When I see my moped

Apologies for the corny title, but…

My first proper, close up sight of a baseball park was in 2003, in Seattle. I had strictly seen one nearly 20 years earlier, in Boston, but from considerable distance, and considerable height (viewing room of John Hancock Tower), and never got all that close.

2003, however, I arrived in Seattle, by bus (long before the Tram was even dreamed of), and one of the first sights I saw, were 2 sports stadiums. One was the NFL one, the other was the baseball one. Later on during that trip, I saw where the basketball team (now in Oklahoma City), and ice hockey team (now moved to Kent County, WHL team) played, but the other 2 had long caught my eye by then.

Its fair to say that at that time, the posters around the baseball stadium were dominated by the new star player from Japan. Well, he’d been there for a short while (this was between 2002, and 2003 seasons), but fairly new, and still the big star at the time. Yes, Ichiro Sukuzi was poster boy for the Mariners at the time. By the time I finally got to see the Mariners play live, it was 15 years later, and not surprisingly, his glory days were gone.

Today, I saw him play for the Mariners, one last time. Yes, I saw him yesterday too, and those 2 games, in Tokyo, were the last time, at the grand old age of 45 that he will play for the Mariners. Yes, he retired after today’s game.

The most amusing fact, his first game for them, back in 2001, was a 5-4 win over Oakland. Today, guess what? His final game for them was, would you believe, a 5-4 win over Oakland!

Technically, the Mariners are no more than my 3rd team that I follow. Dodgers are obviously number 1, and due to Miss Harlow, the Kansas City Royals will always have a soft place in my soul. And yes, Kate, Boston Red Sox will always be number 4, for more reasons than one. But yes, the team that truly got me hooked on baseball, the Seattle Mariners, and their poster boy of the time, Ichiro Suzuki. Given he played for 7 years in Japan, before coming to MLB, its possibly there are others that were playing then, playing now, but I suspect few, if any.

But yes, the man who helped to get me hooked on baseball, retired today, and I saw the end, albeit only on TV. So thanks for the memories, Mr Suzuki, and enjoy your retirement.

OK, video time. This song is 1 year younger than Ichiro, shows how old I am. Yes, the connection is corny, but better than using ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ again

There are apparently 3 current players now remaining, post Suzuki, who were playing at that fateful date. Albert Pujols, and CC Sabathia (both 2001), and Fernando Rodney (2002). Bartolo Colon (1997) would add to this list if signed at any point this season

Blinded by a deed?

One of the things I enjoy about riding public transport in the US, is that it tends to be so wonderfully straightforward that nobody can get it wrong. Yes, in most cities I’ve been to, one fare serves all. You get on a bus (or a metro), and unless you’ve got a day pass, or weekly pass, the fare is the same. Seattle is a bit more complex (though not dramatically) than that, but LA is delightfully simple, I’m pleased to say. You just put your coins, or notes in the box, or register your pass, and on the bus you get!

Over here, its a whole different game! Its not quite every stop that you get on at, and get off at have a different fare, but there are lots of ‘zones’ involved, even in a shortish journey like mine into town. And pretty much, within town, most people do the same journeys, know the fare, and should have it ready, pay, and the bus can move on.

Oh, if only. You get people trying to say that they’ll pay the fare from the next bus stop where its cheaper, or that they are getting off a stop earlier than they actually do, to save about 30 pence! And of course, if its the getting on, you get a 2 minute discussion with the passenger, and the driver, before eventually said passenger slams down the right money, says something ‘less than delightful’ to the bus driver, and gets on. Either that, or glares at him for the rest of the journey, for making him pay the right fare. Of course, all this delays the bus, and annoys ‘passengers’ who have a connection to make in town, as some seem to do it every-time I see them travel.

The other thing that makes me a ‘grumpy old lady’ is the people who stand at the bus stop for 5 minutes or more, waiting for the bus to arrive, but only get their fare money, or pass out, when they reach the driver. What is so hard about being ready, folks?

OK, you’re getting this rant because this morning, I allowed 30 minutes to get somewhere, which should be a 14 minute trip. I got there with 4 minutes to spare!

Oh, funniest flat fare story. One morning I got on a bus at Hollywood & Vine stop, heading towards Glendale. A Man got on in front of me, deposited his fare (I believe it was $1.50 at time?) in the box, and sat down. No sooner had we pulled off, and he rang the bell, got off at the next stop, about 100 yards up the road, maximum. Seriously, he couldnt walk 100 yards (no, there were no visible issues, and he ran along street after getting off bus), had to catch a bus? Well…rolls eyes…?

