Search for the hotel room for yourself

Well fine, I have finally come to the decision that the back will (probably) survive the flight to Seattle, and back in May, so have started the process of transferring money to cards to allow me to pay for everything. Fine, I might have left it a couple more weeks, but Thomas Cook tell me there is a sale on to Seattle, so fine, it has to be done! Always was on a budget for these things, but even more so now I’m only able to work a 4 day week. A fact which also means this will be the only US trip that I will pay for this year! So yes, only trip lol! 😛

The amusing thing, when it came to hotel rooms, was the discounted rates available at the Choice Hotel group hotel I’ll be staying at. As a member of their scheme, I get a discount over those that dont belong, which is fine, we need some incentive, lets face it! And no, I’m never going to stay enough to get free nights lol! The thing that ‘annoyed’ me slightly, was the fact that I can get my discount for a standard queen/king bed room, but nothing if you need an accessible one! Fine, I can almost certainly get by without one, and will have to now, but I must admit I looked for one, as the extra help in the bathroom at least might have been handy, given the state of my back, let alone the room more designed for someone with some mobility issues.

Maybe its the norm, I dont know, as of course its the first time I’ve ever looked for such a thing! But no, I’m not paying $17 a night extra, for 8 nights, just on the vague chance I might need that! I guess the number of access rooms are more limited, so not offering them for discounted rates is due to that, but it concerns me for others, who might need it, are on a budget, if they cant get rooms for the same price as people with no health issues.

OK, disability rant over, though I might yet write to their customer services dept, and ask them why, and see what answer I get, hmm?

Fine, video time. M People fitted for my other blog video, so I took the lazy route in finding this one. As so often, clue is in blog title!

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Preview of 2018, only part. The year of being senior!

Very strictly, the answer to that question, is wherever life takes me, I guess? But strictly, for 2018, assuming I live out the year, some things will happen, some things may happen, and some things almost certainly wont happen, but it would be fun if they did!

Anyway, lets be boringly practical first, things that will happen, assuming the life quotient of course. The biggest, and most obvious one to mention, is that I hit the big 60 next March. I know, who would ever have believed it? But yes, the body is definitely now giving me more than hints that its not as strong as it used to be, so… Hard to believe, that 25 years ago, when a woman hit 60, she retired from work! Now, with a longer life expectancy for everyone, and things, its another 6 years to go! Still, gives me chance to build up my pension, I guess, body permitting. Lets face it, I’ve already had to cut back to 4 days a week, and the back isnt likely to get better, only worse, so…?

The only other definite things at this point, are the fact that I will be heading to Seattle in May for 8 days (yes, already decided the back will be up to that, fingers crossed it stays that way once booked), though that will be the only US trip this year. Yes, thats one cutback due to the financial situation. I thought I might be able to pull it off this year, for the last time, the double trip, but no, now know its not going to happen! I have got a few thoughts for a break in September, but will only be a few days, and will only be in Europe. Well, unless the work syndicate wins the lottery lol! So yes, I’ll be using an airport wheelchair (or 5) in May again on that trip. Hopefully, all will be a little smoother than last time!

The other is, of course, working on a group on LGBT issues at work within our section of the Civil Service. First actual meeting is planned for some point in New Year, but location and date, TBA at present. Quite an honor, quite a challenge!

The maybe’s look trip related. I might try to get to Ireland, for at least some cricket this summer, though sadly it wont be that first Test match, as its literally the week before I go to Seattle. But other games are planned, so time, and finances permitting, it will be nice to meet old friends again, and maybe make a few new ones.

Hey, another maybe, I might write another story or two lol! I really ought to, I have a few ideas, but getting around to it, but yes, I’ll risk putting it on the maybe list, rather than the unlikely one! The other maybe, is my first ever ‘senior citizen’ pass. Yes, the Railway senior discount pass still is permitted from 60, so if I travel on the Railways in September, as I might, I’ll get one then!

The unlikely ones, but not impossible? Well, the first one obviously relates to performing, in an acting sense. I suspect a presentation style performance might be more likely, probably on LGBT issues, but I suspect that will be it. Lets face it, who’s going to want an actress who hasnt done anything much in years, and now has back issues, which means standing for long periods for a role, is nigh out of the question! But maybe, out there is a director/producer who wants to do something crazy, and then, well…?

Then we come to the silly stuff, that ‘could’ happen, but you can be sure wont. Winning a lottery jackpot (I know, theoretically, but me, win anything, dont think so!), getting abducted by aliens, turned into a robot, or regenerating (well, if Doctor Who can do it?) as a young(ish) Clara Johnson might all be fun, but none are going to happen, I think we can safely say!

Lets finish with a dramatic, stat based thing. Look back through early film history, and you find a lot of famous actresses who passed on at 60. Clara Bow is one that immediately comes to mind! Now its fair to say that health matters have improved nowadays, and I have never been a famous actress, so I’m probably safe, but… Still, hopefully we will be doing this in a years time!

The video tonight, isnt a proper one, but it fits the title, and yes, its the Carpenters, so just rolling with it. Just a nice song, that hopefully you can enjoy.

