Monthly Archives: May 2012
Waiting by John Burroughs
Serene I fold my arms and wait,
Nor care for wind, or tide, or sea:
I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.
I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.
Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.
What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it has sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.
The waters know their own, and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flow the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.
The floweret nodding in the wind
Is ready plighted to the bee;
And, maiden, why that look unkind?
For lo! thy lover seeketh thee.
The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high
Can keep my own away from me.
I looked this up today while I was, you guessed it, waiting.
I had to have Insight come in and move a cable line, add a phone line, and check on two remotes, which is going to involve taking the two guys up to my bedroom, wherein the closet door on which I hang my toys and the bondage table I keep leaning against a wall for effect are. That should be fun.
I don’t wait well. I dislike wasting time, and waiting seems like so much wasted time. I’d have been less annoyed had they showed up when they were supposed to, between 8am and 10am, rather than not until 10:40 or so.
I’d also have been less annoyed had one of them not said, in his opening to me, “How you doing, sweetie?”
I pointed out that sweetie was really not appropriate and Ma’am would be far more acceptable. I suspect the upstairs bedroom will only confirm what they already think, and correctly so. I am a bitch, or at least I can be a very good one when the situation seems to call for it.
In the meantime, I am sitting at my desk, where I no longer have internet for the moment, watching the birds taking gleeful baths on the pool cover, while the dragonflies tirelessly defend their little corner of the pool from all the other dragonflies, who are doing the same thing.
The puppies are outside because they’re the worst at barking at strangers, and Belle is sleeping happily in one of their pens. It’s a bit warmer outside than she needs to deal with, but the puppies are fine and will, if they get too warm, simply wade out on the pool cover and cool down.
Scottish terriers are not supposed to be water dogs, let me make that clear. They are terriers, the word coming from the Latin, “terra,” meaning earth. Earth dogs. This means they dig.
Mine, though, also appear to believe they are part otter. They wade out onto the pool cover if they’re hot and it’s an option. It’s completely safe for them, by the way, they can’t fall through, the cover is mesh and designed to support the weight of a small child.
I will occasionally look out and see one or both of them wandering over the surface of the pool, water up to their shoulders, sometimes high enough they have to tilt their head a bit to keep it out of the water.
Then they climb out and shake madly, usually followed by running around the yard with an odd little hitch in their gait, to shake out more of the water.
There’s a white sulpher butterfly, one of the small ones that’s a solid color, is flitting around the edges of the pool, too.
We’ll open the pool in the next week or two, and that will end the dragonfly dominion, alas. We didn’t open it for a couple years and the bonus was we had tons of dragonflies all summer and very very few mosquitoes. Dragonflies, it seems, are the ninja warriors of the insect world. They eat many times their weight in mosquitoes every day, as well as a lot of other small insects.
For anyone who knows slave drew, you know he is a wealth of information on most things natural. Birds, trees, some insects and animals in particular, national parks, etc.
If you haven’t met him yet, and do, you can prove this to yourself. Pick a national park in the USA, any one, and ask him, out of the blue, how large it is, and what he knows about it.
Without hesitation he will tell you that it is 250,000 acres, and remind you that, by comparison, this national park is x times larger than that, while this one is x times smaller than aforesaid park.
Ask him what bird has the longest migration, or the difference between a heron and an egret, or the best place to hang a bluebird house, and he’ll answer all those questions, too, without hesitation.
He also knows an astonishing amount about:
The Civil War
Both World Wars
Ammunition and armature in general
Specific schools of artists, including the Vienna Actionists
Rock bands of the 1960’s and 1970’s
Philosophy, particularly the depressing kind
New York City (He lived there for ten years)
You get the idea. I always was a sucker for a smart man, and he is absolutely that.
So, now both of the Insight guys have disappeared, I do not see them at their truck or in the house. Did I mention I’m bad at waiting?
As a post-script, three hours later, the Insight people left with all things that were supposed to be working apparently working. If I never post again, blame it on them.
We had a lot of rain early this morning, enough that yards were flooded, even mine, which is uncommon. Lights were down all over the city, most of them working but on a blinking red light.
Tonight the frogs are just singing their little amphibious hearts out. I can hear them where I sit, with no window open, the tv on, and a window unit A/C running not six feet from me. It’s amazing that something so small I haven’t even seen them yet this year can be that loud.
A few years ago we had cicadas. They were one of the 17-year varieties, and it was a BIG crop of them. They were everywhere in the entire region.
