Author Archive: stevielounicks

The first time ever…

If anyone was expecting me to start the final week of radiotherapy treatments with a health posting, well you’re going to be wrong. For that fact, you can either thank, or be annoyed with Eric, though in truth, as I will know far more after tomorrow, and probably more on Thursday, it would be a bit of a wasted exercise anyway. Though you could say both have a tunnel in common, but seriously…

I dont know exactly when the first time I travelled under the Channel was, though given it was with my partner who I parted from in 1999, you’re talking quite a while ago, but anyway… In those days we travelled from Waterloo, not St Pancras as you would now. Indeed, even my last journey on the Eurostar was prior to 2007 (as thats when the train service was seemingly transferred), though in truth it was before moving to Yorkshire in 2005, so…I could only have travelled from Waterloo, lol.

That first time, the only high speed section of the Eurostar route started at the tunnel entrance, and continued in France and Belgium. Yes, the whole UK section prior to then was over the standard rail lines, not the special high speed one you get to travel on now. Yes, I will need to try and put that fact right once I’m up to it, wont I? I have been on weekend trips to both Brussels, and Lille, and indeed Bruges (via Brussels) with her back in the 90’s, as well as with Eric to Brussels, in the early part of this century. I know, never been to Paris, but if I’m doing the trip again, I’m sure it will be Brussels again, because I’m awkward like that, and Paris has less appeal in truth.

Thing is, if I do it now, the trip to the tunnel entrance would be totally different to anything I’ve ever travelled, literally. St Pancras International, Stratford International, and Ebbsfleet didnt even exist when I first went under the Channel. I’m not sure what the set up was at Ashford back then, but I’m pretty sure it didnt have an entirely separate International station, but dont quote me on that! Seems that now the only section that isnt really high speed is the last section into/first section out of Brussels for about 12 kilometres, though that might have changed now from when the journey was filmed that I saw (care of Eric) earlier this evening. Beyond knowing its after 2007 obviously, I dont know when it was done, in truth.

Of course, the most amusing thing about all of this is the naming of Stratford International station. Why? Simple, there are no international trains serving said station! Care of Wikipedia, I gather the plan was to use it for the trains going further north than London, but of course they never happened (not even during Olympics!), so only domestic trains have ever stopped there! In theory I could get a domestic train that stops there (remember I used to live in nearby Leytonstone, change at Ebbsfleet, or Ashford, to travel abroad, but seriously…?

Either way, the UK part of the journey would be very different to my first Eurostar journey, that is for sure.

OK, video time. Most people of my age grew up on the Roberta Flack version, people younger than me will have grown up on more modern versions, but its right to say this is far more the version as originally written, for sure

I’m going to be a pilgrim girl again

Let me add that the ‘again’ in the title of the blog is only technical, as I never remember playing a pilgrim girl in any of my acting parts, or even more likely, a pilgrim guy, and refers more to the video tonight than any part I might have played. Doesnt mean I havent (if I remembered every role I’ve played, I’d be stunned), mind.

But what I have done, just once before, is celebrate Thanksgiving Day in America, a few years ago in Albany, New York (well, technically it was that place across the river, beginning with R, but I’d never spell that right, and my hotel was in Albany, so…), though I intend to add to that number now, if possible, now I’m retired.

I dont actually remember when the snow started, so whether it was the Thursday, or the Friday, when I went to a nearby (to my hotel) shopping centre for my first experience of ‘Black Friday’, long before it spread like it has over here in UK. Beyond the fact that even if my second Thanksgiving experience was with the same wonderful host, it wouldnt now be in Albany, as he now works, and lives some way south of there. Any details he wants to give away (including which year it was!), I will let him decide how much to say!

Its fair to say that my second experience is not going to be as a hostess, just saying before anyone suggests it! I know of others who are happy to host me, and previous host will be among them, I’m sure, but we will see who gets the ‘honour’ of that. Only way it will be LA is if Musso & Frank offer to host me for free, lol!!! Not going to happen, I’m certain. Well, I’m open to LA offers, but know of few there who would want me at a family gathering, so…?

But yes, next year, might be that year, or might need to be 2021, as Eric is 80 on 24th next year, and looking at calendar, Thanksgiving will be 26th, so possibly doable, but tricky, and probably pricey, so…? Maybe I need to find that Pilgrim girl outfit, lol?

