Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Real Post, Sort Of

All right, so I am here and more or less back to normal.

I haven’t unpacked, of course.  I’m still working on pictures, but I’m closer now.

I’m still processing, I think.

One of the things that was funny was how many people from Louisville were at International Mr. Leather.

We left for Chicago about 1 or so.  Chicago traffic is always challenging, though I was not driving, which is always a plus to me.

I went with Jay and Karen, my Leather SIR and Leather Ms.  Neither of them had ever been to IML before.

We were staying a ways out because I had gotten a deal on a hotel room, thanks to a friend.  We were going to at least see how the train worked, and it did work pretty well for the first two days, though taking a train limits what you can do and wear, so the third night we paid exorbitant parking rates and it was worth it.

We got checked in and by the time we had gotten to the hotel and changed and figured out the trains and actually got to the hotel it was too late for me to get my press credentials, which was fine anyway.

We walked around the hotel for a few minutes, which is packed virtually to the rafters with hot gay guys who are, if not fully naked are somewhere between half and three quarters naked.

We had not eaten on the way up, so Karen and I went to dinner.  We walked a block or two to a grill and were having a very nice meal when Karen said, as someone walked by, “Isn’t that Chris?  Donald’s Chris?”

I looked up and indeed it was Donald’s Chris and Donald, too, and another friend or two of ours as well.

You have to come to Chicago to see your friends, I suppose.

We didn’t do a lot that night, we went back to the hotel for a bit after dinner, had a drink, talked to more hometown folk we saw, as well as some out of towners I don’t often see.

Eventually I will catch up on sleep.

More tomorrow.

Attracting a Partner, Part 2

I had a comment asking about something I’d planned to address, too, so I’m going to go ahead and do that now.

What I want to address is monogamy.

I think that there are two things that you can’t really compromise on and be happy about, and those are children and monogamy.

If you want children, agreeing not to have them to please someone else, or having them because someone else wants you to, That’s something so intrinsic, I think, to who you are that compromising on it is something that you can’t reconcile, truly, within yourself.

Monogamy is like that, too, though there are some differences.  Children are an either/or situation.  You either have children or you don’t.

Monogamy is not like that.

There are a millions flavors of monogamy, and nearly as many definitions.

I think it’s important to know why you have the expectations about monogamy that you have.

For some people it’s because it’s what they know.  Most of us had monogamous parents, or at least parents who projected monogamy.  When there was NOT monogamy, it was usually due to a secret affair that was followed by pain and recrimination.

For some people it’s more about insecurity than anything else, the sense that if you love someone else, you are not able to love me, too.  We have to remember that love and affection are not finite; we do not have a limited amount of those things.

You do not have to take away from one to give to another.

It’s more like dipping a pail in the ocean.  You can fill a pail a million times, and the ocean will still be full.

On the other hand, I also recognize that non-monogamy is not for everyone.  For some people, it eats their hearts away.

I think a submissive or slave has a right to require monogamy in their relationships, in the same way that they have the right to set other limits, like being unwilling to change jobs or turn control of money over to another person.

And, as a dominant or Master, I have the right to refuse to offer it.

What I don’t have the right to do is say that I offer it, and then not, just as a submissive doesn’t have the right to say they accept it, when they don’t.

I think every relationship calls for honesty between the participants.  I think there is a huge difference between non-monogamy and cheating.

I think it happens because submissives may feel they have no other choices, if they want a dominant.  They say they can accept it, and in the end, they cannot.

It’s important to remember that there is a difference between sex and play, and that’s just the most basic topics that are usually on the table in a discussion about monogamy versus non-monogamy.

And then there are a myriad of discussions about both sex and play.

If you’re discussing sex, what does sex mean to you?  You might choose to limit all sexual activity, or any activity when you’re not together, or that intercourse is off-limits, but oral sex is ok, or that a dominant acting on a submissive to the pleasure of the submissive is ok, or that sex with toys is ok, or not.

If you’re talking about play, then what kinds of play are you talking?  Is a birthday spanking at a party ok, but a private play session not?  What about a play session with someone you’d not be interested in having sex with – someone of the same sex, for instance, if you’re not gay?