The zoo keepers in Cincinnati couldn’t get the animals to do tricks for their shows because they animals didn’t care about the treats anymore, there were little cicada treats everywhere.
Belle would come in with cicada carcasses in her muzzle, smacking her lips. To avoid stepping on them was rather a challenge.
Our area of the city was particularly infested. They don’t really do any harm other than being everywhere for a couple weeks, it’s not scary or potentially dangerous to your person or property, but my God, we had a LOT of them.
You could go out in the driveway and stand under the big white ash tree in the front yard, and the noise was nearly deafening. It was a low, steady, whirring hum. When you came inside, your ears almost vibrated from the sound.
For the next few years, I’d find occasional carcasses when I was planting in the garden. It always reminded me of a news story from an area of upstate New York, near where I lived. Two men had robbed a diner by threatening to throw a cicada in the hair of the waitress. She turned the money over to them.
They’re ugly and rather unworldly looking creatures, but totally harmless and less than an inch long, to be clear.
Last year, we had a rainy evening not long after we had opened the pool. We had dozens of frogs in the yard, probably hundreds, and there were a half dozen around the perimeter of the pool, hopping in the pool, hanging out on the side of the pool, generally cavorting at their own little froggie pool party.
I wanted to let the dogs out, but didn’t want them to bother the frogs, so I went out first to “chase” the frogs away. Mostly I just wanted them not to be hanging right on the apron around the pool. One frog, about the size of a walnut, was sitting on the edge, so I stepped towards it, thinking it would hop off.
It did not.
I took another step.
He didn’t move.
Finally I had to nudge him gently with my toe so he’d jump INTO to pool. I took about four steps and looked back and he had crawled back on the edge of the pool, in his former location.
At some point one says, all right, you all just sort this out yourself.
I let the dogs out. The puppies, being younger and generally more bent on getting to the farthest edge of the yard as quickly as possible, ran out past the frog, paying it and any other frogs no attention whatsoever.
Belle was behind them, and tends to poke her way out more than the pups, and she noticed the frog, but clearly didn’t know what it was.
She approached the frog, who didn’t move.
Imagine, if you will, a particularly charming illustration in a children’s book. There is the cute little Scottie with her eyebrows and beard, the upright tail and ears tilted in an angle of curiosity, approaching the little frog, on the edge of the water.
Belle got closer and closer, and the frog stayed stone still.
Until Belle actually touched it with her nose, gently, at which point the frog jumped in the pool.
Belle’s expression was one of surprise and a little bit of playfulness. The frog, thankfully, stayed in the water until the coast was clear, then went back to his prior post.
Belle had the same expression when, years ago, she was given a large balloon. She’d never seen a balloon before and I wasn’t thrilled that it had happened, I expected that the explosion when it burst would scare her.
I was quite wrong. She chased it around the room, thinking it was a ball, until it got caught somewhere and she went to bite it.
The look of surprise and delight was very similar, and she immediately went after the other balloons she was given, popping each one as quickly as she could.
Thank God she didn’t pop the frog.
Today was the last day of a long weekend, and while it was still quite hot, it wasn’t as hot as it has been. I did not do any real weeding because we’re supposed to have rain tomorrow, which will make the ground softer and the weeds easier to pull, and cool it down a bit; it made more sense to wait.
I did, however, get the patio put together mostly. Flower pots still need to be moved, I’m not sure of the placement of a couple of pieces of furniture, I have a few more plants to put in pots or the ground, but it’s an enjoyable area now, so did do that.
As I think a holiday like this is bound to, I spent some time today thinking about friends and family that are no longer here.
My father died when I was 2, my mother died eleven years ago this week. I don’t remember my father and have few pleasant memories of my mother, so I can’t say I ever mourned either of them. It had a huge impact on my life, obviously, but I’ve never felt the loss emotionally.
I remember my grandmother dying; I was about 8. I knew her only slightly, though, troubled mother-daughter relationships run in my family. My other grandparents were all dead long before I was born.
I was named for my father’s youngest brother’s wife, who divorced him shortly after I was born. She was a lovely person, who saw her husband become more and more unpleasant and angry as he descended into Alzheimer’s, and still visited him daily, and then the other patients she had gotten to know after he died. She died about 20 years ago.
I had an English teacher whom I was very fond of and kept up with for years, Mrs. Angelo. She was the first person to ever ask me to memorize poetry, a habit I have continued throughout my life.
