The Good Thing Harvey Washed Away

My Best Laid Plans

There’s not much in the world I can truly say I hate. But I hateHarvey.

We have been sitting here for more hours than I can begin to count being brutally lashed by his seemingly never ending fury. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t scary…terrifying…at times, but we are among the lucky ones. We are safe and dry.


Harvey has taken so much from so many. Homes, lives, hopes, jobs–all washed into the Gulf of Mexico by his relentless anger. As the horrifying images and desperate needs flash across my screen in endless and quick succession, I sit here with tears in my eyes. Where do you begin? I have never felt so helpless. My neighbors are in dire straits and I can’t do anything but pray. It’s a terrible feeling.


Pregnant women and their toddlers stuck on roofs waiting hours upon hours for…

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Harvey’s Devastation of Texas…

Harvey pic

Texas…the news coming out of Texas due to the direct hit by Hurricane Harvey is devastating.

We have a “president” that has not got the slightest clue as to what to do or how to act in any situation like this…He made an “appearance” in Texas, away from the actual disaster area, and he used it to once again continue to bolster his ego.  He spoke about it being “epic” (which it is) and about the affects on real estate and business, how bit his “turn out” was in Texas today and how “expensive” this was going to be…he showed NO empathy toward actual people or the HUMAN suffering that is happening there right now.  I was NOT impressed at all.  He has NO idea how to be empathetic toward human suffering; he himself does NOT know WHAT suffering IS or FEELS LIKE…he’s a rich, codified baby.

Trump wants to continue to worry about his rating and TV photo ops instead of worrying about what the hell he is going to do, and how he is going to react to this very devastating natural disaster.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated a large part of our country.  Tens of millions of people have been directly affected, losing all of their belongings, their livelihoods, and some their very lives.   It is horrible…beyond horrible.  There really are NO WORDS to describe this at all.  No words.

The positive side of this is that it’s other citizens, the people of Texas and beyond, that are heroically carrying out rescue mission after rescue mission.  These incredible individuals are stepping up to what is probably the biggest challenge of their lives.  And they are doing it honorably and without thought for their own personal safety.  People from all over Texas, and around the country, are going to Houston, Rockport and Corpus Cristi with trucks, boats, kayaks, canoes, rubber rafts, 4-wheelers, jet skis and anything they have that will help to rescue people and animals from the horror they are stranded in.  Even the American Cajun Navy has responded in full force.  Some are standing in water neck deep; others trying to live on the roof tops.  And these private citizens are flocking there to rescue them!  It’s EPIC alright, and epic show of human caring and kindness for their neighbors!  THAT is the biggest story of this whole catastrophe.  You can see many videos of these heroic efforts, hear interviews and see the devastation on YouTube and Facebook.

The poor animals that were left behind really tug at my heart.  To see pictures of dogs TIED up, with no way to get themselves to higher ground because they were LEFT tied up!  That should be a criminal offense in my opinion.  There were animals left in cages to drown. Horses left in stalls, with no way out.  And numerous other varieties of pets left in less than opportune conditions for survival.   Luckily, there are many that have gone to rescue these animals, hauling them out by boat and by simply carrying them through the high water.  It’s so sad to see the fear in the innocent animals’ eyes, wondering what is happening and where their owners went to.  I fear that many may never be reunited with their owners – and if owners left them behind to die then maybe they don’t need to be returned to those kinds of people anyway.  I’m sure you can give me excuses for it, but I find it unconscionable to leave a loyal pet behind…I would die with my dog rather than leave her to die alone and scared.  No matter how risky, I would take my dogs with me and chance it.

This Hurricane Harvey is going to push America to her limits.  We have never had a natural disaster here of this size, intensity or magnitude.  It will be a huge undertaking and challenge to handle all of the aftermath; all of the destruction, loss of life and loss of property.  It will take decades to rebuilt the intrastructure and for people to rebuild their homes and lives after the initial storm is over.

It will be many weeks before people get resettled into new living spaces, some temporary, some more long term.  And that is probably an understatement.  People lost EVERYTHING in this hurricane.  The lost homes, personal property and dignity.  They lost friends, relatives, children, grandparents, pets and everything beloved to them.  Businesses cannot function, most were destroyed by wind or water and will not reopen for weeks, months, a year or more — maybe never again.  This means thousands without jobs…maybe millions…the numbers will be staggering and are yet to be discussed here.  It’s a bit strange how no one is discussing numbers in all of this…except Trump exclaiming how “expensive” this is going to be.  He’s only concerned because it might cost HIM some personal money I bet.

