Sunday and I’m A Bit Off Kilter

Dang I need a haircut BAD! But I can wait!

Sunday rolls around again…they seem out of context these days during our “stay-at-home” lifestyle. I slept late today, got out of bed around 10ish to feed the beasts. They were even groggy and sleepy. I think the slow pace we are stuck in right now is exacting it’s toll on all of us creatures, human and animal. I get up in the mornings now and feel like I don’t have a schedule that makes sense right now – and I don’t. I am going to work on that today in my bullet journal to try to develop a plan for the coming week, our last week of April 2020.

Having given up cable television has meant I have had to put together watchable stuff on my computer and 4K smart TV to keep me happy with watching something when I feel like it. I recently subscribed to Disney+, Curiousity Stream, and CBS All access so between those venues and all of the free stuff by Flex and PeacockTV I have plenty to watch. And my bill is FAR lower now, I just pay for internet and the subsription prices for the various apps – which are all on free trials at the moment. But watching mindless TV and news programs is not the only thing I want to be doing! I love to read and research. I watched a great show on the rise of Vikings across Europe and I watch a lot of animal shows. This morning it was a show on the Galapagos Islands and the pollution arriving there…sad, but we need to be aware so we can continue to figure out how to combat the problem and eventually solve it.

I really commend the broadcasters who have stuck with us through this whole pandemic. They are part of the band of heroes, those continuing to expose themselves more than those of us staying at home, so that less people become infected and end up in the hospital, or worse. All of the media outlets have really pulled together to continue to bring us the news – good and bad – but I do want to say this: vet your news sources. If you question something is true or not go to Snopes.com and do a check on it. I tend to stick with the big ones, CNN, MSNBC, Huffpost, The Guardian and The New York Times for my daily stories and to follow what’s going on with the pandemic. They’re not always exact, but they’re closer to true than some of the far-right conspiracy outlets that are working overtime to disperse fake and worse “news” and the like. I would say the #1 violator of that in the USA is the infamous FOX channels – steer very clear of them!

Railing box #3 and the Grape Hyacinths that I need to find a permanent home for in my perennial gardens.

I got stuff to make some cool face masks this week. Going to spend some time with my Mom who’s been isolating at her home with my Dad for weeks now. The doctor said he believes that it’s safe for me to visit her since I have been very cautiously self-isolating as well. He encouraged it even, saying we all need a little social support now, and if we are cautious and following protocol of the 6′ distancing and wearing masks as necessary we should be ok to see family in SMALL increments and no groups of more than 5-6 people in a space. He did say that outdoor visits were best, maybe having a picnic outside or taking a walk together.

Crafting area and some supplies April 24, 2020
Going to try making some colorful face masks April 24, 2020

So, yes, I will visit with her – out at the picnic table by the pool – and we can make some masks, have a little lunch and catch up a bit. I spoke to her this morning and she seems a bit down. Says she has no energy which indicates to me (knowing my Mom like I do) that she’s teetering on being depressed. My mother has never had depression issues that I am aware of, she’s always been upbeat and enthusiastic about life. So, seeing her get down worries me. She misses me and my siblings and her grandchildren very much. In the course of “normal” life goings-on she would see one of those people every day. Coming from a large, closely connected family this “stay-at-home” self-isolation order we are still under is more difficult in some ways for us. We are just so used to having people around all the time. Thus, it’s fairly important for each of us to make a little extra effort with Mom and Dad to keep them safe, happy and feeling loved during this very trying, unsure time in the world.

I got the pansies and ranocula in my railing plant boxes yesterday. They look pretty nice. I want to insert photos here…but am STILL trying to decipher how to bring them from Google Drive cloud into the WP platform…it’s got to be something I am doing wrong.

Grape hyacinths April 2020

Here’s a photo of Nola giving me a kiss…wanting me to get up and take her for a walk most likely! She and Lulu have just been stellar isolation partners throughout all of this. They keep me sane and give me lots of love and laughs. I don’t know where I’d be right now without them by my side every day. And I know so many of my friends and family members are also very grateful for their pets right now, the soothing love of an animal who depends on you for food, warmth, love and safety is just irreplaceable. On Facebook you see so many awesome pics of everyone’s beloved animals. I am specifically fond of dogs, so the dog pics make me extremely happy when I see them flow thru my timeline.

Getting a Nola smooch….

No really knowing what to write about lately has kept me from publishing some of my daily musings. I have them saved as drafts and I do go back to them and pull out chunks here and there to add to other blog posts. The world is just so jumbled. So chaotic and just a complete mess. There is so much to write about, yet so little that makes good sense. I find subjects fleeting through my thoughts, but nothing really sticking with me to delve into very deep. So, this is what I’m doing – writing just about the current day for now.