So to all my American friends celebrating Thanksgiving day today, have a wonderful day. Well, assuming you read it on the right day, lol? If not, I hope you had a good one!

Video, well my favourite ‘suitable’ singer recorded a song called ‘I’m Going To Be A Country Girl Again’, hence the twist for the blog title. Just to say for those seeing both, the blogs will be same tonight, with one omission which some might work out. This is full version, by the way

 

 

 

Old girl, maybe thats one dream too far?

OK, we’ve had more than enough serious health related postings of late, so lets go from the serious, to the downright silly. Mind, unless any of my readers have had radiotherapy (and I really hope you havent) the joke side of this needs an explanation, which I will now provide. It also helps if you have the vaguest idea of what luge racers wear, but besides all that…Use image searches on whatever your choice of search engine is, if needed.

Basically the prep for my treatment after the obvious of removing coat (its November!), wig, and glasses, is to climb on the bed (think luge tray), get in the right position, have your face mask fitted (you can see the connection?) snugly, and then you get in position for the start of your ‘run’ with the radiotherapy machine. Oh, I didnt mention, you get a block placed between your knees, so your legs are spread apart (not too far), so it looks akin to the position the luge rider takes, to enable them to steer the luge.

Yes, you’ve worked it out, sadly, the one thing missing is that figure hugging, very kinky luge suit they wear to slide down the course, lol. And yes, it would be great fun to wear something similar for a session, though clearly I couldnt wear the head hood bit, but up to the shoulders at least…

No, its not going to happen, but…

Video time. If you want the Village People, it shouldnt be hard to find, lol. This describes itself as a 20’s ragtime version, but I’d need convincing. But regardless of that…

 

Young in health

I have to thank a couple of people (who are highly unlikely to read this) who I travelled to the hospital with today, for making me think this matter through, and writing on it tonight. One was a fellow cancer patient (no, I dont know which), the other was a kidney dialysis patient, in her seventies. But no, this blog isnt about me, them, but a matter that they brought up in conversation. Children.

To be honest, even if my situation was terminal (which it isnt), I’ve at least had a chance of a life, and passed 60 years in life, and all that. Fine, in time, I have one issue requiring surgery I’d like to put right before death, but regardless, I’ve had 10 years of living fully as a woman, so it hasnt been a total waste. I also have known I’m Intersex for nearly 20 years, so all in all…

The first comment came from the dialysis patient, commenting on the fact that on her 3 trips a week to the hospital, its not her plight that affects her the most, its the young children that she sees receiving the same treatments as her that have more significance to her.  Of course a certain Harlean Carpenter, better known as Jean Harlow died from kidney issues, long before dialysis, or kidney transplants!

Obviously we cancer patients dont share our treatment rooms with other people at the same time, but we do see people of all ages in the waiting rooms, waiting for their treatments. I have to say I havent actually seen any children in my time, on visits, but the other man had. And yes, it does makes you realise that however long I have, at least I’ve had a decent length of life. Thats not to say a percentage of these children, in both groups wont do so, but not all will, thats for sure, sadly.

OK, lets finish more positively. Firstly, when I’ve finished my treatment, and had refreshments afterwards (not allowed to eat for 4 hours beforehand) I report to the transport office to let them know I’m ready to go home. Depending on time of day, and other matters, this has varied anything between about 30, and 150 minutes before getting a vehicle to get me home. Today, well, about 5 minutes after sitting down to wait, I was called to vehicle! Yes, good timing, will probably never happen again, but…

The other thing, well I knew I’d get extra benefits for the cancer situation, but I assumed they would only pay it from September, when the diagnosis was confirmed, right? No, because I’d been unable to work since March, and it was related, I get the benefit back to then, wow! So, regardless of cancer worries, which could be a lot worse, my financial worries have definitely been eased. No, I’m not quoting figures, but lets just say I’ve a lot less worries now!

OK, video time. No, I dont think I’m young of heart, or much else now, but I thought the video would work for this, anyway.

