Friday, December 31, 2010
In January of last year, we had yet to "play" with anyone and it still wasn't clear if we ever would. But 2010 brought more amazing people into our lives, who taught us a few lessons, and who held our hands in a sense as we transitioned into being more open, and more together. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.
I lost a few friends and neighbors last year -- some to death and some to simply moving on. All of these losses continue to remind me that life is both short and precious. Every day that we limit ourselves, withhold our best, and deny experiences and joy to others, is one more "loss". A lost day. A missed connection. An opportunity to give and receive that is never, ever coming back.
Our "real life" -- the one of work and money and clients and efforts -- continued to grow and expand last year, even in a pretty tough economy. And it continues to be so incredibly satisfying. What we do isn't rocket science or brain surgery, but it is useful and in my opinion makes the world a better place. Who could ask for more from their "job?"
We have both expanded and deepened some of our friendships, and offered some measure of forgiveness for a few others that we thought were beyond salvaging. A success, as far as I'm concerned. In the coming year, I hope we continue to deepen those that are forming and add a few more to the mix. Don't want to get greedy though. I'm happy with a few good friends rather than a ton of acquaintances.
As noted in last week's HNT, this year has represented a sea-change in my happiness with my body, not only what it looks like, but what it can do. Vince and my sex life is smokin'! As I joke with him, If I go more than 36 hours without a rockin' rogering I'm a cranky-puss! The only solution is a headboard rippin', bend me over, pull my hair (or just stroke me slow, deep, and sweet) fucking.
I've enjoyed my foray into bi-curiosity and look forward to more, more, more! I just need to quit getting so caught up in the moment that I forget to make suggestions! More importantly, Vince has had a sea-change revelation of his own. While I don't presume to speak for him, we are looking forward not only to the ladies (for me AND for him) but also for me to enjoy and explore a few new men, a touch of "strange" so to speak.
But so much of this year has truly been about love. Love for Vincent above all. Love for friends and family. Learning to enjoy and express love and affection without fear or threat of loss. Not in a sappy, silly, or self-destructive way, but as a person who sees the world, as the great writer William Saroyan once said, "with a clear eye and a kindly heart."
The year 2010 has brought me, and ultimately Vincent, many steps closer to that ideal. So even with the bad days, the losses, the challenges, I cannot say that this was a "bad" year. It was wonderful! (Raises wine glass to the computer screen) Thank you all for sharing it with me.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Or with my delightful Vincent's help, ones like this....
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So Osbasso (don't forget to check out the rest of the Half-Nekkid-ness!) threw out the challenge, to sum it up, choose three HNTers/Bloggers to give a Christmas wish. It can be from the heart, humorous, or fantasy. Per the guidelines, it shouldn't be someone too close, but since I'm not too much of a rule follower I did choose folks I've exchanged an email or two with. Not surprisingly to me, my closest, or rather most personal friendships I've developed in the blogosphere are with men, so I'm giving three wishes/gifts to three ladies -- Minority Report, Another Suburban Mom, and Babe Lincoln.
To Minority Report -- I wish I could give you to my excess libido; Lord knows that I've recently discovered I have more than enough! ;) In truth though, I think your openness, honesty, and warmth is inspiring, as is the love between you and your hubby that comes through your words and your photos. I so wish I would have known about you when I was going through my interminable "dry spell." You help people, MR; I'm sure of it. And even though our circumstances were and are different, I'm equally sure that you will ultimately triumph.
To Veronica -- I wish I could give you my kitchen, or at least a meal in it! I would love to have you sitting at my bar (or heck, even manning the stove!), vino in hand, laughter and stories bouncing off the walls. I found your blog before I ever found Ivey Lane. I enjoy reading your stories and adventures, but your perspective is amazing. You're funny (that's no surprise) but only recently have I realized how deep and genuine your desire to help people really is. In a world full of busy-bodies and narcissistic twits, you are a true gem -- a courageous, compassionate, wise, humorous, sexy, sweet person. Perhaps if you do make it to Florida next year, I'll be able to give you this gift in person. That said, if you haven't noticed, I think this one would really be a gift for me!
