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

3-24-2018 The Wave of CHANGE Has Begun.

 

It was an INCREDIBLE day in America.  March 24, 2018.  It will go down in history as the largest, best organized and most peaceful protest march and/or events of all time.  Trump’s inauguration PALED by like 25 less times the attendees as the March for Our Lives 2018.  I add the year because I know there will be a yearly march until this issue is solved.  Not only specifically the gun reform issue, but the entire mess of NRA purchased politicians and lobbiests in Washington DC.  This new “Generation of Change” is growing stronger by the day; today being the beginning of the fight, not even close to the end.

Watch Emma Gonzales in her speech at March for Our Lives 2018 here.

I was brought to tears by the speeches, especially that of Emma Gonzales.  Everyone knows her because she’s got a very Butch haircut, and the lobbyist from Maine who was running for office called her a “Skinhead, lesbian” on National TV and made her a big item in media reporting.  Emma didn’t ask to be famous.  And she didn’t want to bury 17 people she knew and loved to be famous.  Emma is the victim of the Parkland shooter.  The emotional scar on that kid is tremendous, and she and all of her classmates and school mates will forever be altered in personality, emotion and reactionary senses.  They did not ask for any of this.  But, since they were forced into this situation by our lack of sensible gun laws, our lack of action, the greed of politicians, the NRA and a boy who bought a weapon of war legally on the streets of America.  They didn’t ask for this, but they got it.  Now they are going to bring in into the light full force.  Change is coming; it’s coming on the back of Emma Gonzales and every other shooting victim in America, their friends, relatives, associates and colleagues will all join the fight…Emma is going to inspire America, and CHANGE will happen.  I am certain of it.

Change that happens slowly is a more difficult kind of change to endure; no one “likes” change but there come times when it’s not only necessary, but it’s going to happen, so you try to get out in front of it a little bit if you can.

Our country is broken right now.  It’s shattered into a dozen pieces, and each has it’s own personal war with the government.  Being an out Butch and part of the LGBT community I have already felt the creeping dread and fear for what this “Regime” and it’s “Dictator” have in plan for me and my kindred spirits.  I got myself a bit wound up about it the other night, and thought about it far too deeply.  But with all of the erasure of the gays and lesbians from the public sphere, ie the US Government website took down the page on LGBT Americans on the VERY FIRST day of Trump’s presidency – Jan. 20, 2017.  And from THAT day forward it’s been downhill for our equality in this country.

This last Friday Trump’s people drafted and sent out a memo basically banning all Transgender people from serving in our Military.  It also means that anyone who is already enlisted is in eminent danger of being thrown out.  There has been talk of the fucking “death penalty” for being gay…in America!!!  WTF.

Mike Pence is openly hostile in his very conservative, evangelical views of the LGBT community.  And we have ALL witnessed how emboldened Trump and his cronies have made some very sick, al-right people to openly discriminate, segregate and humiliate people who are “different” from their idealistic Anglo-Saxon images.  We’ve seen a steep up-tick in hate crimes across this country since 1/20/17…it’s like the country has gone crazy.

Trump has instigated people to choose sides, pick battles and fight against each other.  Murder has become just another normalized daily blip on the news…along with corruption, lying, cheating, extortion, embezzlement and outright corruption.  America is being held hostage, and I do believe that the Parkland shooting will be forever known as the “turning point” in REAL CHANGE in American politics and government.  It’s time for change, and it’s now going to happen.

Civil rights marches, led to Vietnam war protests, to Gay Rights Marches of the 90’s, and the Million Man marches, Marches on the United Nations, and today we witnessed and participated in the March for Our Lives in 2018….Change has come from protest; prolonged repeated protest works best…followed by VOTING for CHANGE.  David Hogg, 17 yr old Parkland student and witness to the deadly shooting of his classmates, said today that it comes down to 3 things.  Register to Vote.  Educate and inform yourself, and VOTE.  

Vote for Change.  Vote for a good kind of America, where people care and we get along.  Vote to get dirty money out of our political system, to keep a separation between church and state, and to protect our children from suffering the horrors of weapons of war.  Vote for sensible gun reform.  Call your state senators, legislators, representative and every politician you can reach and urge them to either get on this band wagon or face a very sure public down vote at the polls.

And…THAT’s my 2 cents for today.

