struck me this week though, was when I took in a couple of bottles of alcoholic wine type drinks for a tombola as prizes at work, was that I didnt miss not being able to drink them. There may be a time when I dont need the pills again, and can have the odd drink again, but in truth, I’m not sure that will happen given the state of my back, but we will have to wait and see.

And yes, flying to and from Seattle last month, I did think it would have been nice to have had wine with the meal, but did I really miss it, probably not? Fine, I know people on the same pills, and same strength pills as me, who do drink, and have no issues with it. But me, I’m a good, obedient robot (I wish) type, who does as I’m told, so…

Now, if only I could find those robotization pills to take, lol…? 😉

Right, video time. A Brit, who found fame in the US is tonights pick. Sorry, booze, but…

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Just be good for me

Alright, seeing I’m lacking for inspiration, and given that I’m sure that people who come here for robot stuff arent interested in diversity issues, so lets talk pills instead. No, sadly not robotization pills, or anything interesting like that, just useful painkillers, for ‘old crocks’ like me!

Its fair to say that over the 9 months since my back got seriously damaged, I might have spent a fair bit of money on the prescriptions for all the painkillers I need. Even more so, with the need for the extra ones I took to help me get through the winter. Thankfully, my Kofi campaign earned me one big one off donation, and another generous patron has been helping to top up my funds for me through there, because having had to cut back on my work days, I really havent had the money for them, in truth. Ironically, now, I wont have to pay for them!

No, sadly, no mad scientist has transformed my back from damaged bone, into perfect cybernetic material, if only! No, the reason I will no longer have to pay for them (starting this week) is a simple one, I’m old!

I assumed that like everything else for seniors (or pretty much everything, at least), the age for free prescriptions had risen along the lines of retirement, pension, and the like. No, it seems that like railcards, coach cards, and oh, meals at some places, you still qualify for free prescriptions at 60! Yes, annoyingly, last month, I would have run out of pills on the weekend I hit 60, and as I was away in Blackpool, I had to pay for them. In truth, I only found out they were free after I got back anyway! Given they last about 4 weeks, I’ll be getting my first free prescription on Thursday! Sadly, the gel I have to use on my back isnt prescribed, but as a workmate is providing me with her excess at present, I’m not paying for that at the moment anyway!

So, there really is one blessing of getting old I guess? Still rather not need them, but anyway…But fine, they’re not going to do much with a damaged back, unless they really have to, far too many risks. So I guess I’ll have to put up with it? Well, unless a mad scientist has a nice rejuvenation, or robotization chamber he wants to test out, and then…? 😉

Tonights video is a song that will probably mean nothing across the Atlantic, and was a one hit wonder over here, so how many remember it? But yes, you might recognize Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook, in one of his numerous line ups over the years.

Lets all buy a camera!

Fine, anyone who can work out the video from that blog title, without looking, I’m stunned. Why? Because the song is over 40 years old, was only ever a B side of one of their more famous hits, but I loved it, and it fits, so… Yes, if anyone has heard the song before, please let me know! Well, unless you’re a fan of the group, but…?

Given that I’m now just under 6 years from retirement, and that my doctors have already advised me that I ideally need to move somewhere where its warm (or hotter) all year round, to ease my back issues, and to allow the fact that until today, the temperature here hasnt hit 40 degrees since heaven knows when, let alone where it should be in April, I thought I’d take a look into the possibilities.

So, if I start looking for somewhere where the temperature doesnt drop much below 60, all year round in Europe, you start looking south, a long way south! From what I see, Malta, Canary Islands, and possibly a few other places could work for me, if I can afford it. Also, for those, I have no idea if Brexit is going to make it more complex to move there, than it is now. And unless someone is prepared to offer me a job, or position there, suitable for a 60 year old woman, with a questionable back, its not going to happen before retirement day! No, I’m not considering the possibility of any wealthy person falling in love with me, and making me their partner there, lol!

Anyway, being curious, I had a look on You Tube, to see what places are recommended for retirees that would fit my needs. I cant see me moving to Asia, or South America, to be honest, but there was one country that seemed to regularly come at the top, or near to the top of all these charts, Panama. Yes, that gives a clue to the video, now name the group!

