Monthly Archives: October 2012

Safewords

I was talking to someone at Kinky Kollege and I confessed that I rarely played with established safewords.

Responsible, didactic, insistent me.

I used to mention them, have the submissive tell me what their safeword was, do all the things that I myself say you’re supposed to do.

Over time, though, that became less and less important to me, had less value and merit.

It seemed to me that the habit of establishing some outlandish word I expected someone to remember in a moment of sudden panic was, to be blunt, silly.  It implied that if the submissive I was playing with said “No!” or “Stop!” that I would not, not until they remembered to say “Eggplant!”

A sort of BDSM version of Simon Says or Mother May I?

Now that I’ve said that, let me say this.

There are submissives who want to be able to struggle, to beg for release, to cry in fear, and know they won’t be released until they do say “Eggplant!”

There are specific scenes that require the same thing to work.

That’s fine.  They do require a safeword, a sort of “No, I mean it this time.”

Those are not scenes that would normally be played out in the first time or two of play between partners, either.  They are more likely to be scenarios that established partners embellish on as their relationship deepens and the trust between them grows.

By that time, too, one would hope that the dominant would know the difference between the “No, stop!” that really means, “Don’t stop!” and the “No, stop!” that really means, “No, stop!”

If I play with a submissive, and he or she says, “Stop!” I am going to check.

If he or she says “No!”  I’m going to check.

If he or she says “Ouch!” or “Oh, shit!” I’m going to check.

I might not stop the scene, but I’d scale back the intensity, give them a chance to catch their breath, a chance to be able to communicate something with me if you need that.

Am I going to immediately loosen the restraints and end the scene?

Not unless they are in immediate distress, not unless they have a muscle cramp or an asthma attack, not unless their verbal or physical response indicates that is the course of action I need to take.

I’m going to ask them how they’re doing, ask if they’re all right, ask if they need an adjustment or a change in something.  I’m going to ask if it’s too much, I’m going to ask if they want to go on.

I’m not going to have a lengthy question and answer period, but I am going to establish that they’re ok, and whether or not they want to continue right now.

If they do want to continue, likely I’ll move to a different implement and/or a different sensation.  If I’ve been using a crop, maybe I’ll hand-spank for a while.  If I was using a cane, maybe I’ll switch to a flogger.

I will vary the sensation in some way, and move back in intensity a bit, to allow them to catch up and catch their breath.

I believe that if a submissive has to use a safeword due to the intensity of the situation or the stimulation, most often it is because the dominant hasn’t been paying close enough attention.

One of the things I watch closely when playing with someone is their feet.  Not because I’m a foot fetishist, but because as most people reach their tolerance for pain, they rise up on the balls of their feet.

If I play with someone regularly, I usually know how high I can let him or her rise before I need to back off.  If they’re a new playmate, I will pay particular attention to that, knowing that it will be an easy physical gauge I can use to see where they are.

I pay attention, too, to the way they move and hold their body.

Is their body tensed up in a ball, the way someone receiving unwelcome blows might hold themselves?

Are they moving their bodies away from me, not towards me, as if they are trying to get away?

Are the teeth gritted, the jaws clenched?  Overall, does this appear to be someone who is enjoying an experience, or someone who is enduring it?  For some, endurance is part of what they seek, the willingness and ability to endure pain to please the Master or Mistress.  You should know that is part of their makeup before you get to that point, however.

I’ve only ever had a submissive use a safeword once, and I intended for him to do so.  He had a mental block with using one, believing he was able to endure anything.

Given that we played on a fairly intense and edgy level, though, I needed to know that he would stop a scene if he needed to; his unwillingness to use a safeword limited my enjoyment of our play, because I had to monitor him that much more closely.  So I finally pushed him to do that, to get it out that first time.

How did I do that, you ask, how did I push someone to use a safeword without having to face the very situation that disturbed me, that of him in deeper than he could endure and still be unwilling to use a safeword?