Rock on Parkland Florida.  Go Eagles!!! ❤

 

Pulling It All Together

Writing again from my spot of dirt on this big blue marble that we all inhabit.

I am venturing into pulling all of my web content together so that it’s all linked and easy to navigate.  This is no easy task.  Over the last 10 years I have spread myself out a bit across the web, in some good ways…and in some no-so-good ways I am finding.  So, I thought that with the new changes and updates to my two major go-to sites, YouTube and WordPress, that it’s high time for me to get my web presence shit together.

This will be the focus of my weekend.  I’ve been reading up and watching videos on all of the new things we can do on both sites, the costs associated with upgrading each of them, and I’m pulling all of my social media pages into the mix as well, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  I am seeing linking it all together as a way to have some consistency in my presence.

On YouTube my videos are all very old now.  Outdated, and not very reflective of who I now am.  I haven’t been posting much in the last 2 years, and so much has changed.  I have grown and changed in so many ways.  And I definitely like who I am now far better than who I was even 4 years ago.  Life is happier.  I am happier, healthier, and personally more enthusiastic about life and whatever lies in my future.  So, I am going to review all of my old video content and most likely remove most of them from public viewing.  I’ll keep some of the older, funny, or interesting ones but I am sure that most of the over 500 I did will end up on a private list.  Of course, I’ll personally keep them for the hell of it, and to look back on in years to come.

It’s kind of the same way with WordPress.  I need to review and archive many of the less relevant ones.  My blog has been a sort of diary on some days, and those are less interesting and kind of pointless to keep up in public viewing space.  When I upgrade my WordPress to the Premium package it will afford me the ability to do a LOT more with the page, too!  I will be able to share video and audio content, have a direct email address linked to the page and will have an actual web address.  It will be so much cleaner and nicer looking, so hopefully it will be more interesting and/or fun to read my posts.  I’ll depend on all of YOU to let me know; to give me some feedback and to help me tweak things to improve the whole experience for both of us.

…A Little Personal Life Update…

I know that I haven’t been very good getting posts up lately.  I seem to start one and get half way through it and a squirrel runs by….*poof*…it never gets finished or posted.  Story of my life is half-finished tasks….dealing with adult attention deficit disorder and a bit of OCD thrown in for good measure, makes completing things a challenge sometimes. Which is why I have designated this weekend to focus completely on over-hauling my web pages, social media and pulling it all together.

Everything else is going pretty damned good.  Work is going well, I still like my job and just celebrated 2 years there back on January 14th.  Feels like it’s been much longer, but many things can – and did – happen in those 2 years.  I moved into this house on Dec. 3, 2015 and started the job on Jan. 14, 2016.  There were different people in my life back then, and life was not going very smoothly.  I had too many demons in my world at that time.  I was involved in a toxic relationship of sorts, and wasn’t treating myself very good at all.  Not a healthy way to live I discovered.

It took me some time, and I had to go through rough terrain, but I managed to work my way back to a really super good place in life.  I’m far more healthy, and way more happy!  I don’t constantly question if I am doing the right thing anymore.  I don’t feel over-stressed about how other people are feeling or doing.  I’m not trying to please anyone, just worrying about myself and my own happiness.  And through that re-set of my mind, I have found a renewed energy and enthusiasm for living life to it’s potential.

I am very grateful for where I am today.  I have a pretty nice living space, two awesome little companion dogs, my best friend living just up the road, great family support, a good job, and the possibility of a new romantic relationship on the horizon.  What the hell more could I even wish for??

Sure, I still have the stupid things happen, like the thermostat for my heating system shorted out last weekend.  It got pretty freaking cold in here!  I had to go purchase a new thermostat unit from Lowe’s and replace the burnt out one.  I’m glad my Dad taught me to do things like that.  I got it done, but unfortunately found that the furnace burner was bad as well…so I had a repairman come out on Super Bowl Sunday to replace the burner motor.  Luckily it was around 1pm, and not later!  So, I got to go to a Super Bowl game party and watch my team lose…sadly.  But we don’t need to talk about that.  There’s always next season!

I also go pneumonia in January.  But I caught it really quickly and got right in to see my doctor.  Antibiotics, steroids, and an inhaler…and it was gone about 5 days later.  I lost a couple of days of work, but it’s all good.  I recovered and am back to smartass self.  🙂

I now have this kind of attitude that you cannot stop things from happening most of the time.  You can be as careful as you want, and wear your seatbelt, but there are times when things just happen in life and you just have to get through it; deal with it and keep on going.  I find very few things that I face that I cannot handle in some way.  Keeping a calm attitude is the key; not letting myself get unduly upset or stressed out when it’s something that I just can’t change, but have to deal with head-on.