Beth, my ex, has buried her father and her grandmother, and I loved both of them. They were both maddening and endearing, and I have many memories of Christmases where Dad took forever to open a package, admiring the paper, peering at the card, sliding his pocketknife carefully along the seam, and Grandmother Dorris looking at the new dress her daughter always bought her and saying, “Well, that’s so pretty, you can just lay me out in that one…”
The kinky people that we have lost that touched me particularly were Q, Annie and Di. I cried over each of them, more than I cried over my mother.
I found out recently that someone I used to know through the Internet had died, way back in 2001. His views very much formed mine, and I found out by accident.
It was both funny and quite like him that today, on Memorial day, I found an envelope he’d sent me, I believe the only one, sent at the end of August of 1999. Inside was a short card, just a few words carefully written, and a Polaroid of him from an office party, with him hugging Santa. He seemed to have a knack for making the universe enforce some message to me, and this felt the same.
The four-legged family members I have loved and lost were Missy, a terrier/beagle mutt we had when I was a kid, a good dog, a smart dog, and a funny dog. She was born in our laundry room, and was terrified of thunder.
I didn’t have a dog again until Beamer, my first Scottie, who was complicated and way too smart for her own good. She spent her life perpetually acting as though she was a 13 year old with incredibly embarrassing parents.
Beamer was also the originator of my “buttered biscuit” theory of life, which I’ll write about another time.
Lulu was a Scottie , too, who was half-starved and newly-spayed when we got her from the Humane Society, having just been rescued from a puppy mill. She never seemed to forget how much better her life was now, and I will always remember her settling on a down comforter on the bed, every single time, with a big, blissful sigh.
I’ve had cats, too, but while I don’t dislike them, I’m just not a cat person. I don’t remember their names, even, and I never had a true house cat. I’ve had a couple of fish I remember fondly, however, including an upside-down catfish and the creatively-named Mr. Pleco.
A few years ago, our minister gave a sermon I have never forgotten. In his sermon he talked about a man who had lost a child, and come to his minister, who had lost his wife a few years before, to ask how he could bear the pain.
The minister told him grief was like a giant redwood falling in the forest. It leaves a hole in the forest canopy, and even more, it leaves a jagged hole in the forest floor, where the roots have been torn out, a open and gaping wound.
He told the man that now, as time had passed, the hole was still there, the hole in the forest floor doesn’t heal, but what does happen is the edges get less jagged, time and weather softens them.
In time, ferns grow on the fallen tree and birds nest in it, other animals build their homes in the fallen branches, which provide them with shelter and safety.
The hole in the floor eventually becomes a pond, and it nourishes the other trees, and the animals come to drink. And at night, the stars are reflected in the pool, through the hole in the forest canopy.
The emptiness never goes away, but the edges blur, and the landscape of the loss changes.
Here’s to Memorial Day.
I have had one of those days where I feel as though I’ve been rather unproductive. I did go to a munch this evening and to a friend’s house after. I had planned to get up early and do some weeding before it got too hot, and then I slept in a bit and when I went out and did a little, the heat drove me in, so I didn’t do that.
I could have gone down to the basement and worked a bit more on the shelves, but as I might have mentioned, I am sick of books. I will put in an hour or so tomorrow, but I can’t do a lot more until the old bookcases are repaired and I can’t do that, so it has to wait.
I was going to make some phone calls, although I know from experience holiday weekends aren’t great for that, so it was easy to blow off.
I could have tidied the kitchen and emptied the dishwasher, which needs to be done, but I did not do that, either.
I could have gone to K-Mart and returned the lawn chair cushions that didn’t fit, but I didn’t leave early enough before the munch to do that.
I didn’t leave early enough because I took a nap this afternoon. I couldn’t seem to hold my eyes open, so I stopped trying. I don’t often nap, I don’t sleep well in general, but I slept for nearly two hours this afternoon, and that did feel lovely.
I could have done something this evening and sort of had planned to, but I went to the friend’s house, so I didn’t do that.
I believe the only two things I accomplished today were to get rid of that porn collection – a friend took it for a horny 20-year old they knew – and I went through a few magazines.
I found a stack of them in the basement, old women’s magazines, the kind with the tempting-looking cake on the front, which promises organized closets and well-behaved children if only you follow the directions included in that very magazine. I find it more rational to pull out the four pages I actually want from the magazine and recycle the other 120 pages.
I did water outside plants and pots a bit. I watched some programs I had recorded on my DVR and got it back down under 70%.
And I wrote this blog.
I am sick of books right now.
One of my projects for this weekend was going through bookcases in the basement. They are inexpensive build-it-yourself bookcases that my ex and I built, as it turns out, rather badly. They have developed a more and more pronounced list to the left over the last months, and I fear that left unattended they would utterly collapse in another month.