I tied him to the bed and tickled his feet until he yelled uncle, figuratively speaking.  Who says I’m not a sadist?

Bright Idea

I had this bright idea that I would start posting some writing I worked on for a while, some time back, a pretty long piece, actually.

I could serialize it, in effect, meaning I have something in backup if I don’t want to write or don’t have time to do a blog.

So, I started looking.

Clearly, based on this blog, I didn’t find it.

I did, however, spend enough time looking that it’s now really too late to do much else.

I am going to keep looking, I virtually never lose a file like that, but it’s hard now because I can’t remember the name of a single character other than there was a cat named Stiletto.

Of course, I can also not remember the name of it.

Thus far, using those parameters, I haven’t found it yet.  I have an old hard drive I haven’t looked on, and an external drive.

I have disks, too, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

I’m pretty good about my file organization, although I have never liked using the whole My Documents, My Pictures, My Music stuff.  I always used my desktop and specific folders, but now things are not as tidy as they used to be.

So, if I find it, I’ll do that tomorrow.

If not, I’ll keep looking.

Kinky Kollege Komplete

Won’t we all be glad that this is the last time, I hope, I will feel compelled to misspell words to continue a theme.

So, I have some final thoughts on Kinky Kollege, now that I’ve had a full day to recoup.

I came home with three new toys, a split rattan slapper, a window blind handle that I found in the garbage, and a black fiberglass cane with a turned steel handle from Toolworks.

I looked today, in fact, when I put it away, at my inventory of Toolworks toys.  I have two small floggers, cock whip size, and a thick paddle-sized slapper, two clear synthetic canes and the new black one – and they’re all different thicknesses, too, should that seem a bit excessive – and one that now has red braided cat falls but originally held a horsetail flogger.

Horsetail is a really interesting sensation, but a bitch to deal with, unless there was some secret to which I was never privy.  In any case, it was useless after a bit as a flogger because it was so tangled so Shane or Abraided.com, my Canadian basement dweller, refitted it with the falls.

I also came home with the new book by slave Patrick, sloveOgraphy.  I bought, I was told, the first copy sold in the states, so that’s kind of cool, too.

I did four classes, one on Crops and Canes, one for Newcomers, a sort of impromptu one on presenters, and one on Edge Play.  I think they all went well, I enjoyed them, there was participation and laughter, so I count them as successful.

We did a couple of things that we really like doing, going to the Red Apple, we brought back some lovely flavored green tea, one with a tropical flavor and the other with a pink grapefruit flavor.  We’ve not tried the tropical yet, but the pink grapefruit is lovely.

We saw a lot of people we know – Jack Rinella and slave patrick, Joansie, Sergeant Major and slave Riches, who are the Great Lakes Master and slave 2006, and Dan and dawn, who are the Great Lakes Master and slave 2009.  We saw Tom and Talina, and Sir Ernie and Sir Greg and slave aaron, all of whom are from the Indy area.

I got some ideas for new classes and new activities at Kinky Kollege, so that’s always a good thing.

I met some very nice new folk, saw an interesting presentation, and had a chance to catch up with some friends.

The hotel was very nice, the staff was lovely.

The event staff was very nice, too.  There was a lot of interesting stuff on the silent auction, which is always fun to browse.

I still have to unpack, which will probably happen tomorrow.

Or maybe the day after.

Kinky Kollege Kreshendo

Ok, so that’s a pretty bad title, but hey, it’s late and I’ve been in a car for something like six hours today.

I had my last class this morning, a class called Dancing on the Edge, which is about, unsurprisingly, Edge Play.

One of the things I’d like to do over the winter, when I don’t foresee traveling much, is to update and improve my class notes.

I have them all on my hard drive, of course, but they’re not organized in a way that really works anymore, and I have been doing some of them long enough that I use the full notes a lot less and what I really need for all of them is something more like a bulleted outline.