By changing up my attitude, and adding the right vitamins, I avoided the seasonal depression that I usually get.  This winter has actually been pretty good.  Right now I can’t even remember the last time I felt depressed – which is awesome!  I like the happy-go-lucky me WAY better!  I have more energy and physically feel stronger and healthier than I have in quite a few years.  I am eternally grateful to modern medicine for that.  By keeping my chronic health condition in check and staying true to my recovery program, I have improved my health immensely.  It’s just good to feel good.

I still have my share of worries.  I worry about the toxic political climate in my country.  I worry about my aging parents.  And I worry about friends who are struggling.  I try to do as much about those worries as I am able to do.  I stay well-informed about world happenings; politics and events.  I keep a close eye on my parents, calling them daily to check in and make sure they are well.  I call, text and email various friends, just to stay in touch and to let them know I am thinking of them.  While I wish I could be more of a help on all fronts, I realize I am doing all that I can possibly do as it is.  I try not to let worries take up too much space in my head.  Space in there is expensive and worries don’t pay rent!  I have many more important things to think about, to plan and to do than to fill my head with worrying about things that I cannot control.

That’s what’s been going on with me.  January and February are always fairly slow months.  My birthday was in January.  My family gave me an Amazon Echo (Alexa) and I really love the thing!  I use it to do lots of things, from listening to music to making lists for shopping, tasks, appointments and more.

Thus far February hasn’t been very eventful.  I’ve had to do repairs on my truck, and repairs on my heating system.  I’ve been watching the news about the chaos and calamity in Washington DC and getting angry over that sporadically.  It’s this gut-level sort of anger.  Anger at why those grown men and women cannot seem to ACT like adults, and have so much scandal and corruption going on constantly.  I admit that I am a new junkie; a political pundit of sorts.  I have some strong opinions and views on these topics – as you probably already know from some of my previous writings.

I’ll wrap this up here.  I am going to drop in a few photos of the snow, Nola, Lulu and myself all taken in the last couple of weeks.  Tell me, how has your winter been going?  Done anything fun or interesting so far in 2018?

Peace…~MB

 

 

 

Women’s March 2018…Portsmouth NH

OMG…SO MUCH HAS GONE ON SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR! It’s far too much to write about all in one blog.  I’m searching for what to write about first.  And I do apologize to my regular readers for not being more “on the ball” with posts, but I’ve just not felt the “drive” to write; or when I DO feel it it’s either late at night and I need to sleep or I choose to do other things with the time.  I really need to set aside a specific block of time daily for just sitting down and writing.  Yes.  That is what I will do.  Beginning tomorrow.

Yesterday was January 20, 2018 and the Women’s March 2018!  And it was an almost indescribably AWESOME show of strength, solidarity and love!  I had been looking forward to the march for the whole year, and I again marched in Portsmouth, NH, same as last year!  This year I marched with my sister.  We also met up with my niece and her friends, and saw lots of other people that we knew.  Plus new friends were to be made too!  The day was perfect. Temperature was hovering around 45 degrees, and it was partly sunny.  We parked on the Maine side of the Piscataqua River Bridge, the Memorial Bridge and walked to Portsmouth, on the New Hampshire side.

As you can see from the pictures here it was a nice calm day on the river, I love the sleepy little lobster shack covered in bouys there, just waiting for it’s fishermen to return to fish!  This bridge was just built a couple of years ago, and has become quite the pride of the area.  It’s usually lit up at night with awesome fiber-optic lighting, which turns all kinds of colors.  It’s a draw bridge, which means the middle span of the bridge rises up in the air to allow river traffic to pass under it.  This is critical, as the Piscataqua River is a very vital economic port.  We have oil storage areas, cable and wire, gypsum wall board and scrap metal businesses along with lots of other smaller venues.  On our way home we got caught on the Portsmouth side with the span in the up position, see the below pictures…there was an Irving Oil tanker coming in with a load of heating oil for the seacoast area.  #2 Heating Oil is our main fuel for heat up here.

