Wednesday, June 30, 2010

HNT -- For all you night owls out there

Happy HNT to all of you out there in the blogosphere!

Lately, I've been feeling a bit like a late-night talk-radio DJ -- listening to your stories, sharing a few of my own. It's really hard to find good, sexy talk radio. Most of what passes for sexy is just plain sappy; there's no room for raw lust partnered with real love or for a rockin' good time with just plain good friends.

For those of you who want to know, I have a Southern accent and am very quick to laugh. I'd like to think my tone is low and sexy, but that's mostly wishful thinking. ;)

Don't forget to check out the rest of the Half-Nekkid-ness over at Osbasso's place!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday ramblings and revelations

First, I just have to share this flower. I love blue flowers (my yard is FULL of them, from Plumbago to Blue Daze) and this field of blue was on the trail where I ride my bike every morning. Pretty, ain't it? I love finding and photographing flowers; every time I feel like I'm the first one to have ever stopped to see it, to appreciate its beauty. I know I'm not, but it's like the revelation of that particular moment is just for me.

Anyway, I gotta tell y'all, I love reading your blogs! It's sort of like the flowers, I know I'm not the only one but sometimes it feels like it's just for me!

Sometimes it's the adventures, sometimes the photos (both the naughty and the nice), sometimes it's the humor. There are times though when it's the challenges faced; I feel a connection, a "yeah, I been there, Buddy" kind of vibe. On occaision I've encountered the "holy shit, there's some crazy in the world!" Some of you seem to write what's in my head, as if you have some super-human knowledge that trancends time and space. On more than one occaision, people have written something that has completely changed my point of view, or at least given me a new perpective to consider. Sometimes it's answer-seeking -- I've combed some of y'all's past posts looking for specific solutions or points of view on issues I or we've been dealing with.

And other times, it's a celebration! Like this series of posts over at my girl Minority Report's place. I admit it's odd, but when I read this post I truly felt gleeful! And then I thought, "Good gravy, Ivey! Your all happy-dappy because some woman you don't even know (and her husband) had an enjoyable sexual experience! What's up with that? Are you turning into a creepy voyeur?!"

And then I thought "No, it's because I care about this person." I know sex and sexuality is a thread in my blogroll, but I wasn't giddy because the woman got laid; I was happy because she had success with something that has been troubling her. The important elements of the story (to me as the faithful follower) were the joy, relief, fun, humor (the dog is fine, MR), and hope conveyed in the words. And I got to share those wonderful feelings because she chose to share the story with us.

Reading the comments that followed the post, I reminded I'm not the only one enjoying the flower. Support and encouragement came in from all over the country -- a community.

Shifting the topic a bit, Vince and I had a lovely date the other day. It started with a rousing round of after lunch sex (we are self-employed, ya know) then we went to a late afternoon movie ("Get him to the Greek" -- two thumbs up!), drinks afterwords at a Cigar bar, then a fantastic Italian dinner al fresco, then home for some more hawt luvin'!

All that was fun but I think the coolest thing was our conversation. Of course there was the usual Vince / Ivey funny banter stuff -- we do that all the time -- but we also talked about things that would've been unheard of 18 months ago but that have made both of our lives richer, fuller, more fun, more open (at least with each other), and the cause of a considerable amount of personal growth. We talked about my on-line and real life friendships, some that include some not-so-societally-acceptable benefits, and the enjoyment that those relationships bring to BOTH our lives. We talked about Vincent's recent foray into the world of on-line flirting and the enjoyment as well as increased confidence it brings. We talked about how much I LOVE not only the idea of him having flirty relationships with other women but the reality of it as well.

We talked about our real and recent sexual adventures -- what worked, what didn't, what we'll do different in the future if and when the opportunity arises -- but mostly about how it's almost as if the sex is simply one avenue to expand the richness of life, one among many choices that we will continue to make as we grow old together.

We also talked about where we draw our lines, how we maintain both primacy as each other's partners as well as independence as distinct human beings.

This journey has been a hell of a ride! :) And there are plenty of pretty flowers to be found everywhere!

So this post is really about the joy of sharing, of connecting: with fellow bloggers who are part of a wider community, some of whom I've grown to know, even though I don't really know them at all. Some who have, through correspondence become friends, some are becoming good friends who have crossed the line between my blogger persona and into my "real" life. The increased richness between my husband and myself and of a trust and joy that is light-years beyond what I ever thought possible. Watching his confidence and openness grow -- at his own pace and in his own way -- separate from yet united with me.

And the ultimate -- connecting with my true self, my nature as a caring, loving, sexual, intellectual, artistic, adventurous person. I'm a better wife, artist, writer, and friend.

