Category Archives: working life

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

 

Have you seen her before?

Lets start by saying that unless you hear otherwise, everything is fine with me, and the radiotherapy sessions, and the chemo tablets, so that it doesnt become a regular start point here, OK?

One thing I very quickly have learnt is that the time of travel makes a lot of difference mind, as yesterdays ‘rush hour’ journey back from the hospital to home took 100 minutes to complete, today’s off peak one, just 35! Thankfully, as things stand, I only have one more rush hour journey home next Wednesday, so fingers crossed, not too much of an ongoing issue.

Today’s amusing moment occurred after I’d had my treatment, had my breakfast (cant eat for 4 hours before session) in the cafe, and while I was waiting for my transport back home. A man came into the area where you wait for your vehicles a little while after me, saw me sat there, and took a second glance. To be fair, I took a second glance back at him too, as I think it was fair to say a glimpse of recognition hit both of us. Equally, given that if it was who I thought it was, the most recent time he would have seen me is nearly 5 years ago, I think we have fair claims for neither of us being certain, especially as I’m now a redhead, not the blonde he would have known, in a place he wouldnt have been expecting to see me. Anyway, after a few minutes, my transport home called for me, so I will never know.

But basically, I think he worked at William Hill head office when I did, though he was on a different team to me, which probably added to the fact that neither of us was sure the other person was who we wondered if they were? Just shows that even 5 years down the road, you never know who you ‘might’ meet when out at a hospital!

Video time. One from my teen years, but managed to find a live (well, mimed) version of it all the same. Well, in his case, had he seen someone he used to know?

I was working as a call (centre) girl

OK, strictly, apart from 1 day, my first job (2005 – 2009) up here in West Yorkshire was as a guy, and the second one (2009 – 2015) was as a guy too, for the first year or so, before I officially made the transition formal, but of course the last one (2016 – 2019) has always been as a woman, but hey, who’s counting? Especially as my initial coming out as a woman was in 2003, you could equally make a case that my actual working career up here in Yorkshire has been as a call centre girl.

The interesting thing about my 3 company career up here in Yorkshire is that not once have I actually written a letter handing in my notice. Twice I’ve been made redundant, once of my choice, once by the companies choice, and of course, after today, the third, and last will now end in medical retirement. Yes, the letter has now been sent off (though strictly will be collected by postman in morning) to work from the hospital, confirming that due to the cancer issue, and all that, the voice is no longer up to, or likely to be up to call centre work again. Thats even ignoring the 6 more weeks I would need off for radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, and the 4 – 6 week recovery period after that before I could even consider it, even if up to it, so…

Oh fine, with no disrespect to my current job (for a matter of a short period of time), I’m glad its all finally settled, and I can get on with getting better. To be fair, given the time I’ve been off work for (over 7 months now) through everything, they’ve treated me fairly, and barring setbacks, I’m looking forward to seeing some of them at least again on December 12th, for the works Christmas Dinner in Bradford (for which they are paying my transport, and meal) before the final goodbye. Given its the first ‘rest week’ post treatments, it should be fine, but never assume…

But yes, my Occupational Therapist told me today that I need some positive targets for post treatment, even now, and that will be the first of them, so…

Also of benefit today, the Social worker working for hospital/McMillan has taken all the PIP paperwork out of my hands, will arrange the disabled bus pass, and the thing I need to get the disabled car pass, which is all a great help. So now, on to Thursday, the meet the team (and machine) get together, and then on Monday, we get down to the serious business, with the start of radiotherapy, and chemo tablets. Hard to gather now that 2 months ago I didnt even know I had a cancer tumour growth! And now, so far forward…

Hard to believe that tomorrow is the penultimate weekday entirely at home for the next almost 7 weeks, the other being Friday. No, I dont expect to want to see Leeds again for a while after all that, lol!

The other amusing fact from today refers to hair. Through my life as a woman, I dont think I’ve ever deliberately worn my hair lower than back of my neck. So yes, today, I wore the wig to the hospital that drops below my neck. And yes, its taken a bit of getting used to, but I’m just beginning to get there now, and quite like it. I admit that Thursday, I plan to either wear, or at least take with me the silver wig, just because it seems a fun thing to do on the last day at a hospital before the treatments begin, the serious stuff! Whether I wear the silver Lycra bodysuit under street clothes, well…?

OK, video time. A joking comment at the 2 companies that made me redundant, even if I dont really feel that hard (at this point) about their decisions.

 

That feeling, here it comes again!

