The Sky’s the Limit

I’m not really a ‘sky’s the limit’ kind of girl. A ‘world’s your oyster’ believer in never-ending freedom or pushing yourself to do stuff just because it’s possible, whether its really in your long-term interests or not, whether you even want to do it or not.

Even Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan in Magnum Force tells us that ‘A man’s gotta know his limitations’ and he’s right, we all need to know what we can and cannot do, should and should not do. We should not as a human race have been doing all the stuff to the natural environment that allowed Covid to produce and reproduce and mutate and maim and kill so indiscriminately across the world.

And the people in power in America should have known better than to allow that narcissistic nut-job in the White House to get away with deliberately pushing the boundaries of common sense and civility in order to create a call-to-arms with a hand-picked angry mob whipped into a frenzy by blatant lies and empty promises just because he’s a sore loser.

We watched them all being worked on, worked up, wound up tight en masse like clapping-monkey clockwork henchmen, watched Trump push them all in the direction he wanted them to go, then run away to hide in the safety of his Presidential bunker as he set them loose to run amok in self-righteous indignation and carry out his seditious insurrection on Capitol Hill.

So now it seems the sky’s the limit when it comes to political backtracking, too, the deafening sound of backwards-shuffling feet, denials and distancing and the holier-than-thou re-framing of fundamental facts amongst the Republican rabble-rousers. Even those whose silence condoned such behaviour are just as complicit as those who actively sought to undermine democracy with spurious objections to the electoral college votes based on illegal falsehoods not facts.

OK, so this wasn’t exactly where I intended to go with this post, but it’s where my Stream of Consciousness has taken me today so perhaps this is as good a place as any to stop…

Starsky and Hutch in 2021? Nope…!

Oooh, when I was growing up I just loved watching Starsky and Hutch every week, my sister and I never missed an episode and we never ceased discussing it in great detail with all our friends at school the next day… So when I saw the original pilot episode from 1975 was showing on TV today, I thought – yes, result! Blast from my teenage past to indulge in – woo-hoo!

Except… Nope… Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul looked as sexy as ever, Captain Dobey was shouting just as loudly as I remember, and Huggy Bear was… well… still the same old chilled-out denim-clad Huggy Bear. But seriously guys, how totally dated can a TV show be? It’s a bit like watching the old re-runs of ‘The Professionals’ starring Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw from a few years later – swoon!

Except… Nope… I can’t seem to get beyond the blatant sexism, the out-moded, out-dated smart-ass male-privilege attitudes, and it’s seriously spoiled the storylines for me. For both Starsky and Hutch and The Professionals, sadly neither translate well into the 21st Century. Why did I never notice it at the time? Why did it not stick out like a cartoon sore thumb after being hit with a giant hammer?

I guess because at the time it was all entirely normal for men – and women – to behave that way… Somewhere in the deepest darkest recesses of the farthest corners of my mind I still feel drawn to the magical memory of both shows, in spite of the main protagonists so clearly examplifying such sexist views about their female co-stars.

And somehow that sad realisation makes me feel very, very old… 😦

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: In the Corner

Boxing Day Sales

I should have been out at work from 10am today, facing the flurry that is the Boxing Day Sales in the department store where I work. Not that there’s often much selling going on, more a mass returning all of the unwanted gifts that other people have been busily buying for them all month. But instead of being rushed off my feet at work as expected today I’m sitting here on the sofa alone as new Scottish Government Covid restrictions have closed all non-essential retail businesses from one minute past midnight last night for the next three weeks at least. My husband is still out at work, a key-worker in a supermarket, but I’m kicking my heels at home.

And to be honest this morning all I feel is overwhelmingly relieved that I’m not actually out there today. I’m emotionally exhausted, it’s been an awful month with all of us working loads of extra hours in a business currently in liquidation with no fixed date for closing, made even worse by the last-minute panic of pre-lockdown purchases mixed with the usual vociferus vultures thinking we were shutting up shop for good on Christmas Eve, complaining loudly and none too politely that our pre-Christmas sale prices weren’t reflecting the last-chance-to-buy rock-bottom levels they were looking for.