Thank you all for your inspiration.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Catching up is hard to do

Finally! A Saturday morning to leisurely peruse my favorite blogs, comment here and there, linger over some sexy, sexy, OMG so fucking sexy HNT photos and generally indulge my wandering mind. It's still quite eventful around here so rather than my usual singular long tale I'm going to steal an idea from my girl Emmy and just go for the bullets.

In random order:
  • Health update. I may have mentioned previously that the docs have ruled out the big scaries (MS, Lupus, etc.) and right now the smart money appears to be on -- you guessed it! -- Fybrobyalgia. The pains still come and go with maddening regularity and frustrating unpredictability. Left foot today? Right arm tomorrow? Hands? Neck? WTF. But because this particular ailment is diagnosed by elimination of other maladies I'll be having a few more tests done to rule out a few other slightly more unlikely possibilities like arthritis or other inflammatory disease. One thing I have noticed through keeping a log is that stress and tension seems to precipitate an episode. But I'm no yoga/meditation girl. I like to fight so getting back to karate is a MUST. Vince agrees with this statement whole-heartedly!

  • Speaking of stress, I've had a wonderfully stressful week. I'm usually hesitant to talk about this particular thing because it is so identifying but as I said a few posts ago, I just gotta be me! I opened a play on Thursday. Some of you know I used to make my living as an actor but I haven't been on-stage in a legitimate play since before I got married. The emotions of this have been thrilling and terrifying. Have I still "got it?" Will I remember my lines? OMG what if I go up? (FYI -- "go up" is what happens when you're on stage and suddenly your mind goes abso-fuckin'-lutely blank. Ya got nuthin'. Nuthin' at all to say and everyone I do mean everyone is staring at you and nothing is coming back. It's an awful feeling, to say the least.) But the show opened and yours truly was mentioned in a very positive light. The audience response too has been wonderful. But my friend's in the theater community have been the best. These are people who know good work and their comments have been nothing short of inspiring.

  • The play itself is quite a complicated piece, emotionally and politically. Without going into too much detail, it is about Iraqi women. The research alone has been enraging and gut churning, but to go on stage night after night and rip your soul apart conveying a sense of loss and rage so deep that only the coldest of the cold could dismiss is exhausting. And my beloved Vince, not wanting to spoil the play for himself, wanted me to not tell him too much about it. So for the past few weeks I've been a bit, ahem, troubled. Gender, religion, war, death, justice, injustice and just what the fuck do you do about it? Anyway. Too much to go into here. Too, too much.

  • We had a "date"! :) Last Saturday evening we finally met up with a couple that I've mentioned before that we found through our swinger website. Since we've learned our lesson about just meeting someone for the first time at a restaurant or bar we invited them to come catch a set at the club where Vince's band was playing. On the upside, it makes it easier since we're going to be there anyway. On the downside, since Vince is technically working he only has a few minutes between sets to see if he likes these people or not and he doesn't get to know them well, just a first impression. We also have to be VERY discrete since his co-workers are around and we really want to keep these worlds separate. We'll probably see them again after my play closes. She was cute 'n sexy and he was my kind of good lookin'. I don't know what it is about the sandy-haired white boys but I do think they are hot, hot, hot! In addition they were both very funny and certainly seemed to like us. Anyway, it was a real informal meet and greet type thing but it went well and we can see some potential for "something" happening here. :)

  • Just what that something is though, is TBD. Now ya'll know me, I'm a "oh hell yeah, let's get it ON" kinda gal. Vince, is still my much more reserved and dignified loving partner. We want to meet them again over a game of pool or something where we can actually talk and Vince can get to know them a little bit. If that goes well, what we're probably going to do is see if these folks are interested in taking things kind of slow with us. Possibly some GG and same room and maybe a little soft swap only if everything is going well. They may not be and that's a problem. They've been in the Lifestyle 10 years and were actually swingers before they got married. It is simply a part of their lives. On the Lane it's still all new and can be a bit intimidating. Anywhooo.... it certainly could be real fun if we can just get out of our own way.

  • I have a love/hate relationship now when it comes to reading the real-life exploits of people I've grown to know through their blogs. Part of me lives vicariously; enjoying not only the events but the way they choose to express in writing the visceral sensations of sex, the ideas explored, the fantasies made flesh, the inner desires satisfied or at the very least, experienced. The other part of me is green, green, GREEN with envy. Envious Ivey. That's me. See, I am blessed with a staggering imagination, one so gripping I can actually feel the sensations and emotions that I conjure up to match the narrative. I don't know if it's a talent that makes me a good actor or if because I'm an actor I've developed that skill but either way, when I read your stories I get a physical jolt out of them. I always thought everyone was the same way.