It seems the temperature is somewhere between 60, and 75 the whole year round, and though there is rain, its going to be warm rain, which surely isnt as bad as the freezing cold stuff here in winter! There are definite advantages, you dont need a fortune in savings to reside there (just as well really, short of a lottery win), and most speak English, though seemingly learning Spanish might be a wise move! There is also the Catholic country, and LGBT issue for me, but I’ve seen a lot worse countries for that to be honest. And fine, I’m single, and probably staying that way, so…?

Yes, ideally, I’d move to Florida, Southern California (San Diego is supposedly the perfect place for me to live), or Arizona (maybe a bit too hot in summer?) but as a UK citizen, that has issues for permanent US residence, unless there really is someone of either gender crazy enough to marry me! But all reasonable offers, lol…? Maybe a non sexual courtesan type might be more apt lol, or a marriage of convenience type! Not that they’re needed nowadays, unlike the Golden Age days, so probably not?

But yes, its all 6 years away, so I have plenty of time to think about it, but if its going to be done…?

Right, that video. Sailor had a few hits in the mid 70’s, but I have no idea if they crossed the Atlantic with popularity, or were just a UK thing? Either way, they had a catchy number, that ties into this blog quite nicely. You even have a choice tonight, the original line up, clearly miming…

Or a live version from 2002, with their line up at the time, which is surprisingly good, in truth

Give us this (many) days?

As that date gets nearer, its hard to believe that just 25 years ago, or so, I’d have 22 days to go until retirement. For reasons relating to life expectancy, and other related stuff, its now going to be 6 years and 22 days! Or is it?

No, I’m not getting political, though there are a group of women that are trying to get the age adjusted, or get compensation for the extra period of time before retirement, but given my job, not getting into that in the slightest.

But at the same time, I do wonder if my body is going to last that long, at least in a physically strong enough state that going to work, even my current 4 days a week is beyond me? Especially given that as a non driver, I have to use public transport, and you cant enhance the seat on a bus on a long term basis lol! Car seat, yes I’m sure I could work something, but on buses, and trains, not going to happen.

Theoretically, I have a pension I could claim at 63. Snag, its only a matter of £2-3 K per year, and I certainly couldnt live on that! And thats before you get into all the matter of name changes since I worked in that job, so…? Technically my Insurance number hasnt changed, so they should be able to track it, but anyway…not going to be enough to give up work!

Its not quite as bad as that. In practice, if I was unable to work because of my physical health, I would get disability benefits, but really, in truth, that would always be a last resort for me. But yes, I suspect it will happen at some point, in truth, but hopefully I’ll be wrong. But given the state of my back, even now… And again, its not a fortune, so…

I suspect that as with so many medical treatments, eventually they will catch up with back issues, and be able to repair them, or replace them. But for now, understandably, they’re a bit nervous about doing much to the spine, because there is a big chance of only making it worse, not better. Yes, 30 years from now, back replacements will probably be like knee, and hip replacements today! I hope so, for others at least.

In the meanwhile, I guess I’ll just have to see how long I can take the pain. Or until a major lottery win… Oh fine, I’m laughing at that last comment too!

Video time. Only surprised I’ve never used this, as its one of Ultravox’s bigger hits, but anyway, you get it now at least!

 

The perfect climate for a bad back?

Yes, as I’m sure all regulars know by now, my back has been damaged by old age, for want of a better term. Osteoporosis has caused a small fracture in my back, which I keep under control by using painkillers, both in the form of pills, and a gel, which make life sort of bearable, if nothing more. Its probably not going to improve unless I get a new cybernetic spine, or a full robot makeover, which lets face it, neither have got any chance of happening at present. Give it a few decades, and it might happen, but I’ll be long gone by then!

Apart from the general fragility of my body (my knees are a surgical disaster, leading to very poor circulation of blood to my legs), I have no desire to put up with this pain forever, so though I wouldnt mind a few more years, I dont want to talk in decades any more.

So if anyone reading this, for whatever reason wants to help with the ever increasing meds bills, and the reducing number of days that I can work per week (cut to 4, from 5), then feel free to donate here, or not, as the case may be?

http://www.ko-fi.com/merrybrooks

Thought not, but no harm in mentioning it?

One thing that the surgery did mention to me, was living somewhere warmer than here, especially during the winter, because the cold wrecks my back. Yes, would be wonderful, but no money to make it happen, and at my age, finding a job somewhere like that might be tricky too! But yes, if someone wants to set me up somewhere warm, with the funds to look after myself, wouldnt say no. Sadly, I’m not as cute as Marion Davies as a ‘supported’ lady, in case you were hoping I was!

