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

Deep Thoughts and a Look Back on 2019

 

“No one is ever promised and easy path through this snake infested swamp…and then it’s suddenly our turn to cross that black water, or become lost in the past, perpetually locked in suspended states of illusion. Just where are you going? What’s the purpose of your journey? Do you know? Or have an idea? sigh ah, and there it is…the never-ending stream of unanswerable, internal, silently screaming questions bombarding our brains, commandeering our thoughts; demanding answers — for which we have none…yet.” {asl 2019}

If I died alone, never meeting the one for me, so be it, that’s what was meant to be. But I found the one for me, my soulmate. She is my partner, and my best friend. The mere thought of not being able to talk to her again, discuss science, argue about politics, talk of the obvious existence of extraterrestrials, the chance to make each other laugh…. these things fill me with a dread and sadness I can’t put into words.

It really all comes down to this though: tell your loved ones you love them. Don’t let things end on bad notes. Don’t go to bed angry. Take the blame during a fight even if you’re right, because life is so much more fleeting than you realize. Do nice things for people, express your appreciation. Be romantic, be kind, be optimistic. Do not allow fear and anger to rob you of your happiness ever. Be bold. Take chances. Love hard. Do not let go easily, be resilient. And always, always say ‘I love you’ upon parting.

2019 was an upside down year; one of those years where you learn the hard way to roll with the punches of life events and try not to let that bad taste in your mouth linger for too long as it will slowly poison you from the inside out. It’s one of the years that presented me with a HUGE learning event and some MUCH needed wisdom and guidance around life and living with purpose – not just sliding by from day to day. While that method seems to somehow make sense at times, it’s not really any way to live every day. We each need purpose and we each have desires. Those must be fulfilled or we end up just empty and floating aimlessly in the sea of darkness, alone, afraid and feeling quite useless. Nothing makes sense. No one makes sense. It leads us often to the quesiton “what is the point?” — never a good question to be asking oneself.

I haven’t been myself for a couple of months now. I was losing ground. Feeling stupid and not taking care of myself as I should have been doing. I had let myself become heavily invested in someone who came into my life 2 years ago; someone I believe is a real soulmatch for me. What I did wrong, in hindsight, is I allowed myself to let down my walls far too soon, and far to low.I lost touch with that one major Butch rule: “Never let your life be control or guided by pussy – anyone’s pussy – ever.” Until the day one of my Butch brothers slapped me on the back hard and said those words right into my face from about 10″ away, adding “Get a grip, man. Get a grip!” He was right on the money too. I had given over too much while not taking what I needed in return. I was over-confident that she loved me as I loved her. I let my guard down because of that and I am paying dearly still. Perhaps for a long, long time to come. Guess that’s to be determined.

I’ve been rolling these thoughts over and over in my head for weeks on end now. Trying to make sense of which way to go now. How to I reclaim my power? How do I find my worth once again? Who the hell AM I now??? I am not even sure of that anymore. This really took a LOT out of me. I never, ever saw it coming. Completely blindsided by someone I trusted more than anyone I had ever trusted in my life before. THAT fucking HURT the hardest.

I know that I have to continue to work through this myself. I know that I can and will do it; I’ll be damned if I let this keep me down or change my positiive attitude. I don’t want to live with doubt and fear. Nor do I ever wish to become so involved or over-confident in someone like that ever again without a very specifically laid out contractual agreement of the rules between us. I didn’t move on doing that with this person, because I was taking it “slow” and now I see the very, very big error in that way!

I also see things like making sure that both people have a really good idea of thier personal desires for the direction of the relationship – before becoming overly invested or even tossing out the “L” word. Relationships are great support for anyone, if they are healthy and equally tended to by both parties. One cannot “give” more than the other in the emotional department especially. Both must be willing to be equally vulnerable and thus trusting.

Don’t you just wish like a motherfucker that we KNEW all of these little tidbits of relationship tips before we stumbled into someone we wanted to love with all we’ve got inside? Wouldn’t that just make love so much easier? Ah, but the unknown of ‘love’ is part of the mysteriousness that makes it so damned attractive and alluring. The discovery process is so intoxicating that in our drunken love state we often lose sight of reality and throw caution to the wolves. It’s almost comical -but really NOT – how foolish we get over lust and love as well as how often we confuse the two states completely.

I can still shut my eyes, lay my head back on the pillow and see every curve, every hair, every mark on her body in my mind. I knew that body very well. And I showered that body and mind with love beyond anything I had given to anyone before. That’s pretty fucking deep to even say, but it’s fucking right as rain. Yes, I have lots of photos I could refer to, but I have boxed them all up and stored them away, out of sight to try to keep the visions of a minimum. It hurts to look at her photo and those eyes…those gorgeous eyes. With my eyes still shut I can inhale and still find her smell lingering in the recessed depths of my brain. I still feel her laying next to me, finger tips tracing across my chest, my jawbone, sweeping into my short hair as she leans in to kiss me passionately. Yes, I have all of those so very real memories driving me insane nightly. I wish so hard to be swallowed up by those thoughts and memories and be forever lost in space with only her as my company; my sustenance, my survival until that final heartbeat goes still and I can forget. That is the only thing that will make me forget. The only thing.