To Babe Lincoln -- I wish I could give you a cup of coffee, or hot tea, whichever you prefer! Seriously, I know I'm going to be in Chicago at some point in the future or maybe you'll find yourself in Florida, but if and when we're in the same state, I'd love to just sit and chat... in person, an in-real-life, face-to-face conversation. I think we'd laugh our asses off. I love your writing. I love how you chronicle your thoughts and adventures... and mis-adventures. There's something about your journey that just feels familiar to me and though I may be mistaken, I think you and I could chit-chat for hours. And when the coffee is empty I think you could help me pick out a kick-ass corset!
So that's my three wishes for my three chosen bloggers. But as promised in the title of the post, I have an extra Christmas wish for you all. In honor of my most recent loss of a friend, I wish you all love. I wish that you have it with your husbands and wives and girlfriends and boyfriends and families and friends and children and most of all for yourself. I hope you take every opportunity that comes your way to choose love, joy, and laughter over limitation, fear, and doubt. And when you have the chance to let someone know they're appreciated, that they are valued, that they are loved, you take it.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Right now it's not clear how she died, but it was not expected. Natural causes, though unlikely, is not unheard of, but due to a few odd circumstances, suicide is also a possibility.
I am consumed with grief.
She and I weren't close in the way of women who call each other on the phone and go shopping. Instead, we were friends of youth and shared experience. We met through the theater and acting and more nights than I can recall we shared licquor fueled discussion of life, the universe, and everything. More than once or twice, or hell 10 or 20 or more times, she and a few others were still at my house still partying at 4:30 in the morning when I finally went to bed and told them to turn off the lights when they were ready to sleep. For the past 23 years, she and I spent every New Year's Day together, first 13 or so at my various houses and the past 10ish at our friend Claire's place. I was looking forward to seeing her there, or somewhere, this year too. Just like always.
She was one of the circle of friends I mentioned in my post about "spicy vanilla" friends, with Claire, an artist and wit. She too, wasn't your average woman. Sadly, she never married, rarely had dates. Last New Year's she was joking about becoming the remaining "cat lady" after Claire married for the second time. She loved her cats and that's part of the mystery. When her body was found in her home with the door unlocked by another mutual friend who went to check on her after she didn't show up for work and didn't answer repeated phone calls, her beloved cats were nowhere to be found.
She wasn't an easy woman, by any means. She had a razor sharp mind and fearless mouth and wasn't afraid to use either. She reserved most of her scorn for the stupid and slow but was a formidable advocate for animals and people she called "the too nice for their own good." More than once she shut up a bully or other idiot who was picking on someone who wouldn't or couldn't stand up for themselves. She did it once or twice for me. She had a reputation for being "not nice" but only to those whose stupidity or rudeness earned her wrath.
She had a huge heart. And she never got to share it with a partner. And that, I think, is the main cause of my grief and sadness. She deserved a loving partner as much as the next person. But for reasons I don't know and probably wouldn't understand, she never found the love of her life, her partner, her compliment, like I found in Vince and like so many of my friends have found in each other (D&M, D&T, T&E, P&A, and on and on and on.) Whether she took her own life or it was inexplicably cut short, she didn't have a snuggle-buddy, a life-partner, someone to share the burdens and double the fun of run-of-the-mill life. And that is indescribably sad to me.
She wasn't yet 50 years old. She was beautiful, funny, smart, kind, compassionate, brave, fierce, and a force to be reckoned with. And I was looking forward to our usual New Years Day shenanigans. It never occured to me that she wouldn't show up for the party this year.
Sayanara, sugar. I miss you already.
[UPDATE -- 12-21-10 The latest news is that the coroner report came in and Kate died of an aneurism (sp?). The cats were apparently hiding and finally came out last night. While still intensely tragic, I am very relieved to know it wasn't worse. Thanks for all the kind words.]
