Harvey’s Devastation of Texas…

Harvey pic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Red Cross – Hurricane Harvey direct response

How to donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey

Peace to all.  ~MB

 

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Just in One Single Day…

It has been a long, strange day in American politics.  There were a few – a FEW – major fuck ups that happened today.  Most of which just show how fucking stupid some politicians can BE when they open their mouths.

Sean Spicer….oh, Sean!  yes, he’s done it again.  He cannot get Bashar Al Assad’s name right on ANY given day, and today was no different, but today he tried to compare Assad to Hitler.  Saying that Assad was WORSE than Hitler.  It turned into a huge deal.  He seemed to be saying that Hitler didn’t gas his own people….like DUDE, did you NOT take world history???  Hitler gassed upward of 11 million people in his gas chambers — which, GET THIS — Spicer called “Holocaust Centers” today.  Once again, this guy should NOT be talking outloud, let along trying to be the spokesperson for the White House of this country.  He tried to walk back his words, repeatedly.  Then afterwards he issued no fewer than 3 written “clarification” statements all within 19 minutes…he kept changing the words, he kept using the WRONG words.  Yes, Sean, talking is hard.  Very hard.  He really needs to resign this job, and we need someone who doesn’t make us look like fucking idiots on the world stage.  Sean Spicer can’t talk his way out of a paper bag.  It’s been an issue since the beginning with him, but today just took the proverbial CAKE.

For more on this please watch Rachel Maddow’s presentation here.  She explains it perfectly.  I am sure you’ll be just as embarrassed by his ineptitude.  Also, this is a good clip on what a moron Spicer was today.

The second biggest story here in America in the last couple of days has been United Airlines and their decision to remove a passenger from a flight so that one of their crews would have room to fly.  Perhaps you haven’t seen the video footage…it’s appalling, let me warn you.  These 3 police officers, that’s what they called them, literally drag this poor Asian man off the flight, as he freaks out.  The poor guy didn’t understand what the hell was going on, you can tell.  He’s a 69 yr old doctor, of Asian descent and he’s been singled out for removal from this flight – supposedly by some sort of selection based upon connecting flights and arrival times.  Bullshit.  United did NOT handle this very professionally, and they are paying the price  – losing $250M the next day in the stock market value.  PLUS now everyone is saying here that they will NOT fly United again.  I know that I won’t after seeing this.  United removes passenger.  Scroll down for actual video footage of removal of this man.

Our “president” Donald J. Trump has been in office not even 100 days yet…and yet he has spent 17 days golfing.  Golfing.  This is the man who claimed he would have “no time” to golf because he would be too busy staying in the White House doing America’s business.  What a bullshit lair he has turned out to be on just this ONE thing.  Check this out

Those are just a FEW of the things that happened politically today here in the USA.  It’s fucking scary how much happens in just one day lately.  It’s like we are on this out of control slide into total chaos here.

Other  things of significance to note…

  • Jeff Sessons spoke about the “Trump era” of immigration from the Mexican border.
  • Trump tweeted about taking on North Korea with or without Chinese assistance.His Tweet:  “North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
  • Trump poked again at China…His Tweet “I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!”
  • The US has sent war ships to the Korean peninsula, which is VERY SCARY .  That story is here:  US Dispatches War Ships
  • And, sadly, J. Geils was found dead in his Groton, MA home earlier today.  RIP.  That story is here.  J. Geils Band

Yes, we are certainly headed for something here, I’m not sure if it’s war or just more testosterone fueled posturing.  Trump got a “taste” of it with his attack on the Syrian airport, and now he’s vying for more.  I’m afraid of what this man will start, and afraid of what our enemies may do if he does start something.  It’s becoming very scary indeed.

And THIS my friends is why I don’t always sleep well at night!

Peace.  ~MB

A Taste of Summer

Ahhhh…the weather has been superb the last couple of days, hitting 75 here today! And it’s supposed to approach 80 degrees tomorrow!  I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but I really do think that winter is behind us now.  (If it snows next week I will cry!) I even went out and bought some seeds and gladiola bulbs for planting.