You really have to start defining your terms.

I think you have to believe, too, that you have a right to find what you want, but I think, too, you have to accept that your requirements are likely to limit your pool.

And please remember to update your bookmarks for my new home on the web, which you can find here.

Alarms at Night

So, last night I am sleeping soundly, as you might expect, given that it was 4am.

I wake up, slowly, trying to figure out what that sound is.

You know how it is, you’re half-groggy, and it is January, not exactly tornado season.

I spent probably five minutes at least coming awake, trying to figure out what I’m hearing.

Finally, I say to slave drew, “Are those sirens?”

“I think so…”

“Are they TORNADO sirens?”

About then, we both sort of wake up enough to realize that they are, indeed, tornado sirens.

We get up and turn on the television upstairs.  Yes, tornado sirens.  Yep, we’re having what seems to be a hellacious storm, passing over Louisville.

We are warned repeatedly to take shelter, but nothing is HAPPENING around us.

After about 15 minutes, I said, “Let’s go downstairs, if we do need to go to the basement, better to already be downstairs…”

We never went downstairs, it never really got bad here.  It got bad all around us, but it was also a very fast-moving storm, traveling at something like 50+ miles per hour, they said, so it was over and gone before too long, but it still kept us up from 4am to 5am.

And then going back to sleep is not that easy afterwards.

So it was an earlier start than I’d planned on.

I went to the Wednesday Coffee, I had a friend who wanted advice and that was the easiest place to meet.

I chatted with a few people and then came home.

Tomorrow I have a meeting to talk to a venue owner.  We’ll see how it works out.

Friday is the Friday Munch.

Saturday I’ll be in Indy overnight to emcee a contest, then home again Sunday.

A busy week.

I need to do some work on Bluegrass, I need to sell tickets and figure out a schedule for classes and what classes I’ll have.

I need to do some followups on Great Lakes, too.

I also need to do some work on my new site, I needed to move to this site to accommodate some other ideas I want to put into place, so that’s in the works.

I need to respond to comments, and leave the ones I keep meaning to leave.

I need to clean off my desk, and touch base with a half dozen people, too.

So, I have more to do than I have time to do it, and there’s nothing at all unusual in that, is there?

Now, if there are just no more alarms at night.

If you don’t recognize the reference, by the way, which is admittedly vague, it’s from my favorite author, James Thurber, and from my favorite of his books.  You can find the story here.

Remember, too, to take a look at my NEW site on my OWN domain, which you can find here.

Update from Cookie Central

You know, I was thinking today, as I was making cookies, that it’s probably odd to many vanilla people, or would be if they read some of our blogs, and might even be strange to some kinky folks that we talk about so many non-kinky things in blogs.

I think for me, this is less about kink than it is about me, and being kinky, while a huge part of my makeup, is not the only thing I am.  I am always a kinky person, but not everything I do revolves around kink.

I probably view things a bit differently because I am kinky, but there is still the non-kinky stuff of life, like making cookies and doing laundry and going to the grocery.

It would be nice, I suppose, to have this life where I never had to deal with those things, where some nameless elf slaves did all that and I sat on the sofa eating bonbons and drinking perfect tea from a never-ending and always hot porcelain cup of tea.

Oh, and the bonbons have no calories.  If we’re dreaming, let’s dream big.

But, honestly, I *like* many of the details of housekeeping.

We had a Board meeting for Fringe Elements Thursday night and we ordered a pizza and some folks had brought sandwiches.  When we were done and they were getting ready to leave I had to insist that I would tidy up myself.

I know that’s hard for the last two that were there, jacki and Cerrin, both submissives who do, far more often than I ever ask or expect, wait on me and take care of me and make sure I have the things I like.

But I *like* that.  I like that 20 minutes or so at the end of that kind of evening, when you tidy things up and put things away and set the room to rights again.  It satisfies me, for whatever reason.

It also, to be fair, feeds my control freak side.  I make sure that the right things are in the trash versus the recycling.  I load the dishwasher and set the chairs back and admire my newly attractive dining room again, and notice the ornaments on my Scottie tree.

I should post a photo of that, shouldn’t I?