Everyone has their own reality in this life. No two are the same. Most aren’t even similar. Often our immediate life circumstance is the basis for most of our reality based choices and decisions. For example, my life as an older, single Butch with no children or major responsibilities at this point in my life is vastly different from my recent girl’s circumstances with having a special needs child that needs 24/7 care, a husband who is there in the picture daily to support the two, and a professional life she tries to manage around it all, and what I thought was a desire for a lesbian partnership too.

Once, in the not-so-distant past, I thought that these two different realities would mesh together and be very good for all involved. I thought, and was willing to, I could provide much physical and emotional support to her and to him as well with the kiddo. Because I love her so deeply – and grew to adore and love the child as well – I believed that I would be good for them all; be a good fit and be a very loving partner in the sphere of things. I personally still actually still believe this could be true. I had reached a point where I am fully willing to change my physical situation in life to be close to her and continue the relationship into whatever the next phase would be. We were close to making something close to that happen when the world fell apart for us. So close.

It’s no longer of any use to rehash the events that lead to the demise of our relationship. I don’t even care about those things anymore. It’s useless to keep even thinking about them, so I have basically forgotten about 90% of it now. I wish it had never happened, but it did and I didn’t know what to do, how to handle it, or which way to turn to figure it out. I found myself standing very alone on the precipice of darkness, without the anchor which had held me happily steady for almost 2 years. It was the saddest day of my life to date. Hands down, saddest. I felt true loss and had no one who understood or to lean on in that time. That’s when I truly learned how fucking strong I am inside. I weathered the most serious storm of my personal life by myself, unassisted and did it with the most dignity I could muster. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but I never claimed perfection…but I’ve weathered all of it as good as I could.

Our lives happen in chapters. This is close to the end of chapter 5 for me. Generally I’ve experienced the chapters to coincide closely with decades and milstone marks. Childhood, teen years, 20’s (insanity), 30’s settling, 40’s realizing what I was missing something big, and the 50’s trying to find that more stable, decent life I desire, more purpose and a partner I can count on to be at my side. Maybe these chapters are similar for many of us. I know through conversations that I share much with many of my Butch counterparts. And sometimes we even have to refer back to a previous chapter, a specific page perhaps, to help us through the current chapter a bit easier. There’s no set “road-map” of this lifestyle, just a gut feeling and some pretty honestly ethical ways and rules to things. I dislike hard rules, but there are about 5 Butch rules that I find I have to be guided by always or I get off track and all fucked up! Ha!

Insanity is the ritual of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This is the most true of statements ever spoken. Yet, we all do it. We all try to get what we want in the ways that we are comfortable and used to using…even if it doesn’t work this time, maybe it will next time…where that fucked up thinking comes from is beyond my comprehension.

Ok, enough deep thought for today/tonight. It’s been a pretty good last-Saturday in 2019. IT was a super sunny, warm (50 degrees F!), gorgeous day to be alive. I got tons done, preparing myself and my home for 2020’s arrival on Wednesday.

2019 will definitely be a memorable year- if not for the right reasons, then for some of the more bleak or perhaps less attractive ones. Hey, nothing is guaranteed or promised – ever. Not in life, loving or living on this planet in this time dimension. WE ALL struggle to roll out of bed every morning and do it all over again. Some days we literally stop and ask ourselves, “Why?”, and some days we just pretend we are enjoying it as we slurp down coffee and race off to the office or work site for the day. Whatever we have to do to make it work; to keep us going in a somewhat forwardish direction, and to try to live our best lives, as our most authentic selves, we just do it. Over and over. Lather, rinse, repeat. Whether we are happy or not…THAT is literally up to each one of us personally to determine and make it so — or not. Choices.

Peace. ~ MB

My Brain on Over-drive

November 2019

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Fuck. It kind of crept up on me this year as I wasn’t really paying attention. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow, yet it will be somewhat good to spend a bit of time with my biological family. They all mean well and I do love them dearly – most of them. I only hope that the blue / red division won’t come into play. I hope no one is out to trigger anyone else with political bullshit. I hope it’s peaceful, loving and fun. No drama. And I hope that for ALL of YOU out there in the world!

This is so true of my feelings for sure! MB

I woke up this morning feeling a little out of sorts, confused and anxious. I don’t see my doctor until a couple of days before my birthday in January. I think I need a med adjustment, or change, something just isn’t working any longer. I’ve been doing some research and I think that I will wean off of the Wellbutrin and increase the Cymbalta dosage. I did pretty good on the higher dose of that previously, without any other anti-depressant added. I want to go back to a single anti-d med. So, yeah, that’s my plan. I hope my new doctor will hear me out and help me make that change.

I believe that in 2020 the injection for HIV suppression will be available to those of us living with this fucked up virus. I am on my doctor’s primary list to be given this injection as soon as it’s available to us. It’s been super successful in trials and is almost there with final approvals by the powers that be. I’ll be happy not to be taking pills every morning to maintain my zero viral load status!