Oil refineries are shut down.  No production.  Thus gasoline and heating oil prices are increasing daily here – and around the country.  No one knows how long they will be shuttered, or what it means to our national supply of these vital fuels.  And winter is coming here in New England.  This hurricane will affect ALL of America in some way or another.

Personally I have done several things.  I bought heating oil for my home today.  I saw it increase by 20cents in the last 2 days, so I figured I should fill my home heating fuel tank before it becomes unaffordable to me to do so.  I ended up paying $1.90 per gallon for #2 heating oil.  My tank is nearly full now, I will top it off full on Oct. 1st.

I filled my Envoy with gas today too.  Two days ago I paid $2.11/gal. and today I paid $2.33/gal at the SAME station, Irving.  So, gas and diesel pricing is on the rapid rise as well due to this hurricane.

Have written emails to my representatives, urging them to do whatever they can do to help get federal funding for Texas released as soon as possible.  Don’t play politics and make it contingent on “other” budget line items, just give them the goddamn money they need to rescue, recover, rebuild and deal with the repercussions of this horrific natural disaster.  It’s called Disaster Relief for just that reason – it should be used for those purposes and not held hostage by political in-fighting over budgets and line items.

I have remained actively vocal on Facebook.  Posting updates about the storm, photos, videos and sharing stories about the responders and the victims.  I’ve urged people to love each other more. To unite and help each other get through this.  I’ve raged against Trump and the horrible politicians of this country who are so callous about the hurricane and who are already balking at letting federal funds and other assistance go to these people.  I will continue to do all of this; continue to speak out and be vocal whenever and wherever I am able to do so.

I’ve considered trying to pull together a team to go to help in Texas  But I do not currently have a truck, boat or other equipment that they need so badly.  I would simply be in the way at this point. But in the future there may be a place for me there; something I can go and do to help them out.  Volunteerism is what is going to help these people the most over the long haul – that and federal financial assistance for food and supplies to live.  Donations are badly, badly needed there.  Everything was lost…so they need basically everything!  From toothbrushes to blankets.  Some have no shoes.  Most have just the clothing they are wearing when rescued.  They need dog food, cat food, litter and pet care supplies.  Everything we take for granted and use daily – they lost and do not have!  So, IF you can help; if YOU can do ANYTHING – even the smallest of things, like a $5 donation, please, please do it.  And keep doing it until they are out of the woods.

My heart goes out to Texas and all of her people, to my Texas friends and relatives, I send you all must love and wishes for healing and perseverance.  Stay strong. Texas Strong.

For donations and to offer help here are just a FEW places you can start:

Humane Society of the United States – Hurricane Harvey animal rescue/disaster relief

Save the Children – direct response for children affected by Hurricane Harvey

American Red Cross – Hurricane Harvey direct response

How to donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey

Peace to all.  ~MB

 

Current Reality.

I’m tired.  Tired of fighting all this hate in this country.  The last 7 months, since Trump took office, have really been very difficult.  I’m sure many feel that same weariness that I feel right now.  But I know it is so important to not give up just because we are weary.  I know I have to continue to be strong in facing the evil that is upon us right now.  I only pray that there will come better, quieter and more peaceful days.

What is starting to happen more frequently now is that people are starting to really come to logger heads.  The personal fighting and attacks have begun.  We are beginning to become more and more divided every day.  Just today, in my OWN HOME I had someone say some very pro-Trump, hateful and bigoted things.  Now, you KNOW I wanted to explode and go nuclear on the guy, but instead I got super mad – to the point of tears coming to my eyes – and retreated to my bedroom to try to simmer down.  This person is staying at my house and now I am equally angry about THAT.  I don’t want this kind of  hate and intolerance in my own home; in my personal space or in the place where I am supposed to feel safe.  I can’t have it.  So, I am now faced with having to tell him he needs to move on – out of my space.  This hurts me deeply.  I always considered him a good friend, and I never expected to hear such garbage from him.  He was insinuating that Trump pardoning Arpiao was the right thing, and that Arpiao was only rounding up Latinos because they are “all criminals anyway”…and he continued to say things I can’t repeat here.  It was disgusting.  It was terrifying.  I am a Butch lesbian, who KNOWS what his true feelings and ideas are about ME and my kind!  THAT is terrifying.  And I can’t have that fear lingering over me in my own space; space that is supposed to be safe, nurturing and comfortable for me.  Space where I can hide from the evils of the world.

