Hot, Hot, Hot!

Whoa!  It was some fucking hot here in Maine today!  It got up to about 95 here where I live in little town southern Maine.  And that is not only very hot, but very unusual for this part of the country.  We generally don’t see temperatures in the 90’s until late July, early August, and even then they are short lived.  Good summer temps here are generally in the high 80’s and the humidity can vary depending on rainfall and how close you are to the water.  I get a lot of ocean breeze here where I am, which is kind of nice.  You can always tell when the tide is rolling in because you can smell the salt in the air.

My moods have been fucked up lately. But I am feeling better overall.  I know that the moods are affected by my various medications, and that’s to be somewhat expected, but still it can be aggravating to me.  I am going to try a new product, called Kratom.  I’ll be doing a bunch of research on it this weekend and hopefully finding some quality product to try out.  It came as a recommendation from a good friends in California who uses it for pain relief and a mood booster — which is close to exactly what I would want to use it for.  It’s an herbal productr from Asia, and isn’t FDA approved, but it’s legal and it has been shown to have significant benefits used in the correct manner.  I’d love to hear from any one who has any personal experience with Kratom as to how you like it and what kinds of benefits it has brought to you.

The house looks pretty good.  I am getting ready to paint the font and back porches, spruce them up a bit.  They could use a good coat of new paint.  I did get the skirting done on both porches, so that animals can’t easily get under there and bother me.  We have some resident ground hogs that live under our various neighborhood sheds.  Hopefully they will stay out of the veggie garden!

I been catching up on my blog reading, so if you are seeing comments from me suddenly on your blogs it’s because I am playing catch up.  This last month I have been really not reading or writing much.  I just needed time to THINK without processing every little bit through my writing.  I have been going to group still, but I think I am about done with that for now.  I’m not feeling like I am getting much out of it personally.  And it’s expensive, as it’s an out of pocket cost for me every week.  I’ve done well, things are still right on track and I feel that I can drop the group therapy thing with no problem.  I will continue with one-on-one therapy for a bit longer, until I feel that I am solid in my recovery.  Plus, hey personal therapy doesn’t hurt one bit.  It’s actually been good for me, helps me process some of the fucked up shit I have had to deal with lately.  And that is good.

Linda and I are going to take the dogs to the doggie event at the Raitt Farm this weekend.  They are having a big event to promote adoption and support for the local shelters.  Ought to be fun and interesting.  Food, games, dog stuff, dog fun events, etc.  I’m looking forward to Saturday for this reason!

I’ve been working a little more than usual lately.  It’s really gotten wicked busy at my place of employment.  Like today, we sold TONS of water and ice, seemed that everyone who came in was stocking up on hydration and ice.  We have many customers who are local landscapers and construction workers, so they need to stay hydrated as they are working ou in the heat and sun.  I still enjoy the job, enjoy the people and seeing all the locals on a regular basis.  It’s nice when people come in and know my name, greet me with enthusiasm and make small talk about townie stuff.  Yeah, I don’t foresee leaving there anytime soon.  It’s really a perfect little part time job for me.  Keeps me with a weekly schedule, holds me responsible to others and gives me a little sense of purpose and security.  The money isn’t great, but it’s enough to make a difference in my budget…I would not stay if it weren’t.  I also really like the people that I work with, and that always makes a difference to me.

On the political front…I have been keeping up per my usual habits.  I keep a very close eye on the imbicile in the White House, aka the UGLY ASS ORANGE ONE who is our “fake POTUS”.  I have had to temper my reactions a bit.  I was allowing myself to be negatively affected by the news, and that’s not good. It’s important to have good information and a measured response.  I can’t do anything about the situation on my own, thus I cannot let it eat at me like I was previously allowing.  Staying informed, watching and contacting my representatives every chance I get is how I am staying involved.  I think you will soon see another big march on the White House, especially with things getting a super hot as they are there.  Just in the last 10 days alone things have begun to spiral out of control in the White House.  Trump is feeling the pressure and doesn’t like it one bit.  While he likes attention like no one I have ever previously seen, he is not as fond of “negative attention” – even though it still serves it’s purpose in getting him to the front and center of everyone’s minds.  He would rather be adored than abhorred, but he’ll take whatever he can get at this point, I believe.  It’s AMAZING how he can lie daily to us, and yet there is still a loyal following that actually believe what this asshole is dishing out to them.  They are like hogs slathering at the feed though, sucking up his vile words like they are candy.  Yep, he is quite the con artist for sure. I am just really saddened that so many people have been  bamboozled by his insanity and daily lies.