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Now that's all well and good for me (God knows I love a good ego stroke!) but more importantly I just found a whole bunch of folks who will be showing up on Ivey blogroll soon! Two in particular stand out for the moment, if only because I've haven't had time to read them all yet. Dick-n-Jane and Ginger and the Professor. There are also a few others that I didn't click with and that's okay; I don't feel bad because I don't feel a need to check out every book at the library either. But, from what I've read, these two will be on the blogroll pretty darn soon. I enjoy his/her perspectives but I also dig strong writing. These folks are pretty cool
There was also one that I used to read but had, oddly, dropped off my radar. Champagne and Benzedrine. I dig this chap. He's opinionated and a shoot from the hip kind of guy, but damn he writes some thought provoking stuff.
Aaron and his partner Miranda have another blog -- The Swinger's Attic -- an advice and information blog for the non-monogamists. It covers swinging, polyamory, and other interesting topics. Not only do I recommend checking it out but I've decided to steal a phrase Miranda used since it's so like Vince and I. She said "My husband and I always joke saying I’m the gas and he’s the brakes and together we’re able to travel safely." That may be why I dig them so much; Vince and I can totally relate to that statement!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I don't know about all of you, but I'm a fan of wrapping presents. I love for things to match, to be part of an overall theme, but most importantly I love wrapping gifts in such a way that it shows the person that I care. Special papers and bows, neat corners, notes on the gift tags -- I dig it all.
This week's HNT theme was "Christmas tree" and Os, I hope you can see mine well enough for this one to count. I apologize for being in the way!
The rest of you, don't forget to stop by Osbasso's for the rest of the half-nekkid holiday spirit. :)
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Why choose?! I'll put hot chocolate in eggnog, and eggnog in hot chocolate. However, that will increase the size of my ass faster than Santa slidin' down a chimney. Therefore, I usually only drink eggnog once or twice the entire Christmas season and I spice it up with a little rum. Hot chocolate is an all winter treat so I don't go out of my way to have it during the Holidays.
Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I assume this is actually a question for people with kids but since I don't have any, I'll use my own childhood. Santa pretty much wrapped any present that was wrappable. He didn't wrap the saddle or the pony. That would've been cruel.
Colored lights on tree/house or white? Once again, I'm a both kinda gal. In the formal areas of my house I'm all about the white lights with silver and gold decorations. (My guess is y'all will get a glimpse of that this coming HNT.) But I also do a tree in our den where we put all the ornaments we collect on our travels as well as the goofier ones (I've got the coolest red guitar ornament that reminds me of Vince!) and that tree gets colored lights.
Do you hang mistletoe? Good lord, no. I remember pretty much the most obnoxious Christmas behaviors always seem to involve booze and mistletoe so I try to manage risk by cutting the greenery (since the booze ain't goin' nowhere.)
When do you put your decorations up? As soon after Thanksgiving as I can, but usually the first or second weekend in December. I used to wait until mid-December. See, I was one of those sad little kids who didn't get to have birthday parties or birthday gifts because "we'll get ya somethin' extra nice for Christmas" so I insisted on waiting until after my birthday before moving on to celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. Anywhoo, I finally realized this is a stupid thing to do. I love decorating, I love Christmas, I love trees and baking and lights and music and all of that. Putting it off just denied me the extra wonderfulness!
What is your favorite holiday dish? I don't think I have a favorite holiday dish because we don't have any special holiday foods.
Favorite Holiday memory as a child? It's really kind of a group memory. I grew up with a huge extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cousins, etc. etc. Every year we had our family Christmas party at someone's house (it changed every year) and we'd all get together for a huge dinner and to exchange presents. We didn't have any sense either. We didn't draw names or anything, you gave presents to everyone. Of course, no one had any money so we often made our presents. I romanticize it now, there were actually lots of things happening that weren't so magical or special, but as a child I didn't know about any of the not-so-good, so the memories are pure gold.
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? On year my mother turned to me and said, you're too old to believe in Santa, right? I just nodded my head even though I found this a bit hard to believe. I know I was either 6 or 7 because we still lived in the trailer.
Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Again, going back to childhood, yes, the family presents but they wasn't necessarily on Christmas eve. Sometimes the party was a few days earlier. We always opened "regular" presents on Christmas day. Now, Vince and I exchange our own presents on Christmas morning and everyone else whenever we see them.