Which I should also transfer to Power Point presentations, too, that have those same bulleted outlines, because then I could actually carry a lot less paper when I travel, too.

But, anyway, I did that particular class and had about eight or nine people in the class, which was fine.

I learned long ago not to worry overly about how many people come to my classes.

I’m neither a really big name, nor do I usually address subjects that are particularly “sexy,” like shibari or single tail, so I rarely have a packed house.

Some classes are bigger than others.  I’d say that the biggest group I’ve had for a class was a class on Negotiations at PEERPhest five or six years ago, maybe more.  For whatever reason, I had a ridiculous amount of people in the class, like 40 or 45.

The least I’ve ever had was a class I did for Camp Crucible a couple years before, when some class I was doing, I forget which, had ONE person show up.

Camp Crucible is held at a boy’s camp, which kinky folk take over for probably a total of ten days from beginning to end.

You live in dorm-style cabins, you eat in the mess hall, you can stay naked all weekend if you like, have sex on the buffet table, or beat someone tied to a tree outside.  I know this because I have seen all of that there.

I was perfectly happy that only one person showed because it meant I didn’t have to do the class, which I *think* was a New Dominant’s class.  Over the two or three days I’d been there, I just hadn’t had great classes.

My subjects just didn’t fit well with the event and it was like presenting to an oil painting.

Of bored people.

And not a lot of bored people, either.

They were also really long class times, I think, like an hour and a half or two hours, and I was not experienced enough to just be able to happily fill however much time they gave me, which is true now.

I waited maybe ten minutes past starting time to give anyone else a chance to get there and said something like, “Well, I’m sorry that didn’t work out,” thinking he would take it to mean as I did that we were calling the whole thing off.

What he said was, “I don’t mind, I have a lot of questions.”

Now, this would have been ok if he had been attractive, or smart, or particularly well-mannered, but he was none of those.

He sat, about four or five feet directly in front of me, in a folding chair on some kind of outdoor sports court.  His legs were spread and his arms crossed over his belly and the class lasted approximately 184 HOURS and it was horrible.

Less than four is hard, though I’ve done a couple of classes that small that were actually very good, and classes that people seemed to get a lot out of.

Six up to about 25 is ideal to me.  More than that and it feels a little too impersonal, less than that and it’s almost too intimate.

Attendees, too, usually can be counted on to ask questions.  If you have a third of the attendees that your class is sort of geared for, you also get a third of the questions and maybe less, and the class can also be short.  Too many people and you don’t get to the end, meaning you don’t cover everything you meant to.

Anyway, now it’s somehow much later than I meant for it to be for the “Kreshendo.”

So, let me do the short summary then I’ll write more tomorrow.

I won a cane in the silent auction, the one I really wanted, a steel handled one by Tool Works, whose toys I have been buying for years, since the days of Vicious Valentine, anyway.

I am stealing their idea for a vendor raffle, but I’ve told them that.

I’ve already been asked to come back in April, and one of the “featured” presenters is Nina Hartley, which would be very cool.

I want to develop a class, I think, for people who want to be presenters.

And now, it’s too late on a Sunday night, so I am off to dream of canes and crops and edges and more.

Kinky Kollege Kontinued

Today has been a pretty busy day.

My first class today was the class for newcomers, which I do a lot and
always enjoy doing. It’s always interesting to see the people who
come in to that class, and what they’re novices TO, as well.

We had some folks who were part of their local munches and some who
were not. There weren’t, they said, munches or gatherings where they
lived, though that’s always hard for me to believe now days, but
perhaps it’s true.

We talked about going to events, and trying to attend the classes you
can. We talked, too, about trying a lot of different things when
you’re new, and reaching out to people who have been around longer.

Overall, I thought it was an interesting class that went well.

I had a break between my class and the next commitment, so I wandered
through the vendor area. I did buy one new toy, which I don’t often
do.