Yes, I know its been a while since the previous blog, but unfortunately there has been a good reason. Saturday, seemingly I had another seizure. I know, I really could do without them, but such is life that I seem to be stuck with them now. This one was seemingly back to the old formula, I knew nothing about it at the time. It seems I did come round after a short period of time, so was just put to bed to recover (as they were advised), and some time in the middle of Monday morning I finally came around sufficiently to get up. I was apparently woken a few times to check I was alive, and to take my pills, but was otherwise just left to recover.

I took the choice to go up the hospital on Monday, as I was still a bit ‘woozy’ but after a few hours I got cleared, and came home again. I cant say the hospital handled the next step brilliantly, first offering me transport home, only to then eventually be told they didnt do that. Let me say that didnt surprise me, but why offer it in that case?

I did eventually sort out a taxi at the second attempt to get me home, which seemed an excessive fare, but other than that…

Unfortunately all this meant that both the tests that were meant to happen over the weekend never happened, which frustrated me, but such is life, as they will need to be rearranged. Hopefully I dont have to wait 3 months for another MRI, because I think a friend in US will blow his temper if I do. I suspect the EEG will get rearranged after an apology, and explanation though. I have to check with someone for availability to get me there, but otherwise..  Not that its my fault, but all the same…

Oh, and I think thats it for work too. My bosses have been wonderful in giving me time to get things sorted, but my half pay thing runs out at the end of next month, and being practical, after Saturday, I’m not working again anytime soon, so the inevitable is going to happen, thats it. Well I never thought it would end like this, but so it seems… I know, in the old days, I would have retired at 60, so… Ah well,  I can get on with considering getting something ‘lopped off’ I guess? I wonder what will be the first location that I will have visited as a guy, a ‘girl’, and as a proper woman? A lot will depend on the date you officially say I was a ‘girl’ lol? If you say its 2002, that takes out most of US (beyond New England), but if its 2009 (official transition) then its more likely US, though ironically not LA (never as a guy). A lot is going to depend when the ‘snip’ happens, I guess?

I must admit, it will be nice to be able to wear a swimsuit, or dress, and not worry about I might be revealing, I must admit. Anyway, thats the depressing news, or however you want to look at it. So on to the video. What I felt when I realised I’d had another seizure, I guess?

Is it still a holiday?

Strictly, as of 4.00 yesterday afternoon, until a week on Wednesday, I’m not on medical leave, I’m on holiday. Ironically, as with March, it would have been my Saturday (every 5th week) to work this week. Of course, as history has dictated, I havent worked since that fateful day in March, and of course, accordingly to several medical sources, it seems that March 9, 2019 will go down as the last day of my working career. So why, you ask, does this week count as holiday, technically at least?

Well back at the end of last Summer, we are asked to pick our 2 preferred weeks of holiday, and this week, starting tomorrow was the start of the first of mine. I hadnt ever got to making any serious plans for this, in truth. So where would I be, if fate hadnt stepped in, who knows? Its actually possible I’d be where I am now, sat at home, as the US trip this year was always going to be September. I might also have been in Belfast, as Ireland are playing 2 cricket matches there in these few days (first was today), but had not made any definite plans by March on that.

I know where I would love to have started my holiday week, a day early, and that was Pine Bush, New York. Yes, yesterday was UFO day there, and yes, Stacie was there (its not far from here), and yes, I’m jealous. I will state now that if I’m allowed to still do International Travel after having been by the neurologist, its on my target list for next year, believe me. And yes, if I do, I’m definitely doing the full Alien look, and if I can find a flying saucer/space craft to travel there by, yes, I’m doing it, ideally in said Alien outfit. Or new Alien body, who knows? 😉

Why did I pick this week, you may be asking? Well, a week tomorrow is a Bank Holiday, so I would have got an extended holiday, thats why! But now, does this even count as a holiday any more? Technically yes, but strictly, well?

Video time. This is most definitely not live, however much they might want it to look like it is. Apart from anything else, the male ‘singer’ didnt even sing on the record. Oh, and the lead singer’s outfit, yes, I’d love it, if anyone is offering?

Everything has changed

Firstly, for those of my readers who celebrate it, happy Easter. For those of you who dont celebrate it, enjoy the holiday period in whichever way you wish to do so.