Ah, it’s 4:21 am and the birds are starting to sing outside.  I have all of the windows and doors open, am sitting her in just my boxer briefs enjoying the coolness of the air upon my skin.  Yep, semi-naked blogging, hahahaha.  I love this time of morning, the peace and quiet, save for the sounds of nature waking up to this new day.  I feel like I can think so much more clearly and without noise pollution and obstruction from outside sources at this time of morning.

I am working at 6am, until probably about 1pm today.  Depending on how busy it gets there, I will stay as long as I am needed.  It’s going to be a bit more normal temperature wise, in the high 70’s, today.  Plus it’s air conditioned at work, so it’s not so bad hanging out there and working instead of being at home fighting the heat at high-noon!  Today is Friday, payday and errand day!  Linda and I will get together after we are done with our work/jobs.  We will go to town (Portsmouth) and take care of our weekly Friday errand lists.  Generally that entails a stop at the grocery store, smoke shop, gas station, Walmart and wherever else we need to go.  It’s become a ritual with us on Fridays now.  We team up in one vehicle as to save gas and wear and tear on our trucks.  We alternate vehicles each week, one week using mine and the next using hers.  I gassed up yesterday evening, so today I am sure we’ll use Linda’s truck so we can gas that one up and do our stuff.

I spent last evening cleaning up my house really good, getting organized for the weekend and so I won’t have any of that stuff to do today!  I like this feeling of accomplishment that comes with having a clean, organized and well maintained household.  I’m so excited for a good weekend, which I totally plan on having, that I even got up earlier than usual this morning.  I was up by about 2:45am, and raring to go!  I went to bed pretty early, so I got plenty of sleep I am sure.

Ok, Happy Friday!  I do sincerely hope that each of your days are good ones!  Everyone have a great weekend, and I may even write more tomorrow, depending upon time and how I am feeling.  Thanks for reading!  Thanks for following!  I sincerely appreciate you, my dear readers!    Peace!  ~MB

 

The Gender Revolution?

It used to be so much more simple!  It used to be that you were either gay or straight, period.  Or at least that is how it was in my world growing up in the 60’s/70’s and partying my ass off in the gay bars in the 80’s…it used to be easier I believe.  I’m not knocking anyone’s gender or orientation choice here, just saying that it’s gotten VERY confusing for me.  I was just reading this article on npr.org titled “A New Generation Overthrows Gender” by Jon Brooks.  It was posted on Facebook, thus I clicked the link and knew I was in a world of word trouble immediately. 

First word I came across that is fairly new to me is “agender” – which according to the article means neither ale nor female.  The particular person in the article used the pronoun “they” instead of he or she.  Ok, so I am really, really trying to be okay with this.  I am really trying not to be internally phobic, or form an immediate opinion – because I know I don’t like it when people do that to me.  BUT I just don’t get it. 

Second word I came across related to this is “Transgender”.  Thank God.  A word that I know and can understand to some degree.  Transgender meaning someone who has changed from one gender to the opposite gender.  Transitioned.  More on this later. 

Third hurdle here “gender-fluid”…which means (according to kid in the article) that you feel like a guy or girl at different times.  I can somewhat relate to this.  There are definitely times for me that I get this twinge of feeling like a girl, but normally I just feel like a guy – although I know I’m a girl.  Confused yet? 

Fourth stumper “non-binary gender” meaning not female and not male according to the binary gender scale.  I’ll see if I can locate a picture of that old scale before I publish this.  But it’s like if you give Female a 1 and Male a 10, and you rate where in the scale you may fall or feel that you fall. 