Railing boxes #1 and #2 Pansies mostly

It’s April 26, 2020 and the weather here in southern Maine is predicted to turn cooler tonight and get this – SNOW! Of course it will not stick on the ground, it’s been too sunny and warm. The ground is nice and warm and ready for spring, not more winter! I’m ready for more outdoor time, more garden time, to actually get to PLANT my garden for the summer! I’m ready for more picnics and outdoor cooking. Walks in the big open field over on Lewis Road and into the public trails that they have opened to everyone now. The dogs and I all love those areas! So, yeah, I am DONE with winter weather! I am happy every day that I get up and snap the furnace to the “off” position and don’t have to turn it on except at night when the temps are still dipping down into the upper 30’s some nights.

I’m grateful for my good health right now. I am grateful for the overall good health of my family and friends. And I am overly grateful for the love and friendship of my dogs and Frankie the cat. Yes, she’s still here…living large as the cat queen of the household. She teases the dogs and they tease her back, but overall things are quite cozy now. No one is fighting, that’s all I ask – no fighting!

Here’s a shot I just took of me starting a newly inspired Bucket List…I have actually NEVER kept a Bucket List before, so this will be a new experience for me. I have done a lot of things in my life, some I have great photos and stories about and some are just mental memories. I want to make sure I do a few more things before I move on to the next life of adventures. The first item I added just now is “Yellowstone by Camper with my dogs” I think that would be the ultimate in awesome for a trip.

April 26, 2020
At home in Maine

I am making this Bullet Journal a journal of lists. Lists like the Bucket List. That is a “long term” idea list to me. Then there will be “To Do” which is current things that “need” to be done. So there will be both a practicality and a fantasy part of this journal. I like that. Everything should be like that.

I have always loved to travel. I especially love “slow” travel, such as car and train trips. I’m a gawker, a rubba necka, I see a squirrel every 13 seconds and my thought process is abruptly altered…haha…laugh, sometimes it’s not funny, but yeah, sometimes it IS really funny! Hahaha, I can laugh at myself, I’m fucking hysterical sometimes…or I think of some pretty insane kind of funny stuff at least! I manage to find myself laughing at myself 2-3 times a day…and when you’re alone except for dogs and a lazy cat, you know you’re a little off kilter…haha…who cares anymore!?

I have this vision of buying a decent used camper – preferrably one that I can drive instead of tow behind. Taking a year to renovate it and put it into the kind of shape that I need to do a cross-country, meandering kind of trip with my dogs. I’ve been to The Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, drove the Old Rte 66 from Oklahoma to California (while reading “The Grapes of Wrath” outloud with my wife). I’ve been down the bob-sled track in Lake Placid New York at 90mph, and I’ve witnessed some incredible wildlife, such as gray whales coming up to the whale watching boat I was on and proceeding to scrape barnacles off of their backs – using the boat ! That lasted for over an hour before our guide had to have us pull away – reluctantly! I have some incredible photos of that – IF I could locate them now it would be close to a miracle. I may try, since I don’t have a lot of other things to really “do” these days! eh.

So, planning and making the trip out to Yellowstone from southern Maine would be a real dream come true for me, especially if I can make it happen in a camper that I am driving! I’m not interested in the fly out and fly back viewing, plus I could do that realistically anytime, no, doing it by road worthy camper is the ticket for this seasoned Butch! Hell, there may come a time that I choose to LIVE in a trailer like that, parking it in various different states as I see fit to move around. Hey, it COULD happen, especially because I would really LIKE that kind of lifestyle to tell the truth. I think I am nomadic at heart. It’s been hard the last 10 years to stay here where I am, but I made a commitment to myself and to my family to be here with them. Perhaps the future will bring different circumstances at some point that will draw me away geographically. I can never be drawn away emotionally. I do love Maine.

Regal 12 yo Nola
Lu and her chewie
Enjoy the nice weather!!! And better air quality!

I wish you all the very best as the new week begins…yes, tomorrow is Monday – again – and I am into another safe week of stay-at-home activity level. I’ll be doing masks tomorrow, some editing tonight, photo books on Tuesday…and the time flies by….not…

Love and hugs to all of you – we ALL need them badly right now! Hug your dogs and cats and kids extra for me tonight, I need to feel that love!

Regards ~ MB

Four Twenty

HAPPY FOUR TWENTY my tokin peeps! Light up if you got it! Or ingest if you’re into edibles. I did both.

Insanity. Global insanity. Chaos in every country. Disbelief. Distrust. Lies. Truths. Hypothesis. So many, many ideas and opinions. This really has become the weirdest time in modern human history. The last pandemic like this one (not counting HIV/AIDS) in 1918-19 was during a time of no technology, many didn’t even know how to read, no daily reports, slow information dispersal…a VERY different time from 2020 thus a very different world reacting to something no living person has encountered in their lifetime on this planet and only has historical record and research to fall back on for previous responses to pandemics.

