And so to the second half of the year.
In truth, personal things prior to September were fairly limited. Mainly because I was at work, through the school holidays, covering for those who need the time off.
One sad thing that did happen before then, happened in August. To many, it probably seems amazing that an adult actress from the early 1930’s had survived this long, but one of them had. But eventually that tie was cut, when Mary Carlisle passed away at the grand old age of 104. She was pretty sharp to the end, if less mobile, and for a while she had been the last, and all knew the link was coming to an end, but for those of us who love that era, it was still a sad moment when it arrived.
September saw me going back to a place I hadnt visited in nearly 40 years, Inverness, taking Eric away with me for a few days of fun. Well, as much fun as two people with disability issues can have, anyway. I managed to fulfil one ambition I’d had for about that long, if not more, by travelling the Skye Line to Kyle of Lochalsh. The fact that the last time I was there, the only way to Skye was by ferry, and now a bridge has been there for decades, all a bit strange. There are still a couple of railway lines in Scotland I’d love to do (Oban line, Fort William to Mallaig), and the Cambrian Coast line in Wales to a place I could never pronounce correctly (Pwllheli) that are a challenge for another day, health permitting. There are also a couple of very long distance ones in North America too, though they may be less likely, and trickier to do.
At one point I thought that November would see me doing a Transgender Awareness Week speech in Florida, but it soon seemed that someone was all talk, and no reality, so it never happened. So instead, I headed somewhere nearly as warm for the week, to the Algarve, to give my back some heat before winter kicked in. I wont deny I might have done a little bit of apartment prospecting while there, should the chance arise, and yes, if things work out, my old age could well be spent out there. There is a financial issue (not enough money), and a political issue (post Brexit residence rules) that may stop that, but fingers crossed… A lottery jackpot win before March 29 might be very handy! But lifestyle, and health wise, I could do a lot worse.
Then we come to the old chestnut, my health issue. In recent weeks my left wrist seems to have developed issues, probably due to too much typing, and stuff, for the last 40 years or so. So now I have 2 issues leaving me wondering how much longer work is going to be possible? More amusingly, due to coming 4th in a year long Golf tipping contest on Twitter, I gained £100 for my pains, and thought I’d give some new therapies a try, rather than frittering it on clothing, and the like. So yes, I got to discover just how amazing a flotation tank (sensory deprivation tank) is, and even better, the weightless floating does seem to do my back a lot of good too. Fine, the tank hasnt tried to brainwash me yet, though I’m still hoping!
Oh, and December saw the Works Christmas dinner, in a new dress, in a casino, and my first ever bet in such a place. Yes, I lost quickly, but it was a free £5 chip, so nothing lost really!
Lastly, and sadly, the Department I work in, in their wisdom, have decided to move our section out of Finance, and into a new Collection based group. So unfortunately, just as our LGBT committee were getting ready to do something really exciting, I’m out, as from tomorrow. I cant see me going quiet on LGBT issues, but it may give me less options now, though I have applied for something for the whole Department, not just Finance, but will be over a month before I hear about that. Ah well…
Right, tomorrow I will close the trilogy, with a look at New Year happenings (and possible happenings) on the first day of 2019. But until then, let me wish all my readers, those who arent there already at least, a Happy New Year in 2019.
OK, video. Just a quickie tonight. Its hard to find anything for Mary Carlisle other than a couple of full films, and sets of pictures. But I found this, Bing Crosby singing to her, 85 years ago!
For once, the title of the blog has absolutely zero to do with the video, so dont try to stress your brain cells, lol.
Today was flotation tank day, and in truth, my back really needed it this time around. Sunday, the 4 of us went off up to Skipton, and had one of those canal boat, Christmas Dinner meals. The meal was very good, the service speed a little, err, entertaining, but the seats we were sitting on had all the back support of a brick wall. And yes, when your back is as damaged as mine… The only other entertaining moment was the Sat-Nav system, which insisted on calling Keighley (pronounced Keith-Lee), as ‘Key-Lee’, which of course had me in a total fit of giggles. I think its safe to say that it would probably call Slaithwaite, as spelt, and not Sla-wit, as its pronounced too.
Anyway, with a back that was already ‘grumpy’, I went to work yesterday in the cold, and the rain, and the inevitable happened, it flared up badly. So, halfway through the day, came home, a journey which should take about 75-80 minutes at that time of day. It took 140, and only that short as I gave up on First Buses, and got a taxi home from town!