With only 5 weeks left in 2019 I have begun to put together some plans and ideas for 2020, from books I want to read to places I plan to visit. I’ve just begun the process. I’m starting a vision board and I just started a new adventures notebook to memorialize the year. I don’t like to do much for “long-term” planning, so I keep it simple. I don’t plan out exact dates or exact routes, motels, or make any type of itinerary for an adventure. That’s why it’s an “adventure” and not a planned out visit. My ex-wife used to actually create and print out an itinerary for every trip we took together – and there were many! It drove me crazy, but I smiled and went along with it generally. One trip we took I actually threw the itinerary out the car window in the middle of the mountains in Arizona…she wasn’t pleased, but she already had it memorized anyway. That trip was awesome as fuck and I have tons of great memories from those 10 days.

A few of my ideas/plans thus far are:

  • Four road trips, one during each season of 2020 to be planned around the weather and conditions at the time and in the places I’ll be cruising. Some are going to be Minnesota, Utah, Florida & Texas. Plus a trip across Maine on Old Canada Road, Rte 201.
  • Two long hikes. This I’ve already started gearing up for. I need to be in better physical condition and healthy as I can be when I embark on these adventures. One will be part of the Appalacian Trail, which I have done portions of in the past and loved it. Both are planned to be 3 day adventures.
  • One adventure to Canada. I think I will enter at Niagra Falls (for convenience) and head to Toronto. I have a couple of LGBT friends near Toronto who I would love to see in 2020.
  • Museum of Natural History in NYC, I’ll also go to Ellis Island and visit Ground Zero.

I just had a shitload of work done on my car – not fun – so I know it’s in top shape for long runs. I’ve set up a special account for saving funds for these things, which is going well thus far. The car repairs set it back a bunch, but it had to be done. The car is overall in good shape albeit high mileage at 204K but the mechanic looked it all over thoroughly and he says she’s fine for long distance cruising. Unfortunately, one cannot avoid those kinds of things that seem to happen when you can least afford it – car, furnace or other big expense home stuff. I usually manage somehow, this time was a bitch but I pulled the fucking rabbit out of the hat once again. Thanks to side hustles and Yankee ingenuity.

Nola and Lulu have been great. Lu is silly as usual and going through one of her twice yearly sheds right now. She looks like a pretty ugly long-haired Chihuahua right now. I give her hair and skin supplements and it should grow back in very nicely – it did last time! But in the meantime she’s looking awkward to say it mildly! Nola is just Nola. Stodgy old gal she is. I got this awesome photo of them which I am having framed once the print arrives. Going to do an “assembly” buy at Micheals, it’s way less expensive than just ordering it to be framed. My sister the photographer clued me in on this method. So, I get the frame, matt and photo then take it all to the framing counter and ask for them to assemble it. They do it beautifully I am told, with a nice backing and including hanging hardware and it’s half the price. Here’s the picture…it’s my favorite shot ever taken of them together. Nelson Linscott, very kindly, digitally enhanced it for me.


October 2019

Gummy production has been going spectacular. I couldn’t be happier about that little endeavor of mine. My awesome recipe is all the rave with my customers. They like it way better than last summer’s first round try – which came out awesome and was a great first round learning experience. Someone else actually did the cooking last time though, and this time I did it myself with the new method and recipe. I educated myself in depth about how to make them commercial grade, less sticky, and the right milligram desired. And this batch, instead of translucent, is solid colored and much softer, more flavorful. And they are not sticky. I also learned not to keep them refrigerated, it’s not necessary unless you use real fruit juice, in which case they will mold. Keeping them sealed and in a place that’s just room temperature is fine. This batch here is lime. I am set up to manufacture both orange and cherry flavors this weekend, with another supply of product grown myself.

It’s been a hard fall losing friends unfortunately. On this last Monday my old friend Tractor Bob, who had been sick for years battling cancers, died peacefully at home. I used to call him a “hosta” because nothing seemed to phase him or kill him off – and he went through some pretty traumatic crap during the last years of his life, but he kept on getting back up and fighting. I’m going to miss him, but I am relieved that his pain is gone and he’s at peace.

I also lost another couple of old friends / acquaintances to drug overdoses, which I see as so uselessly tragic. I’m so glad that I got out of that whole scene a few years back now and I have no inclination to return to that crap ever. I’ve made it through some very difficult things without reaching for dope to deal with it, so I ‘m pretty proud of the strength I have in me now. It’s also thanks to some very good friends and my mom’s support and encouragement that I’ve stayed clean, that’s a fact that is not lost on me. I lost my best friend even to that crap. I had to 86 her from my life on July 3rd and while I hope she’s doing okay wherever she is now, I just can’t be around people who use like that anymore. Too bad, 2019 was a year of some pretty painful losses for me, but I survived and I’ve learned. It’s all about the lessons I suppose. (That’s bullshit).