Its actually quite funny that over my working years, a lot of the time, bank holiday weekends meant little different to me, as for all those years in the betting industry, they were just another working weekend. Of course, in the good old days in the last century (that really makes me sound old, doesnt it?), there actually was no horse racing on Good Friday, and betting shops were closed on this day. Now, thanks to the god of consumerism, we race pretty much every day of the year, (there were also 3 days at Christmas, now just Christmas Day)  and betting shops are open every day bar one, and I suspect the bookies begrudge their staff that, knowing them.

The last couple have been a bit weird, as I’ve had Friday off, Monday off, but worked the Saturday in between. At least I think I did, as it would be logical, but the brain is no longer up to working out if it actually happened or not? But this year, I’m (in theory) still working, and the long bank holiday weekend means nothing to me (I was tempted to use Vienna, by Ultravox, but no) because the body, and most critically, the brain is no longer up to complex things like work at present. If I believe the medical advice given so far, thats a case of game over, anyway. But the funny thing is, this would actually have been a long weekend for me, as it wouldnt have been my Saturday to work, so would have been a week off. Whereas now…?

The other thing I’ve decided needed to change, is me. When I had to cut back to 4 days a week at work (let alone 3), I had to economise somewhere, especially given I was paying out for therapy treatments. So basically, goodbye to pampering for me. Which means that my nails are a mess (arthritis and tremor make that impossible to do myself), and even if I’m not a hairy woman (I’m wondering if the drugs I got after seizure caused some to drop out or not? Probably not, as still got hair in places), I’m definitely in need of waxing by now. Even more so, if as planned by a wonderful friend, I’m going to do the Clara Johnson look thing (if not in public eye), I need to look decent! So yes, on Tuesday afternoon, the old girl is getting a bit of a makeover. Sadly not a 20 year old, slim, pretty dancer look, but as best as can be achieved, within sane cost. So yes, no massage, no facial unless someone wishes to provide the funds? If you should, then, https://ko-fi.com/merrybrooks is probably the easiest way.

After that, what changes, who knows? I wont hold my breath for the fully interfacing robot suit (ideally now with AI function, to override my busted brain), but it would be nice!

The funny thing is, before I even get to see a Neurologist (unless I get a very large fund donation), there are 2 more bank holidays to get through as a non working worker! Somehow I suspect I may have had my last excitement at looking forward to a bank holiday meaning extra time off work, but who knows?

OK, video time. Some vintage Paul Young for you

In truth, I love this song, which is why I’m offering the additional bonus tonight of the 12″ version. Obviously there is no video to this, so your call on either, both, or none. But you’re missing out if you go with none!

Another nail for my heart

Its been a funny sort of week, in truth, in more ways than one.

Earlier this week, the orange, bewigged Russian one threw enough of a temper tantrum that he got his way on one issue that has annoyed him. Seems the rule to stop Transgender people from serving in the American Military forces has been finally passed after numerous efforts. Even more amusing of course, in the week it was announced that one of the General’s who helped to fight for the independence of his country (assuming it isnt Russia?) was either a woman, or even more horrible for him, intersex.

The more amusing side of that is that at least 2 states (maybe more?) have already told him that they wont be getting rid of any transgender people already serving in their state military command groups, and will still accept applications from anyone desiring to do so. I’m sure if he hasnt already Tweeted (high security method, not) on the matter, he soon will be.

The other LGBT news I’ve heard today comes care of Australia, Sydney, to be exact

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/video/travel/sydney-unveils-permanent-rainbow-crosswalk-as-symbol-of-lgbtq-pride/vi-BBVTVmH?ocid=spartandhp

I must admit, there would have been a few cities that if you’d told me would be candidates to do it, Sydney would have been one of them. Thank you for the gesture. Not that I guess I would ever have seen it, even if my body hadnt totally given up on me, thats far too far away, but at least I know its there, which is something. Somehow I cant see the guy mentioned previously will be rushing to use that crossing somehow. I’d love to, but now especially, I think I might have to pass on that.

Why, you ask? Well, a couple of days ago, I had to post a letter to work, re my health issues, and I thought that as the post box was only about 200 yards away, and no one else was readily available to post it, I’d give it a go, and see how it went. Well, going down the hill was ‘interesting’ but I survived, just. Snag is, I then had to come back up the hill, and that was a whole different game! I did make it, but it hurt! I’ve also noticed that the stairs at home, when I’m carrying anything (especially full cups), are distinctly becoming a challenge, coming up. So yes, the old girl is definitely busted, for sure. I suspect unless something dramatic can be done to me, I wont be walking far in future. 😦

