Defying the Odds

Once again I defy the odds.  I was recently tested again for my HIV counts.  And once again I remain in the “undetectable” range…meaning that no HIV antibodies can be found in my body at this time.  I’ve managed to remain undetectable for a few years now, I’m defy the odds at every step.  Also, my T-cell count, the cells that form my immune system, is very strong at 662.  The average woman bodied person has about 500 so I am again an anomaly.  All of this means that my body is living with the virus in harmony for the time being.  I’m healthy and my system is strong.

I go on Friday for a liver biopsy to get a feel for the condition of my liver and such before I start the treatment for HepC which I am co-infected with evidently.  I’ve never had any problems with this, but the new treatment could mean that it can be cured and I wouldn’t have to even worry about that anymore.  The new treatment is relatively easy compared to the old treatment of shots and alot of side effects. This new treatment is pills and has a lot less side effects to worry about.  It’s about a 6 month long treatment, so I’ll be done by fall and hopefully it will work as it should, and I will be around a longer time here!  I’ve been told repeatedly that the HepC will kill me long before my HIV ever would at this point, so I need to pursue this treatment now.  I’ve avoided the alpha interferon treatment previously because it was not very successful and made you really sick with low odds for success.

Last Saturday I did the repair on my truck.  Fixed the heater / air conditioning blower motor.  The resistor was spent, so I had to work under the glove box of the interior to find and replace that.  Thank God for Youtube videos!  I looked it up on Youtube, found a good amount of repair videos on this and watched a few, thus I was able to order the right parts and do this myself (with the help of my buddy Otis) saving myself close to $200 which is what the garage wanted to do this 20 minute repair job.  Literally it took us 20 min to do it !  So now I have all 5 speeds of blower and all is well.

Saturday afternoon I went to my brother’s for a final winter snowmobiling party.  Several friends brought their machines too, so we had 8 snowmobiles and plenty of late season snow to run them on.  It was a lot of fun.  Mostly I stood next to the bonfire and enjoyed good food and some Captain and Cokes, alot of laughter and watching of the kids racing around in the huge field in their glory on those snow machines.  I did take a spin or two myself.  And I tried to get Nola to settle in on the machine with me for a ride.  She made it about 100 yards before freaking out and wanting OFF that machine.  It was rather comical I am sure.  I will include some photos here.

Snowmobiling

003Snowmachine

Advertisements

Password Protection

As some have noticed lately I have been posting password protected blogs.  These are protected simply because I talk about sensitive stuff that pertains to my most personal life and thoughts.  I do not share these passwords with many.  If you have the password it’s because you are in my inner most circle of friends.

We all have to protect ourselves and the people that we love on a daily basis.  Without protection love is vulnerable to the attack from outside sources.  I never use real names or locations in my blogs, I protect the privacy of others quite well.  And I will continue to do so.  There are various people in my life do not wish to be recognized in my blogs, or have friends who read my blogs and form opinions based on one sided information.  This is what I am wishing to avoid.  I don’t wish to hurt anyone or bring them any unnecessary criticism from anywhere; and this includes to myself.

I will continue to blog as normal, just some where I am disclosing my inner most feelings and workings of my mind will be protected.  I apologize in advance if this offends anyone.

Weekend is Here!

Every fiber in my body is yearning for warmer weather and Spring conditions! The weather is starting – I said starting – to break, it’s been above freezing now for several days and we have had rain, so the snow pack is slowly melting away.  This is especially apparent around the edges of yards and lots.  I can now see the whole top of my fire pit, which is raised about 12″ off of the ground, so I guess the snow in that part of my yard is still about a foot thick, but it’s slowly crystalizing and melting away due to solar melt and a tad higher temperatures.  This has been this longest winter, and the slowest coming Spring I’ve ever experienced here in Maine.  Never have I seen snow pack this deep or hard on the ground this late into Spring.  Yeah, we have Spring snows, but never does the snow stick around, as the ground gets too warm on the sunny days and it melts away pretty fast.  Not this year.  The ground is frozen deep.  The ponds and lakes are still full ice and quite safe for the crazy ice fishermen who are still at it this late in the season!

Today I will work on my truck this morning, got to put in a new blower motor resistor so that I have all 5 fan speeds on the blower for heat and air conditioning. Right now I only have speed 4 and 5.  It’s a common GMC problem, and a fairly easy fix.  I’m saving money by doing it myself.  I ordered the part from http://www.partsgeek.com who I found to be the most reasonable and provided very good service.  I’ll be using them again for the rest of the minor parts I need to get the truck into tip top shape for my late Spring trip.