I have to go get myself looking decent now for a pre-game get together tonight. Often a few of us get together the night before Thanksgiving. Although my brain wants to just stay home and write more tonight, I need to go and be social. I’ve been hiding from people far too much lately and I realize it, so I need to fix that right away. At least I’m not reconnecting with toxic people – aka my ex-bestie – which is always a risk when a person in recovery gets lonely. I’m not THAT fucking lonely! hahaha. I get out a lot, just not to hang out with anyone in particular. Generally it’s to the beach or Vaughn Woods to hike with my dogs, or to town to do errands, but that doesn’t count as “socializing” I am told! So, off i go! Hope you all have an enjoyable T-giving eve! Take it easy on the wine and spirits, and have a great time! Hugs to all.

Gobble. ~ MB

We’re ALL Struggling… So Be Kind.

It’s a fact that we are all facing mortality. It starts the very moment you are born..that ONE sure thing, we will all die. No matter how “good” you live, you cannot and will not escape the reaper. The person you are looking at right now, or who you just kissed goodbye before leaving for work, that person is going to die as well. It’s inevitable and part of being ALIVE.

We cannot choose when, where or why we will cease to exist on this plane of time. We cannot take anything we acquired, along the journey through our lives, with us. Someone will be left behind to go through all of your stuff, personal and all, to sort it out and most likely dumpster most of it. This only concerns me when it comes to my journals and my toy drawer, thus I have left special instructions for the disposal or disbursement of these things. The rest I could care less about; it’s just “stuff” and can be trashed, donated or sold, I won’t care – or even know – what happens to the “stuff”. The ONLY thing you get to take with you are your memories. Those die with you.

This came up for me as I am filling out papers for end of life decisions. Some of the things you have to think about when doing this task are things that you never really consider on a day-to-day basis. It’s good to a decent job of being prepared, just in-case you are hit by the proverbial bus today. Until now I have never stopped and taken the hour or two it takes to put my last wishes into some form of organization. Make sure you plan for the care of your children and/or your pets…don’t leave them without a plan for their continued care and nurturing!

It also is a great moment to reflect and count those things, people and other beings that are loved and important to you. Hey, you have got to LIVE while you are still breathing! Wasting your precious time on non-loving, non-helpful, and stupid things shouldears. be stopped. And remember, there is NO tomorrow, only today. Whatever one is waiting for to make a change, take a chance, do a thing, or whatever one waits for to happen to them is purely a waste of your time and energy. Do those things NOW. Waiting just prolongs your achieving acquisition of what you need now. This is my new way of looking at things.

Let go of anything that isn’t exactly what you want and need right now. Stop wasting your time and energy waiting for that “right moment” to magically happen. It’s not going to happen. You only have TODAY. Nothing is promised or guaranteed for tomorrow or any future date, ever.

It took me a few to adjust my brainwaves to things that have whizzed through my own life in the last few years and have brought me right up to this moment in time…this VERY MOMENT. And as the world has gotten so out of sorts, chaotic and unpredictable as of late with everything going on in the world, my individual life and the lives of my loved ones I realized it’s vital to reassess and clean out the compartments’ contents of my life and mind. Our world has changed so drastically in the last 15 years that it’s affected our thinking.

We depend FAR too much on technology and sadly far too little on true, personal human contact. We have lost the ability to communicate without technology. Hell, most people under 40 don’t even know how to live without a cell phone and internet access. Most don’t even own a transistor radio in-case the technology is sabotaged or cut off completely for any period of time. Don’t think it can happen? It happens every day in many other countries and at some point it will happen here in America. Remember, the government owns the internet. They CAN and WILL manipulate citizens with it at some point. Get prepared. Learn how to communicate verbally, and make a fucking plan.

Been cleaning out my house and I dumped out my storage shed and heaved a ton of shit. Drastically reducing the amount of “stuff” I have around me. The feeling is very invigorating. I like it. Less junk to worry about caring for, disposing of, moving or otherwise dealing with by the way of “stuff”. Simplifying makes me much more portable as well, so I believe it will benefit me in the long run in that manner. I don’t plan to stay in this particular place for too many more years, not like I’m moving soon, but I am sure it will be in the cards down the road. I wouldn’t leave New England without a damned good reason anyway!

Organizing my journals and writings is a big undertaking for me. I have a large amount of printed and hand-written personal writings stored in totes in my shed, the closet, and current stuff right here at my fingertips. I’ve been thinking about compiling a book of my adventures and experiences for a long time. I have a friend who has now inspired me to take a harder look at doing this now instead of waiting until I am “ready” – whenever that is supposed to be, no one knows. The thoughts, memories and events memorialized in my writings are good fodder for a book – or a bonfire. One or the other WILL happen in the next 2 weeks – unless the bus comes before I do it!

This last week has been a virtual BITCH in some ways and a relief in others. My tenant moved out – YAY – which makes me extremely happy. He found a place closer to his job. I’m glad he’s gone because, face it, men are pigs in the cleanliness sense if nothing else. Oh, and they smell bad. Just bad. Not appealing at all, even when they don’t have much smell, it’s still not appealing to me, which is most likely because I highly prefer women and 99% of the men I have met in life can easily be replaced by any good woman. I understand they are vital to reproduction or at least right now they are, eventually I am sure the scientific world will figure out how to get around that. Other than that feature I have no need to live with a man in my home. None. So, new policy is female renters only. I know that will have it’s drawbacks, but my immediate, personal world just doesn’t need a man in it.