Yes, I’m psyched that summer is coming!  I’m looking forward to so many things, gardening, poolside bbq’s and hanging by the bonfire on Saturday nights.  I’m looking forward to taking the dogs to the beach to run, to walking in the rails looking for birds, and to fishing from the canoe as I float around the lake.  But most of all I am just plain looking forward to sunshine and summer time happiness!

Everything has been going really well lately, I’m quite pleased with life at the moment.  I’ve been super relaxed all weekend, catching up on some much needed sleep and just doing my things as I felt like doing them.  Usually on weekends I will push myself to do a  bunch of work around here, but this last weekend I took the weekend OFF.  I did play around on the computer some, worked on my newsletter and online stuff a bit.  I find that stuff to be very relaxing, so I didn’t count it as work.  Yes, I deserved a complete weekend of ME time and I made it happen.

I have reset my privacy settings on a couple of my online accounts, and made them tighter in security.  Unless you are on an approved friends list now you’ll no longer be able to see most of my posts, unless I choose to post something publically.  Had to do this to block a stalker, and probably more than one.  I have come to the conclusion that stalkers are just a fact of life when you are on the internet.  And usually you’ll find that they have multiple accounts so they can continue to stalk you after you block one.  But hey, I’m not going to sweat it.  If these trolls have nothing better to do than follow me around the internet then let them have their fun.  Who am I to deny someone anyway? haha, I must be hella interesting to some people.  I’ll block what I am able to, and call it good.  I can’t be bothered to do the full IP address type of blocking at the moment.  That may have to come in the future.

I got my new camera working, the batteries arrived in the mail from Ebay a couple of days ago.  I’ve only got $20 invested in this little camera, it’s a Nikon Coolpix S560  10mp digital camera.  I like it because it’s very small and easily fits into my pocket for me to carry around.

Here are a couple of pics I took with it just to test it out.

Not bad for a $20 camera!  I’m going to be doing a bunch of things around the house and in town over the next couple of days, while I am off, and will try to post more pics now that I have this camera to work with here.

Tomorrow I am going to be preparing seeds for planting, soaking the morning glory seeds, and starting other seeds in containers inside the house.  It’s still not quite time to do any outside planting except for bulbs – which I have a bunch of to plant as well.  I have quite a few seeds to start, and also a bunch to sow directly into the soil when the time comes.  I’m thinking that the gardens will look pretty darned good this year!  Plus I’ve been doing much more methodical planning of them this time around, being my second season with my home here.  Yes, the place will look great!

Last night we had a huge fire here.  The old State Street Saloon in downtown Portsmouth caught fire and it turned into a major inferno.  Eventually the buildings actually collapsed and it has created quite a mess in downtown.  Here are some photos:

I used to hang out at the State Street Saloon back in the day, when I used to drink.  It was always a great bar and also had great food.  Played many, many games of pool there with my old friends.  While I haven’t frequented the place in quite a few years now, it will be a little weird to drive by there and not even see the buildings anymore.  It’s going to be a major loss for the downtown area overall.  I am planning to take a drive into downtown tomorrow to check out the scene for myself, and get some more photos.  They’re not sure what caused the fire, but think that it started in the back end of the kitchen on the first floor.  I heard that they may not be able to ever really know because the destruction is so complete.  Most of the roads around it are closed until they can haul all of the debris away and get the area cleaned up and safe once again.  Fire is so devastating.  Thankfully no one was injured or killed.  And there were 17 people living in apartments in the buildings, so it’s quite a miracle that none were hurt.

I have lots to say about the current goings on here in the US, and about the US attacking Syria, but I am going to hold off for now.  Things are still developing, and the Russians are becoming more conplicit every day.  I’ll spare you my political rantings tonight.  🙂

Be kind.  Peace.  ~MB

 

 

 

 

Last of November

It’s that last day of November, wow has this month flown by!  It feels like just yesterday it was early September.  It’s raining here in Maine and it’s cold.  I am just thankful that it’s not snowing!  I know that snow is inevitable but the longer we go without it the happier I am.  