While it was not the most fun task ahead of me, I also knew it would be relatively cool in the basement during a scorching hot holiday weekend, and there would be worse places to be. No one is home right now but me, as slave drew is at his house in western Kentucky now, building a project. That also meant I could have the kind of upheaval and mess that the project would require without it affecting anyone but me.
So, what I have done in two afternoons is quite a bit.
I went through about six bookcases, six foot ones, with six shelves each, about three feet wide. I also went through a shorter one, one that was about half the size of the rest. I also went through two big boxes of porn that someone from the munches “bequeathed” to me a few years ago, mostly old VHS tapes. I’ve never watched any of them, but I will get rid of them tomorrow, either by giving them away or throwing them away, in any case, to reclaim the space.
I pulled every book off every shelf, as well as the other items that basement bookcases tend to accumulate, including rubber stamps, photo albums, 3.5″ computer disks, files, etc.
I had to move things out from in front of the bookcases, too, so that was part of the project.
I made stacks of books. Cookbooks, gardening, poetry, astrology, dogs and fish, humor, fiction, non-fiction, travel…
I also culled out a lot of books. I’ve never bought much fiction, I tend to borrow that from libraries and not hang on to it. The thing is, I bought non-fiction for reference purposes, but the problem with that now is two-fold. For one thing, often the info starts becoming outdated as soon as it’s published, and now we have this thing called the Internet. Google it.
If I need to know how to prune a wisteria, or who won the most Best Actress Oscars, or the population of Burma, I go there, not to the basement to pull out the reference book. Ergo, let’s get rid of reference books that we haven’t opened in 15 years, about the time, in fact, when DSL became reality.
I have also resigned myself to the fact that I am really not going to read some of those things that looked really interesting or fun and if I really feel compelled, I’ll go to the public library. I think by being more ruthless than I have been in the past, I got rid of at least 40% of the books, maybe more.
So, I got through all the books. They can’t be re-shelved until the bookcases are repaired, which they can be, but not by me, so it will be a few days. I would like to do the same with the bookcases in the living room as well, but it won’t be this season.
Then I put the stacks of rejected books in a box, some paper sacks and about a dozen big heavy canvas bags.
Which I carried up the basement steps.
And to the garage.
And put in my car.
And emtied out of my car at Half-Priced Books, filling two carts full plus about three or four paper grocery bags on top.
Then I had to wait while they went through the books.
The good news is, they gave me $45 for the books, which was about twice what I really expected. I am proud to report that I spent not one cent of my profits on more books. I wasn’t even tempted.
I am sick of books.
(This won’t last more than a week, but in the meantime, I’ll feel quite self-righteous, and that’s worth something.)
Don’t we all love beginnings? Remember when you were a kid, those first days of school, when you had the brand new notebook with tons of empty pages, fresh and clean and pristine, and sharpened pencils, points so dangerous you couldn’t press too hard or you’d tear the paper?
Maybe you had a packet of pens, clear barrels with the black ink clearly visible, like a dip stick inside, ready to spell out words and formulas? Or a fresh box of crayons, all the same length and very uniform, before you had broken points and sharpened them, being forced to peel the paper away from the tips of your favorites, the red and black and blue.
There’s something freeing about beginnings, about the blank piece of paper in front of you, all the unwritten words swirling around in your head, waiting for you to reach out and grab them as they flutter by.
One of the things I do sometimes when I am driving is write first lines of books in my head. I always think it would be interesting to be forced to write the rest of it, to finish the story you start. The ones I’ve come up with lately:
“It would probably be better not to ask the cute EMT if he wanted to get coffee sometime, Matilda reflected. She had found, through painful experience, that while having your stomach pumped did impose a certain relationship on two people, it was not the basis for true love.”
“Each day, the fish grew larger and each day she pretended it wasn’t happening. He’d started out cute and small, the only fish like him in the whole pet store. That should have made her suspicious. Lately his eyes had taken to following her around the room and she had taken to sleeping with her bedroom door shut.”
“Waiting in the airport, she checked the time again, disappointed but unsurprised to find it was only three minutes later than the last time she had checked. With a sigh, she turned back to the book she’d brought, and read the same paragraph four times before giving up.”
“The earth was soft and loamy, full of earthworms and grubs. He could smell the dampness and feel it through the knees of his now-ruined jeans. He should have brought a shovel. Even with soft and loamy soil, it was hard to dig a hole big enough with the ice-scraper and a dustpan he’d found in the car. The darkness made it no easier.”