Pretty cool huh?  I thought so!  I am glad it was such a great day and that I could get these pictures to share on here and to have for my albums.

So, we marched….or rather we RALLIED!  Our gathering was a Rally not a March…we didn’t march anywhere, but gathered and rallied in the very center of the city, in front of the old North Church.  And it was electric!  The Seacoast Resistance came together wonderfully!  As did so many hundreds of other rallies and marches around the USA and around the world, denouncing the hate and bigotry, the sexism, racism and xenophobia of the Trump administration, and the effects it is having on us as citizens, and the world too!  Here are some pictures from the rally.  They are captioned, if you click on them it will give you a description.

As you can see, it was a great turn out, plus a really nice weather day and I had the best of company on my adventure!  #RESIST

So, while we were marching in protest and to show our numbers and strength, the federal government shut down as they bickered over a stupid wall between the US and Mexico, immigration, DACA and a short term spending plan….and they remain shut down as I am writing this.  This has been the least productive year of presidency in our country’s history.  Nothing, except for a tax cut for the uber rich, has gotten done.  No fiscal budget, no immigration reform, no infrastructure, no health insurance plan….nope, just a bunch of school yard type bickering and name calling and stupid tweets. I’m so ashamed of my government at the moment, but that will ALL change in November when the Blue Tsunami takes over America…Democratic Socialism is on the rise!

This is all the energy for writing that I have for tonight.  I am doing great, although I am sick with walking pneumonia at the moment – but on the mend and on meds!  Nola and Lulu are awesome as well, they will be happy for Spring to arrive in a few weeks so they can spend more time outside.

So, did you march or protest yesterday?  Tell me about your day!

Peace!  ~MB

I’m In a Festive Mood! Christmas 2017

2017-12-01 22.51.41

Fa La La, La la, la la laaaa….Yes, the Christmas season is in full swing, with Christmas day now only 2 weeks away!  I am completely into it this year, and loving every minute!  I got my tree up early, and have been decorating a little more every day.

2017-12-09 16.00.50

This afternoon I added a pretty silver wire, spiral Christmas card tree, to which I added a string of pretty colored lights!  I have that in the middle of the dining room table now, and it’s already got a few sweet cards on it!  I love getting Christmas cards almost as much as I love making them out and sending them — which will be part of tonight’s activity!

Today Nola and Lulu received a “Bark Box” in the mail.  I found it on the front porch in front of the door when I got home from grocery shopping and getting my haircut.

I always feel terrific after a good haircut!  It wasn’t out of control, but it needed to be tightened up some, and edged out nicely.  I had it done today at Supercuts, by a woman named Cathy.  She did a pretty good job and was very pleasant while doing it.  It wasn’t my favorite barbershop today, but it was fine and I’m pleased.  I really didn’t have time to drive all the way up to the Boston Barber’s barbershop that I usually use, plus it was starting to snow, so I went to the back-up – Supercuts!  They’re priced reasonably, and they also do waxing so I am able to get my eyebrows done at the same time.  That is one service that the barbershop doesn’t offer, that they should!  It’s the only way to keep decent looking eyebrows!

I also picked up a couple of new button down shirts and two new ties today.  I have a couple of Christmas parties coming up and want to look half-way decent for them.  I’ll be going stag of course.  Although, you can’t say I didn’t try, I did ask a woman to accompany me to one of the parties, but it doesn’t look like that will pan out.  She lives a bit of a drive away from me (about 3.5 hr drive), and she’s nervous about coming up.  While I would have really loved to have her company for the party, and perhaps the weekend, I get that it’s a long drive to be around people she doesn’t yet know.

That particular party is at my youngest brother’s house.  It’s generally family and friends of the family, as well as personal friends of him and his wife.  It’s a pretty big party, and we have a massive, rousing game of  Yankee Swap!  I always enjoy the party because it’s a lot of great food, really cool people, and a very festive atmosphere.  Sets the holiday in the right light for me.  I generally will go and stay for about 2 hours, then go and drive around a couple of the local towns to see the Christmas lights, culminating with a ride by the Nubble Light House in York Beach…which is just stunning, as you can see by the photo below.