 

Heir yesterday, hair today

As most of my regular readers would already know, I’m not a fan of the Royal Family. I know some say they bring in tourist money, though in truth, what they demand in payments from us in lieu of this probably level things up, if not a net gain for them? But anyway…

So, when I see Meghan Markle (or whatever she is officially now, Duchess of Sussex, seemingly?) moaning about the way the press focus on her, as a member of the Royal Family, I tend to lack for sympathy. Clearly, I do hate the blatant racism of some of them, much as I lack sympathy for the press when they show their transphobia too, but again, its a yoke that has to be borne with some, even if we shouldnt have to.

Therefore I assume it will surprise nobody that I had no plans to watch Prince Andrew’s ‘interview’ last night, as he tried to convince people that he wasnt a paedophile, lol. Let me say that whoever advised him that it would be a good idea (judging by social media) to do so, needs to be looking for a new job! Judging by comments, even by ‘Royal lovers’, it was a road crash, to put it mildly. So instead of convincing people of his innocence, all it seems to have done is convince people he is as guilty as anything. As for remembering he was in a Pizza Express in Woking, on a critical day, 18 years before, amazing memory, I dont think!

But if does damage to the whole Royal image with many, at least I’ll get something out of it!

As to hair today? Well, I washed my hair in the bath this afternoon, and for the first time, I really had noticeable hair loss in the treatment area. Nowhere else, but in that area, its now very obvious, but such is life? It would be less noticeable with a wig on, but when you havent got one on, due to wet hair, or has happened a few times, when I havent had chance to put it on due to early arrival of transport, well…? Carry on as things are, get the lot taken off, with which the wigs would fit snugger, but if I dont get it on in time…? First I think, but dont quote me on that! I might get feisty, lol?

OK, video time. You could say the hair loss is an expected sign of the times, so lets roll with a little bit of Belle Stars

I’m in some money

To totally spoil the video choice for some, yes, this is the version where Ginger Rogers has fun with the lyrics, and includes a certain Miss Clara Elaine Johnson dressed in some money in the second half of the video, but anyway…

The first shocking moment to come out of the day was actually the time I came downstairs and had breakfast this morning. I know, 8 in the morning, on a Saturday for some (fine, many) would be early, but for me of recent times, total luxury, lol. No, sleeping right through night isnt happening yet without bathroom visit, but only 1, and able to get up at such a wicked hour, well…

The first nice moment of the day actually didnt relate to money directly. As mentioned before, some very nice people donated money to the old cancer patient, either by entering a golf competition, or in a couple of generous cases, money on top of that. So, given the sweet fix all this treatment stuff has given me, I went on Thornton’s website on Thursday (non expensive tastes, lol), and ordered 3 boxes for the price of 2, their special offer. Yes, I’m a Yorkshire girl, I still dont spend money wildly, lol. Delivery was marked as 3-5 days from order, so I was assuming early part of next week. Yes, email said out for delivery today, and yes, sat by me now, though untouched so far, arent I good, even if I dont know why?

The amusing side of this was the box. It was huge! Thankfully I didnt have to deal with it, Eric did. In truth, 10% of the box was chocolates, the other 90% was packaging! Seriously, I thought Amazon was bad for packing, but seriously…

I have been doing my banking online for quite a while now, long before my brain went AWOL but I only tend to check on balance when I’m told money has gone in, or I need to transfer money out of it. Other than that, nothing is happening, so I leave it to ‘sleep’, lol. So therefore it was only when I got a letter today from the PIP (Personal Independence Payment) people saying that they had completed the process of approving my benefits, and had paid me my back payment yesterday, from date of claim, ooh! I also got a message from another benefit department, telling me that it had now been confirmed that I have been accepted as entitled to benefits for unemployment, with no need to search for work, due to my circumstances. I know, both were formalities, but it has to be done properly, so…weight off my mind, for sure. Main (only?) thing to come now is the disabled bus pass, but given there is zero need for that before 9th December, and more realistically, the beginning of New Year, no great concern at moment. Have got my first bus trip planned, the once every 2 hours bus from outside home, into town, to the cafe in the Bus Station, and buy coffee and cake for me, and Eric.

I do plan to do a similar trip with Linda before then, if possible, to christen the blue badge, but all this is at least 4 weeks off, so… and I will see her on 11th (day before works meal) December, though that will be a separate trip.