This afternoon I am supposed to attend a snowmobile party at my brother’s house.  It was cancelled from several weeks ago due to rain that weekend.  Today is probably the last chance we’ll have to ride on this snow, because if the temps keep up like they have been it will mostly be gone in another week or so.  I love to ride, I don’t have my own machine, but there are several in the family that we all ride.  The kids will be doing most of the riding I am sure.  We’ll have a bon fire and food and drinks; all hang out and talk and laugh for a few hours and watch the kids screaming around on the snowmobiles.  It’s going to be a pretty good day for it, sunny and 45F I believe.

I will try to make it a day of picture taking so that I can show some of the fun.

I was sick as a dog on Thursday with a bad migraine headache.  Thanks to those who texted me and called me to make sure I was okay, I appreciated it and liked knowing you care. Nola played nurse all day, laying on my shoulder as I lay on the couch feeling like I was going to die.  It’s cute how she thinks she’s making me better by holding me down and loving on me.  She’s so tuned to how I am feeling and if I am upset, crying, or sick she is right there in my face trying to make it all better.

My liver biopsy has been scheduled for next Friday, April 3rd…ugh…and my mother is going to take me and bring me home afterwards.  They are going to sedate me, so I have to have a driver with me when I show up.  I’m anxious to get it done and over with now, and to get started on the HepC treatment.  I pray that it works.  It’s about a 6 month treatment and should have very low side effects once I get through the first week or two of getting used to it.  I will be more fatigued they say, but I can handle that okay.  Just means I will be napping a bit more in the afternoons.

Easter is coming next Sunday….early this year!  I will be having Easter dinner with my family at my sister Deb’s home in New Hampshire.  She’s got a huge place, and it’s great for large gatherings and big dinner celebrations.  I bought a new light purple shirt yesterday to wear, quite Easter-y looking.  I got my hair cut last week, so I’ll just have someone clean up the back for me with my clipper and I should look fine for Easter pictures that we do every year.  This will be the last big holiday that we’ll all gather for until 4th of July, which is like Christmas to us. We really do go all out on the 4th of July with a big party and tons of food.  I call these the big parties because usually all of my siblings and my parents and lots of friends attend them.

I remember Easter’s as a child, when it was required that we got our “Easter dresses” and had to wear them, and hats and little white gloves with patent leather shoes.  Oh how my little tomboy psyche hated that holiday attire.  Somewhere I have a photo of one year in particular when the dresses were particularly foolish and uncomfortable, I’ll see if I can locate that for a future blog.  I can still remember how hard I cried as they dressed me up like a girl for that Easter Sunday….ugh.

I do tend to be more busy and involved in many more outside activities during the warmer weather — like everyone who lives in this evil winter wonderland we have here for 4-5 months of each year.  We get cabin fever and when we can get out and enjoy the warmer weather we do it as much as possible.  I tend to still stay home alot, but I move outside to working in the yard, I’m fanatic about my yard.  I want the greenest, fullest lawn and I want my flower gardens to look great.  After this harsh winter I have a LOT of clean up out there to get done. Tons of raking and cleaning up of branches that came down, plus the heavy snow broke some shrubs near the front porch that will have to be culled out now, and it damaged the hedges, I’ll try to tie those back and support them to see if they can make it.  Yes, lots of yard work to be done.  I can’t wait to get started, maybe another week or two and I can start raking and cleaning up.

That’s all for this morning my WordPress peeps, lurkers and stalkers….I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

~MB

Stigma

This blog is a great explanation of Stigma, not only stigma surrounding mental illnesses, but any kind of Stigma on any variety of issues. I often feel stigmatized for my gender presentation, and my health issues, and sexuality. This is a must read! Rock on!!! ~MB

Tomboy to Butch…My Story

Anyone else relate to being a tomboy?  Being trans and being a tomboy / gender non-conforming child often go hand in hand, but often the two are mutually separate…     a question posed by janitorqueer on their blog.

Growing up I constantly fought with my parents over my clothing choices, they wanted me to dress in girl clothes and I wanted boy clothing. From as early as I can remember, probably about 4-5 yrs old, I would always go for the more boyish looking items in my clothing…the little jeans, the coveralls and t’shirts.  In the summer it was cut off shorts and as boyish a shirt as I could find.  Yes, I was a tomboy for sure.  From the very beginning of my conscious existence I wanted nothing to do with girl things, period.