Nubble Christmas 2017

Next Saturday is the Wreath’s Across America event here in York.  We are laying 1100 wreaths on veteran’s graves at the cemetery in York Maine at 11:30.  I am volunteering, as are many other locals, especially veterans.  It will be an honor for me to participate this year.  I am looking forward to it.  Below is a photo of one of this year’s trucks hauling wreaths through here to other cities south of us….they all originate way, way up in the top of Maine and distribute the wreaths to cemeteries across the country.  It’s a huge undertaking and a wonderful Christmas memorial for our veterans.

(Photo: Beth Delano, Kittery, ME 12/9/17)

Wreaths across America pic

Today, other than getting my haircut, I got my grocery shopping done and gassed up the truck…storm coming, those are things we do before a snowstorm here in New England!  It began to snow around 1pm, just before I got back home with everything.  Tonight, after I get this blog posted, I am going to begin wrapping gifts to put under my tree.  I get small presents for my nieces and nephew, and for my parents and siblings.  I have a really large family, so it’s quite a stretch. I have managed to get imaginative, and I think I have everyone covered.  I’m surprised I have it most all done and it’s only Dec. 9th!

After wrapping I am going to sit down at the kitchen table and make out my Christmas cards for 2017.  I love doing cards, and try to get them out before the 15th.  I’m right on schedule, and barring any unforeseen interruptions I should get them done tonight and into the mail on Monday.  I really love Christmas cards and hope they do not ever become completely obsolete.  It’s fun to get them; and its fun to send them!  If you would like a card from me send me your name and address via email and I will get you on my list!  Deal is you have to send me one in return!  🙂

OH, and I have put myself on restriction from posting anything about politics for the next 30 days…on Facebook at least.  That may not carry over to here, but I am going to try my best to stay away from political upheaval for a bit.  It’s really stressed me out and what’s happening just makes my blood boil.  I need a break from it – hell, we ALL do.  So, I have to do this.  I think it will be a good thing for me!  Too much stress during the holidays makes it less fun, and this is one stressor I can control for now.

Off to wrap and do cards…you all take care and drop me a comment…what’s your favorite parts of Christmas?  Or Hanukkah?  Or whatever winter holiday you celebrate?

Peace.    ~MB

 

 

Some Photos to Share…

The last couple of weeks in pictures. From the top…a segment of the new Sarah Long drawbridge that is being built to replace the old one, on US Route 1 in Kittery going to Portsmouth.  These segments will help put the span in place, which is supposed to happen at high tide on Oct. 17th and I WILL be there – night or day – to see it happen!  I can’t wait to take photos of the event.  The tractors hauling the segments had to come through my weigh station this week on their way over to the bridge construction site, which is close to my work.

Other photos…me being silly with the crown..yeah, I am king Butch! Ha!

The foot shot is my visit to the dentist yesterday to get a broken tooth repaired.  The dentist had a helluva time numbing my mouth, the novocaine just wouldn’t take and he had to keep adding more…finally the whole left side of my face was numb and he got it done.  My teeth are almost all completely fixed now, which is just awesome!  Come a long way since April!

I bathed the dogs and took that pic of them scowling at me from the back of the couch…where they perched to dry off.  They cooperate quite well for their baths, but if they know it’s coming they do both try to run and hide.  Once they’re caught they give in and let me bathe them without much incident.  Now cutting their nails is a whole other animal!  They HATE it and fight like crazy!

I got the pic of the bee on the cone flower when I was over at Lowe’s looking at plants.  I thought it was a great shot to take!  The bees are so endangered right now, we need to keep a vigilant eye on what is happening to them because without bees we don’t get the pollination we need for growing food…think about that.

I got those snazzy new boxers recently, I usually wear boxer briefs, but these caught my eye.  They’re quite comfortable to run around the house in, but I can’t wear them under clothing as underwear.  I’m stuck on the boxer-briefs for that purpose.  I did get a new pair of the Ellen underwear…which I am not that happy with.  They are too thin, the waist band needs to be wider by about 3/4″ and they need to be about 2″ longer in the leg….she touts them as the greatest thing since sliced bread…but I beg to differ.  They could use much improvement.  I am still very happy with the Aeropostale brand, they’re the best I have found!

The sunflowers are from my mothers garden.  I can’t believe how tall they all got!  Those are at least 12′ tall!  I’ve got to try to put in a patch of sunflowers of my own next year.

And yes, I am still smoking my beloved cigars on occasion….I prefer the Black & Mild Cream ones the most!

Have a great weekend!!! More photos and some videos to come!

Peace!  ~MB

 

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

 

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.