I’m off from work today and not positive of what my day has in store just yet.  It’s very early and I just got up about an hour ago.  Yes, I am a very early riser!  My body just won’t allow me to sleep past 5am. Sleep is overrated in my opinion anyway.  I feel like I am wasting time if I sleep too long in the mornings.

I have been watching the news reports of Trumpy’s cabinet choices and nominations.  It’s been a virtual who’s who of straight white men parading across his golden carpet.  Sickening  to think that the alt-right is going to gain so much MORE power in our country.  It angers me and makes me want to find a group of like minded people around my area to gather and discuss strategies for us all to be of support to each other and to react to the outrage I am sure is yet to come.  I feel the real need to be prepared to protect myself and others from things I can only imagine are in store for us all.  

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day 2016 around the globe.  The theme this year is Hands Up for #HIVPrevention. I was reading that the new push for self-testing will help to give people better access to testing and information on accessing treatment and prevention.  I don’t know about self testing…mitt seems to me that having a test done by someone who understands the ramifications should that person test positive.  And taking someone with you when you get test results is a good idea.  I went alone 25 years ago.  I remember it like it was outlast week.  It was the day I felt like I had an expiration date stamped on my forehead.  I didn’t hear mush after the woman who told me I was positive told me.  I started immediately to think of how I was going to ever tell my girlfriend and my loved ones. And I asked for a retest on the spot.  I had to make sure that there was no mistake. But there was no mistake and I have been living with this virus in my blood for over 25 years now. In the first few years I did a lot of outreach and prevention work trying to get others to not make my mistake and to protect themselves.  Nowadays I keep up on thing and concentrate on keeping myself healthy and happy with my second chance at life.   Before the availability of the medications that I take every day to stay healthy and virtually HIV free, I lost a lot of friends to AIDS.  At the height of the epidemic there was no good  oh gmail like there is today. If only we had moved faster when this started they might all still be alive.  I’m one of the lucky ones. I managed to stay alive, suffer through many failed treatment options and live to see this day where we now have the potent drugs needed to sustain a healthy life living with HIV.  

SO…I am truly thankful for my life and for all of the support I have in it. I feel like I am certainly blessed in so many ways.  Tomorrow I will pause to remember those who weren’t so lucky and those who we have lost, but I will also remember that this fight isn’t over until we find a cure and make it accessible to all of those who need it.  I shall light a candle of remembrance.  And I will thank God for giving me a second chance and a chance to make a difference in the world.  

Purging before Christmas

I spent about 2 hours tonight rifling through the in-box of my email account.   I then deleted the entire in-box contents…after discovering that I had saved emails from people who I don’t even know anymore.  Disturbing to see them still. But all the emails are gone now, and my in-box is clean as a whistle.  Yay!  Feels good to have a fresh slate there.  I think I’ve been purging some pent up feelings lately, and doing that was just part of me getting rid of stuff that I didn’t need to be keeping for any reason whatsoever.

It was a good day to be Butch.  I raked leaves for 2 hours this morning and bagged them for curbside pick up.  I then hauled everything out of the shed (because I couldn’t get in there!) and neatly put it back in – after sorting through thing and making 3 piles, one for donation, one for keeping and one for the trash.  Then I reorganized things and got the stuff taken to it’s proper places, i.e. donations and trash.  I felt very accomplished after getting those two big tasks done.  And I worked alone today because I needed to do these things myself.  I needed some alone time, and I needed to exert myself physically to work off some pent up rage.  It worked, I am cool as a cucumber tonight.  My world is organized and I feel good about it.

