Review of the Year, Part Two

So, lets get to the last 4 months of the year now, when a few things might have happened!

To do it in strictly in chronological order, the first new experience in September, was being wheeled through an airport in a wheelchair! In truth, I possibly could have survived the security experience at Manchester Airport (especially as I would have got Fast Track routing as a premium economy customer), but there was absolutely no way I was ever going to stand in the Immigration queue at Boston, I went with the ‘full in’ option. So fine, at Manchester it didnt quite work as planned (twice, but more on that later), as I got wheeled through security, and to the gate, but no one ever appeared to take me to the gate! So in the end, I managed to get myself down, and aboard the plane, but ironically that meant I was last on, not first! Boston end, it worked perfectly, and I can safely say I have never got through Immigration so quickly in my life, even if you allow for the time I waited on the plane before I got off!

The first few days on Cape Cod was a delight (Saturday night in Boston, went down there on Sunday) with Kate, just relaxing, and giving my back a wonderful break. Then, on the Thursday, we both headed back to Boston, Kate to head off somewhere with her partner, and me to head to Mahopac, NY, via Stamford (c/o Amtrak) to go to a friend’s wedding. Initially I’d assumed I would be going as a guest, then told I was a bridesmaid, only to find out I was Maid of Honor! Thankfully for all the others there, I didnt catch the wedding bouquet lol! It was an amazing experience, thanks go to Stacie, and Eric for the honor of doing that for me. Also thankfully, I was relaxed enough over those last few days that I managed to lay off the painkillers for just long enough to be able to drink at the wedding reception. Fine, I made up for it that night, but anyway…

Flying back afterwards was entertaining. Firstly, for some reason best known to themselves, the airline staff at JFK started boarding people, before boarding me in a wheelchair. It seemed they realized pretty quickly, and sent me through, but it was an interesting journey through all these people who had no interest in giving way to a passenger in a wheelchair!

On arrival at Manchester, chaos ensued. As had shown at JFK, I was the only person who had booked a wheelchair. Therefore, on arrival at Manchester, one wheelchair arrived, for me. Thing is, 5 people suddenly decided they needed a wheelchair, and one woman (who had the physical strength to push me out of the way!) decided she was taking it! Anyway, in the end, after a bit of a delay, a few more wheelchairs arrived, though only 1 extra pusher, and we eventually got through, but after quite a delay, obviously. Not helped by the fact that one person clearly didnt have the right paperwork (not sure if she was from my plane, or a holdback from a previous flight?). In the end, I sort of got up, collected my case, and struggled through on foot (someone pushed my case, thank goodness) to where I was being met! I only hope Manchester Airport does better next May, we will see!

After that, its fair to say that the year settled into LGBT mode at work. A presentation to just over 100 people on working as an LGBT person in my Civil Service Department, and gaining a position on a committee dealing with LGBT issues within said Department are 2 of the delights that followed. Oh, and on top of that performance, was of course, the performance as an Elf very recently!

Lastly, on Christmas Day, on Facebook of all places, someone posted a picture in one of the groups, of a young lady, in Christmas mode, of an event that happened nearly 90 years ago (1929). Yes, an unknown lady, at a pre-Christmas event in Los Angeles, way back when. Except…she looked familiar to me. Comparison to a few pictures taken about 5 years later, and agreement from a couple of other people on the matter, that lady is no longer unknown, to a few of us at least. Yes, 99.9% certain its a certain Clara Johnson! Talk about dream Christmas present, especially as in total, there were 3 pictures! Oh fine, here’s one of them, of her, at 24!

And thats about it! Two more working days in 2017, Friday all day, and a half day on Saturday! Not expecting anything major to happen, but we will see?

The video, big clue in the title. A live version of the song, from 2012, which means no Kirsty MacColl, but the woman gives a decent, if clearly rather starstruck performance

 
Tomorrow, a look forward to 2018, and what might, or will happen

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Flying home for Thanksgiving

Its amazing to think back now to the fact that it actually took the first pilgrims to the US in 1620, about 2 months to get there from England. By the time they sailed, it was autumn, heading into winter, so sailing against the winds was very hard work.