So I have three weeks of staying at home quietly to look forward to and then… what? Well to be honest we’re not sure. Will the store open again to clear the last of the liquidation stock, or will the administrators give up the ghost and call it quits? Will there be a last minute reprieve in the form of a new buyer, or will the hundreds of redundacies go ahead in the new year as previously planned? The future for us employees doesn’t look good, but it is what it is. We are where we are across the globe, not just in retail but in hospitality, in travel, in countless other business sectors.

It’s wonderful news that we now have a Covid vaccination programme rolling out – well, several viable vaccines in fact – and hopefully internationally we will all soon have the herd immunity protection we need to stop this deadly virus. But logistically it will inevitably take time and effort to innoculate entire populations of nations – long months not short weeks – and in the meantime businesses are going to the wall the world over. People continue to lose their livelihoods, other people continue to lose their lives. We will get there eventually, but not without cost.

So on this uncertain, sale-free, Boxing Day with a difference I’m sending love and peace to everyone across the world from the cosy comfort of my sofa, with the hope for a more positive 2021 for all of humanity ❤

Stream of Consciousness: Box

Mini Freak Out, Maxi Panic

I had a Saturday off work today so decided to go Christmas shopping… completely nuts decision on a busy Saturday two weeks before the big day, but there we go, needs must. I girded my loins, got myself all wrapped up for the cold weather and walked briskly across to town, so I was a bit hot and bothered by the time I even got there. And there were so many other people out and about doing Christmas shopping… God I hate crowds…

Taking a deep breath I went into what I thought might be the busiest shop first to get it out of the way, chose my potential purchases, and queued up in a long line as expected. I reached the cash point and to my absolute horror, took out my wallet and… No payment card! Mini freak out, maxi panic ensued. I checked the internal pocket of my bag but still no card.

And then realisation dawned on me. I remembered nipping into the supermarket on my way home from work last night to pick up some milk and quickly slipping my card into my coat pocket afterwards, but didn’t remember putting it back in my wallet. So I patted my coat pocket – still no card! Different coat… Aaaarrrggghhh!

I apologised profusely to the sales assistant and had no option but to leave everything unpaid for at the cash desk and go straight back home again to pick up my card. It was, indeed, in my other coat pocket as I’d expected – so I had to go right back and start all over again with my shopping… Oh dear! Not exactly my finest hour… 😦

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Mini/ Maxi

Milk, No Sugar

Nine times out of ten, unless I’m in the actual process of meal preparation or putting away newly-purchased food shopping, the last thing I put in my refrigerator will almost always be a large carton of milk, stored in the fridge door, because I love a cup of tea and I take my tea with milk and no sugar.

Even on the rare occasions I have a cup of coffee the same rule applies – milk no sugar, and although I like my coffee strong I like it with loads of milk so I first heat about half a cup of milk in the microwave before adding my coffee. I’m also quite partial to a glass of cold milk from time to time, so one way or another I always make sure I have loads of milk available in the fridge…

And to be absolutely accurate, I’m sitting here typing this with a cup of tea next to me so…

Yep… milk it is!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Ringing the Changes

One of this biggest issues with this damned coronavirus pandemic is the way daily life is necessarily restricted in a never-ending nightmarish rolling-plan kind of way. What we can do, when and how we do it, and who we can it with is all tied up in where we live, and – here in the UK anyway – our everyday lives have inevitably become so much smaller, tighter, more closed in and revolving around home but sadly without having any extended family visiting indoors at all.

Sometimes I feel so enclosed and enveloped within the suffocating folds of this cover-all blanket ban it’s like I can’t breathe, like when the constricted airways of an asthma attack leave me with a tight pain in my chest and seriously struggling to draw breath. And yet it feels like there is limited relief to be found anywhere, that there are only so many ways we can ring the changes and use the few notes we do have to create ourselves a new tune so it’s not just same old, same old, day in, day out.

But then I stop and think – well, with bell-ringing you only have the available bells you have in situ, and yet when rung together with planning and care there are often far more possible sequences and combinations than at first seems? Perhaps this Covid 19 pandemic may turn out to be the same and it’s just a case of finding out how to do many of those things we can do differently enough, find enough permutations to make life feel new and interesting again?