OK, rant over, lets get to the song. This is actually the original version of this song, though many believe Manfred Mann’s Earthband were that. Wrong, lol!

Two authors came travelling

So, as promised, the review of the year starts here. It will finish tomorrow, and then at the start of the new year, I’ll take a look at what 2019 might hold, some of it very likely, some of it unlikely, but might be fun if it does.

2018 actually saw something happen, that I’d never done in my 44 years of working life, I was told not to go to work! Yes, a combination of the fragility of my back, and some very cold, and icy weather saw me put on ‘winter weather leave’ for a few days. It made sense in so many ways in truth, but was still a bit of a novelty to me. But agreed, if I’d slipped over, landed on my back, and especially my spine, well you wouldnt want to think about the potential outcome, lets face it. Pretty sure its likely to happen early in 2019 too, especially given the deterioration in my wrist too, but we will have to wait and see on that. In truth, after about a week of that, I was getting a bit of ‘jail fever’ but it was a very wise move, so kudos to my employers for letting me do it.

While on about work, I started working on an LGBT committee at work, which was definitely a fun thing to do. It actually led to a meet with a fellow EMCSA author, the legend known as Betsy, who I got to meet on my travels to Newcastle. And yes, she’s as interesting in real life as she is in her stories! Yes, was, more on that over next couple of posts.

Something else that happened early in the year was also work related. One of my colleagues got notice of volunteers needed for the Blackpool Film Festival in March, and the rest, as they say, is history! I wont claim it as strictly the revival of my acting career (its more a natural performance thing, no scripts), but it was a moment that led to the return of my time performing in public.

This year, it was a flying visit, arrived in Blackpool on the Friday afternoon, left again on the Saturday morning, due to fate, and a memorable date. Yes, the night of my flapper revival was my 60th Birthday! The works celebration was done a week earlier (would have been anyway), but the ‘house’ version was delayed until the Saturday night, which was why we needed to get back as we did.

Yes, a decade or so ago, that would have been it, retirement, which in truth, the body probably needs already. Now, officially it will be March 2024, though I have my doubts my body will hold out that long, but we will see? If it does, I might plan to retire (or take holiday) from work a couple of weeks early, because as things stand, the Iditarod race will start from Anchorage on 2nd March (restart at Willow on 3rd), and that would be an amazing thing to do, and a sort of dream come true. Nome as well? Well, maybe, but all that is a long way off. More on my preferred retirement option in part 2 tomorrow night.

May saw my return to Seattle for the first time in a few years. A few firsts there. Another state bagged, as I flew in via Las Vegas, so getting Nevada as my 24th state. Hopefully get 25 ‘somewhere’ next September, maybe? Ask Kate on that one, lol. She knows the one I’d love it to be, but its not renowned as the most friendly LGBT state in the US, so maybe not? There are a couple of New England options for that title too, so we will see.

The other big first on that trip, was my first Mariners game. It was memorable for more reasons than one, good, and bad. Good, they won. Bad, disability related issues. To be fair to the club, I complained, got a free ticket in the disabled area later in the week, and a few souvenirs as well, they handled it all very well.

Lastly, in the first half of the year, was a return to Blackpool, for World Pier Day. Again I have to thank a colleague for covering my Saturday shift to enable me to do this. Went back even further in time, as an Edwardian Lady, though I never got tightly corseted, cant have everything, lol. Amusingly, it was also Blackpool Pride day, and though I heard a lot of that, didnt get to see it at all. 2 trips already planned for Blackpool in New Year, but more on that on Tuesday, one of which you may not want to miss!

OK, video time. I have been guilty of not doing many Christmas songs this year in the videos, so lets put that partially straight, if a bit late in my day. Its not the best known one, but its one I love, probably because it is a little different. Oh, and it also fits in with Eric’s claim that I’m a spaceman/alien, anyway! 😛

 

Not me, lady, more than my job’s worth

Thankfully my bed at the hotel was so comfortable that I was never Sleepless in Seattle (sorry, couldnt resist) even with my coffee drinking habits! However, when it came to Sunday, and Seatac (close enough to Seattle) Airport, things did get a bit shambolic.