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Over the years, I’ve been given or have found so many Scottie ornaments that I usually do a tree with only those on it.  It’s about a three-foot tree.

So, anyway, that whole image of the dominant – and I think it’s usually the female dominant that is seen in that way – who doesn’t work, who has dozens of slavish sorts scurrying about, well, I don’t know any of the female dominant of my acquaintance who do that.

Most of us do at least some of the cooking, if not all, for instance.  I do all of my laundry, and the household laundry, and the laundry slave drew creates at my house.  I do a good part of the housecleaning, though slave drew would be more than happy to do more.

However, alas, that would create more work for me, often, because he has been known to throw out perfectly good condiments, for instance, without telling me until the two times a year when I want catchup and find then that I am actually out.

He’s also been known to “clean up” the bathroom, meaning he did, indeed, wipe the surfaces and even the items themselves…  Which are left for me to put back, when reorganizing my bathroom cupboard was not on my agenda.

So, some of the housecleaning I do is in self-defense, too.

slave drew does do cleaning whenever I ask, or if we’re having people over, he often does the vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms, etc., while I do the cooking and such.

I pick the jobs I want to do, generally, either because I like them or I don’t like others doing them, or because I’m the best suited.  But the same jobs still have to get done in a kink household as a vanilla household and unless one of those people doesn’t work at all, the tasks are probably going to be shared.

That was a little detour, wasn’t it?

So, I made seven different kinds of cookies today, though I have only baked cookies from four of them so far.

The cookies I baked are Santa’s Whiskers, Buttery Brown Sugar Slices on the square plate, and Chocolate Chip and a new recipe, Plantation Chews, which are on the triangular plate.

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I had forgotten that the Santa’s Whiskers can be crumbly, so sometimes you end up having to reshape them, but they still taste great.

The Buttery Brown Sugar Slices I am not, thus far, impressed with.  I only at about a third of one that broke, so I haven’t given it a great shot, but we’ll see what slave drew thinks of them, too.

The Chocolate Chip cookies are the recipe off the back of the chocolate chip bag with a couple adjustments which make them the absolute best of that variety.

Melt the butter first, and it has to be butter, even I, who will use other shortening in some cookies, only ever uses real butter in them.

Use twice the amount of vanilla extract that the recipe calls for, and do I have to say that you can’t use imitation vanilla extract?  I hope not.

Did you know you can make your own vanilla extract, too?  It is about as easy as anything and about a tenth of the price.

All vanilla extract is is alcohol and vanilla beans.  You can find vanilla beans in specialty stores – I got my last couple at Trader Joe’s for about $4 for two.

So, take a few vanilla beans, three or four, cut them in half long ways, then split them open with a sharp knife, exposing the little black seeds.  Drop them in a bottle and cover them with either vodka or bourbon.  I live in Kentucky.  I use bourbon.

Like cooking with wine, though, don’t use a liquor you wouldn’t drink.  It’s not worth it.

Shake it up, leave it to sit for about six weeks, shaking occasionally and there you have it, vanilla extract.

All right, now, I’m going to post the recipes for the plantation chews, which seem to be pretty fabulous, and call this a blog.

Plantation Chews
½ cup margarine (I actually doubled the amount of shortening because it was SO dry, and they turned out perfectly yummy – I dunno how they’d have been with half the amount, but there was no harm in doubling it, and no, there is NO flour.)
2 ¼ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups cornflakes, NOT crushed
1 ¼ cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 ½ cups walnut crumbs

Cream margarine and sugar until very fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Add dry ingredients and beat on high speed in mixer for 12 – 14 minutes. Scrape bowl often.
Scoop out cookies (a little smaller than a ping pong ball) and place on cookie sheet that is either Teflon coated or lined with parchment paper.
Parchment (silicone) paper is your best choice. Do not grease pan.
Flatten cookies with finger tips that are slightly moistened. The moisture will prevent your fingers from sticking to dough as you flatten the cookie dough.
Bake at about 350 F for 6 minutes. Rotate pan (front to back) to distribute heat and then bake a further 6 minutes.
Remove from oven and leave on pan until stiff enough to handle. They will be very soft when they first come out of the oven.
You may need to alter the baking time and temperature of your oven if you do not get a satisfactory result.
This was created by Auntie Crae’s Bakery in Churchill Square, which the resident Canadian tells me is an area in St. John’s in Newfoundland.