No, I’m not going to be rich, but all this will enable me to survive, for sure. So fair to say, its been a good day, and in some money.

OK, video time. Ginger Rogers, Clara Johnson, and skimpy outfits, all in under 3 minutes, what more could you ask for? So…

 

Birthdays, progress, and some wild boys!

OK, lets deal with these in turn, and allow people to catch up on everything.

  1. Yesterday, a certain, very cute silent movie actress celebrated her birthday in heaven. Yes, hopefully at least some might work out, yes, Gertrude Ormstead was born on November 13th, 1897. No, I’m not really into dead 122 year old’s, but if she was young, and actually fancied me, well… Today in 1906, another famous silent movie actress was born, one who found more fame thanks to OMD, Louise Brooks, but besides that…
  2.  Progress for me. Well, tomorrow marks the halfway point in my treks to Leeds for treatments. Yes, after tomorrow morning, it will be 15 down, and 15 to go, ooh! As I was told this morning, things seem to be going well so far, but we still have plenty more to do, thats for sure. But tomorrow, when I pick up my new supply of steroids I need to take each morning, I’m reducing the daily dose from 2 mg, to 1.5 mg, and if all is fine, might well be down to 1 mg by this time next week. Equally, if I’m not happy with the new dose health wise, I’m to go straight back up, but for now…Just think, I was on 16 mg daily at the time of the surgery!
  3.  The wild boys? While getting your radiotherapy treatments, you get a musical soundtrack played in the room. They’ve got me worked out well, as most mornings up to now, I’ve had the delights of the sort of music I love from the 1960’s. This morning I moved on a decade, to a couple of punk songs from the end of the 70’s. I cant remember the first one now, in truth, believe me, thats what radiotherapy can do to your memory at times. But anyway, as the video will show, it was the second song that had me smiling more anyway. Never thought I’d be laid on a bed, being treated for cancer, and hearing Jimmy Pursey blasting out that song.
  4. A fact that some will get the comment, others wont, but anyway… I was asked at the end of the session today if I was planning to take my face mask home with me when all this was over. Answer is yes, I thoroughly plan to do so, but… I joked it will need a silver paint job, which I got round by mentioning I’d written science fiction, but lets face it, thats not the whole reason! But yes, I might need someone to do a decent paint job for me, but fine, that would be fun!

Yes, Gertrude nearly lost her soul, with the help of Lon Chaney in ‘The Monster’, could I lose my humanity to a silver face mask, even if only plastic, lol? Then, if I could get matching body suit, giggle.

OK, the video comes from item 3, but I suspect you’d worked it out. Been brave, gone with a live version, but if you want the studio version, not hard to find. Will warn, there are a couple of uses of the f… word in this live version, so if you are of delicate nature?

Let me entertain you?

In truth, given that accordingly to the stats at least, the vast majority of my readers are in the US, I’m probably expecting as big a response to this as, well, not a lot, but if I give enough notice? No, even then, lol, I dont expect American, Delta, Virgin or anyone else to be bombarded with applicable flight bookings from US!

The first time I heard a bell ring in the reception area at the hospital in Leeds, on the floor where the radiotherapy sessions are done, I wondered what was going on. But fine, being a ‘nosy bitch’, at a suitable moment, I went to find out what it was all about. What it was all about is that at the end of a significance part of your treatment process (mainly last radiotherapy session), people are gently encouraged to ring said bell, to signify the significant moment to others. Yes, you’re right, I’m planning to do it.

Well, to give all a clue, my last session is booked for the 6th December, at 12.05 pm, so if all goes to plan, I reckon I will be ringing said bell about 12,20 pm or so (believe me, timing will be approximate) at St James Hospital, Leeds to signify the end of the sessions, and more exhaustively for me at present, the end of travelling to and from Leeds every day for 6 weeks (which I am currently finding harder, lol) at varying hours of the day! Then starts the 4 week recovery period, in which there are a couple of nice events (and no, Boris, I dont mean the General Election) happening, one of which should be pretty obvious to all, lol.

But yes, if anyone should want more details on venue, time, or other things, feel free to comment, or email at stephmajor8@hotmail.com and I will provide them happily. Though if you do the former, please provide an email address, if I dont already have one for you.