I’m all ready for the holidays I think.  My tree is up and decorated real cute.  I spent some time by myself on Sunday after work decorating it.  Nola and Lulu just watched from their designated couch spots and thought about how insane I was being to be decorating a tree in the house!  haha.  I chose all of my favorite ornaments and then sorted the rest and donated what I no longer wanted to the Salvation Army store with the rest of the stuff I purged.  I have been working through my address book and writing out Christmas cards.  I find that to be a cool thing because it makes you think of every person who is in the address book for a few minutes, where they are in your life and what they mean to you.  It’s a good exercise I believe.  Of course there’s always the line through those who are no longer around, because of death or just plain ghosting (those that just disappear from your life for one reason or another).   2016-11-27-17-12-14

I need to look back through my blogs here and do some study on which posts garnered more views than others.  I would like to up my readership and need to figure out how.  I know these posts about my general life aren’t that interesting and it’s hot topics that seem to get more hits here.  Thus I am thinking of doing more blogs about those things and perhaps just a weekly update about life in general.

I watched a TED talk about How to Speak Up for Yourself by Adam Galinsky.  It was really a good talk and I highly recommend it to everyone, it’s a 15 minute long piece and the time will be well invested.  Personally, I learned that I need to have more self-confidence if I am going to stand up and ask for that raise at work that I feel I so deserve.   Perhaps today is the day I will find the confidence to ask for it.

 

Photo Montage

NolaLulu
My babies, Nola and little Lulu 2015
cropped-maine-seapoint-beach-sunrise.jpg
Picture I took of the sunrise over Seapoint Beach, Kittery Point, Maine

Picture 294

A shot from Fort Foster, that's pretty complete, lighthouse, ship coming in and leisure boats drifting around
A shot from Fort Foster, that’s pretty complete, lighthouse, ship coming in and leisure boats drifting around
WSMR 1984 SP4Angela Lawrence
Just prior to getting finished up with the US Army Photo taken in White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico 1984
Austin TX in the tiki hut
Austin TX in the tiki hut
BadBoiPlate
–My foolish license plate

Five Day Photo Challenge

Crocus2015I’ve been working hard on cleaning up my yard around the house all week.  I am seeing a lot of plants poking up from the ground in all of my gardens, but in the middle of the lawn these beautiful blue crocus flowers bloom every spring.  They must have been dropped there somewhere along the years by a bird or something, because they are no where near a garden, just sitting out in the middle of the lawn.  I thought they were so pretty today, in full bloom and all, and I snapped this quick picture with my cell phone….I think the photo came out spectacular for a cell phone pic!  This was taken pre-raking of the area, so you get the full natural effect of the leaves and a stick that needed to be picked up too.  I actually left it and the area around it totally undisturbed, because it looked so beautiful in it’s natural setting.

So this is my photo of the day share with you.

There is a sort of “challenge” going around on WordPress right now where you post a photo a day for 5 days and write 5 stories/poems/paragraphs about the photo.  I was inspired to join the challenge when I saw Cee’s Photography Blog and her post today of the sunset.  She always has the best photography and photo type challenges on her blog, and it’s all quite inspiring to us amateur photographers.

I would like to see Butchcountry67 and Kris of Tangled Web both do this 5 day photo challenge too!  🙂  And anyone who is secretly wanting to also do the challenge is welcome to jump on board!  I am going to actually take a fresh photo each day instead of using recycled or previously taken photos, but you can probably do it either way, use a photo you have that has an awesome story behind it or take a new photo of something you encounter during your day.

I’ve been seeing the Bald Eagles a LOT lately. I think they’e become my totem or something.  They have evidently nested near the river between Maine and New Hampshire close to where I live.  I travel that road every day and cross the river.  Yesterday I saw one of them sitting on a stump IN the river fishing…He was just gorgeous and such a bright white head and tail, and such a HUGE bird.  I would LOVE to get a photo of one or both of the Eagles, now THAT would be a great picture if I can get close enough.  I tried yesterday, but I could only get on the bridge, and I only had my cell phone so the pictures didn’t come out very good.  I will keep trying, over the summer I am bound to catch a good picture sometime!

Peace!

~MB