I have no fucking idea anymore of how to think or reason with this virus and it’s horrendous effects on all of us. It has changed all of us. Some in minor little ways, some in major ways. Some are finding good in learning about themselves; taking this unexpected time on our hands to do some inner inspection and to have some fun, do crafts, write, hobbies, and perhaps persuing other things you may be interested in that you now have time to look into or bring into your life sphere.

Then there’s that special time with household members you’re with 24/7 right now and how that may be affecting you and your relationships with those people – for the good or no so good, whatever it may be or come to be. I am betting the divorce rate shall spike after this is somewhat over and lawyers are back in business. And of course there will be tons of new babies, corona-kids, born in the next 9 to 11 months. Let’s vote to start all of their names with a “C” in commemoration of this jolly time….eheheh.

I’ve been staying home 99.9% of the time. Only going out to the grocery – which is Walmart lately – and stopping at the pharmacy and the bank’s drive up windows when required. I try to tie all three of those things into ONE single trip out about once a week. I also try to pick a time that is NOT popular with other people, which can be a challenge as everyone is attempting to do that same thing. We’re all a bit scared of this virus, I know that I certainly am.

I’ve had all this great time to focus on improving my house, yard and gardens. It’s just getting warm enough to start planting. I’ve got a ton of seeds left over from previous years, so much of my plantings this year will be started as seedlings. I’ve ordered clones of my special recipe plants which should arrive by mid-may – delivered to my porch. I think I can even order live plants and have them delivered from the nurseries…they MUST be doing some kind of business as most of them offer landscaping services as well. I must check on that!

I’m ordering paint to touch up the porches and possibly paint the front siding. I did look into a good paint for painting vinyl siding and I may attempt it. I also have to deal with painting the oil tank this Spring..fun, fun, fun…not. I don’t mind painting, but it’s not really my favorite thing to do. I’m focusing on exterior from now until late August, then I will start to plan my fall interior renovations, painting etc. I like working on my home, it’s rewarding and gives me a sense of accomplishment in making it look and feel better and more comfortable.

I finally cancelled cable television. I switched over to Xfinity’s new Flex program, which is internet and a giant selection of streaming apps including Hulu, Netflix, YoutubeTV, PlutoTV, PeacockTV, and a raft of others. I get just about every channel I got with the $80 a month Performance cable package! And my bill dropped to about $92. monthly instead of $178. monthly. Big savings. I like it better actually. Been playing around with it for a few days and I get a zillion free movies between this and my Amazon Prime account’s video service.

So, yeah, this “lock down” has given me plenty of time here at home to change a bunch of things, to do some work on myself and my relationships and to learn about myself, especially about my coping skills while facing the challenges of staying at home and taking really good care of my health during this frightening time. I got to say, I haven’t felt this physically healthy for a while and it feels great.

I’ve stayed very socially interactive with friends and family around the country via video chats, messenger, texts and phone calls. And I started adding things to my Pinterest and Instagram accounts again after some encouragement by others. I do enjoy social media. I’ve been doing a LOT more reading – both books and online – and research of Viking and Celtic cultures and history (a favorite of mine). I have discovered a few GREAT podcasts that I really love! I like to do projects in the art area or in my shed while listening to a podcast in the background – or even good old NPR, another favorite of mine.

Over the last week or so I have cut back even further on news consumption, taking in only what I can handle and shutting it off. Trump is one evil son of a bitch and he’s doing some very despicable things to our country right now…and it’s going to get worse I know. I just stay up to date on what I NEED to know and kick the other shit to the curb. I watch Gov. Cuomo’s briefings when I want the real truth of what’s happening. Trump’s words are ALL LIES and misinformation designed to gin up anger, revolt and death in the end. He knows his election chances are shit now so he’s going to implode America on his way out. Sucks. But it is what it is. We might be able to save some of it after he’s gone, but don’t put all your chickens in THAT basket either, as it may NOT happen. The world may be very different by November of this year, VERY different indeed.

I’ve been doing some other writing on various personal topics that I haven’t decided to publish just yet. I’ve received some questions via email that I am composing my opinion answers to and the such. Also doing some more in-depth writing on living life as I have, fast and furious with a screeching halt added here and there to take in the view for a while. I’ve written out a few stories of my more interesting exploits that are both interesting and amusing. So, watch for some of that coming soon.

I have a new website but desperat ely need some help setting things up…I’m looking for someone I can work with remotely if possible. I have some great ideas!

Ok, that’s my update for this 4/20/2020. I’m getting sleepy so I need to get my ass into the sheets and off to dreamland! Good night my sweet readers! Hugs to all!