I bought a split rattan cane/slapper with a lovely wooden handle from
Wyvern Creations.

i also bought a necklace and earrings from Castle Art. I admired a
number of other things, but didn’t find anything else I thought I
couldn’t live without.

I still had a bit of time so I went to a class given by Simon Blaise,
whom I’d neither seen nor heard of before, but I enjoyed the class.

It was a class about claiming whatever you are, whether it seems
popular or politically correct. One thing he mentioned I found
particularly interesting was the concept that we should hold our own
collars, in effect, and genuinely “own” ourselves and our kinks.

Once that was over, it was time to do the box lunch round table for
Presenters with Jack Rinella. We talked about how to get started as a
presenter for events, and it occurs to me that it might make an
interesting class to put together sometime, too.

On the way back to the room, I am fairly certain we saw Jamie Lee
Curtis in the lobby. If it was not her, it really was her total twin.

After lunch, drew and I went out and had lunch at the Red Apple on
Michigan Avenue. It’s a Polish buffet and was, as it always is,
fabulous. slave drew had one course of beets and cabbage and then
another of potatoes.

He doesn’t eat meat, so the options are limited, but he had no complaints.

We drove down into Chicago proper after, past the Lincoln Park Zoo,
etc. We had hoped to be able to get out and drive a bit, but there
was no parking to be found. We ended up running into a grocery store
for a couple bottles of soda and then we drove around a bit more.

Eventually we found a little tea shop downtown and did find a parking
spot. slave drew bought me some lovely green tea, one with a sort of
tropical fruit flavor and one with pink grapefruit, both of which
smell wonderful.

We also sat in a little cafe and had a cup of tea and watched the
people walking by, some of them, I hope, on the way to Halloween
parties. I hope they don’t normally dress like Bat Woman or Iron Man,
anyway.

We came back to the hotel and hung out for a while, then went back
down and checked on silent auction items – I doubt I’ll win anything I
bid on – and walked through the dungeon.

It has, however, been a long day, explaining why we didn’t stay long
and why drew is snoring a bit right now.

Another class first thing tomorrow, and then the drive home, and I am
not too far behind him.

But I’ll think of Chicago when I drink that tea.

Kinky Kollege

slave drew and I arrived at Kinky Kollege this afternoon in good time.
The drive wasn’t bad, other than that middle-of-Chicago part where it
takes a half hour to go three miles.

It was very Chicago-like.

We saw Jack Rinella first, at the registration desk. We’re at a very
nice Hyatt.

We got to the room and got somewhat settled, then went downstairs to
the registration for the event. We got through that and then went to
the restaurant upstairs to get a late lunch. drew had a lovely pasta
with goat cheese and I had a bowl of lobster bisque with blue crabmeat
in it.

It was quite nice.

Then we scurried up to the room to grab the bags of crops and canes
for the class I was giving at 4:00 on, yes, crops and canes.

So, we are heading to the classroom and walk by a couple or three bags
of trash waiting in a back hall for pickup.

Protruding from the bags was a LONG rod, one of those that turns the
blinds in a hotel room.

Clearly, it was a sign.

So I have a new cane, the Kinky Kollege Kane.

I had about 15-20 people in the class, which is perfectly respectable
at the opening time slot for an event on Friday night, against four or
five other classes.

I did, however, have to have drew close the classroom door because
there was a pretty woman sitting on a cloth covered exam table, and I
figured she would be doing something that would prove distracting.

Turned out she was doing a fisting class, so I imagine they’d have
closed the door anyway.

The class went well, I think. I talk about the different kinds of
crops and canes and a lot of different techniques for both of them. I
had a fair amount of questions, which is usually a good sign, too.

Afterwards, drew and I headed up to the room again to drop off toy
bags and get ready for the next event, which was the Meet and Greet,
which started a few minutes ago and which I should be dressing for
right now.