There was a good, logical reason for having the extra night in Seattle when away, the fact that on the Sunday, I could get a direct flight back to Manchester from there, rather than having to start out at a silly hour, and changing somewhere. Silly thing is, it was cheaper to pay for 1 extra night at the hotel, than the difference in air fare I could save by doing that! Yes, the inaugural direct flights from Manchester, to Seattle, and back. However…

Check in desk went fine, and directed towards the place where disability passengers needed to go, to get taken through by wheelchair. Only thing was, after about 20 minutes of waiting, they decided they werent the ones dealing with Thomas Cook passengers, and advised to go try one of the other teams, and see if they were doing it. Another said no, and I have no idea about the 3rd one, as no one ever turned up with a wheelchair, and numerous people had been there longer than me!

So anyway, after about an hour of wheelchair denial, I took matters into my own hands. As I sadly couldnt find a Davros wheelchair, or even better, a Dalek carrier (I could have exterminated a few, happily, by then), I gave up, put my brace back on (I take it off for security check, as its very like a bomb belt), and headed for security myself, as best my legs would carry me! I got there, explained I would fail the security scanner, and why, and suggested maybe they wanted to do a check in privately, as the sign suggested. They took the other option, got me to go in the scanner, and fail (the security person was laughing as she told me she knew I was going to fail), and then they did the standard pat down thing. I then moved on!

The next amusing thing was, someone turned up at the gate, and asked if I needed a wheelchair to get me to the plane! I was tempted, but passed on that, as it would be a straightforward walk to the plane, and on board, no issue. Also, he probably would have expected a tip, and I was in no mood to tip them by then! Only snag was, walked down to the passageway, then waited, and waited,…and 5 minutes later, finally got to board the plane. Thankfully I hadnt removed the brace, so I hurt, but I survived.

After that, in truth, the whole journey was very straightforward. Even more amusing when one of the stewards on board the plane remembered me from last September! Hey, I’m not really a celebrity yet, honest. Unfortunately there was a child sat next to me, who literally screamed for 95% of the flight home, making sleeping on the plane even more impossible than normal.

In truth, this end of the journey was very easy, and I’d given myself plenty of time on my advance ticket to get the train, given we’re always the last ones off the plane, so if it had been at all late, it might have been a close thing. Nope, at the station just over an hour ahead of my booked train! I was not surprised to see that the incompetence known as Trans Pennine Express hadnt improved their service as claimed, the opposite in fact, and the train about 2 minutes later than my arrival there had been cancelled! Anyway, there was another between that, and mine back to Huddersfield, so I put on my best ‘disabled old lady’ routine, and asked if he would pass my ticket so I could get the one in between, and get home a bit earlier. To my amusement, he quoted the almost infamous line that ‘it was more than his job was worth to do so’. Irony is, if I’d been 30 minutes late, he would have had to do it, condition of the ticket!

Last fun item, I’d told Eric, at home, that I would ring him when I got back to let him know I’d safely arrived back. Phone rings, numerous times, no answer! No, nothing serious, he’d just gone out on the buses for the day, and had forgotten what I’d said I would do. Men!!! Yes, I was in bed about 8.30 last night, and apart from a bout of cramp in my leg, I slept for nearly 12 hours in all. Fine now, in that sense at least.

Yes, I’m sore, but recovering. Taken a normal days meds today, for the first time since flight day out, and even now I have a mild ache, despite that. I also seem to have damaged another toe on my left foot, I only hope its not broken, like the next toe along, and just painfully sore from wearing new shoes while away. But other than that…

So thats it, for the holiday blogs for now. Crazily, the next short trip away is at the end of next week, to Blackpool, but more on that Thursday. After that, September to Inverness, and then, November, to…? Well, it will begin with F, for sure, in one sense at least! Will have to wait for a wonderful lady to fill me in on that one! So watch out for that…

OK, video. Mainly in tribute to the ‘Wheelchair Pushers’ at Seatac Airport, though I guess a member of rail staff at Manchester Airport should be included. Less so though, he was strictly doing his job, at least, which is more than the Seatac folk were!

Taking a ride on a big wheel, and other things

Right, and so to complete the posting from Seattle scene…

Thursday, I decided that the little toe on my left foot wasnt going to stop being an issue anytime soon, so decided that was the day to ride the full length of the Seattle Light Rail, up the other extension since I was previously here, the one up to the University of Washington. I have to say that the extension at this end of the route (to Angle Lake) has been an absolute boon, as its nearer than the Airport station to here, and walk-able. Well, in perfect health, maybe, but I survived. There is one killer (but thankfully short) uphill stretch on the walk from here to that station, which I wont be missing now!