So tomorrow I have to sit him down and explain to him that I cannot have him here any longer.  This will cause him some problems as he will have to go back to staying at a hotel and on couches.  But I can’t give a soft spot to land to a bigot and racist.  It’s not who I am.  And not what I wish to be associated with in any way, shape or form.  Let him take his sorry ass somewhere else, maybe go be with his own kind.  I don’t know what he will do, I just hope he’s reasonable about leaving quietly, because he has to go away from here; away from my HOME.

THIS is what all of this Trump inspired division is DOING to us here in the USA.  It’s tearing friends apart.  It is tearing families apart.  We do not – or CANNOT – trust each other anymore.  The feeling is very visceral.  It’s frightening to be in any minority group here.

I’m scared.  I don’t know where this is all going, but I want to go back to the Obama years.  I want to go back to when we felt like we were safer and moving in a good direction with the country.  I don’t want to re-enact Nazi Germany’s history here in the United States….but THAT is what is happening.

The way it’s forming up, 1/3 of the people here are willing to kill another 1/3 of the people, and the last 1/3 is willing to stand by silently and watch….

THAT is our currently REALITY.

Peace.  ~MB

 

An Addict in Your In-Box…

candleSo, you see a lot of articles and television stuff about the “opioid crisis” in America lately.  This is a real, serious epidemic here.  Let me rant on a bit here and give you some of the scoop from inside an opioid addict’s life and mind…bear with me, this may be a bit harsh to some, and I also offer up a trigger warning – some of this is very graphic.

Let me dispel some basic myths first.  No one “wants” to be an opioid addict.  It happens for various reasons.  I have seen the gamut of people addicted to heroin and prescription opiates.  From high-school aged kids – both from up-scale homes and street raised – to doctors, lawyers and pharmacists themselves.  I know addicts in every kind of job and walk of life. The addiction doe NOT discriminate at all.  YOU can easily fall victim to this powerful drug epidemic.  Break your leg, they will prescribe you oxycodone, probably 15mg tablets, 4-6 times a day…take those for 4-5 days and POOF you ARE addicted to them and when you stop taking them you WILL experience withdrawals, irritability, nausera, and depression – stay on them long enough and those things will all occur at once, sending you into a desperate need and search for something to stop that pain and agony you are going though.  You either get a new prescription, a refill, or you “borrow” some from your neighbor, sister, brother, other relatives, or kids.  Everyone seems to have them nowadays.

Not only do opioid drugs like oxycodone or heroin, morphince, methadone and Vicodin help to block pain in the body, they also induce a euphoric state; a feeling of well being and they boost your energy.  Doesn’t that sound like something we ALL would like to have?  Wouldn’t you like to simply pop a little blue pill and have your day go 100% better, have lots of energy, have a nice warm feeling in your body and feel at peace?  THAT is what opioids do, they enhance the sense of well-being, feeling good, and energy and those become feelings that you need every day.  I’m sure there is a chemical thing that happens in the brain that causes all of this, I am not a medical professional – I am an addict – and thus I can only give you a very personal view and personal first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to BE an addict; how I got here and how it entwines with my life.

As I was saying, anyone – YOU – can become an addict in a short few days.  Prescription opiates (pain killers) are the gateway to addiction.  It’s a double bladed sword, we need something to relieve pain when necessary.  Suffering with severe physical pain is never a good thing for anyone.  Some pain, such as that associated with cancers eating away at a body, must be combatted with prescription opiate pain killers.  I would never want someone who is going through that kind of intense pain to NOT have what they need just because a doctor is worried about addiction.  Addiction at that point is mute.

When one goes from a prescription pain killer addiction to street drug addiction it is always for one reason – they were cut off; denied further prescription medication.  THIS is the part that the medical community needs to really, seriously deal with .  When you develop this addiction by “accident” because you are put on prescription opiates they need to EDUCATE the patient – YOU – about several things.