Thankfully, today, I had the ‘miracle treatment’ booked, the flotation tank. Lets just say back pain wise, if last night was a 10, and this morning about a 7, its now about a 2.5! Yes, that, lack of pressure on the spine is just amazing.
This time around, Donna showed me how to seal the pod properly (assumed I would spot handle first time, and didnt, and someone else showed me through last time), which was simple when shown, but anyway…So, lights out, and yes, that pod really is sound proofed, among other things, never heard a thing once the music stopped, before it started up again.
So, I cleared my mind completely of thought, and imagined being transformed into a ‘beautiful swan’ when I got out again, but no, that never happened. Nor was I turned into an alien, which might have been fun, but anyway… What I did this time, when nice and tranquil, and safe in the womb of the pod, was leave space for Clara to come through in time, but only if she wanted to, under the circumstances. Yes, she took up the offer!
I know it was her, as the second comment she made was about someone fetching her a cigarette, and I’ve never smoked! Well, there was also the fact that she was talking with a very cool, mid west accent, but distinctly noticeable, which is maybe why she never got too many lines in movies, just stuck to dancing. She hung around, saying things about the crazy things that Mr Mayer (of MGM), and Buzby Berkeley got her to do, in the cause of dancing. Lots of toe splashing, and giggling too, but then (I guess after about 15 minutes or so, its hard to tell time in a place like that), the music started back up, and as I told her beforehand, that meant it was time to go. Yes, she did.
I ‘came back’, stunned at what had happened, but thrilled. Lets face it, I wouldnt ask for a cigarette, nor would I naturally have a mid western accent like she did! Of course, I cant get her to answer questions from me under those circumstances, but it was fun sensing things through her ‘eyes’.
Sadly, its going to be mid January before I can follow up on this, as the place is either full, or more likely closed for all the holiday period, or a combination of both. So first appointment I can get, that really works for me is 15th January. I could have got in the week before, but I have the other physio that week, so spreading them out is wiser.
But yes, on that day, is Miss Johnson going to come out to play (and splash toes) again, who knows? But the answer, probably?
OK, video time. 1930 is the oldest date I can find conclusive evidence of Clara dancing in the movies. She may well have danced in 1929, but I havent seen clear evidence as yet. As I’ve said before, 1937 is the last date I have evidence for. This technicolor movie from 1930 features the Goldwyn Girls, of which she was one, but faces arent clear enough to be conclusive that Clara is, or isnt in this. I think I see her there, but cant be sure. But yes, regardless, its something a little different to the normal Berkeley routine
I must admit, when someone suggested using a flotation tank to me, for my damaged back, I couldnt see the logic of how it could bring me long term benefit. Let me just say, 5 days later, I’m convinced.
Even when I walked out on Tuesday, in no pain, I put it down to short term effect, and all that, and nothing more. I then proceeded to have an awful journey home, in cold, wet weather, and still no issues. More of the same on both Wednesday (including a lengthy period of standing still, waiting for a bus, normally a killer), and on Friday, and fine, the worst I’ve had, a bit of minor (and I do mean minor) pain!
I’m not saying I could run a marathon (or even a mile), but its fair to say I currently have more mobility than I’ve had in 15 months! No, I’m still not trying the stairs at work though, or on a bus, lol!
Yes, I’m still taking all my painkillers, and stuff, but I was previously hurting with them, so thats not a major issue. Funnily enough, I’m due at Physiotherapy on Tuesday, and I’m fascinated to see what she thinks of my ‘new’ back! I know I said I was going to do acupuncture anyway, but seriously, I’m thinking of revising that comment, as the flotation tank is cheaper, seeming to work, so why change something that is clearly working? Plus, I get the whole sensory deprivation thing doing this, even more so as I’m getting shown how to put the lid of the pod down next time! Maybe I can come out reborn as twenty something Clara Johnson, lol?