Coming out of the University station, I rather expected to be on the edge of the University grounds. Ah well…What I was very close to, was Husky Stadium, the home of the University football team. Well, seemingly in these days of glorious sponsorship, its now called Alaska Airlines Field, but will always be Husky Stadium to me! I hobbled a short distance further, didnt find anything more than sports facilities, so gave up on that idea. When I got back to the station, I did find a map, and the grounds were relatively nearby, but decided I wasnt going to push my foot by setting out again, in a totally different direction. So, defeated, back into town, earlier than planned. So I headed for a landmark with memories for me, that I knew hadnt moved, the rail station. Wrong time of day to see the Empire Builder train, though I did see a goods train trundling through the station, heading south. One of these days I will do another long distance train journey, though whether it will be the repeat Empire Builder again, or more likely, Los Angeles to Chicago (via Kansas City, please note), I have no idea. In theory, I could do a ‘Clara Johnson’ and travel by train from Oklahoma City, via Texas, to Los Angeles, if timed right, but I wouldnt put good money on that one. Requires a change in Texas, a slightly shorter one than I suspect Clara did!

After that, I headed down to the front again, and ended up seeing the city from on high again, this time from a giant wheel, hence the title of the blog! The last time I did one of those was the London Eye, with my mother, and that would be about 25 years ago! This time, it wasnt just one turn around the wheel, but 6, but then again it was a lesser radius, which probably explained why! Blonde moment, I realized eventually that I’d only looked in 1 direction for about 5 turns, so turned to take in the other side, and that was when the wheel stopped at the bottom lol! Ah well…

Yesterday, day time at least, was relatively quiet. Went and did the holiday shopping for others, and also found myself a new (much needed) handbag, that certainly looks vintage, even if it clearly isnt! I also found a gorgeous dress in another store, very 30’s, but a bit pricey for me (about $60, plus tax, however much that might have been), and was only a medium size, so I talked myself out of it. Hindsight to that, I discovered I wasnt quite as impoverished as I thought I was, so I decided to go back today, and see if it actually fitted, or not, and probably buy if it did. But no, someone had already beaten me to it, not surprised, it was gorgeous. Macy’s did also have some nice period dresses, but with them you’re talking over $200 each, plus tax, so didnt even consider it, way beyond my purse!

Yesterday evening saw the return to Safeco Field, and the Mariners, this time, all went far more smoothly. I also have to thank Melissa for the Goody Bag (not that she will see this) that was provided too. Must be a lucky mascot, mind, as I saw them win twice! Hobbled back to the Light Rail station just in time for a train to pull in empty, and run back from there, to Angle Lake. Still got my commuting skills, got a seat, no idea how!

Today, beyond the failed shopping trip, was the farewell tour. I didnt go right down to the water today, its a steep route down, and more critically, up, as I discovered on Thursday, so settled for a seat at the top of the steps, and looked out over the water from there for a while. Then back to the Light Rail, the ride out of town, and for now at least, the final farewell. In theory, if nothing changes in my life, I’ll be back in 6 years time (my post retirement trip), as this place will be my stop off point to Alaska. In reality, the way my body is currently falling apart, I wouldnt put good money on being in strong enough health for that, even with breaks en route, but we will see. Thats one thing I have realized, west coast trips really are going to be a no go, very soon, if not already! There will be 1 more, even if I have to drag my shattered body to LA, it will happen at some point! But Seattle…?

Tomorrow, I fly back home, back to work on Wednesday, blessed with a bank holiday this week, which enables me to do it this way. Covering as Team leader again for that week, should be interesting, once I’ve caught up on work emails at least! 2 weekends from now, is Blackpool! Then, as far as I know, thats it until a few days away in Scotland in September, couldnt afford more at present, anyway! Especially as, maybe in November…? You’ll have to wait on that!

Right, video time. Big clue in the blog title, absolutely! Live performance, nearly 50 years old, now I really feel old!

The highs, and low of life, in more senses than one!

Well, technically one of those is stretching things a bit, but lets just say the high is height, though the low is just geographical. And the high was only just over 500 feet, still waiting on that deep space alien flight at this time lol. Oh, I wish!