A hundred years or so ago, it would still have taken about a week, or slightly more, to reach the US from England by ship. Ships had far better speed to travel by then, due to the wonders of modern (for their time) engines. Planes were primitive beasts back then, far from capable of Atlantic crossings at that point. Of course, now, its possible to reach the East Coast, around Cape Cod at least, in about 6 hours! Jet planes are a wonderful thing, and the fares now, allowing for inflation, are probably cheaper than some of those ships of the past.

Of course, 50 years from now, flying home for Thanksgiving might be involving interplanetary flights, as well as Transatlantic ones. Yes, ancestors of those first pilgrims to Mars, and maybe by then, beyond, might be heading home to families too. Moon as well, I suspect, but I wont be around to find out, for sure. Though given gravity differentials, will that be possible?

Of course I’m assuming that tradition will stand then, but I cant imagine it changing, somehow. After nearly 400 years…!

This year, I havent flown anywhere for Thanksgiving. Have now done it once, and will possibly do it again, post retirement, but I suspect not before then. Well, unless…?

A friend, Stacie, sent me this, as a suggestion of a suitable Christmas present for me. Yes, I have to agree!

No, as far as I know, Amazon dont actually sell them, shame. Would be beyond my budget if they did, anyway! Of course, to fly such a craft, you need a suitable outfit to wear. For me, this seems pretty good! 😀

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adult-Alien-Fancy-Costume-Standard/dp/B014WZ5UCQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1511340295&sr=8-3&keywords=adult%20alien%20costume

Of course, if you know of a better one that I can wear, going cheap…? 😉 Now, that would be a fun role to play, though I do wonder if you get out of that outfit again after putting it on! Or is it an alien life forever after that? Not that I would mind, but…?

Video time. This works for the present, and the future at least. Those early pilgrims probably wish they could have done a 6 hour flight (or whatever), rather than 2 months at sea!

2017, some things will, some things wont (probably)!

Yes, I’ve looked back at 2016, which was a pretty unexceptional year, in so many senses, but now, as that year comes to an end, its time to look forward at what 2017 might hold.

The three things, everything permitting, that will happen, are passing probation at the end of February in my new job, returning to Hollywood in May, and returning to New England in September. Passing probation, providing I keep my nose clean, and do my job, all should be fine. Hollywood, well, I will visit that modelling/acting agency this time around, though in my heart, at my age, and having not done a lot in a while, no great expectations. But who knows? Beyond that, meet up again with some old friends, hopefully meet a few new ones, and just see where life takes me. One person I’d love to meet while there? Well, assuming Jean Harlow’s ghost isnt for real, it would have to be Vin Scully. Yes, I have no chance of meeting either lol!

New England, will be nice to go back, and see Kate again, after a couple of years, and again hopefully meet a couple of new people I’ve talked to online as well. The other person I’m hoping to meet is the hypnotist who ‘discovered’ Clara Johnson, and get her to give up a lot more secrets about herself. Unfortunately, as I suspect she’s probably buried in LA, is that if I do discover where she rests, it will be too late to take action on it, but all the same…will be nice to know! Given I’m planning on this trip to LA being the last one for a while, as it will be 3 visits in a row on US trips, I might get back there some day, assuming the body, and health holds up, but…

Talking of which, as I approach my 59th Birthday in March, my body, most critically, my knees! I have a horrible feeling that my right knee joint is just about gone, its what 50 years or so of little, or no cartilage in the joint will do for it. And fine, the left knee isnt a whole lot better. So I’m suspecting that come the Autumn, I might have to give in, and put myself in the hands of a surgeon, but I’m not looking forward to it. I dont like pain, I dont like incapacity, so all in all, I probably dont make a good patient. But fine, I’ve got to that point where putting it off much longer isnt going to happen.

What I’d love to happen, but I’m 99.9% certain wont, but a girl can dream. Yes, the arrival of a flying saucer/ space craft I can jet about in, would be handy. Equally, the arrival of a fully functional robot suit, or enveloping alien suit would be nice, but none of those are really likely to happen. Equally unlikely to happen, I’m sure, is finding a partner who is prepared to love me, or a Master/Mistress who fancies dominating me! But yes, for 365 days, I can hope!