My Weekend – Part 1

So, I finally have time to talk about my very very busy weekend.

We have been preparing for our party for a month, at least.  It’s actually probably more work than one might think.  We don’t just decide to throw a party and then in a sort of 1930 Hollywood movie, the production number all comes together.

Can’t you see it?

The starlet rips off her square-shouldered pinafore and clunky-heeled shoes to reveal a patent bra top, super short skirt and thigh-high boots.

The hero’s bow tie morphs into a collar, and his clipboard into a paddle.

Their best friends – you know, the chubby, funny ones, the ones who would be played by Melissa McCarthy and Jack Black, would start wheeling out furniture, while singing something about Sweet Dreams or something.  I’m seeing Melissa in a latex nun costume and Jack in a leather hood and body suit.

The montage lasts about three minutes, and at the end, the dank barn is transformed into a techno play space, the cast is transformed into a crowd of well-dressed and well-behaved partiers, there is music and laughter and the movie ends with a kiss and a swat and a fade to black…

No, alas, it doesn’t work that way.

We have to plan it.  We have to have a location.  Musty barns don’t work.

We’ve been lucky to find a contact with a guy who owns a warehouse space he rents out to alternative groups, like swingers and rave groups, etc.  The first party we did there was a little more structured, and now that he’s used to us, that he knows how we work and that we do know what we’re doing, and he’s been really generous.

So, we have to find a location, and negotiate the date and the details.

Then we also have to find the furniture.  At this point we don’t have our own furniture, though we’ll probably start building some pieces.

I’m lucky to have a good relationship with a former leader of a group that has since disbanded and he’s been very generous in loaning us equipment.

But that also means we have to transport it, there and back.  I have to make arrangements with him, and the owner of the space, for time to set it up and break it down.

Then we have to figure out where things go, and put items together.

There’s also supplies – equipment cleaning supplies, waivers, soda and ice and paper goods and table covers and decorations and signage and silent auction sheets.  We use pens and tape and staples and scissors and the other kinds of office supplies you might need.

There’s a program to be written, particularly this time, because I was giving earned Leather, which I will also be talking back, if not tonight, then in the next day or two.

There were vendors to contact and confirm.  There was the setting up of the vendor area, seeing who is going to vend and where we will put them and do we have enough tables and chairs and the other things they’ll need.

There’s publicity – announcing events, talking them up, designing and creating flyers.

Then there’s the volunteers.  We have to have people to set up and take down the dungeon, people to man the door with waivers, checking ID.

There are people to monitor the dungeon, to clean up the space during and after, to man the t-shirt and raffle items, and then there’s the bake sale.  We do a bake sale at the event and that means getting people who donated baked goods.

So, there are weeks of planning before the actual event.

We started the setup on Thursday, and it went much better than the first time, mostly because we knew where things would go better this time.  We were even able to get the vendor areas set up and arranged, so that was helpful.

It took us about two hours all told.  I stopped on the way home to get some of the things we’d talked about needing.  I had already started a long list of things to take and remember and do and grab.

On Friday, I got my stuff together and headed out.  We spent a couple hours getting set up finalized, getting vendors set up and in place, and making sure everything was in place.

Then we opened doors and waited for the folks.

We had a great time.  We had about 115 people, and while more is always better,, we were very happy with the turnout and with the event in general.

We’d planned to start the program at 8:15 or so, but it got pushed back considerably.  People had trouble finding the location, which is pleasantly hidden away.  We had people from Cincinnati, from Indianapolis, vendors from as far away as Texas.

We were delighted to have a corset vendor, Steel Bones, who flew in from Texas with 700 pounds of inventory.  I know she flew home with considerably less, and a lot of people got corsets and other pieces.

We had Leather Thorn, who makes the more gorgeous tooled leather paddles.  Many of them are that lovely shade of caramel that you associate with saddle leather.  His work is genuinely some of the most beautiful I’ve seen.