  • #1.  The chance is VERY good that you will develop both a physical and mental addiction to the “feel good” pain killers.
  • #2 You cannot just STOP taking them without going through what can be severe withdrawals, like vomiting, the shits, shakes, yawns, sneezes, watery eyes, irritability, depressiona and yes, sometimes even suicidal thoughts.
  • #3 Over time you will require higher and higher doses (usually in milligrams, mgs) to achieve that same pain relieving, feel good feeling.
  • #4 Never mix opiates with benzos…cocktail for death…Google it.  This can also cause some weirdness and has frequently lead to suicide in many patients.  Same goes for mixing these powerful opiate drugs with alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamines.  Always consult your doctor – or google if you are a street user – for information.  Even better, don’t be stupid and mix ANYTHING with your prescription pain killers just to be on the super safe side.
  • #5 When it’s time to stop the pain killer you need to talk to your doctor AT LENGTH about HOW you are going to do that without going off the deep end, or seeking them (or substitute drugs) outside of medical care.  i.e. on the streets.  You should develop a “plan” to taper down your dose slowly over a couple of weeks until you can stop without going into withdrawals, without having the DTs and without having serious “cravings” for the drug.

Addiction is serious.  It’s easy as pie to become an addict too.  As I have explained above it can happen in a snap with the simple injury that requires opioid pain relief.

Not all addicts entered the world of addiction via this prescription route.  Some started directly with street drugs, heroin, fentanyl, dilaudids, morphine, or opium.  They (we) start this way for other reasons.  But generally there IS pain involved – it might just be emotional pain one is trying to mask with the use of the drugs, it might be the remnants of a traumatic incident or situation in their (our) lives.  There are many reasons, each addict of this kind has their own.

My story:  As a kid I started to “dabble” in illegal substance abuse at an early age – 14.  I was emotionally disturbed, hiding my sexuality and identity all the time and under stress from doing that.  Doing recreational drugs with people I saw as “friends” at the time was an escape for me.  It made me feel good about myself and took the “pain” away for a little while.  I messed with a wide range of substances, pot, LSD, mushrooms, PCP, cocaine and prescription (illegally gotten) stuff like Vicodin and Percocet.

To keep it brief here, I stopped for a number of years.  But I was still an addict in my mind.  I still had the cravings, still had the inclination to “slip” although I did not for many years – 18 all told.

Then I fell into the prescription drug rats nest. I had degenerative disc disease in my back, herniated discs in my cervical spine and lower back as well.  I have neuropathy (a pain and tingling feeling in arms and legs) and I was miserable.

A doctor in Boston one day handed me a prescription for Oxycodone, 30mg tables (magic blue pills) and said, I quote, “They make these for a reason, you are the reason…you shouldn ‘t be in pain, these will help.  Let me know when you need more.”  unquote.  On that day I became a prescription opiate addict.  Those little blue pills helped me a LOT.  But not only did they mask all of the pain, they gave me a feeling of elation, lots of energy and took away my depression.  I thought they were gold.  And for the next several years – about 7 in all I guess – I got refill after refill, legally.  AND he added Morphine 30mg, 3x a day tablets (long acting contin) to my regimen.  My pain was under control.  But what I did not realize at the time was that I was becoming a serious prescription drug addict.

In my mind I was a recovered addict.  I quit the “drugs” I had been doing recreationally years prior, so I didn’t have a problem anymore — or at least so I thought.  And I was living a pretty “vanilla” lifestyle with my wife on the farm during those years, so I  definitely wasn’t an “addict” again.    Hell, I had a legal doctor’s prescription for the magic pills.  AND I had NO idea that I was actually part of the beginning of a huge epidemic in this country.  Yes, it was a rather naïve time in my life.

The story is one I know many can relate to.  As time went on I required more and more of the pills, higher doses.  My doctor happily obliged and upped my dosage so I wouldn’t run out of  pills.  Everything was going along swimmingly.  I was working, living and having a good life.