Well, I can answer my own question in truth, I’ve booked 2 more sessions already! I was a bit concerned how to work things, as my next Physio session would be on Christmas Day, so not going to happen. And yes, the following Tuesday is New Years Day, so… it could have been a long wait. But now, not an issue! 😀
Normally I would have booked the first session for next Tuesday (4th December) but I’m in Manchester that day, LGBT committee meeting. In truth, before this, I was a bit concerned about that week, as it would have been 5 days of travel that week, but now…not! So I’ve booked for the 6th, my 1 day of rest, to use as a recovery session. The other booked is on 18th, to hopefully get me through the whole long festive period! Now all I need is someone to create a brainwashing tape, to play into the pod while I’m in there, lol… 😉 OK, thats hoping for a bit too much?
But yes, beyond the lack of pressure on my back while floating, I havent a clue why it works. So yes, you could say its a mystery! Which leads us to the video. Its not often you find someone from the punk era singing live in a studio (music too), but Toyah does here! And yes, its good enough, and different enough to be the pick for tonight!
Oh fine, I hope I know what everyone wants to hear about, so lets have a duplicate blog tonight, so I can cover all events.
But before we get to that, let me just mention that today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, to remember those less fortunate than myself, over the years.
OK, to business, the flotation tank experience. I did check, and double check directions on Google Maps before leaving, but still managed to turn the wrong way when I got off the bus, but realised that in seconds, so no great issue.
The owner of the business quickly made me feel at home, and after the necessary form filling, I was soon in the room with the flotation tank. A shower, then in I went, and ‘laid’ down. If the roof was meant to come down to seal you in the pod, I never worked out how to do it. I’ve certainly seen enclosed pods, but whether this isnt set up for that, or was just me being blonde, no idea? Would have loved that, but in truth, once I turned out the lights, it was very dark, and apart from the whole enclosed sensation, would have been hard to tell the difference.
Yes, I relaxed easily, and just lay there enjoying the whole sensation, and loving the lack of any pressure on my fragile back. Anyway, once comfortable, settled, and everything else good, I decided to do a little experiment with self hypnosis, try to empty my mind a little (or ideally a lot) and see what developed from there.
It took me a while to get there (about 5-10 minutes too long, as I was to discover), but when I did, I tried to get a little bit of robot into my mind and body, but couldnt really get it to work, probably because robots dont generally float in water, lol.
So I went to Plan B, this time with startling success. Having emptied my mind of myself, I tried to self regress myself back to Clara Johnson. Incredibly, it worked. Snag was, Clara wasnt quite certain where she was, as these new age things werent around in the 1930’s, and panicked a bit finding herself seemingly floating in a dark room. I did set to trying to calm her down, and had just succeeded, and was just beginning to let her take control when I heard something I didnt want to hear, the music starting up again, which meant I had only 5 minutes left. So unfortunately, I had to say ‘goodbye’ to her, start to switch back to me, so I was back in control at the end of the session.
In truth, I have no idea if I was just going to let Clara experience the float, or whether I was going to ask her questions, as I never really reached that point. Not quite sure if I could ask her questions anyway, or whether someone else would have to ask ‘me’ them, in truth? I suspect would have to be the latter, as my mind was in Clara mode? So asking questions of herself, without a script?
So yes, I’m going to have to go back again, for sure, and this time get her involved far more quickly. If nothing else, seeing life through her eyes, and feeling her thoughts, for more than a few seconds will be amazing.
Another shower, a glass of water, then back to real life. Yes, cold, wet, and lousy services by First Buses!
Oh, and by the way, yes, the back feels a whole lot better too! So 2 pieces of good news, for the price of 1!
I can hear you asking, is she still going to try acupuncture now? The answer is yes, got to give both a chance, lets face it. And besides, they might use the needles loaded with robotising nanites! Yeah, I wish! 😛
But yes, the whole flotation tank experience, truly amazing for me, and maybe Clara needs to try it again, just to see how she really feels, lol?
Right, video time. Well, I was floating, not running, but otherwise it was certainly silent when the music stopped.
No, not politics, not that I would blame anyone for expecting it with that headline at present, lol.
All year long, up to now at least, I’ve been involved in a really good golf competition on Twitter. Somehow, I ended up 4th on the regular season, which qualified me as 1 of the higher seeds in the 16 person field. I crept through the first 2 rounds, not entirely skilfully, but as I was playing lower seeds, I had a points advantage which proved critical. Then came the semi final, against the number 1 seed, which not surprisingly I lost. This put me in the 3rd place playoff, which is pretty good, given my limited sports knowledge nowadays. Thing is, there were only 3 prizes, so now I had to win this, admittedly against a slightly lower seed to get any prize money. £100, so not something to be sneezed at, for just coming 3rd. Lose that match, get nothing. Yes, readers, you guessed it, I lost, today, in the final Euro Tour event.