  • So, though I am thoroughly satisfied and happy with Vince and my sex life together, I do have fantasies that I'd like to fulfill that cannot be accomplished without the involvement of other people -- female people, male people. People who share my interest in exploring the wider range of their sexuality. I have had fantasies of group sex, lesbian sex, multi-male sex, light bondage and slightly sub/dom sex, since I can remember fantasizing about sex. All I need is a reasonably attractive, nice partner(s) who share the same desire.

  • Vincent is actually the opposite. Part of what we've discovered on this journey of mutual exploration -- and probably the most surprising thing to me -- is that he simply has never had these types of out of the norm sexual fantasies. The thought of him with two women? Never crossed his mind till I suggested it. Group sex? Not on his radar and still a surreal idea. Mild nor wild bondage? Nope. Role play? Nada. It's not that he's turned off by any of this; he was simply never been turned on. He doesn't have these types of fantasies, his curiosity isn't driven that direction. At all. So, in our foray into the world of swinging (god, we hate that term), what we've discovered is that I am simply revealing a part of myself that has always been there but that I've repressed -- an experience seeking sexual adventurer. Vincent is searching for or trying to develop something that he's never considered or been. Two people, one path, VERY different journeys.

So, ladies and gents of the blogosphere, that's where my head's been lately. That and enjoying reading your posts, finding a few friends along the way, visiting your lives, learning about my own, figuring out how to build the life I'm want without burning down the one I have.

Forward, forward I say! Not one step back.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

HNT -- A matter of taste

Happy HNT everyone!

As most of you already know, I consider my entry into sexual exploration very new; I often refer to it as "baby steps." And like a toddler, eager to explore the world, I want to experience everything!

Right now I think I'm in a tasting phase -- I want to put everything in my mouth.

Check out the rest of the Half-Nekkid-ness over at Osbasso's place!

All the best,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monsters in the dark

Yes, yes, yes..... I haven't written much for a while. The thing is though, it's not that I don't have much to say. I have too much. And my carefully considered plan to have my blog as an outlet to let my "Inner Voice" run free has run into some irritating existential snags. See, some people write nice short here's-my-day notes and move on. They write to announce something or maybe share a cool observation or a little rant. I write to organize and focus a chaotic and ignorant mind.
So here's the thing, dear readers, I have to write this shit down. I just do. If I don't, my life spirals into deeper chaos and confusion. But writing more plainly and fully has risks -- exposure, well intentioned but unwelcome advice, surface sympathy or worse, an absence sympathy.

Okay. Here goes. The reason I haven't been writing much lately is because there is something wrong with me, something not good. A few months ago I started experiencing strange pains. At first, the pain seemed to be confined to my knees; and that sucked but it was certainly understandable. I ride a bike, work out, take karate, etc. An injury every now and again in a 43 year old female body is to be expected. Right?

But soon it became apparent (after trips to the doc, X-rays, etc.) that there was no injury; just pain. Debilitating pain. Unable to fuckin' walk pain. When I could, I'd ride my bike but karate was out and I thought the poor equipment at my new gym was partially to blame so I quit lifting. So I self-medicated with wraps and braces and Tylenol and Advil.

Let me talk about the doc for a second too. After the tests revealed nothing, the doc immediately told me that my problem was "lack of strength." I refer you to two paragraphs above. I may not be thin, but I'm one strong, fit woman. Yet Dr. Dickwad didn't believe me. With a patronizing pat on the head he said -- and I'm not making this shit up -- "well, maybe you think you're working out hard or correctly, but your probably not." And with that handed me a sheet with leg exercises requiring two pound dumbbells (I do squats with 20s and 35s in each hand), leg presses with 50 pounds (my current leg press is around 230), and leg extensions with 15 (I do 125.)

I also regularly do 100 roundhouse kicks, per leg, followed by 100 jumping jacks, followed by three 2-minute rounds of sparing under the watchful eye of a damn near perfect sensei.


But I digress. About two months ago, the pain changed. It was no longer in my knees, it is now a weird, random pain that strikes my extremities in no particular order and can be absolutely paralyzing. One day, I was unable to lift my right arm. Another, my hands were in such pain I couldn't hold a pencil, type, or even undress myself, Vince had to do it for me. Sometimes it's my feet which hurt so bad I can barely stand. Another day, it will be a pain in my neck so bad I cannot turn my head left or right. Sometimes, it's just a finger but I'm unable to move it without excruciating pain.

And it comes and goes almost instantly. Thursday of last week, I woke up and my right leg was in severe pain every time I moved; I could barely walk and my husband had to help me up and down stairs. By 4 o'clock, it vanished. Yesterday my left arm was no longer functioning by the time I went to bed and I was unable to sleep because every time I moved, it woke me up.