My parents made me keep long hair until I was about 7.  The summer of that year we moved to Troy New York to an old farm and Mom took us to get hair cuts, I was allowed to cut my hair to a pixie cut….as one can imagine, this did wonders for my ego, as well as my tomboy status.  I was in heaven with that short hair cut.

Was I aware at the time that I was a tomboy?  I’m not sure of that.  I definitely knew that I felt different from the other girls. I didn’t feel like one of them, like a girl at all.  I felt more like a boy, and wanted to be a boy for a long time.  Maybe I never out grew it even.  I loved hanging out with the boys, doing the boy activities like playing Army or cowboys and Indians, apple wars (our farm was a former orchard) and building tree forts.  I could throw a baseball from center field to home plate with no problem, and did I love my sandlot baseball games!!!  I was also leader of the pack so to speak, I would step forward to organize games and activities like a boss.

I think as time went on and I advanced through school grades my tomboy image became more apparent to those around me.  Kids don’t gender each other negatively as much.  But once they begin to form opinions and take on their parents’ prejudices around the age of 10, things change.  It was around then that I really began to notice that my dressing attire was more boyish than the other girls.  I always knew that I was Gay anyway, even way back when I was small my little fantasies were of me and other girls, never of boys.  I would secretly pretend I was going to marry a girl someday.  And my little games of house, where I was always the husband, always included kissing the girl who was my pretend wife.

High school was rough for me.  I was well liked, don’t let me mislead you on that, but I was different.  I was a rough, tough and tumble sort of kid.  I never grew past 5’4″ which I hit my Sophomore year of high school.  I hated girls clothing; loathed it especially bras.  I didn’t like the fact I was developing breasts, and they were a pain in the ass.  My father noticed my dressing habit and insisted that I wear dresses to school 4 days a week (this actually happened in 8th grade), and I could wear pants on Friday if they were girly pants.  I went ballistic as you might imagine.  I even took it so far as to run away from home for 3 days, living in the woods by our information center and having friends bring me food – little bastards also set me up to be captured on the 3rd day!  I wanted to wear jeans, I wanted to dress my own way.  If I had had my choice back then (late 70’s) I would have shopped exclusively in the boys department.

I started to run with a more seedy crowd about then.  I started to smoke cigarettes and pot.  I had dabbled with cigarettes that I used to steal from my parents’ supplies before that, but in high school I started buying my own packs.  I had my own money because I got my first job at 14, my freshmen year, at a small take-out food place and I worked as much as I could. I also started to notice girls, and had several “girl crushes” along the way.

Having my own money source changed things considerably.  It felt good.  My parents were not rich, they were struggling, working class people, trying hard to raise 5 kids and keep the house they owned in one piece.  My Dad was the epitome of manhood.  He worked his ass off at usually 2 jobs, night and day, and was never home.  I was personally petrified of the man.  He had a temper and his lectures were harsh.  Never did he strike us kids, but we were always afraid of his wrath, his restrictions, and his authority.  My mother would say “wait til your father gets home.” And we would literally beg and cry at her not to tell him of our infractions. And my mother was the ultimate working mom, somehow always there when we got home from school days after working all morning.

So, anyway, having my own money around then changed things because I could fund my own growing bad habits, pay for gas for friends cars, and buy some of my own clothes — clothes that I wanted!  It was around this time that I bought my first pair of boots, shit kickers we called them.  They were brown suede hiking boots with red laces.  Thus began my boot fetish.  I was never again without a good pair of boots.  And there were the hip hugger jeans, that my parents hated and I was forbidden to wear to school.  Still I could not wear denium to school, that would last through my senior year.  I was allowed to wear corduroys, which were styled just like Jeans and made by Levi’s even.  I would frequently sneak a pair of jeans to school in my backpack and change before I got to school grounds.

In High School I was in charge of making it to school on my own.  I had 3 choices of getting there.  I could ride the bus with the little kids and get dropped off at the high school, or I could get a ride from my friend Vernon in his cool brown Chevy pick up truck, or I could ride my 10 speed bicycle.  Walking wasn’t an option, as it was several miles to the school and I would never have made it on time.  Although there were many days that I walked home from school after detention period. I usually skipped the bus option, because I could ride with Vern and get stoned on the way in.  The 10 speed was my second choice, and I used to revel in the ride.  It was great first thing in the morning, as the cool sea air made the ride pretty pleasant.  The freedom to be myself was slowly coming to me.