So, one blog to go for 2017, as its back to work tomorrow. Any ideas for something you’d love to hear about, either from this year, next year, or Clara Johnson’s era, feel free to suggest in comments

Why couldnt it happen to be me?

Every so often, in my reading, I come across a story that amuses, or tickles me enough that I end up using it in a blog. Tonight is one of those occasions!

http://192.155.80.152/MonasMakeoverPaladin/index.html

(Firstly, let me say I know this is fiction, but for the sake of the blog…)

So fine, this creaky old lady wants to know, who wants to be my William? I assume it would work (in time) equally well on a nigh 60 year old, with damaged back, so…? Oh please, I could even live with the increased libido (anything would be an increase with me!) if I could feel half as good as that again. I know, at the moment I couldnt even look at a gym without my back complaining, but after a few of those pills… Hey, I’d probably be a natural blonde lol! Yeah, I guess I could even live with the female harem lol!

Maybe, given my past life self, I could have the supplements that turn me into the dancer type, rather than a gym bunny? I must admit, it would be fascinating to know life as Clara did, but now, short of something like that happening to me, my days of being a dancer are long gone! Mind, I think she took all the dancing skills, but fine, I’ll have to live with that now!

One thing a few classic movie fans might note is that yes, I’d have been even more amused if it had been William, and Myrna. Yes, think about it, lol…or try Google, it will probably give the game away!

So fine, unless anyone wants to provide me with a few of those supplements, I’ll stick to trying to work out if this old body of mine will survive for 8 days in Seattle/Seatac next May! PS If anyone reading this can, or knows someone who I can use as a ‘buddy’ on that trip, I’d appreciate it. No, I dont want anything more than a contact number, which I hope I wouldnt need. But lets just say that I need something brought in, because the back has locked up, or somewhere I can just relax for a couple of hours, to allow the (Seatac) hotel staff to do their thing, I’d be grateful. Shouldnt need it, but just in case, once or twice, to know someone is there, on the end of a phone?

Fine, I know, but no harm asking, I guess?

Video time. A bit of a variation on the blog title, but I doubt Mona was saying this. Me, I’d love it to be me, but anyway…a little vintage live Abba

Praying for a miracle, and reaching for the stars

Regardless of what happens tonight, and it might be all over then, though I hope not, by the next time I get to post here, the baseball season will finally be over. Hopefully, it creeps over into November, because if it doesnt, it means the Dodgers have lost the World Series, and I will be a slightly less happy bunny. I mean, they could still lose it tomorrow, in November, but then at least the dream will have lasted one more day.

In all honesty, against any other team, I’d probably be hoping for a Houston win, because of all the problems they had with the hurricane, and everything there, it would be nice for them to have something to bring cheer. But, yes, its the Dodgers, so fine, I care, lol! No, I have no idea what I’d do if the Dodgers were playing the Royals, except that I probably wouldnt really care who won!

Technically, the Dodgers have a strong hand, given the last 2 games are at home. But the pressure of having to win both games, or else, must still play a part? Game 5 was an absolutely crazy game, 13-12, in what was supposed to be a game between 2 strong pitchers. But yes, whatever they’ve done to the balls this year, its certainly changed things in favor of the hitters, indeed, gone too far in my humble opinion. Yes, I like runs being scored, as much as others, but all tactics seem to have gone out of the game this year, beyond the hitters just trying to smash every ball out of the park! And the balls flying for miles, to help them!

Anyway, not a lot I can do, from here, I guess. I know what some think, but no, I’m not a witch, and cant fly at supersonic speed on a broomstick to get there, and change the history of the game lol! Even if I had a flying saucer spaceship (oh please!), still the same! But yes, in my sleep, I’ll be hoping for 2 Dodgers wins in the next 2 nights, and a World Series title.

My next game, all things permitting, will be next May, on the West Coast. But no, not Dodgers Stadium, but a long way north of there, in Seattle. Yes, another stadium to tick off my list of visited for a game, though I have done a tour of that stadium. But yes, definitely health permitting, but fingers crossed.

The video, well the title is a line from the lyrics. Cannot find an actual live performance of this one, sorry!

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!

A residence in Hollywood? Just maybe?

A funny thing happened during my job hunting this week. Normally, when you apply for a job, the start is going to be (relatively) soon, exactly how soon depending on the whims, and needs of your potential employers. But the job that I should have registered for on Monday, and been assessed on Tuesday, but for events mentioned earlier in the week, wouldnt actually start until November. Why, because it would be working at the brand spanking new shopping centre in Bradford, which only actually opens to the public on the 5th November. Yes, the Westfield shopping centre, only a “few” years late is finally going to open for business! Guess what, they are looking for concierge agents already, well in advance.

Good news, on Thursday, when I got there, seems there are still vacancies. And there will be an assessment day, for those roles on the 20th. And if you pass, you hear soon after, great stuff. The thing is, thats quite a gap between getting the job, and starting work, and getting paid. I know, I could look for something temporary in the meanwhile, and maybe I would, and should. Though as mentioned before, finding anything at present, for someone of my age, quite challenging! And as an ex workmate has already discovered, our ‘Dear Leader PM’ has decided that for whatever reason you’re not genuinely job hunting, you’re not going to get paid benefits. Lovely chap, so glad I didnt vote for him (yes, sarcasm alert there). So they might get equally feisty with me, probably would, such a ghastly bunch!