Near the end of the article they bring up “gender non-conforming” – which I can definitely fully relate to.  I am one who does not conform to the gender norms of female.

And of course we have the weird word “cisgender” meaning you identify as you were sexed at birth – either male or female.   

Then it dives into Gender Vs. Sexual orientation Vs. biology….yes, it gets very in-depth for a minute here:

“Gender identity is different from gender expression, being different from biology” says Adam Chang, a consultant with Gender Spectrum, a provider or gender identity resources and services in Berkeley, CA.  “Identity is what you know in your heart and mind, and expression is external – hair, makeup, roles you take on in society.

“Biology of course, means physical attributes that have always been used as a proxy for gender,” Chang says.  “And all of those are different from sexual orientation.”

((HOLY SHIT BATMAN!))

Chang goes on to put it this way:  “Sexuality is in and of itself not enough information to reveal a person’s gender identity.”

I am 55 years old.  I am Butch.  I have said before that Butch is my identity.  Lesbian is my sexuality. Female is my gender.  Even THAT feels confusing at times.  I’m SURE it is confusing to those who don’t know me, or anyone like me.  Simply put, I’m a Butch Lesbian.  Lesbians are women (females) who prefer relationships with other women (females).  Or so it is in my world today.  There are so many new words that I can’t possibly keep up anymore.  Especially living in rural America where most of my contact with the rest of the LGBT world is via the internet.  Where we have no real “formed community” to fall back on or to learn alongside. 

I have seen a LOT lately about our youth and transitioning genders.  It worries me a little because the human brain is not fully developed until around the age of 25.  This is part of why we make so many stupid choices and dumb decisions when we are in our teens.  I’m afraid that if kids (under 21) are looking at things like transitioning physically with surgery and drugs that they will be doing things that are not reversible in their young futures.  AND I personally just don’t think they are old enough to be doing things like surgery or hormones. 

THAT is my personal opinion on it.  I understand that we are seeing a sort of “gender revolution” happening, that kids have access to all sorts of information that we did not have when I was growing up.  I never even knew the word “transgender” existed or that people could even change genders if they wanted to.  Sure, I was a tomboy, and there were times I am sure that I wished I was a boy, but I am happy with being a woman today and who know what I would have done had I known or had the means as a kid to change my gender.  It would have been a tough one for me I bet.  So, in many ways I am happy to have grown up when I did before all of this revolution and changing stuff came to the surface. 

I have young female friends who are considering transition.  One, in particular that I am thinking about.  I have been trying to be a good Butch role model and influence, answering questions and being a bouncing board for her venting.  But she is edging closer and closer to transitioning.  She’s now 17, I’m just not convinced that she should make that kind of a life altering decision before she’s 25.  Now, saying that I don’t see any harm in her presenting as she wishes.  I am just against early surgery or hormones. 

I know some will disagree with me.  It’s the elephant in the room sometimes even.  I am not anti-trans, and I have many trans friends who I love dearly for exactly who they are.  I respect their choices and decisions.  But most of them that I know made those decisions in adulthood, not in a pre-pubescent fog of “who am I?” or on a whim to fit in with the “in” crowd, or do the new fun thing. 

My fear is that the kid does this, transitions, and then at 25 the kid looks at every adult in her life and gets very angry at them for not stopping things until she was really old enough to make that kind of life-altering decision.  Know what I mean?  Adults are supposed to protect kids from themselves; from making irreversible mistakes, and what if transitioning turned out to be just that mistake that the kid makes and regrets at maturity?  I would hate to be in those shoes. 

Kids are maturing way faster than ever in todays world.  Information travels at lightening speed through the internet and across the world wide web.  We know things that we never knew, and probably never would have known, had it not been for the interenet – some good and some bad.  I think it’s great to explore sexuality and gender and to discuss our views based on the information at hand.  I just hope these kids today are doing their research and not just following a fad that could leave indelible marks.