Oh, and talking of busts… As some already know, and others will now know, I look like I’ve got a decent cleavage. No, its not some magical hormone, or the fact I have a friendly fairy godmother who provided me with a decent pair of boobs. Believe me, if the latter was the case, I’d have got her to remove something else at the same time! Many women are unfortunate enough to have mastectomies due to breast cancer, a charity whose cause I used to support when I had any money. For those women, prosthetics are provided that give the image that they still have breasts. I’m not the only Transgender women that uses them, I’m sure, but we arent strictly the main market for them. These silicon breasts are fantastic, give a great look, are designed to be about the right weight, and are great, providing you dont put too much weight on them. I dont, I have a foam pair I use at night (vanity, I know), which can take just about anything. Of course, when I was in hospital, the pair I was using were the silicon ones, and they didnt take kindly to being slept in, especially the one on the side I slept on. So yes, its a bit damaged, and I’ve had to buy a new pair which arrived this week. More expense, ah well… Mind, if anyone knows of a similar vagina I could wear 24/7, without toilet issues, please let me know. Hiding ‘that thing’ would be heaven, and far less painful than surgery!

Right, video time. Bit of a clue in the blog title, how original!

 

Keep trying to do what you’ve been doing

Well, I have to admit that recently I’ve accepted there are more than a few things I used to do with ease, which are either now only be done with difficulty (see Monday’s blog) or not going to happen at all. Yes, I did manage to walk a few hundred yards on Monday, but it hurt. I then did about 4 calls in quick succession on Wednesday, dealing with doctors, and reports afterwards to work with results, and an hour or so after that, my voice was a mess too, but I got by. No, the chances of getting through an 8 hour shift of phone calls, back to back, no way.

But at the same time, I must try not to give up doing everything I used to do, must I? So anyway, events yesterday led to my first non health related trip out since last month, a meal out yesterday evening. Very much looked after, very much with an eye kept on me, but I went. Yes, as you can gather from this, I survived. But yes, I found the walking (again only a few hundred yards) a challenge, and getting the brain to focus on making selections from the menu, well… Lets just say that unless the neurologist (or a handy mad scientist) can revive my brain somewhat, complex holidays on my own just arent going to happen any more! Not saying not going to happen, but someone faces a challenge if it is going to, thats for sure.

Great shame, as it will probably mean I will have to give up on any plans to visit Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, and ‘hunt’ for Clara Johnson, unless I can recover somewhat. Not giving up on something more relaxing with Kate just yet, but active stuff, I dont think so! Well, unless someone wants to swap me out into a fully functioning brain, and body at least, lol. But yes, if anyone has a nice robot body that just needs testing with the aid of a human volunteer…? 😉

The other thing I’m keeping doing, was done today, for an event tomorrow. Yes, its that time of year again, the Grand National. I suspect the last time I didnt bet on the race (maybe?) was 1974. I’m not saying I didnt bet on it then, but I just cant work out how I would have done so. I certainly ‘bet’ (well my Father did, on my behalf) between 1967, and 1969, but then he left home, and I have no idea after that? He did still see us until his death in the mid 70’s, so maybe he did still put bets on for me, but I cant be sure, at nearly 50 years on! After that, I was working, I was putting my ‘pennies’ each way on a horse in the race, and the tradition has continued. Some good years, some bad years, but gambled, all the same, in recent years, my annual (or sometimes twice annual) trip to the bookies to put bets on (up to £1 each way x 3 now) for myself, and Eric. But seriously, getting out to do that at present, no chance.

So today, with both of us made our selections online, and I checked out to see where the best, reliable prices were (there are some online firms I’ve never heard of, or would bet with, in truth) and what amused me was that the nicest place terms, and prices were with the firm that made me redundant 4 years ago, William Hill! So anyway, account opened, bets placed, and now fingers crossed I can take some money off them tomorrow. So yes, that long streak will last 1 more year at least!

So, in some senses at least, I’m keeping on doing what I’ve been doing, even if there are a few cheats involved now. Which leads me to the video. a real Pre-Code treat. Yes, it shows, behaviour, and shape of the lampshade, lol. Probably tame now, but in the more puritan 1930’s…

That was a week that was?

Anyone looking for cheery news, look away now! At least now I know what happened last Tuesday, though fine, I might wish I didnt. Yes, fine, I had a seizure, OK? How do I know this? Well, could be because I had another one on Friday, just maybe? On a Blackpool tram of all places, before I got to wear my ‘Clara Johnson’ dress and all. No, I dont remember a thing, and from what I’ve heard, thats for the better! So yes, the perfect place to spend your birthday, a hospital bed.