My new tenant moves in on Friday. I am revamping the room this week. Shampooing the carpet. I want to rip it up and replace it -and I have materials – but I have no help at this time to do it, so it will wait until I can line it up to be done at a more convenient time – or never if the bus comes early! Really isn’t all that important in the scheme of things, or the big picture. She’s an older woman and needs housing for 12-18 months…perfect for me at this time. In 12 months I am sure we will all be in very different places and headspace, so no knowing what will happen. I will just plan for things that make me happy and bring joy and love into my life daily. Plans that I will look forward to; not to wait around for things to change so I can partake of them.

My car…fucking cars…gotta hate em. Last summer I was returning from Logan Airport one night in pitch black and pouring rain. I went to turn into a service station for a beverage and hit a curb – hit it hard. Blew the passenger tire and had to limp home on the spare. Well, come to find out I bent the strut on that side, bent the tie-rod, disconnected the stabilizer arm and bent that…so, yeah, it’s fucked. Needs both struts replaced, new bushings, tie-rods, stabilizer arms, and who knows what once the job is started. So, I’m grounded temporarily while I figure out how to handle it. Either I am going to sell it and buy something else, or I am going to trade it. Either way I am NOT going to invest any more into it. It’s worth about $3500 and it needs a $1400 batch of repairs to remedy the damage done that night. In the meantime I have located a nice little silver Honda CRZ hybrid that should be a nice replacement. More sporty, more economical and they actually do well in the snow due to the battery placement and weight. I did a bunch of research on them already. So, if I can get the price I want to pay I will be driving that in a week or so.

Then my furnace started acting up right after I dropped $502 in fuel oil into the tank. If it’s not one fucking thing, it’s another! Repair guy came out once, thought it was good-to-go, but then it started acting up again a few days ago. This morning, 37 outside, no heat inside. Fuck. Repair guy will be by tomorrow, because I didn’t want to pay an additional $100 Sunday call fee on top of the regular fee, plus parts. I can deal with the temps until tomorrow by using my space heaters, I have 5 of them, 3 large and 2 small. The control switch on the motor needs replacement. I replaced the thermostat yesterday myself thinking that was the issue, then it ran for about an hour and started the shut-down/start-up thing all over again. Last year I replaced the motor and had the blower rehabbed. Once this control is replaced the furnace guts will essentially all be close to new. Should run another 15 years, with a yearly service for upkeep.

I spent a good part of Sunday doing outdoor work around my house and yard. Raking leaves – my 2nd most hated task of home ownership, right behind shoveling snow – and cleaning up debris from last weeks wind storm event. It blew at over 50mph for an entire day…took down my bird feeding station and all. I prepped the dog turn-out area for the winter, staked down the Exofencing and cleaned it all up. My dogs were quite happy playing in the piles of leaves, Nola particularly. Tomorrow they’ll all be bagged and set out for pick up.

I got my firepit out and ready for some November fires. It’s been perfect for fire nights lately. I’ve been going to other’s homes and enjoying their fires and decided to start having a few of my own here. We have bonfires right thru the winter here, it’s really awesome on those cold, clear, calm nights…a nice bonfire under the stars…nothing like it.

Two weeks ago I was sure I was going to have an stressful fall/winter season. Today I feel totally the opposite. I have far fewer worries on my mind replaced by far more new energy to focus on. Somewhere in there I turned a corner, realized I was just allowing myself to absorb too much negativity and it made me miserable and it had to stop. I woke the next morning feeling so much relief. No more waiting, no more wondering, no more bullshit. My mood immediately improved, I woke up smiling and I haven’t had any more trouble sleeping or eating since. I feel like my happy self again, like I felt before the last 2 months happened. Now, new adventures await! And I will insure that the journey will be epic.

There’s a lesson in there I am sure. Still trying to put it into words though. Maybe it’s that I finally realized that I am worth a helluva a lot more than I gave myself credit for…and I know it now, enough to not allow myself to wait on anyone ever again. Either they’re in or they’re out; just that fucking simple! I’m going to focus on happy, not on misery, waiting or placating anyone else by trying to change myself. I am fucking fantastic just as I am – authentically, openly and honestly ME. People can take me as I am or go the fuck away. Misery loves company, I’m sure there’s a group for that on Facebook even, and I am not going to join company with misery!

People are weird. They want you to accept them and all their stuff, yet they don’t always reciprocate that same thing. And having no defensive makes one get defensive. Honesty should beget honesty in a more decent world. So, I’ve learned to believe only half of what someone says and learn more by how they act and react when it counts most. Perhaps I even dodged a bullet. Whatever the fuck it was, it wasn’t good and I didn’t need it to continue. Kind words are so difficult for some to say. Yet they want those words said to them…Yup, in today’s world people are just fucking weird, yet we all love the weirdos!