OK, video time. Totally out of left field, other than that the lady concerned has recently joined the flood of people who have died this year. One of those songs I probably shouldnt love, but secretly do.

Thoughts turn to holidays again, at long last!

Funnily enough, this time last year, at time of writing, I was stood in the Immigration queue, at JFK Airport, wondering if I was going to make enough progress to actually get my flight on to Boston, to meet up with Kate. Yes, I did, and I did, and it was a great week. The funny thing was, about 10 days after I flew back from that, I flew out to the US again, this time for that glorious 4 week break in Hollywood.

Well, in the sense of planning holidays, this week marked a landmark date since then, I had to start planning for holidays in the future! Yes, my new work place, we’re allowed to request 2 weeks holiday for next year, that will take priority over other later requests. So yes, I had to think about dates for that.

The first bit was easy, contact Kate, see what she thought looked a good week, and suited her, assuming she still wanted to see me (she does!), and work out plans. So fine, thats one week in September sorted, almost certainly for Northern New England. Who knows, maybe I can get to New Hampshire, get regressed again, and get Clara Johnson to give up a lot more details about herself!

Therefore the other week I was looking for, was the spring week. Given that Easter is late next year (mid April), I decided to look at May, between our 2 bank holidays that month. So, where am I planning to go, you might ask? Or maybe you think you know, and could well be right! Yes, definitely west coast, and providing the baseball gods are on my side, it will be Hollywood, or LA at least. Why the bit about the baseball gods, you ask? Well, next years schedules get released next Tuesday, and lets face it, if the Dodgers are out of town for my whole trip, that would count against going there. But yes, one decent game, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be going to town. If not, I suspect a return to Seattle, or San Francisco would probably be on the cards, again subject to fixture list. Regardless, I suspect it will be a hotel, not an apartment, just not worth it for a week, or 10 days (if I can swing the extra days), though I might take a peek, all the same.

Sadly, I’ll have to return again, unless someone is crazy enough to fall in love with me, or decides I will make their perfect submissive/slave material. I know, stop laughing, I am kidding, I’m sure! Ideally, robot servant, organic, or cybernetic, but thats even less likely!

But yes, after a year or so, its nice to be in a position where I can actually think about holidays again, I must say.

The video? Well given its my first choice destination for my solo break, and its early Village People, lets go with this.

Oh, and a quick early plug for my new ebook, coming out soon. I have the edited version back, just need to work out the funding method to top up my credit card sufficiently to pay for the cover. I know, $7, but I have to put a minimum of £30 ($40) on the card to pay for it, and funds are complex until the end of this month. But I’ll work it somehow!

I have no idea how well an ECT related story will sell, but it will be interesting to find out. I suspect a few wont buy it because of that, but hopefully a few others will, for the same reason. As to research, sadly just online, and taking the practical issues from You Tube (most of those scenes in movies are just so wrong!), and taking it from there. Yes, I’d hoped for, and enquired to the local Health Service about at least a placebo session, but never got a reply, ah well… Yes, fine, I’d have enjoyed a low voltage session even more, but certainly wasnt expecting to be offered that, in truth.

An English Woman in LA – A brief look back at 2015

Alright, that title is a slight cheat, as I only spent just over 10% of the year in LA (38 days out of 365), but hey, its the second longest period I spent anywhere, so…

Fine, the year started off badly, when in mid January, I was told that I was being made redundant (again, 3rd time) by the company I’d worked for, for 6 years, so this time I decided to take the hint, and take the money and run. No, thats not the video, or the one you might be expecting from the blog title. See, been told lol! I actually left there at the end of March, and if you’d told me that 9 months later I would still be out of work, well…ah well, too late now!

The main thing that allowed me to do, was extend my stay in Hollywood, in April. To be honest, I wondered how I would take to life in ‘Tinsel Town’, but took to it like a duck to water. Fine, 10 days wasnt enough (would have been 7), and I pledged to return. Fine, I wasnt expecting it to be 6 months later, but more on that shortly.