Snow! Love it or Dread it? You're talking to a Florida native here, folks. I didn't even SEE snow for the first time until I was 18. Personally, I'm torn. I love the look of fresh snow BUT I HATE to be cold and I'm not a fan of the trouble that snow brings like shoveling sidewalks and scraping ice off the windshield.
Can you ice skate? Again, see above. Not a lot of ice skating opportunities growing up here.
Do you remember your favorite gift? Boy do I ever! And yes, this is a walking talking cliche, but I got a pony when I was ten years old. I will never, ever forget waking up that morning, seeing the saddle under the tree and suddenly putting two and two together as I ran outside screaming. I had the most beautiful black pony with a white star any little girl could ever imagine. She and I went on to win a few dressage tournaments.
What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? The spirit of love, joy, and compassion. Ah, you're going to get me all misty here. Sadly, we don't get much of that around here.
What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? It's not really a dessert but I could seriously drink eggnog until I exploded. I just love the thick, sweet, creamy goodness of it, and it's really only available this time of year.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Sigh. Vince and I don't have any. We both have pretty territorial families and most every year he and I spend it trying to keep every one else happy by running all over God's green acre trying to make sure they get to have all of THEIR traditions met. Maybe that is our tradition?
Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving, giving, giving! But I have to admit I like giving things to either people who don't know I'm giving them something (I always find a family, preferably one with kids, that I buy gifts for) or people who appreciate gifts. See, I think you should give someone a gift that means something coming from you, that says something about the person or your relationship with them. If someone hands me a "gimme list" that just sucks the fuckin' joy out of it. If you just want money, fuckin' say so. I'll give you that pretty much any time of the year. But let me enjoy searching for the right thing, seeing that little item and having that "aha! so-and-so would love this" moment. Otherwise I'm just your money mule. As for receiving, same thing. I love getting something that really shows the person knows me. If they don't know me well enough to be willing or able to know what I'd like, the seriously, I don't want anything from that person.
What is your favorite Christmas Song? I have two: Little Drummer Boy and Oh Holy Night. Little Drummer Boy is probably the favorite Christmas song of every musician, actor, and artist I know. (I'm getting weepy just typing this.) It's about giving all that you have, your talents, gifts, and abilities, to honor someone. Oh Holy Night is just the prettiest song I've ever heard.
Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? Yummy. Though I don't eat them very often.
Favorite Christmas Show? If you mean a movie, sorry MR, but "It's a Wonderful Life." I love Jimmy Stewart. And the hapless Clarence still makes me giggle. If you mean something else then it's the Christmas show at Epcot. Every year at Epcot, they have a symphony, a bunch of choirs, and a celebrity guest who reads the Christmas story. The show takes place on the lake, across from the American Pavilion. It is magical. Nobody does Christmas like Disney. Nobody.
Saddest Christmas Song? "I'll be home for Christmas." Most folks don't realize it, but it's a war song that's delivered from the point of view of a soldier who ISN'T going to be home for Christmas; the very last line of the song is "I'll be home for Christmas.... if only in my dreams." But it also makes me think of what I wish our Christmas experience was like -- filled with warmth and humor and joy and generosity -- as opposed to what it is really like -- an ongoing tug of war and battle of wills in which Vince and I are the constant losers. It's true, I love Christmas, but there really isn't a damn good reason to.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Let me tell you a bit about her as well as our larger circle of friends. First of all, I'll call her Claire since that's sooooo much more elegant than repeating "my friend" a gazillion times in a post. Claire is quite possibly the most intellectually and spiritually gifted person I've ever met. She is a college professor, writer, artist, actress, organizer, and overall good egg. When I'm with her I feel smarter, better, more generous, more witty, and pretty much better about the totality of the life and the universe. And none of that is my doing, by the way. It is merely reflected light.
When Vince and I had our struggles as we were starting down this path it was her I'd call, even though I couldn't tell her exactly what the problem was. She intuited it as relationship "growth" and as always, returned wise counsel along with a whopping dose of humor. But she doesn't pry. We don't "share", we just, well, talk to each other like people!
