Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Birthday Resolutions 2010

So ends Birthday Month. Like many things in my life recently, a little late and mildly unsatisfying.

Normally I am all about birthdays, and any excuse for revelry is to be cherished. I consider all of September to be fair game for hedonistic focus on me. But this year I had trouble thinking about my calendar more than a day or two in advance, and as a result, ended up with substantially less celebration than usual. (This was not for lack of offers - my sweet friends were tearing their hair out trying to get me to identify my desires.) Of course, now that it's over, I'm wishing I done a bit more.

Luckily for me, both Buffie and Sophia have October birthdays, so I can ride the coattails of their decadent month as I help to pamper them as much as possible.

My birthday is also my traditional time for taking stock of my life, making resolutions, and nesting - purging the stuff I don't use, and reorganizing the rest. Time to revisit last year's resolutions:

1. Make my apartment a home. Even after almost a year, parts of the space feel very temporary, and I don't like to spend time there. That means finishing unpacking, getting the right furniture for the space, getting rid of the stuff that doesn't work, and hanging my art, among other things.

In this, at least, I have been reasonably successful. I have gotten rid of all kinds of clothes and housewares that I no longer like or use, finally replaced my coffee table with a dining table, and cleared most of the boxes I had stored in Max's basement. I'm hoping to ride this wave of energy a little longer. There's always more to do (those moving boxes are still not unpacked, for instance). I think I've made good strides in this department and am on track to continue.

2. Continue with aerials classes, and develop a training and conditioning routine (including making training dates with the several friends who have already offered) - and stick to it.

Also pretty successful, with some lapses for illness and injury. I met my private skill goals for the end of 2009, learned the basics of three new kinds of equipment (sling, lyra, and dance trapeze), and when I've been able, have been very good about my training regimen. Still no regular workout buddies, however.

3. Become proficient with my brand new single-tail whip. It might take a whole year to get good enough to use it on a person, and I am determined to add it to my repertoire.

Mixed results here. I took some good workshops and have actually used it in a couple of scenes, but haven't practiced enough to break it in. I also bought another whip, a Victor Tella Wildcat, which is a bit like a combination of a singletail and a flogger. Purple and black, naturally. So now I have two whips to practice with and break in, although the new one is substantially easier to throw and I like it more.

4. Blog more here. My life has become even more insanely busy, but I often think of things I'd like to write about, or ideas I'd like to explore through writing. Besides, several friends have been prodding me to post more often. So I suppose my resolution is to get more of those words onto the virtual page.

Ha ha. I bet you can tell how I did with this one. Lots of ideas still rattling around that haven't made it out of my skull.

5. And on a related note, keep a tighter rein on my scheduling, and make sure to schedule more recharge time for myself. I'd like to reach a point where I don't feel frantically busy and drained all the time.

Again, mixed results. I have been more deliberate in committing to things, protected my home time more often, said "no" more often, and skipped things that became lower-priority than my self-care. This resolution is going to be a lifelong pursuit for me, but I think there has been noticeable improvement overall in the past year.

So overall, I think these were reasonable resolutions, and that I made strides in all of them. None of them had finite end points, and while I normally prefer that sense of completion, it's also nice to be able to say that improvement was success, rather than a stark yes or no, did or didn't. And conveniently enough, I can just roll them over to next year - all these are still things I would like to continue working on and reassess next September.

Additionally and more specifically for this year:

6. Choreograph and perform an aerial piece
7. Take a burlesque or dance or pole dancing class

Most of this year has been very good, emotionally, professionally, in my relationships, and in my personal growth. I have still struggled at times, but less so than last year and better every day, and that is the best a person can hope for.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh hi, Internet! You're still here! And I'm not dead yet.

I do have a couple of articles to recommend for your edification:

The first is a thought-provoking essay by Jesse Bering: Polyamory Chic, Gay Jealousy, & the Evolution of a Broken Heart As the title suggests, the essay explores the recent upsurge in discussion of evolutionary theory as it relates to non-monogamy, and where gay relationships fit into that picture. I don't agree with everything he writes, but he does have some very interesting observations.

The second is a fantastic response by Christopher Ryan (co-author of Sex at Dawn). On Gay Jealousy

I was grateful to read Ryan's response, because I had been struggling with the implied concepts in Bering's essay and couldn't quite articulate why. With his assistance, I can identify my beef: trying to force-fit relationship jealousy into the evolutionary mold without considering that it might have other learned or social causes - and characterizing it as an unavoidable response to a partner having sex with someone else. Ryan has some great comments on separation anxiety and emotional loss, which are applicable to everyone, gay or straight.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mean Rope Workshop!