The rest of the article goes on to talk about suicide rates (40% of trans-identified people attempt suicide), sexuality, and society.  It seems that while many more people are adopting identities of various names across the gender spectrum, that fewer are actually physically transitioning now.  Perhaps that is because we are making it okay to be who you are without having to completely change your body.  All in all it’s a very good article that everyone should take 20 minutes to read and gain some knowledge from.  I do think it’s very cool that kids are encouraged to live as their authentic selves, to express themselves and to be who they ARE in the world.   

So, check out the article and let me know what YOU think.  Peace.  ~MB

This is a highly controversial topic and I respect that everyone has their own opinions and views.  Please be respectful of everyone reading if you comment, which I invite you to do, below. 

A Glimpse into My Life

I know I’ve been writing about a lot of different things lately, like my political rants and things like that, so I thought I would write you all a personal note tonight, to say #1, I am very very appreciative for all of your presence here on my blog.  Thank you for your readership, comments, conversations and support.  It means a lot to me, I mean it.

On more personal notes, I’ve been doing quite well lately.  I’m strong in my recovery and have been attending Groups: Recover Together meetings every Wednesday.  It’s group therapy for opioid addicts, primarily heroin and oxycodone.  We meet weekly, voluntarily are tested for substances abuse, see the doctor once a month and pick up our Suboxone prescriptions.  The Suboxone is a life saver.  I haven’t felt this good about my recovery ever.  The suboxone kills the cravings for the drugs.  Flat out.  It’s a miracle drug in my opinion.  I had previously tried detoxing and maintaining with methadone, but I found that it made me high just like the heroin did and I didn’t want the “high” feeling.  With the suboxone you don’t get that, you just don’t have the craving for the opioid at all.  Don’t know why, but it works the balls!  I highly recommend it as part of your recovery program if you are an addict.

Also, the group therapy piece is important too.  It gives me a place where I can bring up subjects and talk about things that are challenging during this process, with other people who are in similar situations with their addictions; a place where I am not ashamed and can actually be proud of my accomplishments and have someone understand that pride.

Around home things are going really well.  I did run out of heating fuel this weekend, which was unfortunate.  I didn’t want to pay for an emergency weekend delivery so I borrowed two 5 gallon diesel fuel containers from my brother and hauled 20 gallons of diesel over (2 trips to the station) and put it in to burn until I can get 100 gallons of heating oil.  The hardest part was getting the furnace running again.  I had never had to do that before, so I watched a YouTube video on it, tried to bleed the line and get it running myself…no luck.  Several tries later, I conceded my defeat and called my heater technician.  He came by and was here all of 12 minutes, got it going and walked me through the entire procedure so that I can do it myself next time.  I just have to get over to Home Depot and pick up a jumper wire, which will help me to get it going in the future if this ever happens again.  I’m going to be a bit more vigilant now and not let it run out!  I did calculate and figured out that I am burning approximately 50 gallons of fuel mix per month, in the dead of winter, to heat this place.  That’s not bad!  And knowing this will give me a better idea of how to budget for next winter’s oil deliveries.  Live & Learn.

I have been uploading new videos to my YouTube channel.  It’s been a struggle to get back into the swing of doing videos.  Plus, of course, I have changed a little bit in the last couple of years, and the world has changed too.  I’ve gotten older, perhaps a bit wiser, and definitively more comfortable with myself.  It’s fun to go back sometimes and watch the really old videos of my younger, cockier self.  I feel like I am much more conscientious of what I am saying in my videos now.  I am more aware of my own internalized phobias and prejudices to begin with, and I fight to change those.  I never realized that one could have those types of things.  I like to think of myself as open minded and educated, but I had to admit that I, like most every person, also have my baggage and am not perfect in my thought processes.  Like today for instance, I was reading about the Russian people revolting against Putin and the powers that be in Russia where they suffer under his rule.  It occurred to me that while I hate Putin and Russian politics, I am not a hater of the Russian people, and I hope they over throw that demon.  Formerly, I would say I hated Russians…but it’s not exactly that way, it’s more a hating of the authoritarian rule of Russia and a healthy fear of it as well.  Am I making sense?