We had Michwitch, who make wooden paddles, chain mail, and had a lot of ornaments, too.  I actually meant to get back and look at the ornaments, but I never quite made it.

We had Abraided, who makes drumsticks, floggers, whips and restraints.  He’s a local vendor, and my basement dweller.

We had Mr Malaprop, who came down from Columbus and makes lovely wooden paddles and some other interesting things, like Scrabble magnets that spell out the kind of things you might expect they would spell out.

We had Sir Markos Photography, who always does a wonderful job.  He took pictures with our own Santa, Josh, and company, Elf Devon and Panty Claus.  I got pictures taken with slave drew for Christmas and also some very funny ones with Elf Devon.  I’ll add them at the end.

Then there was a Leather presentation, which I think I’ll talk about tomorrow.  This is already long, and I’m only half way through Friday night.  There’s still the other half and the Louisville Munch and the Naughty or Nice event at the local men’s bar, Boots.

More to come.  The photos below are me and slave drew, and me and an unidentified but clearly naughty elf!

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Kink First – My First Event

I’ve talked before about my first event, which was Black Rose 10, in November of 1997.

It was called Black Rose 10 because it was a party to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Black Rose organization, out of Washington, D.C.

My submissive at the time was Bill, who lived outside Chicago and was some minor Republican elected official, one that sent him to Washington on a fairly regular basis.

Who knows, maybe he wasn’t so minor of an official.  If I could only remember anything other than Bill, I might be able to find out, but then, I’d have to be particularly interested, too, and I’m not, so there’s that.

Anyway, Bill spent enough time in D.C. that he knew about BR and knew about the party, and wanted to go and wanted me to go with him.

I don’t know what I expected, or what I knew about events.  I’d been to some local play parties, which I should talk about next, maybe, but anyway, I had some idea, I imagine, what was going to happen, what to expect, but only a vague idea.

So, we drove to D.C.  Bill took me to some expensive and lovely seafood restaurant on the bay.  I remember having some lovely lobster bisque, and craw fish, which Bill peeled for me.

It was the first time I’d been to D.C., so we did some of the things one does in D.C.  I remember going to the Lincoln Memorial and being really awed by the size of it and the grandeur.

We went to the FDR memorial, of course, because there’s a statue of Fala there.  It’s the only Presidential pet so honored.  Fala, of course, was a Scottish Terrier, and we know that I think it’s appropriate that a Scottish Terrier should have that distinction.

What I remember most, though, was going to the Vietnam Memorial and walking down along the wall, seeing the names, the trinkets and tokens tucked into the wall or left on the path beside it, people taking pencil etchings of names.

Bill was about 15 years older than I, I think, meaning he both remembered Vietnam well and had lost friends in it.  I remember he walked along the wall with me but didn’t really look at it, and he had tears on his face by the time we reached the end.

It was a gray, rainy day, and we walked over to the Vietnam Nurses Memorial, too, which was still fairly newly installed.  The picture I took there is one of my favorites that I’ve taken.

So, anyway, that was the D.C. portion of our tour.

Then we went to Black Rose.

It was, I think, in a Ramada, though over the years the hotels blur.

I remember I went to all the classes I could, and they were, almost without exception, really good classes.

I went to Sarah Lash’s Flogging Class.

I went to a panel on Edge/Fear play, that had sitting on it Joseph Bean, a lawyer named, I think, Rose, and a couple other people.

I went to a class by a guy who went by Big Mark on online presence that I found so unpleasant I walked out, but I took a class of his later, I think at a later Black Rose, on caning that was very very good.

I remember watching the S&M Olympics, and a Pet Tricks contest.

In the Pet Contest, what I remember was seeing some very cute girl who was a puppy.  She had her hair in what Beth always called “puppy ear” pigtails, and had a nose and some whiskers painted on her face.

I remember riding with her and her Owner on the elevator and she was totally in character, sniffing my feet and wagging her “tail” at me quite fetchingly.

There was, I think, some kind of agility contest and some obedience exercises, but then each pet – I think there were two or three – showed off their “special skill.”

Her skill was painting a self portrait, and it was so entertainingly done.