Tomorrow is a newcomer’s class and co-hosting a presenter thing with
Jack, then drew and I will hustle off to the Red Apple, I suspect.

I hope your weekend is as interesting as mine.

Off to Chi-Town

So, slave drew and I head out tomorrow for Kinky Kollege, at which I am presenting.

I am doing a class on Canes and Crops, and one on Edge Play, as well as a Newcomer’s Class.

I still haven’t gotten a demo bottom for the canes class.  I can have drew do it, of course, but I will likely just ask for a volunteer and I doubt I will have to ask twice.

It’s only the second time I’ve done the Canes and Crops class, but it was a lot of fun last time and I’ve been doing impromptu cane classes for years anyway, so a lot of it isn’t really new, I just haven’t done the class formally.

The edge play class is fun, partially because it’s not the class people expect.  They expect it’s going to be a very “edgy” class, obviously, and it is, but I also talk a lot about what makes play edgy and how there are different kinds of edges.

If it’s hard for you, it’s edge play, even if it might be easy for me.

I also talk about some mind fucks, which is also fun.

Chicago is not my favorite town – the traffic is SO bad – but it is, interestingly, the city with which I have the longest and most continuous kinky history.

The first event I ever went to was Black Rose X, which was held in 1997 to celebrate their tenth anniversary as a group.

But the second event I went to was Vicious Valentine, held at the old Blackstone Hotel on Michigan Avenue, just a couple of blocks from the water.

I took Gene, my submissive at the time, and my friend Harold, who was at the very first munch, was there, too, with his submissive at the time whose name was, I think, Cindy.  I liked both of them a lot.

The event was produced by Lord Suttle and Lady MJ, a Lesbian couple who were also the first people for whom I ever presented.  They did a wonderful event, about which I have many fond memories.

I went to every VV except the last one, which was held in 2004, the same year drew and I were running for International Master and slave and it was just a few weeks later.  It was also the only real strife I’ve ever had in the community here, and it was just all exhausting.

I didn’t know, of course, that it would be the last time they put it on, but there was some serious and tragic health news in one of the families and I think it just took the heart out of them.  I know there were other things going on there, too, and that can be exhausting.

So, over the years, then, I went to six of the seven, and we went to one in October, too, a Malicious Masquerade.  slave drew wore his Sherlock Holmes costume which his mother, I swear, made for him when he was like 12, and won the best male costume, which was a free pass to the next VV.

I have been to three or four Kinky Kolleges over the years.  One year, Jack Rinella and his slave, patrick, and slave drew and I did an entire track there, on M/s relationship, four classes on Saturday, three on Sunday.

By the end of the last class, I was so sick of the sound of my own voice I could hardly stand it, and we had a couple people who came to every class and a few more who made a surprising number of them.

I went there last year, I think, with a submissive of mine, and I’ve presented for the event a few times.

I presented for a Bootblack Intensive with a focus on females.  Pony, who is the International Ms Bootblack from a recent year I don’t recall, organized it and wanted something for the partners to do while the bootblack blacked.

I don’t remember what I spoke on, though I think I did two or three classes.  slave thomas and I went with Ms Tammy and slave john.  We made a road trip to the Leather Archives and Museum that trip, which is always fun and moving both.

I’ve been there a few times over the years, I like the curator, Rick Storer and his partner, Jeff, a lot, too.

I had half-forgotten it but I also made a drive up one winter eventing all the way to Chicago with Michael and Ms Kendra.

The Leather Archives was doing one of their early Fireside Chats with the late Mr. Marcus, and we drove up to see it.  It was probably three or four years before he died, I think.  It was incredibly cold, I remember that, and I made Michael pump the gas but told him that if it were between me and Ms Kendra, I’d be pumping it.

I think I also offered him the only extra gloves I had in the car, which had snowflakes on them.  He declined.

I went to International Mr. Leather on their 30th anniversary with Ms Kendra, in Chicago.  It was great fun, and I have dined out on some of those stories for years.