The first day of Spring was last week, but it still is very cold and wintery here in southern Maine.  I am really looking forward to some warmer weather, sunshine and the greening up of the landscape.  Right now everything is brown and dead looking, with smatterings of snowbanks that haven’t yet melted.  It will be good to see green grass and buds on the trees soon.  I always fight my depression more in the winter too.  Although this winter seemed to be a bit better on that front.  I had my best friend Linda around a lot and she helped me snap out of my moods quite often.  She wouldn’t LET me get sullen and depressed; she would refocus me on doing things to keep myself busy and not give me time to get bored, which often brings on the depression for me.  I really thank my lucky stars that she is there for me.  I’ve even come to depend upon her in many ways, which takes a large amount of trust for me to do.  She’s shown me real friendship, and for that I am grateful.

The dogs, Nola and Lulu, are doing great.  Of course they have been cooped up a lot with the inclement weather of winter too.  I try to get them out of the house any chance I get, taking them with me in the truck whenever possible.  They love to ride in the truck and are just as happy to wait for me in the truck when I get out to go into any place we stop at.  Thankfully they are good dogs, don’t chew or destroy stuff and can be trusted to wait patiently while I get things done.  As the days get warmer we will do more outings like going to the local beaches and parks for walks and outside time.  They also have a nice pen outside of my house that they can safely be outside in during good weather, and to do their business every couple of hours.  That pen is a lifesaver.  I built it right out my back door, so all I have to do is open the door and they can scoot out into their yard, which is like 20′ x 40′ in size.

So, there you have it.  A basic update about me.  No politics.  No deep questions.  Just a little window into my more personal side.  I’m healthy, happy and doing well.  And I hope all of you are too!  Peace!  ~MB

 

Identity Complexity

“How do we bridge who we become with who we were?”

“Remember who you wanted to be”  quoted from a bumper sticker I saw yesterday

“Language sets expectations”

I seem to be running into all of these one-liners that are basically alluding to identity and I find this very interesting.

I have also had some conversation surrounding identity and how we embody it, about the multiple pieces of a person and how they make up the whole.

Also, in writing about intersectionality it spurred me to think about all of the things that make up me; all of those pieces, and how they all fit together with each other.  It’s hard to figure out which piece goes in what order when you start listing all of those aspects of yourself out.  Like, what comes first, what is your first identity?  Of course we all know that it’s your sex.  When you are born they automatically declare “it’s a Girl!” or “it’s a Boy!” and God forbid they can’t figure THAT out, then all hell breaks loose I would imagine.

So if our first identity is our sex, whether we are male or female, then our second identity would be what color we are – am I right?  Those will be the first things noticed about you when you are first seen, what sex and what color.  So, I started life as a white girl.  Oh but wait, wee what I did there…I listed white first.  So is my color or my sex predominant?

I read a lot about “white privilege”, so I think that your color is the predominant first identity.  Even in common conversation we tend to go to color first, like “the black kitten” not “the kitten black”  Am I making sense?  I am thinking this through as I write…so bear with me here.

Identity, as we know, changes over the course of life.  That’s just how it works.  There are some things that don’t change, like your color/race.  But we do go from being “girl” to being a “woman” at a certain age, and we develop into people with various other identities to tack onto the ones we start with.  Once you decide your sexual preference, there’s that.  So, now I am a white woman lesbian.  Jesus, this can be super complicated.

At one time in my life I was a soldier.  And thus that was part of my identity.  Now I am a former soldier, or a veteran.  At one time I identified as a Republican (go figure, it’s true though) but now I identify as independent in political thinking, leaning toward Democrat. I now identify as a Butch lesbian, but remember there is no singular experience of an identity.  So my Butch will be different from your Butch, maybe subtly or maybe starkly, but it will definitely be different.  People are all different, no two are ever exactly alike.

There are identities in class and socio-economic status too.  I’ve always identified as middle class, grew up that way and have maintained that middle class socio-economic status – although some days I feel poor as fuck, I know I do have privilege as middle-class.