She and I have known each other for about 20 years and been friends for about 18, close friends for the last 10 or so. We have much in common; we're both Florida Crackers with similarly challenging family histories, both love the arts and literature though she can actually quote both Yeats and Plato in casual conversation and I have to plan in advance. She's also had quite the adventurous journey that's included lesbian lovers, "torrid" sexual adventures, passionate love affairs, one disastrous marriage and one that is the envy of all of see it. She's just totally awesome! If I ever needed anyone to help me bury a body, she's who I'd ask. (Thanks for the tip Emmy!)
If there was anyone, and I mean ANYONE, who I could talk to about our adventures it would be Claire. Not only would she not judge, she would be totally discreet, and offer sound advice.
But I don't, and I won't, tell her about Ivey Lane because the secret would be a burden (on her) and an unknown (for Vince). We share a pretty cool circle of friends of artists, musicians, actors, directors, etc. And within the close circle of about 5 or 6 of us I think they too would not judge or at least, not condemn Vince or I. But if it went beyond that little group (and artists can be a gossipy bunch!) it would become a delicious tidbit of salacious gossip and my private, quiet, fabulous Vincent would lose his peace of mind. I can't do that to him. In addition, Claire would now be sitting on a bit of information that she couldn't casually throw into another conversation; I can't do that to her.
So Claire is my "vanilla" friend with a spoonful of cinnamon on top. She's no clown; I'm sure she suspect something but as long as Vince and I are happy she will neither pry nor push. I hinted in a comment on Minority Report's blog one of the reasons I don't have many women friends. Claire is a perfect example of a non-traditional woman, like me. Love, love, love her!
And tonight, our friends who joined us for dinner with Hubman are coming over again. It's not a "date" but I have to tell you it is nice having people around with whom you can talk freely, laugh, and joke. But it's not enough for anyone -- vanilla or lifestyle -- to just be "sex-ay!" We realize it's a high bar to set, but our "friends" have to be like Claire, and our FWB couple, and our other spicy vanilla friends. What we've come to understand about ourselves is we're not in this just to fuck. You've got to bring SOMETHING ELSE to the table as well. You've got to truly be a friend.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
For a variety of reasons, I can't go into the details but we have a LOT in common with this couple. They stayed with us for a few days and we shared a lot of laughs, swapped some stories, had a few drinks, spent a few hours riding roller coasters, enjoyed an hour or so on a nature walk, and one evening of super sexy fun.
Did I mention this couple is SEXY?
The fact that they're young and attractive is actually the least of their virtues; they're also smart, involved, adventurous, sweet, generous, talented, and creative. And that, m'friends, is the key. The "benefits" of the last couple of days were awesome (I do have a jones now for boobies and I have to say, this gal RUINS me!) but if we'd just hung out, I swear I wouldn't have regretted a minute of our shared time together, just as I didn't regret a minute of time with Hubman and my other friends. That said, I think the shared experience just took a great thing and made it better. And it was good for all of us.
One of the conversations we had was that if the friendship is genuine, if the shared perspective is real and easy, then the sexual aspect doesn't threaten the relationship -- not the friendship, not the marriages. It's not like when you're single and dating and looking for some time of long-term romantic relationship; you already have that. The sexual play is just that -- play. And like kids on a playground the four of us had a fun-filled few days.
It looks like we may have an opportunity to see these folks again later in the Spring. But if we do or not, it's nice having people who we can share this part of ourselves with. It's relaxing, easy.
With or without benefits, good friends are just fuckin' awesome!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I got to hang out with "teh Hub-ster" not once, not twice, but three times over the five days he was in town. The third time was a total surprise in more ways than one. On Sunday evening Vince and I met H and we all went to dinner. On Tuesday evening, it was just me and H. Then, on Thursday, things got nuts. I recently reconnected with a real-life childhood friend. To make a long story short, she and her husband have been considering swinging and it came up in conversation (don't ask) and I told her about me and Vince and (GASP!) about Ivey Lane. So through a strange and very fast series of phone calls we decided to host dinner at our house for the five of us, primarily so my friends to pick Hubman's brain, we could share stories and experiences, and generally have an open and frank discussion without worrying that the waiter was going into shock. And at one point we even had Veronica joining in via iPhone.
Interestingly, at no time did anyone get naked, though if I'm honest I have no idea what Veronica was wearing while we were on the phone. That's right, no sex.