My life changed one day.  My marriage ended.  My friends were gone (with the ex). And I found myself alone.  I struggled a bit.  I ran into “old friends” from my younger days.  Some were not so good of influences on me.  One showed me that the magic pills (oxycodone 30’s) were great to “get high” on.  You could crush them and shoot them intravenously.  Somehow, at the time, my mind thought this was just a novel idea!  And thus began my “abuse” of my prescription drugs.

This lasted to the end of the 7th year on them.  Then, I changed doctors.  The new doctor wrote me for a while…then she got suspicious that I was abusing them and started to cut me back, told me I needed to wean off of them and find new ways to deal with the pain.  I worked on this, I did inter-skeletal injections, in my back, in my neck, and in my shoulders.  I continued to get the oxy’s for quite a while, just fewer of them, and by this time my “friends” were always around begging to buy them off of me, too.

I ended up at he Pine Care clinic.  Another name for legal prescription drug abuse in my opinion now.  They continued with the morphine 30’s and Oxy 15’s (yup down to 15s!) and I did that tight-rope walk for a while.  They would only give a 1 week supply at a time.  My “habit” – the amount I NEEDED to not be sick with withdrawals – was MORE than they were prescribing.  So I began also buying the thru other channels.  You can get anything you want if you know the right people and have the money.  I did that for a while…then the Pain Care clinic cut me off – COLD.  NO taper, NO weaning off, NO help whatsoever.  It was sheer, utter HELL for me.

That is when I took my addiction back to the illegal substance market.  I swapped out the oxycodone and morphine for heroin and fentanyl.

I tell you all of this to give you a personal chronology into the making of an opiate addict.  I just want people to be aware that ANYONE can be an addict.  This shit doesn’t care WHO you are, how much money you make, what kind of high powered job you have, who your parents are, or what your “social standing ” is in the world.  It will sneak up on you and bury your ass.

Today I am in recovery once again.  I no longer use any of the prescription or illegal substances.  No oxys, no herion, no fentanyl – and no other recreational or illegal drugs.   I am in group therapy weekly and on Suboxone strips daily.  Suboxone is a maintenance medicine that blocks the effects of opiate drugs in my system and helps control my cravings / urges.  Its’ working very well for me.  How long I will have to take it I do not know.  Could be 2 years, could be longer.

One day I will be free of all of it.  THAT I know.  In the meantime, I am here, I am fighting the good fight and I am winning.  I made it this far for a reason, as to what that reason is  remains to be seen.

I hope you got something from this.  Even if it was just a little better understanding that addiction is a disease that some of us have to battle for whatever reason.  We’re not “bad” people.  We’re not “criminals” just because we use.  We are your family, your neighbors, your grocer, the guy at the gas station, your lawyer…maybe even you.

Be kind to one another, because you never know what another person is dealing with behind the scenes.

Peace & Love.  ~MainelyButch   aka Ang

 

I Don’t Want to Miss This…

It’s the middle of the night…I reach for my phone…has she messaged me?  Did I miss it?  Damn, I never want to miss her messages, her texts, videos, pictures…I don’t want to miss a thing.

I’ve been sort of walking on clouds…and eggshells simultaneously.  I’m falling very hard for her and I know I can’t hide it.  She’s in my thoughts and in my heart constantly.  I have kept myself very guarded; not letting anyone into my heart, for a very long time.  I’ve been keeping people at arms length for so long that it is like a whole new thing to let her in; to let her past those walls and to reveal my vulnerability to her.

I don’t want to scare her away, and I also don’t want her to get away!  I have to be patient and focused.  I’ve been given another chance at real love – and that doesn’t happen too often, so I don’t want to fuck it up in any way.

She’s different from the other women I have been with…and she deserves to be honored and respected for her uniqueness.  She’s teaching me, and I am teaching her.  This is a new world and a learning curve for both of us.  Our histories are similar, yet very different at the same time.  We’ve both been in places that we didn’t want to be in, yet stayed for all the wrong reasons.  And it’s a tender walk out of that dark forest, a very tender walk.  But putting the past behind us so that we can build on our future is important – and doing it right is as well.  I want her to do things in her own time; at her own pace and for the right reasons.  Just as I have to do, too.

Yeah, so I think I have found the woman who can handle me.  Who wants me no matter the scars and the baggage that I carry and she’s willing to take me as I am, no demands and no requirements in advance.  She gets me.  She really does.  And I love her for that.