This all brings me back to line one of this blog: How do we bridge who we become with who we were?  We all build history in our lives.  Years ago I was a hard-core drug addict.  Today, while I still fight the demons of addiction, I am not what I was once upon a time by any means.  I have evolved, grown, learned and improved in that area of my life and identity.  I think back to when I identified as a more conservative Republican and what that was all about.  I was in the military, perhaps I was sort of brain washed by the military machine.  Today I am much more concerned with social justice and equality than I was back then.

So, there are all of these pieces of ourselves that come together neatly – or so we hope – to make up who we become; who we are today.  Who knows what new pieces will be added to make up who we will be tomorrow, or next week.  Good thing is that as human beings, with very complex brains, we do have the ability to make concerted efforts and to make choices, thus we do have influence on what happens with our decisions.

These are all the pieces of my identity that intersect to make me ME:  A white Butch lesbian woman, independent, Methodist, working-class, HIV+, recovering addict, American, introvert, avg. intelligence, physically disabled, outspoken, employed, mobile, compassionate, activist…hell, the list can go on I suppose.

Like I said, I’ve been thinking about all of this because of the word intersectionality.  So, I’ve been thinking about the way the world sees me.  Not how you or my family sees me but how I am seen statistically.  (But then it is interesting to wonder about how my closer contacts identify me, too.)

Then I think about how the word is used when speaking about oppression, domination and discrimination.  Of course, I am already considered a 2nd class citizen because of the mere fact that I am female.  Men want and do dominate our world unfortunately.  Women will always fight male domination and oppression, I do not foresee a time when that will not be a fact in my lifetime.

Just this last week it was a full panel of MEN that were gathered and deciding on women’s health issues during the Trumpcare debacle.  Not one woman on that panel or in that room!  THAT, my friends, is fucking oppression and male domination at it’s finest – or worst I should say.  Why is it that men think they can or should ever be deciding on women’s health/body issues?  Where do they get the idea that it is THEIR job or duty to tell women what to do with their own bodies, or what is/isn’t going to be covered by insurance.  Insurance covers Viagra, so equally it should cover contraceptives.  Fair is fair in my book.  But not in the “book of men” I suppose.  No man should ever be making a woman’s decision for her. Ever.  That panel should have been ALL WOMEN.

I will leave you with  a quick question, which of your identities expose you to the most oppression, domination or discrimination?  Drop me a quick comment below and let’s talk a little about this.  I’m very interested to know what you think.

Peace!  ~MB

 

 

 

 

 

Living in Maine…the Quirks

north-church-12-16Today was a true test of my patience.  When I woke up it was only  3 degrees outside, so it was really bone chilling cold.  I went to get water for the coffee maker and encountered the fact that the pipes were dangerously cold…as I couldn’t get water, meaning they had an ice block already!  Luckily by working the water for a few minutes I got it flowing again and all was fine.

I went to work and everything was pretty good.  We did our Friday order at the store and I worked until 11am (I left early today, I usually work a couple of hours longer).  I got off work and got everything together to go register my vehicle.  I’ve been driving for a few days now on an expired registration. So, off to the motor vehicle place I went.  I had to go to the main office because our town hall is closed on Fridays.  I made the long drive up to the main office, which took me about 45 minutes.

I got to the office and found out that I could not register without going to the town hall first to pay the excise taxes.  Bummer!  I drove all that way, and now had to drive all the way back home – without having accomplished my mission.  I did take the time to update my drivers license, which took all of 5 minutes, while I was there.  I needed to update the address and have a new license photo taken.  So at least I got that done and off the list.  But still I am driving on expired plates until Monday when the town hall opens.

When I got home it was a mere 50 degrees in my house.  It seems the furnace wasn’t working.  Fuck.  Just what I needed, a 3rd obstacle in my day.  I had to search out and call the furnace repair guys and get them out here to solve the problem.  The furnace guys arrived and dismantled the unit, to find that I needed a new ignitor and new nozzles.  I had used regular oil in the tank, not blend as recommended, and the oil had slushed up in the filter.  It’s so fucking cold that even oil freezes!  The repair guys had to run for a part, but they did return and got it fixed and running once again.  I cranked it up to a whopping 72 degrees and let her rip.  Man, was it nice to come back from Walmart to a very cozy, warm house!