Except, in the end, for some reason best known to others, and for which I’m very grateful, a 4th prize, matching the 3rd prize suddenly appeared! Put it this way, apart from the remaining £23, I have no plans to spend this on fripperies, or stuff. My plan was, and always has been, to try a couple of different therapies to try and ease my back, for which the extra expense was beyond my normal pocket, so now…
One is acupuncture, which I’ve fancied trying for years, even before my back went, but now I’ve got no excuse not to do so. I know, having needles stuck in you, for pain relief might seem weird to some, but it supposedly works, has been advised for me, so I will give it a try, and see, in near future.
The other is what they call a flotation tank therapy. Seems that floating, with zero pressure on my back might be a very good thing to do. Oh fine, the whole thing of being in a soundproof chamber, in the darkness appeals to me no end, though I doubt anyone is going to play a voice in the chamber, saying I am being brainwashed or the like will be available to me, lol. Maybe I can get that thought into my mind, but besides that…I can help my health, and help to have a fantasy come true!
So, with big thanks to Gareth, and ‘Scoled’ for their generosity in events today which have led to this happening. This old lady, and her back appreciate it far more than you can ever know.
You may have worked out tonight’s song, but you might be expecting, especially from me, Simon & Garfunkel, but you’d be wrong. This came out about 2 years ago, a stunning cover of said song, and we have a live version here.
You know, I hate technology, I had nearly 500 words written for this, and it just vanished. Supposedly this site saves these things, but when I looked, nothing! Ouch!
When it comes to my back, I’m prepared to try just about anything to ease, or even better, clear the pain. No, I dont think any handy person is going to give me a cybernetic upgrade, even though I would enjoy it way too much, simply because I dont think its actually possible at this time. Even just a spine upgrade would be nice, though full makeover would be so much more fun.
The thing that has been in the news this year, and which I would love to have done, if I had the money (Fund me campaign, anyone?) would be that spine fusion thing that Tiger Woods had done. But yes, I think that probably costs a small fortune, way beyond my pocket, sadly. No, I dont think it would make me a good golfer though, lol.
There are 2 things however that have been suggested to me, that are practical, are probably priced that I could try them in my more humble budget, and yet, just have that slightly weird feel that makes them appeal to me even more.
The first is acupuncture. Yes, laid on my front, while an ‘evil doctor’ (yeah, I wish) sticks needles in my back, and then tweaks them around, or runs electricity through them (seemingly it does happen) might be interesting. However, as much as I could see, that works more for things like trapped nerves, than a fracture in your back, but no idea? I asked my physiotherapist, and she was typically non committal, saying it might, or might not do me good. And there is a place in Huddersfield that does it, at a not too crazy price, so I will have to consider giving a go, though probably will now be after my holiday, just over a week away, as I really havent got time before then. Oh, and how much do those needles hurt?
The second one suggested was a session in a flotation tank. Now, beyond the logic of taking all the weight, and pressure off my back, I find it harder to see the logic of that one, myself. I mean doing that will probably do it some good, but anything significant, no, cant see it.
Of course, from a weird point of view, the flotation tank idea appeals to me totally. All that sensory deprivation stuff, with the lid shut down, and all, talk about imagining yourself in a brainwashing chamber, lol. I possibly could, and certainly with headphones giving me the suggestion, imagine being brainwashed in on of those chambers. And yes, that appeals totally. But no, in the sense of healing my back, I just dont see it?
Is there anything else slightly weird, or just a little bit different that I could try too, or instead of them?
Just to add, that if anyone has any thoughts on the use of one of them, or both, or something else, please let me know here, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the Social Media threads if you catch up with this at those places.
Fine, in the sense of having wanted to try them for years, and never got round to them, both appeal, the flotation tank, sensory deprivation thing especially, though to me, thats the least effective choice, but the kinkier one!
So, try one, try both, as I dont think I’ll find anyone who does acupuncture in a flotation tank, lol!
Right, video time. Lets go back to the acupuncture, and the very obvious song. Yes, the Bradford connection version!