Her master gave her a paint brush, which she held in her mouth, and there was a palette on the ground.  He had put a little beret on her, as well, and she had a mirror into which she could look.

She “painted” with the brush in her mouth, dipping it into the palette, cocking her head, really hamming it up in the most charming way possible.  Finally, she was done and her master held up the finished work, an eight by ten photograph of the girl in her puppy persona, wearing a beret.

It was really adorable.

I saw the same girl later that night being suspended by Midori, in a sort of arabesque position, laughing and having a wonderful time.

There was a Bondage in a Bag contest, wherein each couple got a bag with the same random items, like 50 feet or rope, a 3″ wooden dowel, a set of chopsticks, a pair of shoelaces and a leather belt, all of which had to be used in a bondage rigging that the riggee could stand to remain in for a half hour or so.

There was a nipple clamp contest for who could take the most weight on, I assume, alligator clamps, the kind that tighten as you pull on them, and one for weight on balls.  There was a clothespin contest for who could stand the most on their body.

I met some people there, or at the next three Black Roses that are still around.  I met Joansie, I think, at one of the Black Roses, and just saw her in Chicago last month.

I met Mark, who wrote something I worked on editing, a piece I heard him read called, “Biker Nick.”

I met Greg, whom I have met perhaps a dozen times since, though each time he looks at me blankly and if there’s a reason to speak, he says it’s nice to meet me.

I met Frazier, who runs The Crucible public dungeon in D.C., and is an expert with a single tail.  He at least took part in the S&M Olympics, maybe won.

I met Midori there, or at least saw her the first time, though I likely didn’t meet her, really, until a few years later.  I certainly remember her, and I’ve had dinner with her in a group of people a few times, but we’re certainly no more than acquaintances.

I think I met Lolita Wolf there, too, or at least first ran into her there, another person with whom I have an acquaintance.

I met Goddess Lakshimi, and her slave, limey.  limey was drew’s best man at our wedding, and Goddess did a reading there, too.  Goddess dresses gorgeously always, and always wears jewelry.

I remember on our wedding day, she was wearing some dangling crystal earrings, which she took off and handed to me, saying, “You should be the only Goddess in the house today.”

I do remember walking into the dungeon the first time.

It was ENORMOUS.

They had taken over a parking garage, and my memory recalls that there were 113 pieces of equipment.

In retrospect, having arranged events myself now, that seems nearly impossible, but then, it was D.C., and it was a BIG event, something like a couple thousand people, I think.

I do have the program somewhere, I imagine, in a file cabinet in the basement, I should really look for it one of these days.

Anyway, I remember the first thing I saw was a person suspended via a LOT of fishhooks.

It’s one of the few times I have ever been shocked, honestly, at an event.

I have been surprised, been impressed, been sure something wasn’t for me, but I have rarely been shocked.  I don’t think I can honestly remember another time, in fact.

But part of it is, I don’t like needles, they are something that squicks me and always has, though I am less squicked now than I used to be, but still.

And this was 15 years ago.

But I remember looking up and seeing this and thinking, “Oh.  My.  God.  These people are *crazy!*

I am sure we played, because I like public play, and so did Bill, but I don’t remember that.  I do know it was certainly the biggest space in which I had ever played and the most people, too.

I do remember hearing all the people around me and the music, I remember that being a very intoxicating kind of environment, and it was still very new to me.  Events in general were still pretty new, though Black Rose 10 was not the first event ever, certainly.

I went to three more Black Rose events, 1998, 1999 and 2000, but none sense.  I had an opportunity to present there six or seven years ago, and that’s one place that I would have liked to present at, particularly at that time, but we couldn’t work out the various details, and then Black Rose had some issues mostly with locations, and they took a hiatus and their weekends kind of swapped around and I lost track, really, of which years it was held and when, October or November?

Since then, I’ve been to close to 100 events, large and small, and organized some all on my own, but that was the first event, and it was, as my mother would have said, a doozy.

(Sorry for the weird photo spacing, one of these days I’ll actually bother to learn the software here…)

Advice

There have been a number of books written detailing the best piece of advice a person ever received.

That advice ranged from always wearing clean underwear to never going on a date without cab fare home to visiting the ocean at least once a year.