In the mean while, I’m carrying on the search for more current jobs, though I’m beginning to get to that ghastly window where employers arent going to be so keen on me, given I’m going away on holiday in 6 weeks time, and those with longer training periods arent going to be interested. Already had one, agency enquired this week, no holidays in first 8 weeks, and I havent even started the process yet!

So, as is my way, I started thinking laterally. Dangerous thing I know, but all the same. No, I dont mean thinking, but if anyone wants to solve that problem, offering me a position, I wouldnt say no! No, I meant the lateral thinking bit lol. Suppose I know I’ve got a job at the end of August, which doesnt start till the beginning of November, what options does it open up? Well, given the fact I’ve been pretty miserly with my redundancy money, one idea came to me. A month away, in the US, in my own rented apartment somewhere, living like a local, with a local address (of sorts). And yes, Hollywood did come to mind, though a couple of other West Coast cities also came to mind (Seattle, San Francisco) because lets face it, for a week, they are a lot of travelling. But for 4 weeks, hmm… And before you say that I’ve only recently spent 10 days in Hollywood, believe me when I say I barely scraped the LA area in that time. Long Beach, Anaheim, Burbank, most of down town…not at all.

Friends have even found me a couple of sites, with plenty of suitable places to rest my head wherever I choose to. But given how badly this job hunt has gone, can you seriously see this playing out as I’m planning it? I wish! Mind, if I could find a call centre that was prepared to interview me now, offer me a job to start in November, that would be handy! Its not like these places dont recruit all the time, but I suspect ‘regulations’ wouldnt permit it.

But yes, I must admit, it didnt take long (a matter of hours, in all honesty) for the idea to grow on me, if I could work it. Yes, even if its not truly my place, the idea of having a Hollywood address of my own, even for just 4 weeks, would be wonderful.

OK, I’ll wake up to the reality now, its not going to happen, I’m sure, but I can wish, and plot…No, I’m sure the dream wont go as far as finding a job in LA lol, but again…! If someone wants me to dress up as Iron Man (girl) or something, and have photos taken, I wouldnt say no. Not sure the Jean Harlow look would be popular enough nowadays.

Right, the video. A room (or more strictly, an apartment) with a Hollywood view? Wouldnt that be something, if only for 4 glorious weeks

A writing retreat

As many of my blog readers will know, I write stories, and have done for about 15 years now. All the early stuff, plus a few more recent ones can be found here

http://192.155.80.152/Authors/Robotunit8.html

Warning, some of the early stuff isnt all that great, unsurprisingly my writing skills have developed over the years. As have my tastes. Most of my recent stuff, the mind control level is either so minimal to be negligible, or not even there at all. And to be honest, nowadays I write far less sci fi, and far more stuff written in the 1920’s or 30’s. Though occasionally, as with my latest piece, which I finished today, I have been known to connect both.

In this case though, the story is actually set in the current day (or strictly, about a year from now), as a follow up to my latest piece, “A Hollywood Happening”, which you can find here,

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Z6Z4NLQ?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Though strictly, the modern day actress who stars at the end of this, and entirely in the new story, is loosely based on a 1920’s and 30’s bit part actress, who I discovered under hypnotic regression, was me, in a previous life! But of course, the modern day Clara Johnson is just a personal view on how her life would be today. I suspect this piece will appear on that Archive you see at the top in good time, though it may go out as an ebook as well.

But enough of that, though it sets up this blog, its not the main reason for it.

On Twitter (I’m lurking there as @harleanlook, if you want to link), one of the groups I follow is a writing retreat, somewhere near Seattle, called Hedgebrook. And every year seemingly, they invite female writers to apply for a stay at their delightful retreat on Whidbey Island, and write in seclusion. You can also enjoy the scenery, good company, and everything else, sounds amazing. And from what I’ve seen, and read, some amazing writers have spent time there, and loved it. The link to their site

http://www.hedgebrook.org/

Yes, a humble writer like me would love to do something like that, but me, beat off the competition, cant see it. But a bit like a delightful man at Loughborough University, for some reason, they think I should apply, and give it a go. Why not, you say, its not like I’m working at present or anything, after all? Well, actually that was part of my reason for not considering applying, there’s a fee involved with application, and I really ought to be preserving my funds. Oh fine, shot down, someone like me, the fee would be waived.

So now, what the hell, I’m going to go for it, though with no great expectations of winning. But yes, it would be an amazing place to go, if I won, I must say, so fingers crossed. Thing is, this wouldnt be a short, so I guess I’m either going to write the Jean Harlow biography I’m told I should do, turn “No Place Like Nome” into the full length story I’m told it should be, or do a crazy piece of sci fi, probably involving robots, and transformation! Realistically, it has to be the “Nome” story, I have been looking for a reason for years to develop that, and I should do that. But… Maybe I need to be hypnotically regressed, and write the unique Clara Johnson (auto)biography, though I can see much of a market for that!

The video. Its about writing songs, not novels, but its close enough!