In school I was a troubled kid.  I made B grades though, and some A’s.  I was running with the wild crowd though.  I did try playing sports for a while, but I was a gawky kid.  I didn’t feel like I fit in with the jock crowd at all.  Plus the locker room was a VERY uncomfortable place for me as I was super body conscious.  I gave up sports my sophomore year after the season for softball ended.  The rest of high school I just concentrated on trying to make it through to 18 so I could flee this small town that I lived in.  I tried dating boys, but I hated it because I knew it wasn’t me.  I discovered that the store near the ball field was owned by two “lesbians”….first time I heard that word I knew I was one of them.

I had encouraging teachers at school who knew I was prone to trouble and who seemed to care and tried to keep me busy.  My art teacher encouraged me to love my art work and my English teacher pushed me to write and helped me develop a passion for writing.  My shop teacher loved that I loved wood and metal shop so much that I never skipped his class!  Algebra was an epic fail for me, but consumer math I excelled at and got straight A’s…I could work with accounting but not with X=Y crap.

At this point my typical dressing style was corduroys (per parents) or jeans, a button down shirt and a dark brown corduroy jacket, styled like a jean jacket.  It’s all I could get away with with my parents.  And those glorious hiking boots.  I was fairly happy with this, until the day I got called “lezzie” by one of the guys in my gang.  That day changed things a bit.  He said it because his girlfriend was my best friend and we were both tomboys, hung out together all the time and were inseparable, he got jealous I think, and thus in front of the rest of the gang called us a couple of “Lezzies”…I was mortified and felt so exposed.  I had the typical girl crush on my bestie, but never had I pursued that crush.  That was basically the end of us hanging out together so much.  And the beginning of me realizing that I had to cover my tracks or I would be “found out” that I really was a lesbian.

I graduated from high school at 18 1/2 and was super eager to get out of my parents house.  The drinking age was 18 and on my 18th birthday I had one hell of a party at my house, with my parents permission.  I had taken to hanging out with my buddy Billy, racing around town in his jalopy cars and smoking pot at Dead Duck Inn, which was a park near the water.  I was a hell raiser and bound for trouble.  Billy was safe for me, he liked me I know, but I knew he was too shy to ever try anything and I could be my tomboy self with him.  Still to this day we are friends.  Our parents always thought we would marry, until it became apparent I was lesbian.

After I graduated I went buck wild and moved in with my then boyfriend Christopher.  After a couple of months of drug fueled nights and scary days, and him wanting to have sex and me not wanting to have sex with a guy.  We had a big fight and it turned violent.  I had to flee the house, and I felt that I needed to get out of the small town we lived in quickly.  So I joined the US Army and was a soldier 3 days later.

The Uniforms made me happy, dressed like all the guys.  The boots made me happy, my boot fetish got bigger.  The guns made me happy, and the crawling through the woods and fields, sleeping in foxholes and avoiding sniper fire all made me incredibly happy.  I was a tomboy in my total element, and I loved it.  Those years of sandbox Army were paying off.  I even started playing Army softball, with a bunch of other lesbian identified women.  Some were also tomboys, and some were not.  But most all of them were secretly lesbian, as the Army at that time frowned on women sleeping with women.

There I met my first real lover.  She was a blonde girl from Pennsylvania and was more girly than me, but still not too girly and I liked that.  She complimented my tomboy stature quite well I thought.  She introduced me to sex, gay bars, and Jack Daniels whiskey.  And by this time I had completely discarded any clothing that resembled girly clothing from my wardrobe, except the necessary evil under things.  At that time it wasn’t really known that I could get boxers or boxer briefs and be more comfortable, it just wasn’t done then.  The early 80’s were not fun times for LGBT people, especially those of us in the US military uniform.

Around that time I heard the word “Butch” for the first time….other than as my Dad’s nickname….used to describe the tomboyish women in my Army unit.  And I knew that that word described who I felt that I was…Butch.  I didn’t use the word to identify myself for several more decades, as it was a more derogatory term for quite a long time.  But I always knew it was my true identity.  I didn’t feel female, nor did I feel male. But I was somewhere in that gray area in the middle.  I for years refrained from using it to identify myself.  I was made to feel that my masculine presentation was somehow wrong, even though I was just being me; just being myself.

Years later, decades later actually, I would understand the Butch-Femme dynamic, know the history of my people and be proud to take “Butch” as my gender marker.  Going from easily being called Tomboy to being called Butch was as simple for me as someone going from being called a girl to a woman.   It felt right, it felt strong, and it felt like ME.  I am Butch.