I got home after my trip to Walmart at around 7:00pm and I was some damned tired.   My eyes were closing as I was driving home – not a good thing!  I had just been at it all day and was beat to shit.  Once I settled in and got everything put away I had something to eat and then laid in the living room on the couch. I fell asleep very fast, and slept very hard.  At about 12:30am I fell OFF of the couch onto the floor in my sleep.  It was comical and luckily I didn’t hit my head on the heavy glass coffee table in front of the couch on my way down.  It startled me awake, that’s for sure!  I  blame Nola.  She sleeps along side of me and steals my space. She kind of “expands” during her sleep, spreading herself out in all directions.  So she had me on the very edge of the couch, thus my easy tumble off of it.

It was just one of “those” days.  Nothing could go right.  I was not letting any of it trouble  me too much, there was nothing I could do except just deal with each issue as it arose.  I kept my cool and managed to make it through the day without blowing a gasket.  Amazing because just a short few months ago I would have been losing it.

It was just a day of some weird luck, on the very coldest day of the year.  I’ve seen it cold here, but rarely does it get this cold ever.  And it’s supposed to start warming up today, then we are going to get a fresh new 6″ coat of snow and it’s going to be up in the mid-40’s tomorrow (Sunday), which will cause some icing and melting.   I need to focus on snow control today, making sure that I am clearing my driveway periodically so that I am not having to shovel or blow the snow all at once.  It’s easier if you go out and clear it up every couple of inches or so.  Once it gets deep and heavy it’s a bitch to clean up!

These are all great examples of life in Maine…we deal with Artic freezes, frozen pipes, furnace issues, snow control and town-halls that are closed on Fridays. I’m not complaining though, I know these things about living here and I accept them as part of the overall package.  Everywhere you can live has it’s quirks.  Plus, I do love living here, despite any of the little “hardships”.  It’s a great place to live and I enjoy it for the most part.

Hope you are staying warm wherever you are on this big blue marble.  What’s it like weather wise where you live right now?  What are some of the quirks you deal with living where you live?

Peace!   ~MB

fort-foster-sea-smoke

This picture was taken by Steve Mutch from Fort Foster in Kittery Point on Dec. 16, 2017. It’s a beautiful example of “sea smoke” on the water.  The structure is the old Coast Guard Station – which is currently being saved by the historical society and rebuilt. 

The top photo was taken by Philip Case Cohen and is of the old North Church in downtown Portsmouth, NH – just over the border, this is the closest city to me.  I love walking in downtown on a snowy day, it’s just beautiful and really puts me in the Christmas spirit.

Undetectable=Untransmittable

Yes, I said it.  Undetectable equals untransmittable.  This is a silent secret evidently in the HIV world.  I have known this for a long time, but the stigma around having HIV has kept me quiet about it too.  I’ve been reading a lot on the topic and I think that if people knew this that there would be a little less stigma and it could also lead to more people being tested, more medication adherence, and much more.

What it basically means is that someone who is undetectable (has no HIV present in their blood when tested) for at least 6 months cannot infect their sexual partners.

I am tested every 3 months.  They do two basic big tests.  One is my “viral load” test, which measures the amount of HIV in my blood stream.  The second is my CD4 cell count, which is also known as the “T-cell” count.  This is a measure of how strong my immune system is.  The higher the number the better.

I have been consistently testing in the zero range on my viral load tests now for over 3 years.  And my T-Cell count is always above 600.  (The average woman without HIV is around 500).

So, basically I am not someone who you can get HIV from in a sexual situation.  This is a huge relief to me personally, as that is always a worry with me.

The hardest thing for me about living with HIV is dealing with having to tell a potential partner that I have this condition.  I am very out with my status.  I have  been since the beginning (1992 for me) of living with this virus.  I found out in 1992, but I had had no high risk behavior for 3 years prior to my being tested, so most likely I contracted the virus in 1988-89 when engaging in IV drug use.  I believe I know when it happened specifically because I was always a very careful user, and didn’t make it a habit of sharing needles.