I was lucky enough to have a very wise friend a long time ago.  He gave me a number of pieces of advice, ones that I find still find myself repeating, both to myself and others.

The best piece of advice he gave me was “We are, all of us, works in progress.”  It was a reminder that we were never done evolving, that even the best of us were not perfect, that we were truly a work in progress.

The next best was, “Nothing is wasted.”

Everything prepares us for the next thing.

Our lives are linear; we cannot get from one point to the next without passing through all the stages in between.

Nothing is wasted.  We learn from it, we gain insight and understanding, we develop scars to remind us of the lessons.

Every experience has value.

Nothing is wasted.

I think the best advice is advice that we use in our daily lives, advice that causes us to think, or shakes something loose in our minds, allowing us to see something familiar in a new way.

Sometimes the thing we see is ourselves.

Sometimes we are hesitant to give advice, even when we’re asked for it.

We have this sense that giving advice makes it seem that we believe ourselves to be experts, or that the person we’re giving the advice to is obliged to take it, which is untrue.

Sometimes advice is one of those things that you give as best you can, and then let go of, knowing that the person you’ve given it to might, or might not, follow it.

Sometimes what we would do is not what another person CAN do, for whatever reason.

On the other hand, being unwilling to give advice might do a larger disservice.

Maybe it will turn out to be the best advice someone else has heard, too.

Wednesday Coffee

I went to the Wednesday Coffee gathering tonight, where I was collecting food for the I ♥ it in the Can – Kentucky food drive.

This is the second year I’ve done that, but I’ve often raised money or other donations for different groups.  I’ve raised money for animal shelters and anti-hunger agencies, women’s shelters and AIDS/HIV shelters.

I’ve never kept track of how much, but it’s quite a bit now, probably over $25k over the years, I’d guess.

Anyway, it was perfectly pleasant, and I got quite a few donations there for both Kentucky Harvest and the Animal Care Society, a no-kill shelter.

Someone had brought quite a bit of donations, and told me that it was more than she could carry, and she either seemed to think that I would make her carry it, or I would carry it myself from car to car.

I said, “Oh, I can round up a few pairs of hands, just let me know when.”

About a half hour later she was ready, so I stood up and said to the group of 30-35 people, “Can I have a couple of volunteers to carry some things?”

I think ten people started to stand up and I ended up with five or six people.

My sole contributions were unlocking my car and having snagged the parking spot right in front of the venue, and I can live with that.

The dining room is painted, and I am now in the process of unpacking what got packed up before the project, and also unpacked four boxes of dishes and kitchen things that had been packed for a long time, though they weren’t large boxes, either.

I found some things I’d been looking for, so that was good.  It will take a bit to get it all back together because I want to actually unpack everything and put like with like.  I have silver that’s not been polished in too long, and all the dishes need to be washed, too, because they are at the very least dusty.

I plan to go to drew’s lake house for a couple days over the weekend.  I’ve not been there in too long and Amish country is on the agenda.  It should be really pretty.

In the meantime, however, it’s past my bedtime.

Respect II

So, the issue was respect.  I had said that I realized that not everyone would approve of me or my choices, past and present.

I said I was, in fact, “a virtual immorality trifecta.”

I did like that turn of phrase.

So, I can’t control someone’s opinion of me.  All I can do is decide for myself what is right and wrong and behave accordingly.  The opinion anyone else holds of me is irrelevant.

What is relevant is my opinion of myself.  I have to look myself in the eyes every night, and wake up to myself every morning.  I know all my worst qualities, the pettiness and unkindness that lives there, as it does with anyone.

You know that part of yourself you don’t like to admit to.  I’m reminded of Scrooge’s explanation of Marley’s ghost: “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

So, anyway, we all have our demons and one of the things that is different for us, I think, is we are more likely to invite our demons and dark passengers to the party.

We know we want to play in the blood, we just find ways to make it happen, within certain parameters.

One of the things that I have always believed about this lifestyle is that it is a proving ground for one’s personality.

As a dominant, I can have enormous power over others.

There are those who would gladly accept abuse from me, would beg me for things I could not give, at least not while maintaining my self-respect.