Be Safe. Be Well. ~ MB

What to DO…?

News stories from around the country glide across our computer screens, scroll down the cell phone screens, some informational, some interesting, some funny memes, lots of sad notices of deaths, and reports of lack of medical equipment, medicine, ventilators, hospital beds and just SPACE for people to lay their weary, coronavirus19 infected bodies down. Then there is the stories of Trump and his inept handling of ALL of this mess. And the morbid stories of how we are going to contend with disposing of the dead bodies of our loved ones with morgues far, far over capacity,, refrigerator trucks lining the lots behind the big hospitals in NYC, a vague proposal to temporarily inter the bodies in a park in NYC until they can be exhumed and properly buried in family plots after this health crisis is over and it’s been determined just HOW to handle the infected corpses. No one is even sure if it’s “safe” to touch them, to bathe them as is usually done before burials, or to even cremate them – for fear of releasing viral particles into the air around us. No one is sure.

No one wants to think about this. No one wants this to be happening at all. Yet, it is happening, sadly and frighteningly for all of us. ALL OF US….because we are all in this together. And we are in this for the long haul. It’s not over until it’s over.

Never have I felt so small and disoriented. I don’t know what to do, any more than ANYONE knows what the fuck to DO! I am not speaking of what to do with my time, or my days of solitude but what to DO about this coronavirus19, how to help, how to stay healthy, how to think, react, just BE with all of this grief, fear and death that is surrounding all of our dreams as of late.

I can find plenty to do as far as keeping myself busy, art stuff, cleaning, fixing stuff, writing and such…it’s the more important “DO” that seems to be nagging at the back of my brain. Like I should be DOING something more to help my fellow Earth inhabitants through or out of this dark time. I’m not a doctor, I have minimal Army first aid training, CPR and setting splints…nothing like knowledge of blood pressure, temperatures, ventilators, etc. – the stuff needed medically in this health crisis. And, unfortunately, due to my being HIV positive it would be extremely dangerous for me to be in any kind of contact with the virus – probably a death sentence. So I have to find another avenue of “DOING” something that will help in some way, shape or form.

When the state “stay home” orders were issued by Gov. Mills I created a Facebook group page for the neighborhood that I am part of so that we had some area-specific information, ideas, thoughts and just a place online that we could connect with our neighbors on if we so desired. My neighborhood is mostly retired couples and individuals. There are a couple of younger families with children, but not more than 4-5 families. The management designated this a “55+” community on July 1, 2019, with anyone younger “grandfathered” in by state law. I kind of like it this way, quieter and the homes are kept very nicely because we retired dinks have lots of time to pretty up the yard and gardens. And if you’re going to have a “planned” neighborhood, with everything laid out a certain way at least it can be well kept and as nice looking as possible.

We actually enjoy and have fun exchanging plant bulbs, helping one another set up bird feeding stations, sharing pictures of wildlife we spot meandering through the park and having summertime barbeques and porch sitting parties. It’s sweet to sit out on the front porch at crepuscule, taking in the sweet evening sea air and just enjoying the end of the day! Yeah, I really like this little spot of mine; my butch cave with sweet gardens of veggies, weed, and flowers as well as a lot of species of wild birds visiting my feeders and living in the nearby forest areas. I even get the occasional visit of the local turkey flock with their offspring as well as hawks, various owls, water birds flying over heading to the nearby water bodies and some 4 leggeds like raccoons, possums, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, and snakes. Keep your eyes peeled and you might even spot a pair of deer near the wood line or a moose – very rarely – if you’re lucky! Yeah, I like it here. Right here – for now.

Well…I started this blog on a much different note and it seems to have turned a corner more toward thinking about the things I love about my isolation station! Nice. I wanted to let go of that bad gut feeling I was having when I started writing and it worked. Writing always helps me in some way to process things; to figure out what is really going on in my head that’s being covered by me being stubborn and trying to ignore pieces of my reality.

Tonight I was feeling inadequate in my personal response to the coronavirus19 pandemic. Feeling like I should be doing MORE somehow, someway. Maybe it’s not doing more; maybe it’s giving more in some ways, writing more and researching/investigating more of what is happening that many people are just too busy dealing with having their kids home, being out of work, worrying about sick family members – maybe I need to be helping them see that we ARE going to come through this period of darkness; together and when the time comes we will all together find our way through the anger, grief, and healing that will follow. We will need each other then more than ever!

That’s it for tonight. I am thinking of everyone. Please hang in there. Stay at home and only go out to the grocery or pharmacy if ABSOLUTELY necessary! The social distancing IS working, we just need to KEEP IT UP! The better we are at it, the shorter this will be!!!

Hugs to all.

~MB