No, I’m not expecting a rush, or indeed anyone really to turn up from here, but now you’ve got 4 weeks to plan, check your calendar, or whatever you need to do. Yes, if anyone turns up who has video (even via a mobile phone) facilities, I might post my first video on You Tube, instead of just watching them, lol. But no, I dont have one, so…? Oh, you will need to get yourself there, just saying…

I know, no response, but the offer is made! And now I’ll offer the video, lol. Some may even have worked it out from the title!

 

 

Its raining, but not men!

To say its been raining heavily around here over the last 24 hours, and will supposedly stay that way until the middle of the night is to put it mildly. Seriously, even Noah might have been impressed by the amount of rain, but anyway…

To put it mildly, the journey to the hospital this morning took an interesting route, as my knowledgeable driver tried to avoid the chaos on the motorway to get me, and the other passenger in the transport ambulance vehicle to the hospital in a reasonable period of time. Even with her skills, it still took over an hour and a half, but anyway…

The traffic was chaos, partly because it was the very end of the rush hour, but mainly because of the large amounts of laying water we encountered on route.

After that, for a while, things happened normally (well, as normal as it can be at present) for me. My blood tests were fine, apart from a little dehydration (I drink too much coffee, not enough water, seemingly), the treatment went fine, but then…ah, getting home. Because of the weather issue, transport vehicles were a bit sparse, and it took, err, a considerable while to get home again. Alright, I requested transport at 12.15, got indoors about 3.40. Mind, apart from the last hour, that was spent sat at the hospital, but anyway…

To say there was laying water on the roads coming home would put it mildly, it was lake like in a number of places, in truth. But in the end…

Well, tomorrow marks 1/3 down, 2/3 to go, wow! Still, given that is still 21 more sessions at moment, well…

OK, video time. I did think of using Geri Halliwell’s version of this, but the last time I used one of hers, well, in no rush to repeat, lol. So, we’ll run with the Weather Girl original one instead!

When you leave

To those who think that 1 video is one too many on the blogs, you’re going to hate me tonight. To those who think I need to include more videos, you’re going to love me, probably for 1 night only mind, lol.

Yesterday, as mentioned, I got the letter from the specialist confirming that the best option for this ‘old biddy’ was medical retirement, and I got the covering note from the surgery signing me off until the end of January, and these got sent off to work this morning. This afternoon, as planned, I got the call from the health experts at work, and strangely enough, they are now sending off a report stating the same thing. They asked all the right, and fine questions, I did the same with answers.

I’ll be honest, I’m glad its all settled, and has been done so in an amicable way too. It means I can put December 12th on the Diary (works Christmas dinner, for those who need to be told) as a date to look forward to, and I can also look forward to, in the New Year, after I’ve recovered fully, I can make a few plans for what I want to do in some ways, which those who know about the ‘other blog’ will get a few ideas on, later this evening.

There are 2 things that occur in my thoughts, one that I can probably deal with from this country, health permitting, and thats the transition step to full womanhood. I must admit I do wonder if its just one bit of manhood that needs to go, some think it probably is! The second is probably a lot more complex, and will require me to get to ancient wedding records in Los Angeles, to find out who Miss Clara Johnson became when she became Mrs Clara ? so I can follow her through a bit more. My suspicion is 1937 to 1939 is the period I’d need to look at, but no actual evidence, beyond the traceable end of her career in movie dancing in 1937, but given she was 32 by then, well getting on a bit for that role, lol…?

And no, I have no idea when I will feel up to that task at the moment! No time soon, I suspect, but I hope I will find her, lol. The other thing re her that now intrigues me is the cause of death at a youngish age. I always assumed lung cancer, as everyone smoked back then, but now, with what has happened to me, with the brain cancer, I do wonder if its a repeat of history, maybe? Just makes me more intrigued to track her down, in truth.

OK, videos time. All round one song, by OMD, ‘If you leave’, which ironically sunk pretty badly over here, but was one of their biggest in US. Probably because of ‘Pretty In Pink’, but anyway…

Lets start with a new video, only released today, that explains the events around that

Then, as its mentioned in here, the original video.

And lastly, a very, very rare live performance of the song