Now, what will happen in the next hour is, I will remember three other events in Chicago to which I have been, but by then I will have posted it and won’t go back, but it is what it is.

I will be finished the actual packing and slipping into bed by then and won’t much care, either.

If you don’t see me for a couple days, it’s because I’m up to my ears in asses waiting to be caned.

And if that isn’t an image, I don’t know what is.

Mr. Bluegrass Leather 2012

I spent last Saturday night in Lexington, Kentucky.

I watched Sam Clemons step down from the Mr. Bluegrass Leather title, and watched Todd Maynard awarded the title of Mr Bluegrass Leather 2012. Todd will go on to International Mr. Leather in May.

It was a great event and I was sorry to miss the Friday night Meet and Greet, which was held at Crossings Bar, one of the sponsors. It was, to quote a friend who went, “packed,” and a good time was, I feel certain, had by all.

I got to town with Robyn from Indy, who is the current Indiana Olympus titleholder, about 2pm. We ended up riding together, which was nice.

There was a great buffet contributed by Ms Tammy, and we sat and ate and chatted for a while, then the outgoing titleholder roast began. I’d been asked to take part but really hadn’t had any flashes of what I was going to say. I told drew about it the night before and he said, “Go with what you know. Make fun of him for being gay, you know, gay time, that kind of thing.”

Which was sort of what I did. I was glad to go last of four because it was good to see exactly how mean everyone was being. I wrote about four things on a cocktail napkin, which I didn’t even look at.

I found, though, that my biggest laugh came from the small-dick theme of jokes, started by the other three roasters.

I said, “I don’t want to say Sam has a small dick, so I’ll just say this. Button on a fur coat.”

After the roast, the judges did the interviews. Robyn and I went and found a Mexican restaurant and hung out for a bit.

The judges were “Mama” Sandy Reinhardt out of the west coast, Sir Greg from Indianapolis, the current International Mr. Olympus Leather, Michael Gaines, whom I first remember meeting years back at a dungeon in Chicago for a friend’s collaring ceremony, Scott O’Brien (your Favorite SOB), current Mr. Missouri Leather, Michael Messer, current Mr. Exile Leather.

Ms Tammy had asked me to do a skit with her there as part of the entertainment and had an idea for a skit, but given my level of OCD about such things, I wrote a “script” for it and padded it out, fleshed it into a sort of story, and we did that, with Ches and boy jonathan.

It got a big laugh, and let’s just say that it involved the two of us “hiding” behind curtains and a drape held in front of us while we watch Ches beat jonathan. In the end, we make a bargain to share in the fun, but it turned out that maybe we weren’t as innocent as we implied.

We had three contestants, Russ Coulter, a friend of mine, Jack Lundy, and Todd Maynard. The emcee for the contest was Dominick Zurlo. John David Elam was back in town for the event, too, so it was nice to see him there. Sir Rick and boy joe were there as well. Chris Johnson was the tally person, and it was nice to see him, too.

Gabriel was the ASL interpreter, as he often is, and it’s always good to see him. He is one of my “children,” in that he holds a title I conferred, Bluegrass Leather Pride Bootblack.

I was also asked to auction off the contestant baskets, which was fun and we did well. The key is always to set up alliances, offer incredulous comments like, are you going to let her get away with that, are you going to let him take that basket back to the hell hole that is western Kentucky, etc.

You also remind them it’s “for the children,” which I will never hear or say without thinking of Randall Kinnear auctioning off items and telling us it was “for the children.”

Anyway, as I noted, Todd was named the new Mr. Bluegrass Leather. Ms Tammy was the winner of the Connell-Stanley award.

Mama also paid me the compliment of asking me to become part of Mama’s Family, so I’m thinking of names.

At the moment, I’m partial to Mama’s Party Dominatrix.

What do you think?