Yesterday morning, I woke up to discover a new physical issue, a muscle in my left calf seems to have given up the battle, limiting my ability to walk even more. Seems a bit less of an issue today, but still pretty uncomfortable, all the same. So my original plan for yesterday, to do some walking around the University grounds went out the window. So I went for plan B, a trip up the Space Needle, which is where the high bit comes in. No, 520 feet doesnt get you into space, really, but provides a nice view of  Seattle from the observation deck. Its actually a bit of a construction site at present, but you can see most of the way around (more than sufficient), and there is a small price reduction, so…

Oh, and you get your picture taken before you go up in the lift. For those of a nervous disposition, scroll away now!

me at space needle

For others, its probably the only pic you’ll get from the holiday, so make the most of it! And yes, in truth, that was the only real excitement yesterday, took a very light day, due to the walking issues.

Today I headed for what will almost certainly be the geographical low of the holiday, down south to Tacoma. I managed the ‘perfect timing’ this morning, missing a bus by a minute or so, which left me waiting nearly 30 minutes for the next one. Still, at least the weather was hot (70’s), and dry, which helped. I admit it, I do the trip as much as to do something a little different, as anything else, and it gets me out for a while. Also, walking around that town isnt too stressful, so coped, despite my leg. Then back via Federal Way, and the shopping mall there, which seems to have a few empty units at present, but I gather thats a general non online retail malaise at present.

Then back here, via a different route to the one out, which was in fact the case for the whole journey. The express bus back was delayed a lot (made me feel at home), so got a local bus back to Federal Way, as well as another local bus back here. Got to see some different scenery at least!

Tomorrow depends on how strong my leg is in the morning. If its decent, I probably will do that University stroll, if it isnt, not quite sure. Repairing the body would probably be wise, but I really cant afford it at US prices. I suppose they can charge crazy prices as they know its pretty much on medical insurance, but for me… If Bill Gates reads this (lol), and his foundation want to help out, I’ve always fancied acupuncture done on at least some of my damaged parts, but beyond my budget now, sadly.

Right, the video. Not one of the better known A-Ha songs, but that doesnt make it a bad one, and its certainly apt!

Sitting on the ferry dock, by the bay

No, I’m not promising a blog each day this week, but enough has happened for one today, so lets roll with it.

Today, for the 4th trip in 15 years (yes, it is the stat leader), I visited the center of Seattle. Fine, strictly it happened yesterday, but that was just a flying visit, to get the phone activated, whereas today was for real! Now its 2 visits where the way into town is by light rail, to match the 2 when there were only buses! Light rail has extended at both ends since last time though, which helps me at this end, and means I will visit the University at some point this week too. The other big change since that first visit, my first hotel is now gone, area is seemingly just another airport car park now. Other 2 are still there, though one seems to have had a change of name, and upgrade since my last trip.

My first stop, Westlake Center has changed too, and not for the better in my opinion, but maybe I’m just not a fan of change? I went looking for the food hall that used to be there on the top floor, but its gone, seemingly for some time, though I didnt stop to find out. Monorail is still there, so will probably use that to get to Space Needle at some point this week. Then to Pike Place, which seems to have had a makeover, but it so fits in with the old building, I found it hard to tell exactly where.

One other landmark of my first visit was a massage parlor, where some lady had worked on easing body pains in the past. Was still there on last visit, but that was nearly 10 years ago, but no sight of it now. Shame, as my body needs that massage even more nowadays!

Lastly, I found my way down to the front, where all the ferries, and cruise boats set off from. Yes, the stairs down (lots of them) killed me, but it had to be done. Well, it didnt, but more on that shortly! A walk along the front, I had lunch at a hot dog vehicle, who seemed to do pretty good business, and it was good too. Sat at a table, by the van, in the midday sun, by the bay…you might have worked out the video lol!

Anyway, rather than trying to struggle back up over 100 steps, I took a stroll along the front for further options, and found an elevator back up to the top, which was out of order! Thankfully, it directed me to one that was working, so I used that, and ended up back in Pike Place!

So, the last thing, yes, I heard back from the Mariners this afternoon. A phone call, a few questions about details of what happened (so they can discuss with worker), and where, and an offer of a ticket for the weekend, in an accessible seat. Somehow I suspect this might be a bit closer to the ground than yesterday lol! So yes, credit to Mariners for doing what needs to be done. Was actually offered 2 tickets for game on Friday (my preferred night), but as there’s only me, and I really dont know anyone in town, I said 1 would be fine! So I will go to the (base) ball, it seems, lol, though I have no plans on wearing ball gowns!

OK, video. As I say, you should have worked out this classic song, or at least I hope you have. Sadly, Otis Redding didnt even get to live until the end of 1967, dying in a plane crash. Video is a bit of a compilation mix,  due to the age of the song.