I can’t change who I am, and I don’t want to have to ever do that.  This woman isn’t wanting me to change.  She gets that I am Butch and stuck in my ways.  She understand my dominance and my quirks.  She’s my Rock star.

And she is awesome.

 

 

 

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Butch Appreciation Day

From a fellow blogger!  Awesome piece!!!

I hope you have someone in your life who: Likes to run her hands over your slick-as-velvet head after you get your hair cut real short. Calls you “baby.” Tells you she gets turned on when you wear that ball cap backward. You know the one. Likes when your necktie matches her dress. Rubs your […]

via Happy #butchappreciationday — The Flannel Files

Sunday Reflection

As a good friend reminded me – and people on my Facebook page –

The divisiveness, the hate and the rhetoric has been there a long time.  Trump is just the catalyst that brought it into the bright light of day and made it acceptable.          (thanks ButchDK)

Last night I had to remove a nasty comment – from my own brother – on my Facebook page and block him.  While it made me both angry and sad to have to go to that extreme, I am just sick and tired of listening / reading the ignorant remarks of the minority few that still remain tolerant of hate and supportive of Trump.  And I came to the decision after some long thought, that I would not start deleting people from my life who act in this fashion.  Thus, any and all of those individuals continue to promote and invigorate this hateful rhetoric on any social media platform that I am part of and who either comment to me or directly promote this bullshit, will be deleted, erased, removed, unfriended, unfollowed and otherwise prohibited from communicating with me or across my pages.  Period.  End of Story.  I now have a ZERO tolerance policy on this issue.

Now, let’s turn our thoughts toward Spain.  The Barcelona terrorist bombing…I was very, very shaken by this bombing incident.  As many of you known I was very much involved with a young Spanish/American woman who resided in Barcelona a couple of years ago.  When I heard the breaking news of the bombing my heart jumped into my throat.  Was she okay?  Did it happen right near her, where I thought it happened?  I was very concerned and while I no longer had contact with her, I still care very deeply.  You can’t just turn off love…it doesn’t work that way.  So, I swallowed my Butch pride (and that’s a BIG fucking swallow) and emailed her at her work account, asking if she was alright.

Two days went by, no word.  I would tear up; get choked up when I thought about her.  She has this really vulnerability about her and I know that this kind of thing is very frightening to her.  I could only imagine how scared she was.  I kept trying to not think about her or the bombing…but it was all over US television and in my heart.  I understand that I chose to not be part of her life – or have her be part of mine – when things were “over” so to speak, because I just couldn’t do the “friends zone” stuff with her.  I would never have been able to move on and love another.  She had burrowed deeply into my thoughts, broken down my walls, crashed through the barriers and become someone I didn’t wish to let go of ever.  In the end I had to because moving on was what she wanted, and was doing, and I needed to do it also.  I know I’ve never talked about this, because it hurt too much until recently.  While I will always have space in my heart for her, I have moved on now.

She did answer my email.  She’s fine and yes, the bomb went off right in front of a business that she would frequent daily.  She was lucky not to have been there at that time. But she was fine even though it was very scary for her.  I thanked God, then I thanked her for responding and left it at that.  It was extremely hard for me to not want to talk to her further, to ask how she has been and how things were going in her life these days.  But I can’t know, I just can’t.  I need to focus on what I can have in this life; on those great things in store for me, and on the woman who loves me.

Terrorists are active around our world.  The past week of news stories happening around the world proves this.  Here in America we are engaged in internal strife and being divided as a people.  Abroad ISIS and the Jhadists are employing truck bombs and IED’s on civilian populations – such as in Barcelona.  It’s sad.  It’s infuriating.  It’s frustrating.  All of these things affect us all.  That is the goal of these terrorists – whether foreign or homegrown.  They want disruption, fear and chaos.  And sadly they are achieving that goal in many ways right now.  When will it stop?

I’m going to turn off the television today.  I need a day of rest from all of the news coverage coming in from around the world.  I am going to go outside, taking the dogs with me, and work in my garden.  I will paint my porches. And I will focus on what his here in front of me that is peaceful, beautiful and good in my life.  I will plant a perennial flowering plant in memory of Corey today.  And I will try to heal some of my broken parts just a tiny bit.

Peace.  ~MB