So, given that this is my first post, it’s probably fair to tell you a little about me. If you’re not interested, skip over it, there won’t be a quiz later. Basic facts seem in order.
I was born and raised in western Nevada. It was a tiny town with the distinction of being home to the largest ammunition depot in the world, at the time. One always knew people who’s father or uncle had lost a hand or an arm at work when something that wasn’t supposed to blow up right then did. One boy I went to high school with was killed when he picked up a live blasting cap out in the desert.
My parents were older, my father was born in 1902, my mother in 1913. My father died the same month I turned 2. I don’t remember him at all.
My mother was a substitute teacher. She had a bit of college and had, at one point, big ambitions for who she was and where she was from, but it was the Depression. Banks folded, bad crop years happened, and her education ground to a close. She had enough college, however, to be able to get a certificate to substitute, and that was how she fed us.
I come from a long line of dirt poor. My father died after a long illness without insurance or savings. My mother’s family was Cornish miners, not an aristocratic class.
I have two older brothers, one who lives in Tucson, Mike, and another, Bob, who lives with his wife and daughters and their families in Scotland. We are not a close family. I don’t remember the last time I saw Bob, not for 15 years or so anyway, and I’ve seen Mike once or twice in that time.
I moved to upstate New York when I was 20 to live with my first girlfriend, Fay. I established residency there, and went to college at one of the less-respected State University of New York branches, and graduated with honors in 1984, with a BS in accounting. I worked my way through school.
In 1984, my second and last girlfriend, Beth, and I moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Her family was from the area, she wanted to be closer to them and there was nothing in the city in which we lived, part of the Rust Belt of the 1980’s.
Louisville was supposed to be a stop on the way, but I fell in love with the city and have lived here since, save an ill-considered year in Indianapolis. We bought a house together in 1990 and one or both of us has lived in the house ever since.
Beth and I broke up finally in May of 1997, after two years of trying to avoid that outcome. Unfortunately, I was not gay, just slow on the uptake, obviously. Beth has been clinically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and that, along with other issues, also made it a very difficult relationship in some ways. She and I are still good friends, though we talk less than we used to. Our live paths don’t run so parallel as they did.
In October of 1997, I founded the Louisville Munch, a gathering for kinky people. I knew I was kinky at 21 when Fay asked me to tie her up and I found it enjoyable. I wanted to explore that, and I wanted people around me who shared my interests. The munch ran with me as the hostess for ten years. In October of 2007, I turned it over to my replacement and then-business partner, Michael. He has hosted it since; this year we will celebrate 15 years.
Also in October of 2007, I married drew. I met drew in January of 2000, at a munch, and he has been in service to me virtually since. The S&M side of kink isn’t particularly his interest, but he is very-service minded, and that works fine for me, too. Neither of us had ever been married before, or ever expected to marry. I was 50 at the time, he was 48.
I have another slave, thomas, who has been mine now for nearly ten years, with a longish pause in the middle. I don’t anticipate any further breaks in our relationship; when I put his collar on him this time, my words to him were, “You had better be very sure this is what you want, because I do not intend to take this collar off you again.”
thomas is originally from Kentucky but moved to Florida about a year ago because his mother was having some health issues and he wanted to be closer. I do not see him nearly as often as I would like, but he is there for now. It won’t always be so.
Shane works for drew, who is a master cabinet maker and general can-do-anything kind of guy. He was in a bad situation about a year and a half ago and needed a place to live, so he moved into my basement. It’s worked well. His official duties fall under the “Sweetie Deux” duties, meaning he does what needs to be done when drew is gone, things I don’t want to do or simply can’t.
He’s also in charge of dealing with any dead things that fall in the pool or that the dogs manage to send to a final reward, mostly voles or mice. His role in that vein is that of “Basement Troll.”
A few months ago I was at a gathering and, after two or three of the femme submissives had been waiting on me, I joked about no one ever saying no to me. Shane piped up that he often said no to me. “Constance says, “Shane, do you mind carrying the laundry up the stairs for me?,” and I say, “No!!!”
In the final cast of recurring characters are Belle, Bess and Reigh, my three Scottish Terriers. Belle is the mother, Bess and Reigh her best male and female pups, born in 2005. Belle turned 10 in December, a reality I prefer to ignore at the moment. They are funny and stubborn and love dirt more than any other creature I have ever known.
All right, so that’s the beginning. I won’t commit to a post a day just now. Some days might be more, some days less. It will all depend, I suppose, on what first lines have appeared in my head that day.