I came back, and started job hunting, with no success. It might be age, but more likely, its the current recruitment infatuation with competency based questions that didnt help. Thankfully, I had the money to help me cope with this. Anyway, by August, I’d reached breaking point with this matter, and was about to snap. So despite having a week in Cape Cod with a US friend booked for mid September, I took a dramatic step! I booked a 4 week stay, in a rented apartment in Hollywood, up in the Hills, best thing I’ve ever done. Oh, and that is so much more fun than a hotel room, even if the place isnt (strictly) your own. Oh, and btw, 38 days in LA still isnt enough, but anyway…enough on that, plans are already in hand, should the chance arise!

The one thing that wonderful trip stopped me doing sooner, was changing my name, as I’d had planned for a couple of months by then. But straight after I got back, the deed was done, and my name is now officially Harlean, even though to some, I will always be Steph, or Stephanie, I guess. Main reason I kept Stephanie as my middle name, rather than Jean lol!

Now, finally (due to needing the passport as ID for job applications) the old passport has gone back, and the last trace of Stevie Nicholls will be no more. Yes, I’m really looking forward to going to the US, as Harlean, when money, and time permit.

So fine, what have I been for a lot of this year? A California girl, just maybe? Yes, its the Katy Perry song, but its not Katy! Its a rather excellent parody by Sarah Gregory, and Mark Douglas, whoever they may be? It is rather good, mind.

Crossing to Cape Cod, New England

Yes, lets get in the holiday mood tonight. Fair thing to do, as looking at matters, this is likely to be the last blog from the UK for a little while. Tomorrow is getting my body ready for the trip day, which at my age, is going to take a while. Friday, I will need to pack, get to the overnight hotel, and not be too late to bed, given I will have to be up reasonably early the next morning, for my 10.15 flight. So yes, next blog should be from Cape Cod.

I have been there once before with Kate, I think it was 3 nights, spent at 2 different hotels, in the same group. Why, because the first hotel had internet in reception, but not in the rooms, not much use for either of us. So they moved us along the coast the next day, to a hotel that fitted our needs, and that was that. A trip to Martha’s Vineyard, a trip out whale watching, and some nice places, and thats about all I can remember. Ironically, this time will also be 2 hotels on the Cape, one for the first night only, as we couldnt get in the planned hotel all week. Then back to a hotel near Boston Airport for Friday night, after a relaxing week.

Yes, a relaxing week. Its fair to say that both Kate and I need a break, though for differing reasons. Her, because work has been crazy, and me, because job hunting has got stressful in the extreme! I must say I’m looking forward to the company, and the break.

And then, after that, get ready for part 2, more of which after I get back.

Fine, the video. This is originally a song from the 50’s, but I’ve found a live version from 2004. And yes, I’m pretty sure she’s singing live. So what, she was 77, and still sounding good, thats what!

Well, one thing has been decided at least!

And no, its not yet which job from millions of offers that I’m going to accept. I wish! Though today at least, I didnt get a job rejection. Didnt get offered a job either, but I’m on a reserve list at least, having impressed a potential employer, so we will see, and hopefully that will mean I’m pre approved the next time they’re looking, anyway. Yes, its a job in the financial industry, so if someone fails their credit test, then I’m ready to jump in. Well, thats the hope, and the plan at least.

No, what has been settled, and booked, is the fact that I’m going to New England in September, regardless. Yes, the flight is now booked, the train fare, and hotel the night before, so its going to happen, definitely. Hey, who knows, it might be just before I start University life!

But yes, I’ve held back long enough, trying to get things sorted, but the deed has now officially been done! And yes, I’m really looking forward to it, and seeing Kate again. No, I dont know what she has planned (beyond a fairly relaxing time), but thats nothing new!

Flying with American Airlines, via JFK, in the seats with a bit more leg space. At least that gives me something good to look forward to, guaranteed.

Right, tonight, you get a choice of videos, or of course, you can play both. The first is the official video for the song, but I’ve used this before, a while back

But if you dont mind non moving pictures, this is McColl, and Billy Bragg, live!