I have cut my cigg smoking down by over half in the last 2 weeks. It’s been a battle, but I’ve been staying on track regardless. I also reduced the amount of weed I was ingesting as well. I realized I was using it to avoid shit; cover feelings and to try not to feel things. Not good. Thankfully I know myself very, very well and saw my err in judgment with the weed. I make out better by reducing anyways! I will always smoke or do edibles, but I know the right and wrong use and time for it. In the meantime, I made one AWESOME triple batch of edibles. Best batch to date. I used a completely different process all the way from decarbing to the way I made the gummies. They look better, taste better and are nice and soft without being mushy or sticky! Learned some great tricks of the trade from a friend with far more experience and knowledge. If I wasn’t laying in bed typing this I would go take some pics…I’ll do that later and add them here as an update to the post.

I am on the list to get the HIV shot as soon as my doctor has it in stock. That means no more daily meds! An injection once every 6 months will keep everything in check. That makes me exuberantly happy! I changed up 2 other meds, still have to take that med daily but I’m pleased it’s working far better than what I was taking before, and no side-effects like weight gain. After the injections start I will be down to taking one pill a day – plus vitamins and supplements. That will be such a relief as I won’t have to worry about missing any doses. I rarely miss, maybe once a month, but still….misses cause tolerance build up and that is never good.

Today is a big day. My father is undergoing another heart catherization this morning. I’m sure Mom will keep us all updated…it’s fairly routine with him, he’s had several in the past. Hopefully this one will be just as routine and will give him some relief from the chest pains and worry.

Ok, it’s 6am and time to get this party started! The day is going to be nice weather-wise and I have a ton to get done around here. Feels like I always do, but that’s just not really true…I keep up, but it’s a special week. So I am doing extra things and getting my shit all into one fucking sock. hahaha. Holiday fairs start next weekend, need to be ready for those, plus I may go back to HD. I spoke to my old manager and he wants me to come back part time as soon as my transportation crisis is solved. In the meantime I have to keep doing what I’m doing and making ends meet. Going back to HD is kind of appealing, I love the construction atmosphere and the people watching!

Hey, everyone have a GREAT week! Don’t forget to make yourself happy TODAY! Do something kind, be compassionate, be empathetic, be happy as fuck!!!

Peace! ~ MB

Don’t Wait While Life Melts Away

I have insomnia tonight! It always seems like so much to do around here and it’s getting colder by the day. This is the weekend I chose to put everything away, redo some areas, move things around, sort, discard and donate stuff. I was listening to Maine Public Radio (MPR) playing their musical album of the week, it was really good too, and while listening I did some meditation then started doing some research and updating online.

Then I stumbled upon this VERY GOOD video – I even watched it twice, or rather listened mainly. “Change Your Closet, Change Your Life”– Gillian Dunn, TedXWhiteRocky.

I think this one really helped me because I am currently really cleaning my closets out and rearranging storage in my home. Doing this has a cathartic affect on me; change things and purge the junk. I want to get all of these little cumulative tasks and repairs finished before the deep cold weather sets in. Being all alone, it takes a ton of energy and planning, yet I really actually get into it and like the accomplishment feeling when I am finished and can stand back and say, “There. That’s better.”

It also reminds me that waiting for things to happen before you do something, like waiting for a special occasion to wear a certain piece of clothing, you got to think to yourself “What if ‘someday when____ never happens?” Then you’ve lost the joy for nothing while needlessly depriving yourself the pleasure and happiness you should have had while it was there? No, choose your happiness NOW, live NOW, because in that emergency moment in life the important things become very clear in your mind, you won’t remember what you were waiting for.

Yeah, as stuck as I am at this moment with some things in my life, I do know what is important to me and if I were only rich I could do what I really want to do right now, so I am just trying to be patient with life while doing the best things I can do with what I have and keeping myself. I don’t want to let the candle melt…dammit. Life is happening right now, TODAY. Go get it. Wear the stilettos, the good boots, the dress, the new suit, and treat yourself good. Make yourself happy with what makes you happy. Small actions can lead to big things, it’s up to each of us to make it a life we enjoy for ourselves.

I hope you all enjoy this video. I know it’s a little long, but it’s worth it believe me! Hell, I even saved it in my video folders on my channel, so I can remind myself that we can change our lives to be better for us and for the world around us.

I’m off to sleepyville I hope. Damn, I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in I can’t tell you how long. I tend to sleep 2 hour increments and never before 2am lately. It’s actually extra late – or early depending on how you look at it – it’s 3:47am…yeah, time to crash!!

Peace ~ MB

Making it Work…My LDR Experience

I’m heavily involved with a woman in a very long-distance relationship. I am madly in love with my woman and i believe the feeling is mutual for her as well. We met about 18 months ago online and hit it off very quickly. Neither of us were looking for any sort of “relationship” like the one that has taken us both by major surprise! I am super happy being with her; being around her and just having her in my life in whatever ways I can manage to make that happen.