And then I'll have a couple of days where everything feels normal. Then.... wham! Whatever could be causing this?

Let me tell ya folks, the Internet ain't your fuckin' friend in these circumstances. These symptoms fit the following: MS, Addison's Disease, Lupus, Lime Disease, brain tumor, brain cancer, and that's just a few of the jolly notions floating around.

I'm not one to assign a cause without evidence but getting the "evidence" for a diagnosis opens up a whole other ball of wax -- our fucking health care and insurance system, and I use the term system sarcastically.

Vince and I have private health insurance which is not only expensive it also carries very high deductibles. $3000 each, plus 50% on the next $5500 per year which means that before our insurance -- whose premiums have increased fuckin' 40% per year -- pays a fuckin' dime we pay out of pocket $5250 per year, per person. fNo office visit co-pays, just the bill -- which may show up months, if not years later with a note saying "you failed to pay XX amount at the time of service so you now owe us..... blah, blah, blah." Anyway, chasing down a mystery pain is crazy expensive.

If that wasn't enough, even though we have a plan that doesn't require a referral from a primary care physician, no specialist will make an appointment without a preliminary diagnosis from our PCP because they don't want to "waste their time." That means we have to pay for 3 or 4 visits with a doctor who isn't equipped to deal with this problem, with the subsequent delays that causes, before I can even try to get an appointment with a specialist.


Anyway, all of this is offered in a small way to explain why I haven't been writing or commenting much lately. Needless to say, there hasn't been much "sexy, swinging stuff" going on, and the fact that people STILL don't respond to email is another post for another time. Also, I'm having a hard time getting into the conversations, I just feel like I don't have much to add.

And finally, I'm scared shitless. Seriously. This isn't right and it's not "nothing." It's something and we have no idea what other than the potential physical disasters I mentioned earlier.

I've told almost no one about this; certainly none of my real life friends and almost none of my family. It's not because I'm protecting them from worry. I'm protecting myself from their dumb-ass speculation, nagging, and criticism regarding what I've done to precipitate this.

"Oh, Ivey, they can't be that bad. Tell them. They may surprise you! {{hugs}}" Oh, STFU. I know 'em a little better than you and they are all, to a man and woman, nothing if not predictable in their schadenfreude. I, sadly, remain mystified at what it must be like to have a family that actually enjoys and supports one another. Mine does not. End of story.

I'm heading out in about an hour to my next doctors appointment. The latest round of lab work came back "normal" so the good news is that it's nothing that could be discovered via blood tests (rule out diabetes) but it's bad news in that it's nothing that could be ruled out via blood tests. I think the next round they are going to start looking at my brain (cha-ching!!) for turmors or cancer and possibly lymphatic system (Bring on da' MS, bring on da' lupus!).

Meanwhile, Vince and I have clients that need and have purchased our attention, new clients that we need to find, and the general activities that support our lifestyle. We're trying to make new friends while keeping this little 'secret' from them. I am also doing a play. Returning to the stage in a challenging, emotionally wrenching piece. Yesterday I told the director about my little problem because it became clear that I was physically unable to do the blocking and, unless I was prepared for him to start suspecting I was an abused wife, he needed to know why. Fortunately (?) my character is a survivor of the Amiriyya Bomb Shelter tragedy of the second Gulf War so physical infirmity works for the character.

But it doesn't work for me. Not at all. I just read back through the post and see my signature brazen, bullish, somewhat comic writing style coming through. Don't be fooled. I'm scared. I'm confused. I'm unable to exercise with purpose and getting fat again. I experience bouts of fatigue that mimic depression. I am unable to focus. I feel stuck. I feel fake hiding my situation but I feel too vulnerable to talk about it, as if giving it a voice gives it more reality, more certainty.

Maybe it is just Lime Disease? Maybe. All the other maybes are monsters in the darkness and I can't find the fucking light switch.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

HNT -- Clean

Happy HNT everyone! It seems I've developed the habit lately of being a bit late to every party. Oh well. I've got a few reasons; some good ones I can't talk about here 'cause of the annonymity issue, some not-so-good that I don't want to get into here well, just 'cause I don't. (Nothing to do with Vince.)

But the thing is, writing helps me clear my mind, focus, and in a way, clean my soul. To me, writing everyday is like taking a shower -- only it washes the gunk from my mind instead of my body -- and leaves me feeling fresh and renewed; ready to take on the challenges of the new day.

When I don't write, I just don't feel clean.

Check out the rest of the Half-Nekkid happenings over at O's!