Let me back up a bit and give you a little backstory. Almost 2 years ago now, back when we started exploring the idea of swinging, I scoured the web for information, blogs, forums, ANYTHING for a little guidance. I discovered Hubman and Veronica's blogs through Figleaf and found something that seemed promising -- real people who seemed to have complete lives that happened to contain this other, more unusual, element. I had another (vanilla) blog at the time and commented, asked questions, and got thoughtful replies in return.So when I started Ivey Lane, guess who was my first follower and commenter? You got it -- Hubman. From the beginning, he's known my real name as well as lots of daily life information. Over time our correspondence included emails, at first more Q&A but also took on a sexier, flirtier tone. As Vince and I became more comfortable with my cyber-flirtations, H & I exchanged a few naughty as well as nice pictures (I was also doing Proj365) and eventually we added phone calls as well. The conversations often included a little sexy/flirty but ALWAYS included a few laughs and general life chit chat.
We were evolving into friends.
Now it's no secret, certainly not to Vince or Hubman, that there's more than a little sexual tension between me and H. Oh yeah, the thought of doing naughty things with that boy definitely pumps my tires, so to speak. More importantly, the thought of sex with both Vince (the love of my life) and Hubman (my sexy, open-minded friend) at the same time can send me into fits of daydream ecstasy. Toss in a vision of Veronica in the mix and oh-holy-hell; my imagination just fuckin' soars!
So when I found out he was coming to town, I was thrilled.... and concerned. Because contrary to what the general population may think, an exploration of swinging isn't a sexual free-for-all and in fact, brings with it even greater obligations for self-control, communication, and restraint.
You see, Ivey doesn't always get what Ivey wants. What Vince wants -- or doesn't -- matters as well, and in some very important ways, it matters more. And this is both a very good, and sometimes a very challenging, thing.
It's more than the sex, by the way. If you've been reading for a while you know that we've swapped once with one other couple, been on numerous "dates", visited a swinger club, gone to meet-n-greets, and recently attended a swingin' swap-party fuck-fest. You also know that Vince had a serious meltdown a few months ago, one that we've recovered from but for a while our relationship was in serious jeopardy.
The crux of the conflict isn't merely sexual openness, though that is the catalyst -- it involves two radically different approaches to life and experience.
As we discussed Hubman's imminent arrival, the question naturally arose "well, is this going to get naked?" In my perfect world, I would've had a threesome experience with my Beloved and our trusted friend. In a less perfect but still sexually open world, I would have satisfied my curiosity about what it was like to have sex with this particular person and shared a fun activity, enjoying a "benefit" of a FWB. On the next level, I would be able to get to know spend face-to-face time with a friend, opening acknowledging the obvious attraction but stopping short of crossing from fantasy to reality -- in other words, tabling the benefit. The next, not so cool scenario would've been to miss the chance to meet, to hang out, to share laughter and exchange ideas, maybe learn somethin' new or debate something fun with a person I find interesting.
There's so much to tell here, way to much to be included in this little post. Things like how listening to Veronica as she shared her views on her husband having sex while traveling, the woman just exudes competence and confidence. Seeing and hearing the excitement from my friends as they navigate how to turn their fantasies into realities and have a little fun in the process. I sincerely hope they follow Hubman's advice ("It's fun!") and not get bogged down in too much "what if." I loved getting to see H's enthusiasm; he is definitely a guy who knows how to say YES to life. I appreciate how far Vince has come in the last 18 months and at the same time experience a growing sense of sadness with each experience that we choose to say "no" to.
A friend -- one without benefits -- told me that I have a tendency to "over think" things. That's not really true. I'm a pretty quick thinker, good evaluator, and have a significant amount of self-awareness and competence. I'm not wrestling with inner angst or indecision. I'm not limiting my interactions because I don't know what the course of action should be, what the best answer is. No -- it's sales, persuasion (pushiness?), coaxing, and convincing not myself, but others.
I hope you enjoyed your visit to Ivey Lane, Hubman, and your "behind the blinds peek" into what I'm REALLY like! With or without benefits, I enjoy being your friend.