I feel like I definitely need to find a way to get myself out of this rut I’m stuck in, stop looking at what I can’t do any more and focus more on what I can – go deep, not wide. Like how many ways can I photograph the same flower, the same view, the same surroundings? Learn to work more creatively and more productively with those few bells I have – basically find new ap-peal-ing ways to ring the changes, passing the time until this pandemic finally passes and life can open up again 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Ring

Outcome Adjourned

For varying reasons, it seems a decision on the provisional outcome of the US Presidential election will necessarily be adjourned for another few days at least while ballot counting continues carefully in those last few remaining key battleground states where the count margins are narrow and every vote counts.

It does appear, though, that Joe Biden will win the Electoral College vote as well as the popular vote to become the next US President Elect. And thankfully Donald Trump can finally be relegated to a dusty shelf of history as the nepotistic narcissistic nutter who stirred up hatred and division across America for four dark and difficult years. Hopefully at the end of all the counting this time around it will become clear that the democratic process as well as the Democratic candidate won the day and that America can once more speak as ‘We the People’ instead of ‘Me the President’.

Thankfully along with the Presidency, Trump will also lose his proxy power to spout his pathetic propaganda and lies, so that his astonishing abuses of the platform of POTUS to date will now be rendered mute. His blustering bully-boy bark will be reduced to a whimpering whine as the world stops listening to him – stops having to listen to him rant and rave at whatever personal outrage he feels slighted by on any given day.

Keep counting, America, the rest of the world is rooting for you…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Jour

Trick Cyclists and Other Balancing Acts

No idea where I’m going with this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday post with the prompt word of ‘trick’ other than steering well clear of all things Halloween.

I also have no idea why we Brits use the rather derogatory slang term ‘trick cyclist’ to refer to a Psychiatrist, but we do! I could always look it up on the internet but where’s the fun in that? Anyway, suffice to say I’ve seen a couple of Trick Cyclists in my time and both have been perfectly non-tricky. Nice guys (not being sexist here – both Psychiatrists whose care I have been under were actually male) who clearly acted and advised with concern and my best interests at heart. Definitely much appreciated.

Sadly I can’t say the same for all the Psychotherapists I’ve seen though – the last one clearly had a narrow agenda all of her own and on our last meeting where I sat silent for the entire hour with tears running down my face in sheer frustration because everything I had said previously had been twisted to suit her preferred pathway of thought, I decided enough was enough and I wasn’t ever going back. It still smarts when I think of it, years later, to have felt so disempowered and disenfranchised and tied up in tight knots by someone who was supposed to be helping me loosen and unravel my long-term mental health issues.

Trying to stabilise and level out my own psychological problems does sometimes feel like a bit of a balancing act though – here I am right now feeling caught in the spotlight of my very own personal circus ring, the rest of the world looking on as I struggle to stay upright and show that I really can do this life thing, watching me fly my freak flag high and keep my multiple plates spinning while constantly adjusting my balance on my rickety old unicycle. A collective sharp intake of breath from the front row as the world watches me fall, then exhales in relief as I pick myself up, dust myself off and get straight back on again.

So these days I am basically my own trick cyclist, allowing everyone else to be able to mutter gratefully under their breath ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys’ as they leave the tent reassured that thankfully I have finally found the ability to keep my own show on the road and my melancholic monkey-mind under some semblance of control – for now at least… 🙂

Music

I don’t tend to post many music posts, but music is and always has been an important part of my life, a soundtrack to live to, or is it to live through? To live with, for sure.

I was born in the early 60s hearing the Beatles playing on the radio while in my pram, grew up steeped in 70s Glam Rock and disco beats, listened happily to many 80s anthems as a stay-at-home mum when my kids were small, and heard many of the 90s sounds second hand as my kids developed their own musical tastes.

I love listening to classical music, soul music, reggae, ska, disco, pop, rock, hip-hop, lyrical ballads. Jazz is fine in small doses at times, as is the techno-beat of house music and even the occasional country and western track when the mood takes me, but I must admit visits to those particular genre moods are relatively few and far between.

I don’t feel at all qualified to comment on whatever styles of music sit in the current hit charts, because I have absolutely no clue what kind of music is even in fashion just now. I probably gave up following the charts at about the turn of the millenium, but make no apologies for that.

I currently have the radio on in the background while I’m typing this, tuned to the Smooth Radio UK channel, chockablock with relaxing tuneful memories to hum or sing along with. My perfect Saturday night sountrack, chilling on the sofa in my PJs with glass of wine after dinner… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: M