The good news, as you might have gathered by now, I live. The bad news, I have a distinct speech issue, which when thats your job, not good. To put it politely, I sound drunk. Considering I havent had alcohol in 18 months, thats not real. But it sounds that way, and when your voice is your job, I wont be working for a while, if not an awful lot longer. Doctor has already signed me off until end of April, and thats only for starters, clearly. Like the hospital staff, when I suggested early medication retirement (I am 61), the Doctor looked at me as if how I could be considering anything else. So yeah, PIP here I come! Oh fine, yes, my co-ordination is dreadful too.

I must say, that apart from one thing, the Blackpool Victoria Hospital was lovely to me, and the others visiting me. That one thing? Well, they stuck numerous canola’s into me, covered them up, then missed one at removal. Yes, its gone now!

So fine, what a week it was, after the week I was hoping for. No, I dont think I’m blaming Clara Johnson’s ghost for events, though I do wonder…? Probably the end for speaking roles, unless things improve dramatically with my voice, but makes me perfect for mannequin roles, or full body suit, non speaking parts, just saying…

Oh, do you want the biggest irony, the seizures have improved the state of my back! No idea why, but its true! But if its one, or the other, then yes, I’ll have the bad back! So yeah, that Clara Johnson moment remains a challenge!

OK, video time. Not quite as old as me, and yes, my dears, this is an old fashioned jukebox, complete with single record… But yes, its definitely been…

Does it matter if its black or white?

Despite what I might have had you thinking, there is actually something else happening on March 15th, other than my dancing girl moment at the Blackpool Film Festival. For far more people in the UK, the more important event that day is Comic Relief. Actually, I’m missing out on something fun related to that at work, as on the Wednesday, it seems its going to be one of those dress up opportunity days,  of the Superhero/heroine kind. Yes, I’ll miss it, as I’m off all week, due to it being the week of my Birthday, Cheltenham Racing Festival, and said Blackpool Film Festival, all of which work as good reasons for me not to be stuck at work that week. As it is, the only day I’ll see much (if any) of the racing is the Tuesday, as Wednesday is Flotation Tank day, Thursday afternoon, I’ll be travelling to Blackpool, and Friday, I’m sure I will be doing something!

Seeing as how I’m such a quiet, shy soul (stop laughing), I did have a couple of colleagues ask me who I would have dressed up as, if I’d been there, and I ended up coming up with a couple of fairly staid options, Supergirl, or Batgirl/woman. Fine, if I could have found a latex Bat…. outfit, it wouldnt necessarily have been that tame, but besides that. I might actually have been tempted to go for a female version of Iron Man, though the mask would make taking calls a bit of a challenge!

(PS If anyone wants to provide me with a Superheroine outfit to wear, and post a picture of me wearing it, to raise money for charity, let me know? Breast cancer charity preferred, but open to all suggestions)

Fine, for my International readers at least, let me explain the process behind Comic Relief. Its a televised charity campaign, designed to raise money for those less fortunate than ourselves in Africa. And in the days prior to Social Media mass advertising, it probably worked just fine. Trouble is, nowadays, as some might know, an awful lot of those so called celebrities (who I’ve never heard of) are more interested in making sure there are numerous pictures of them on Instagram, and other Social Media outlets, so that they can be seen in a positive light. I’m sure some of them actually do focus more on the work that needs to be done, than Social Media, but there are exceptions.

The one that came up earlier this week, was a woman called Stacey Dooley, who apparently won one of those celebrity TV dance shows, who seemed to be more concerned on getting her pictures up on Instagram, than doing any actual good deeds. And yes, according to some, they’re photo-shopped too! Yes, of the kind of picking up a cute African baby, having her picture taken with him, then put him down again! Under any normal circumstances, I would have just ignored her piece of ego boosting, but unfortunately, a black Labour MP couldnt do so. He complained about this piece of white celebrity ego massaging, and in truth, I couldnt argue with him on that! Thing is, it seems Comic Relief offered him the chance to go to Africa, and do a piece, both before, and after this, and he turned them down both times. Which probably shows he was only creating the row to raise publicity too!

So yes, in truth, I end up with no sympathy for either party, and wont be giving to Comic Relief, not that I have any money to do so, anyway. Maybe its a good thing I’m only a modest standard actress, and not a celebrity, lol?

Right, video time. What seemed a very apt Michael Jackson video, just maybe? This is the short version, and its still nearly 6 and a half minutes!