Telling a person who you may become sexually involved with at some point isn’t easy.  There is so much stigma surrounding the disease.  But I have found in my own experience that the more educated a person is in general the more accepting they are – and this is something that many have grown up with and know a good bit about now.  I am always open to questions, and I stay well-informed so that I have accurate and current information for anyone who asks.

Undetectable = Untransmittable

“People living with HIV on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and virally suppressed, are not capable of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner.  With successful ART, that individual is no longer infectious.”

Dr.Carl Dieffenbach, National Institute of Health, 8/26/16

 

I couldn’t imagine dating in today’s world without knowing the status of my partner before we ever had sex.  I urge everyone to be tested.  It’s just normal protocol nowadays and something everyone should do. You can even do home testing now.  It’s become quick, easy and stays confidential.

Would you date someone with HIV, knowing this information above?  It’s a difficult question for many, because we remember when people were dying of AIDS because of this virus.  I remember vividly thinking I was going to be one of them a long time ago.  But now with today’s treatments and good living I am looking at living to a ripe old age and leading a normal life. Thank God.

Sunday Snipets

I am so fucking psyched for the Christmas holiday season this year!  Finally a year where I feel so damned good and things are really looking positive in my life.  I’ve got the world by the proverbial balls right now.  My family is great, the dogs are doing well, my house is in order and I have a new woman in my life. What more can a Butch ask for ?  Sure, I still have my share of hard stuff to deal with, bills and the such, but overall life is sailing along swimmingly!!!

I ordered Ivan Coyote’s new book, A Tomboy Survival Guide, and the Barnes and Noble bookstore emailed and said it’s ready for pick up!  I cannot wait to get it and begin reading the latest works of Ivan. I have all of Ivan’s other books, as a matter of fact I just loaned one to my best friend here.  I’ll have to ask her if she’s reading it yet.

I am looking for more good lesbian books to read and review here and on my YouTube channel.  If you have a recommendation or if you are a writer and want me to read and review your book, please contact me at mainelybutch@yahoo.com  Direct email is the best way to reach me.  I tried to email someone who wanted me to read and review a book and I evidently have the wrong email because when I sent it to the email she indicated in her comment it bounced back as undeliverable.  I WISH that WordPress would add an email account to our pages, that way a reader would not even have to leave the page to email a writer directly.  I do know if I would upgrade to a full website for my blog, which is hosted by WordPress too, that I would have that in the webpage package….so perhaps I will soon do that.  I need to register my web name and invest a few dollars into it I guess.  Perhaps I will seriously consider doing this, it only makes sense.

On the note of doing reviews, I am particularly fond of books about the Butch-femme dichotomy and lifestyle.  Since I am Butch and I tend to date femmes this only makes sense.  But I am also interested in books dealing with sexual identity, Butch and Trans issues and stories.  I blur the gender lines so much that I am often asked if I identify as Trans.  I do identify as Trans-masculine, but not as Trans-gender.  I’ve struggled with my identity for most of my life, and there was a time when I may have questioned my gender, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I am fine being female bodied, as long as I can do it in a masculine way!  I’m definitely the definition of Butch, by stereotype, and that just fits me perfectly.

As far as me writing a book, as I have been told I need to do by so many people, that’s a thought that is definitely in my head. I would love to write a book of short stories of my life experiences and adventures.  I just need to get lined up with a good editor who can push me in the right direction.  I have the stories, some even already on paper or in the computer, but I don’t know how to write a book, or how to put one together for publication.  All things that a good editor would know and would be able to guide me to do.  I suppose I should start looking around and querying as to who I should contact and with which publishing company I should be trying to work with to do a book.  Hmm….2017 is going to be a very big year I think!

Alrighty then, I am off to work on another blog.  What have you read that you think I would like to read?  I’m seriously looking for suggestions!!!  Peace!  ~MB