She works especially hard at keeping us in tight contact and in visiting me as much as she possibly can manage. She also has an almost 4 yr old daughter who requires major amounts of her time and energy. It’s been really terrific how she has allowed me to fit into her busy life; welcoming me into her heart and her home.

At the beginning of this month I took a flight down to Texas to spend 5 days with her and the little one, in their space and learning about how their lives go and what they like to do.I have to say that it was the most relaxing and awesome 5 days for me. She treats me so incredibly good. I don’t know what good deed I did that brought this major good karma to me in the form of her and her love for me, but whatever it was I hope I keep doing it! I truly do not want this to ever end. Ever.

I could see myself completely in a full-time daily relationship with this woman very, very easily and I believe I would absolutely love every minute of it – like I love every minute I spend with her. The electricity between us in high-voltage for sure. She is definitely my Kryptonite.

The most difficult thing for me is the distance and the communication at times. I miss the things that can only be had in a closer vicinity relationship, like daily kisses, dinner together and discussing our days, sleeping next to the one I love the most in this world and waking up next to her in the morning. These are the things you give up when you agree to a long-distance relationship. What makes them easier for me is that when we ARE together everything is so very important; every moment, every second counts twice as much. I find that I cannot fill my vision with enough of her and her smile, her eyes and those sexy lips so I am often staring at her alot when we are together. I value our time in the presence of one another more than anything. And it’s very hard when we again have to go our separate ways and back to the lives we live daily without each other’s physical presence and touch.

I have said in the past that I wouldn’t do another LDR, but I was swept off my path by the entry of this incredible woman into my life. We started by just innocently talking online, by email and then by messenger. One thing lead to another and we began Skyping – which is a terrific way to get to know someone from a distance in my opinion. I found myself very drawn to her; moreso every time we spoke and every time I saw her beautiful face on my computer screen or her name come up in my messenger on my phone. I got excited to hear from her, even the smallest things I wanted to know about her and wanted to talk to her about. I love that she is super smart and very dedicated to her daughter, her job and her life in Texas. I love that she has somehow found ways to make time to fit me into that picture as well. She means the whole world to me.

I don’t usually connect with women who contact me online looking to date or hook up. It’s a sketchy thing to me. I don’t trust people and I am a miser with my time and energy. When she contacted me I didn’t realize it would result in major feelngs and changes in my life. I didn’t realize it would lead to a deep and growing love and passion beyond expectations, but it did and I am extremely happy that it has worked out this way.

We’ve been doing this long-distance thing now for about 16 months…We have managed to see one another every 6-8 weeks since the beginning. We did just extended that and went almost 3 months without any face-to-face time and it was EVILLY HARD!!! We decided we didn’t like that at all and are going to try to stick closer to the six to eight week schedule that worked better for us. I just hope we can keep it working on that schedule somehow.

I know I give up a lot by choosing long-distance love. Some days I want someone who is right here with me, who wakes up with me and has morning coffee and sleepy chat. It’s harder just being alone all the time. No one to depend on, no one to share with, no one to notice things and no one to understand the days. I’ve contemplated a more poly arrangement, but I don’t believe a substitute in my bed would really workout very well. Plus, finding a woman who would be amendable to that type of arrangement would be a tad more difficult. No, I know who has my heart and who I want in my bed. Enough said.

We each choose to be exactly where we are at this moment simply by doing the things we have done and continue to do. That is our reality.

World AIDS Day 2018…My Day of Reflection

Yesterday was December 1st, which is designated as “World AIDS Day”. This year was the 30 year marker for observance of this day. HIV and AIDS have been around long before this day was designated to bring the crisis to front-mind awareness.

I was diagnosed in August of 1993. I had been in a “no-risk” space at that point for approximately 3+ years…so, I was infected in the late 80’s. I actually am one of the rare few who know exactly when and where I was exposed to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It was a one-time share of a needle, which was very out of character for me, but it happened due to the situation at that moment. I don’t know if it’s “good” or “bad” that I actually know my infection route. I guess it’s good in the sense that I never wonder “how” I got the virus. Yet, it’s bad in the sense that it makes me “blame” someone else in some ways, when it actually was entirely my choice to share that night and thus my own fault. I have always worked to take responsibility for my own actions and I made a split second choice that night that was the wrong choice and thus changed my life – or at the very least altered the trajectory. We never know what’s going to be handed to us in our lives, we just never know. 

In the 1990’s I lost quite a few friends in the height of the AIDS epidemic. Prior to knowing my own positive status I was working with local organizations to spread prevention information.  In the summer of 1992 there was a March on Washington (I’m sure that many of you remember) and it was one of the very last times that the AIDS Quilt was displayed in it’s entirety on the Mall in Washington DC. I was there that day; I walked the quilt with my best friend, Nancy. I was moved to tears over and over that day. Each of those panel represented someone’s life. Each panel is 3 ‘x 6’ in size, representing the basic size of a coffin. Every panel was handmade by someone who loved that person or even a group of people would together make a memorial panel. There was something cathartic in the whole scene. 