(This post will also be available on the Chicago Den’s wordpress blog, here: http://www.chicagoden.net/2012/10/24/mr-bluegrass-leather-2012-2/)

Fringed

We had a Board meeting tonight for Fringe Elements.

We’re putting on a play party on November 30, but we’ll be doing some different things, too. We’ll have more vendors this time, for one.

We’ll have a kinky Santa available to have pictures taken with, either on his lap or across it, complete with kinky elf and Ms Clause. I believe the names assigned were Santa-Homo and Panty Clause.

The gay guy playing Santa, Josh, came up with the Santa-Homo name, no letters, please.

I have claimed my holiday identity of Candy Cane. You know my fondness for canes, after all.

We’ll have a bootblack, and play equipment, and some silent auction items, as well as another bake sale, because everyone, after all, likes cookies.

I’ll also be presenting Earned Leather there. It’s something I think is important to do in front of the community, and I think this will be a good place to do it.

It’s always fun to brainstorm that kind of an event, because we have so many ideas. Normally we have to, pardon the pun, restrain ourselves from doing too much.

In any case, if you’re within driving distance, you should circle the date on your calendar and come and join us.

I believe that Candy Cane will be offering her three blows for a buck again, too.

Blows with the cane, that is.

You people have dirty minds.

Questions for Dominants Review

I was surprised when I just looked to find that I seem to have gone through all my questions. I don’t know if that’s good or bad that I didn’t know.

I think this was at least an interesting exercise for me. I don’t know that it was particularly enlightening for anyone else, but it you pays your money and you takes your chances, as they say.

I suspect I might do a similar sort of thing again in a bit, but I’ll probably focus on a different topic, like relationships or community. We shall see.

I haven’t finished processing the weekend yet, so I’ll give that another day to stew around.

We’ll do another party for the community center, Fringe Elements. It should be a fun event, and we’ll meet tomorrow to plan it. The last one went well and we’ve made some improvements for the next time.

We’ll do a renovation – repainting, a few small changes – in the dining room so I’ve been packing up dishes.

It’s amazing how many connections your dishes have. My good dishes are a pattern called The Friendly Village on which I have served many many holiday dinners. I have silver pieces that remind me of someone, or some place.

I have a couple of children’s mugs I’ve had since I was a year or two old, china mugs with a small figure formed in the bottom, a cat in one, a dog or a bear, I forget which now – in the other. You can to drink all your milk to see the figure, of course.

I suppose if you look at it in a certain light you could also watch them drowning in milk, too, but let’s assume it’s the former.

I have dishes and serving pieces that were wedding gifts to me and drew. One of my favorites is a white piece, which looks like a giant oak leaf, with two white birds perched on one end.

Another one is a checkerboard casserole dish with a whimsical handle, something from my old Lesbian friend Marie. It’s really very much my taste, interesting pattern, a fancy finial of a handle.

I love vases, I really might try and get rid of some when I put things back, take stock on what duplicates what and what’s so similar there’s no point.

I have vases I’ve had 25 years or more, one lovely vase is a tall slim one, with a lovely etched wave that sweeps up the side. It was a gift from my Lesbian friend Lynnie, though if you have been reading long you know it’s really my ex-friend, but nonetheless.

I have a beautiful square glass cake stand, something I found at a yard sale to benefit the local Tai Chi centers. I paid the ridiculous-to-me price for it, a whole $12.

A few weeks later I found the very same one on my sister-in-law’s counter and commented on it. She had found it at an antique store lately and from the sour face she took on, I suspect she paid several times that.

I still have a bit of packing to do, a few vases, a couple of awkward pieces, the kinds of things you leave until the end because they don’t really FIT anywhere. Some things didn’t have to be packed, they just had to be set on the floor or in the garage – it’s only going to be disarranged for a week or two, I hope, though I still have to get the replacement chandelier, but I think I know what I want.

And now it’s late enough that I should be thinking of bed, so on that housekeeping note…