This morning, on one of my Forums, I found out an interesting fact, in an area I love. One of the places in the world where there is very little temperature swing throughout the year, and in a nicely warm sense, is San Diego, in California. Yes, apparently it gets chilly there in winter when it drops to 48 (9C for Brits)! But generally, doesnt often hit 80 (27C) either! Yes, my back would just love that!

I know, Chargers have left town for Los Angeles, and the Padres definitely arent the Dodgers, but I can think of worse places to live, in truth. And lets face it, that idiot Trump wants nice, white Europeans to emigrate there, just needs to change the rules, or provide me with the paperwork at least. Or a wealthy partner, or my own personal ‘Hearst’. I know, I know, no harm in hoping!

The only other place that fits the bill better, Honolulu! But there is far more rain there, and rain is not good for my joints so…

Los Angeles, wouldnt say no, but it didnt meet this match because of the heat in summer. Not that I’d mind, but strictly…

OK, video time. What could be better than a song called San Diego being played in San Diego? I’m not a Blink 182 fan, but thats just far too much fun to miss out on!

Review Of The Year, Part one

Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.

In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting a passport in my new name. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in an LGBT sense, with an interview from work, about life as a LGBT woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…

No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.

Of course, my first flight as Harlean Carpenter, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.

The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!

The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!

In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…

In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.

The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.

August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!

Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!

Walking on the ‘milky’ way

Oh fine, if that doesnt give you a clue to the video, nothing will! A tale of getting older, and cutting back, so call yourself warned.

When I was young, or indeed while still into my 20’s, I used to walk miles on my days off, quite literally. Yes, in those ancient (facetiousness factor) days, it was nothing for me to just walk out on a Sunday morning, walk 4-5 miles or more, have a bite of lunch, or at least a drink, when the weather was fair, and then walk back again. In truth, if I wanted to go far, on a Sunday, back then, in Somerset, or Dorset at least, and didnt drive, you had to walk, there was no Sunday bus service at all! So I did.

Its fair to say that over the years, my walking has got a bit slower (though some at work might not believe that), and maybe a couple of miles each way was enough, but I kept walking, when I could.

But yes, now, since my back went wrong, I’m now finding that my limit, in 1 go, is down to about a mile, or just under! How do I know this, you ask? Well, according to Google Maps, the distance I walk in Bradford, from the Bus Station, to work, is approximately 0.8 miles. And yes, I’m beginning to ‘feel it’ at present when I near my destination. So in truth, not much more, which is why I’m using a mile as a guide, and I might have problems nowadays. I know, I was about 25 then, I’m 60 next year, with osteoporosis, but its still a blow to the ego.

Will it get better, will it get worse, who knows? I suspect that its more likely to be the latter, than the former, so I’ll settle for stability at least. In truth, any other year, I could book my holiday for May already. I just about have the funds, or will have after pay day next week, I know who I want to fly with, I know where I want to stay, but…its a me issue!

The thing about staying in hotels, is that they expect you to go out for the day, each day. Hopefully, fine, it wont be an issue. Equally, if you can tell me, that in an 8 day stay, there wont be at least 1 day where the body is suffering a bit, I’d love you. It might be true, but given that 2 working days in a row is about my limit at present (Holiday time would not be as hard on me, physically, to be fair), assuming I can get out for several (or more) hours each day of my stay, hmm? There is, to be fair, an apartment option, but that would mean getting provisions on arrival (using a UK credit card, in the US, not always easy online), and I suspect I might not be up to that, after a long flight. So the hotel would be better, now.

Oh, and then there is my own determination, and budget. In theory, the hotel offers a shuttle to and from the airport at all times, so I could use that to get the train into town from Seatac, but it wouldnt get me back, anyway. In fact, I could do a flat 0.7 mile walk to a station, which would be fine at present, but then, and each day…?

So yes, I’ll leave it a while to make my booking, just to see how far I might be able to walk by then. I will make the call by February, and see how I am by then, is the plan. Its not just that of course, it is the length of flying time (its direct coming back, but via LA getting there, adding several hours) as well, so we will see.

In truth, I probably ought to have a Plan C, involving either the East Coast of US (shorter flight times), or somewhere in Europe, but I’m trying to avoid working on thoughts like that at present.

But yes, getting old sucks, lol!

The video, a live version of the blog title!