I vividly remember sitting down on one of the benches on the edge of the Mall with Nancy, taking in the enormity of the display. It covered the whole Washington Mall. Quite the feat of volunteerism to get it displayed with huge amounts of care and dignity shown by all of them. The quilt idea was borne of Cleve Jone’s incredible mind. It’s called The Names Project and is still in operation today. The quilt now travels in smaller displays around the country. I’m not sure how big it would be to be once again displayed in it’s entirety. I highly recommend that you visit the Quilt’s page and take some time to look it all over, reflect, learn and NEVER FORGET. 

The display that day brought my mind very close to beginning to think about getting tested myself. Up to that point I had not sought out testing for myself. I naively figured that since I hadn’t been using illicit injection drugs for over 3 yrs. and I hadn’t been sexually promiscuous with anyone who I thought of at that time as a risk, that I couldn’t possibly have gotten infected. That was pretty standard thinking at that time. We have learned so much since! I recall having a physical reaction as I walked through the miles of panels and I shudder to think that now the Quilt has more than doubled in size. It still gets displayed, in partial displays, around the world.

So, that was the beginning of me thinking about getting tested. Finally in July of 93 I got pneumonia and my then therapist urged me to get tested; just so I would at least know if there was any chance I had been exposed during my drugging days. So, in mid-August I visited the Feminine Health Center. I was paired up with a great counselor, Assiah, who interviewed me in-depth about my history and possible risk factors. Then we drew blood and it was sent out to the lab for testing. The whole process I remember cost me $25. But in my mind I was going to come back negative and those who kept urging me to get tested would shut up. The tests at that time took 2 weeks to process and you had to go back in person to receive your results. On Aug. 31, 1993 I went back for my results.  

I was taken into the private discussion room by Assiah. She quickly closed the door, spun around and said “You’re positive.” then burst into tears. I stood there stunned. I didn’t know what the fuck to do at that point. She was obviously upset at having to tell me this news. Come to find out, as she told me later, she had never had to inform a woman of a positive outcome before, only men. And the fact that I was lesbian and was HIV+ was very unique. Lesbians are known to be in the least-risk group for infection and were usually on the front-lines of care and prevention.

I remember sitting down and putting my head in my hands. I was super confused. I felt like I had literally been gut punched and was gasping for air. There was now an expiration date stamped on my forehead. Fuck. I knew this was not going to be a good experience; nope, not good. I asked for a second test and had more blood drawn for it, but I knew the result would still be the same. I now had to figure all of this out. I had to first tell my family, and I knew that would be the hardest thing. And I had to get educated; to learn how I was going to beat this beast within.

I have lots of side stories of telling various people in my life about my infection and how it related – or not – to them and our relationships. My family all gathered at my home at the time, and I told them all together. They, of course, had lots of questions, were very upset and concerned for me, all while bursting with love and support for me. Thank my lucky stars for this, I don’t know what I would have done had my family shunned me, as happens in so many instances. Things would have definitely turned out very differently had that been my case. I am super grateful that it was not, but I feel deeply for those who do encounter that kind of response – especially from family and close friends.

My life changed on that day. It was a definitively distinct change. I could no longer be as casual as I had previously been about love, life and living. I quit drinking immediately. I also discovered on that same day that I am co-infected with hepatitis C, a common hepatitis for IV drug users to contract. I had been an on again off again kind of alcoholic. If I wasn’t shooting hard drugs I was drinking myself into comas. Yes, some serious self-destructive behavior, I know. I figured I wasn’t going to live long at that point. Back then the average time between diagnosis and death was 3-5 years, sometimes a little longer for women. I just concluded that my future was over; I had no future in my mind at that time. But I was determined to educate myself and those around me so I could live as long as possible, as healthy as possible. 

So much has gone on in my life since that hot August day in 1993. Life has a way of changing continuously. We grow. We learn. We lose. We win. And life just continues to go on. I had been handed a massive challenge and there’s nothing that I like more than a good fight! I put my whole being into becoming as educated and informed as humanly possible. I began living a cleaner, healthier life. I learned to love those who loved me with a renewed fierceness and determination. I stopped being a total asshole and adopted a kinder, gentler way of conducting myself. And I fought. 

Today, I am healthy and doing very well. My journey hasn’t been so smooth sometimes; I’ve struggled with addiction all of my adult life. It rears it’s ugly head occasionally and it’s a battle to the death for me. I’ve had many, many good years; fun years and years full of awesome memories and tons of love. I’ve travelled, farmed, built, raised, and let go of things when the time came. I’ve had a couple of spectacular relationships that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I discovered real love and basked in it like a snake in the sun. I’ve lived a pretty decent life; being lucky enough to have access to great medical care and the cutting edge in medication I remain healthy and happy.

So, yesterday is my annual day to reflect on these years of living with HIV and to remember those friends of mine who didn’t have the good outcome that I’ve been gifted. I remember their faces, their voices, the laughter and the crying; every one of them beautiful and a gift to earth in their own ways. May they be dancing wherever they are. 

Peace ~ MB