We should judge ourselves by how we treat those whom we may treat any way we choose.

Do we take advantage of those who are weaker, simply because we can?

Do we mistreat those who want to be mistreated?  Not those who want to submit, not those who are masochists, but those who, because of some belief that they deserve no better, want to be mistreated, damaged or injured?

Do we allow power to corrupt us, allow egotism to blind us to our faults?

I believe a good dominant walks a tightrope constantly, balancing what they can do against what they should do.

If you do not constantly and unblinkingly assess your own motives and actions, if you do not put the well-being of those who entrust themselves to you over your own preferences and pleasures, if you do not rise above the potential corruption of power, you don’t deserve the title of Master.

You deserve even less to have artificial acts of respect accorded to you.

Honor is not something that applies to others but not to ourselves.

It is more than a concept to be claimed by your words and belied by your actions.

Honor is not doing something simply because it would be wrong.

It is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

Respect isn’t lists of rules and demands.

It isn’t something only dominants deserve or only submissives should offer.

The state of being a living, breathing creature alone earns you a certain level of respect.  Being alive is a miracle of nature, a gift of divinity, however you define that term.  That touch of the divine alone earns you the simple dignity of basic respect.

Above and beyond that, respect is earned and we would all be better served by concentrating more on the respect we give and less on the respect we believe we are owed.

Respect I

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Take care, TCB…

So, I was thinking about respect.  We make that such a tenet of our construct here, and respect is one of our cornerstones.

Everybody wants respect.  Sometimes, anyway.

Respect is not a lengthy list of specific rules and regulations centering on how you expect to be treated.

It’s a reflection of the way you feel about other people as demonstrated by your behavior towards them.

By the same token, honor is not an empty term to be dusted off as convenient then returned to the shelf when it comes to one’s own behavior.

I cannot control the actions of the general public, nor do I plan to try.

I cannot walk around with a rule book that I pass out before someone speaks to me so they are certain to afford me the respect I have decided I deserve tendered to me in precisely the way I want it, regardless of how far beyond the bounds of expected behavior those rules may be, even within our own community.

What I can do is treat others courteously and hope they afford me the same in return.

I can demonstrate what I think is appropriate behavior by my own example.

I don’t need to know whether someone is a submissive or a dominant, whether they are collared or free.  They are human beings and as such deserve a certain level of courtesy and respect.

It’s amazing how true it is that one gets what one gives, and how effective it is to treat others as you would have them treat you.

I like people and I hope that shows in the way I interact with them.

I like dominants, I like submissives, I like switches.

I like men and women both.

I’m far from Mother Teresa; there are certainly those who try my patience or for whom I have a certain dislike or contempt.

However, I still try to treat those people in a courteous manner until such time as they demonstrate to me without question that they neither deserve that treatment nor intend to give me the same in return.

Doing otherwise lessens me.

Exhibiting courtesy is less about the person to whom you exhibit it and more about yourself and your own standards of behavior.

I find it interesting that those who seem obsessed with respect and honor are concerned exclusively with the actions of others, giving little thought or consideration to how they themselves behave.

I don’t believe I can require anyone to tender me respect if I don’t offer it to him or her in return.

If you don’t respect me, I can’t make you.  If you don’t respect me, calling me “Ma’am,” or “Mistress,” or even “Your Highness” doesn’t confer it.

By the same token, waving a banner of honor while behaving in a manner that is in itself dishonorable seems to me a convenient means of avoiding responsibility for one’s own actions.

It’s not my place to decide what respect I deserve from others, or to demand it beyond a certain level of common courtesy that I expect from anyone, vanilla or D/s.

All I can do is behave in a manner that maintains my own respect for myself.  Respect for others begins there.  If I do that and you still treat me badly, then the fault and the error are yours, not mine.

My self-respect stems from my own sense of honor and ethics.

My own particular moral code would not be approved of by many.

My lifestyle choice alone would be equally condemned by many and would automatically make me immoral and/or dishonorable in their eyes. I am kinky, and poly, and have had homosexual relationships.

I am a virtual immorality trifecta.

And on that note, given that again, I have run long, I’m going to say goodnight.  Look for the other half of this tomorrow.