On the flag…

In my years of service, i have probably carried and folded no fewer than a thousand flags carried and lifted from a thousand caskets. In SERE school, I was beaten for refusing to stand on the flag. And the National Anthem is the only song that both strikes fear in my heart and brings tears to my eyes when Im asked to sing it.
So ask me how I feel about all this kneeling business and words cannot accurately express how deeply this bothers me. I expect it from terrorist organizations and those who hate our country, not from fellow Americans. Yes, it’s their right, as Americans amd i defend it, as i must. But I hate them for it and G-d forgive me for that.

This sparked a heated debate between many of my conservative, liberal, military, civilian, friends and family. I warned them all to keep it respectful or I would not only delete their comments but them as well. I took the time to read the external articles that they posted and consider their arguments that “it’s not meant as disrespect to the military” and countered with “I would not walk into a shura in Afghanistan wearing a bikini in attempt to Advocate women’s rights. You cannot expect to win support to your cause by doing something so culturally offensive”. Once you have shocked and alienated people like that, they won’t give a damn what your “intent” was. They aren’t listening.

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” I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man” Little Big Town

I’m so lonely, I’m combustible. My emotions aren’t raw, I am a live wire. Always have been. Passionate, honest. Eight days flew by.

Miles of abandoned beach means “clothing optional”. Tons of sand dollars and washed up jellyfish that look like breast implants but still no sea glass. Pushed myself pretty hard the first few days in Yosemite. Climbed a no-shit mountain and developed a stress fracture in my foot. Followed by a sinus infection because It snowed the 3rd day and all I had was open toed Tevas and a light windbreaker. When I was packing, the forecast called for 85 degrees in the day, not 34.
Sadly, there is no way to escape the crowds in Yosemite. There is always someone in front of you or riding your ass, chattering away loudly in a foreign language. But it was beautiful and wonderous at moments in a way that the Scottish Highlands were not. Except for the Sequoias. The grove was a graveyard of burned up and dead. The living were centuries away from being awe-inspiring.

Although with every trip off the grid, I think I should have done something else with my life, career-wise. Been a botanist or environmental scientist. I wouldn’t have gotten rich but probably would have had a stable job for the rest of my life that may have been more rewarding than my attempts to save humanity

Napa/Sonoma was a like Disney: overpriced bougie boredom. The Flake’s new home is a paradise. Although I still think SoCal suits me better, being part lizard n’ all.

After Yosemite, I decided to “take it easy” hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore. The oasis amidst soul-sucking San Francisco, one trVwler called it. Limping along mile after mile of California coastline, leaning heavily on a piece of sequoia from Yosemite. The foot slows me down but doesnt stop me. What stopped me was a herd of Tule elk in the path, less than a mile away from the tip of Tomales Point. I considered walking around them but the stags began yelling at me “Dont even think about it, lady”.

Im a big fan of the hostel though and their slogans “for travelers, not tourists”. I met a dutch woman who confided that she worked the same job for 17 years, then after a misssion to South Africa, decided “I cant do this anymore”, put everything she didn’t want to part with in storage and began traveling the world. But

But i still didnt engage with anyone, not for long. The only romantic encounter i had was with myself, nude on a deserted beach, fantasizing about an attractive single man coming along and asking if he could help.

I walked for miles on a deserted beach until after dark and didnt bother to mark the narrow entrance to the foot path. I know better! Mild panic set in when after a few false starts, i realized i couldn’t simply plow my way through the growing wall of seagrass and 9 foot high brush. Iraise my eyes to the mountains shuffled my feet and sang to warn off the nightlife that chittered and howled around me. Then turning back toward twin lights on the beach, it was a couple of Japanese guys night fishing, wearing headlamps. Thank g-d, they led me back to the path.

I sent him a picture on a nude beach. Tit for his repeated tat. He said it was sexy and turned him on. He asked where i was. He knew exactly how close i was and for how long but never said “I want to see you”. I admitted to him that i teared up driving past his house on the way to the airport. He said “That makes me sad too”. I doubt that. After all, he could have had me with a word.

Irma-geddon

It feels strange not heading into this storm in a Humvee like I’ve head in to so many others in the past.

Torn rotator cuff, cops circling my house all day with the loudspeakers to evacuate, but I’ve got the cat carriers ready to go, guns loaded, empty storage bins that will be filled with water, a handheld pump that should make sewage drinkable (although it will probably still taste like sewage), and somehow ive become the Voice of Reason keeping family and friends calm while trying to maintain my own sanity.

Oh, and I had to block my Asshole Best Friend tonight. He was angry that he hasn’t been able to reach me to chat today and I told him I didn’t have hours to sit on the phone right now. Also, I don’t want to talk to him when he’s drunk. So he flipped out and text “You’re my best friend and I cant get shit from you”. Sorry, but not during an incoming CAT 5 storm, you can’t. Plus, I already offered you a kidney so you cant claim I give you nothing. But I lost my temper, cussed him out, and blocked his number. I feel terrible about that but hes safe in the NE and there’s nothing I can do for him until “Irma-geddon” passes.

I ignore media and focus only on reports coming in from NOAA. When people post alerts that “there’s a pallet of water at Publix on the corner of….” I inject a snarky comment “Y’all too good to drink out of the hose?” with a picture of 5 gallon storage containers and the reminder “5 drops of bleach per container, not per glass”. I try to dispel misinformation (“Zello” will not work in a power/wifi/cell/blackout), because false hope is even more dangerous than reality. How many people will panic when they are unable to reach anyone on that app in a real communications blackout?

Truly, I am concerned about everyone. My mother is fresh out of surgery and unable to travel. Otherwise I may have insisted on them packing up their zoo and heading up to her vacation spot in the Smokies.

But I also recall Waveland, Mississippi. Folks squatting in squalor amid the ruins of their homes. All we ever saw or heard about was New Orleans but the coast of Mississippi was flattened like Hiroshima 1945. And those people were smiling because they were ALIVE.

Yeah, Harvey sucked. Irma is gonna suck and then there’s Jose brewing right behind her. All we can do is prepare the best we can and then deal with the aftermath. Worrying changes nothing.

蝴蝶

butterflyIt was almost a year ago, when I first saw her. She was not the only woman there nor was she the most attractive, surrounded by her pretty sisters with toothy smiles and flowers in their hair. But I couldn’t stop thinking about her. A face half-lit with features nearly androgynous, like a smooth teenage boy in gaudy rhinestone chandelier earrings. I did not take her home but that night, I lay in a growing panic. What if I had lost her for good? What if I went back tomorrow and she was gone, never to be seen again? I went back early the next day, mildly heartsick, sure my chance had passed. But there she was. Several of her sisters and their flowers had been plucked, probably by those who appreciate conventional beauty. But there she remained, with that faint, dark, smile. Maybe others were unsettled by that smile but the only thing that unsettled me was not knowing her name. I took her home at last and for nearly a year, chatted away my secrets to her openly even as she watched me all night in bed, dressing, undressing,  through nightmares, muttered prayers, orgasms and despair. I kept asking her what her name was — I had to call her something — but she only smiled and it didn’t feel “right” saddling her with the wrong name. So I searched. She was a “Shanghai Girl”, I was informed the day I returned for her. Cursory searches on this led to photos of more of her prettier flowered sisters but nothing of her. Then finally, a photo of a photo. Then a translation. Hu Die. Or as she was called in English by her chosen name “Butterfly”…