Don't forget, Max's monthly bondage workshop is on Sunday, and the topic is Mean Rope: Rope Skills for Sadists and Masochists. As the title suggests, this is a workshop for sadistic tops and masochistic bottoms (and those delightful folks who are both). Learn how rope can be used as an SM tool, volunteer for a demo, and meet other friendly perverts!

Sunday August 1st, 2010
2:30 PM to 5:30 PM
at the Center for Sex Positive Culture (CSPC) in Seattle

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I Don't Use Facebook (yet)

A small rant about Facebook, that monolith of social networking...

This weekend I met a number of new and charming people - fun, sexy, interesting, creative people, most of whom I would love to see again. But when we got to the swap of contact info (like a phone number on a matchbook in the old days when there were still phones and matches), nearly all of them suggested we could connect on Facebook. While I'm not opposed to social networking, I have so far avoided joining this particular juggernaut, despite the increasing frequency of situations like this. Here are some reasons why:

10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account

"...Even if we weren't talking about ethical issues here, I can't trust Facebook's technical competence to make sure my data isn't hijacked...They either don't care too much about your privacy or don't really have very good engineers, or perhaps both..."

"...Facebook's Terms Of Service state that not only do they own your data (section 2.1), but if you don't keep it up to date and accurate (section 4.6), they can terminate your account (section 14)..."

Facebook's Gone Rogue

"...Facebook thinks that your notions of privacy - meaning your ability to control information about yourself - are just plain old-fashioned."

These links are slightly outdated - Facebook did make some modest improvements in the past two months, faced with outrage from privacy groups, but their philosophy remains the same. Their track record doesn't inspire my trust - remember, they either don't care about my privacy or are too incompetent to protect it. Every time I've been tempted to join I've run into another article that reminds me why I haven't.

As you may have guessed, Lorelei is not what my mother called me - it is my nom de plume, a shimmering veil of anonymity. It has allowed me to share some extremely intimate things about myself, to share photos, to express my alternative sexuality and write about things that matter to me, without serious risk of damaging the other parts of my life. Believe it or not, I actually do have a day-to-day life that is not all kink, all the time. I'm very fortunate to have the freedom to be as open as I am, and I feel it's important to exercise that freedom. I recognize that I'm taking a risk when I put anything online. I take that risk knowing it would not be the end of my world to be outed. Many of kinky friends know a great deal about my private life. Still, I would prefer not to have former teachers or future employers find this blog and identity easily. I have been careful not to connect the more adventurous parts of my life with my legal name. In fact, there's virtually nothing online linked to my legal name. In these days of Google-stalking and online reference checks, I like knowing I have at least some control over what information the casual searcher can find. Remember what Uncle Wil says: On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog - and in my case, I'd like that to remain true.

The bottom line is that I value my privacy, and Facebook doesn't, nor does it have any reason to. The ease of adding connections is what makes Facebook appealing, and it's also what makes it impossible to truly control the flow of information. Someday facial recognition software will improve enough to identify me in the photos I post here, privacy will be history, our sex lives will be public and we will all have microchips implanted in our brains so our every thought is transmitted immediately to Twitter. Maybe in that future people will not be penalized for their lifestyle choices. In the meantime I'd rather stick with pseudonyms and an air of mystery.

Will I hold out forever? Maybe not. I swore I'd never Twitter, either, and look at me go. Lately it seems like everyone and their cat is using Facebook as their primary platform, and I'll need to join to stay in the loop. I've missed any number of event invitations and life updates because I'm not a member - and don't forget those sexy people I'd like to see again. However, if I do join, I'll certainly keep my blogging and photos here, as I'd rather not hand Facebook the ownership of my data to do with as it pleases. And you, my lovely readers, will know I've been dragged kicking and screaming all the way (which doesn't sound all that bad, now that I think about it).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shibaricon, here we come!

Max, Griffin and I are getting geared up to leave for Shibaricon tomorrow. This is a little milestone - flying with both a primary and secondary partner! This is my second Shibaricon, and I'm looking forward to renewing friendships, meeting some new people, learning a few tricks, helping Max teach, and playing until I drop. We'll be doing Fundamentals of Rope Bondage on Friday and Partial Suspension 1 and 2 on Saturday, and I already have a few play dates lined up. We're also planning to get out to the IML Vendor Market and the Leather Archives.

Meanwhile, I have been running like crazy trying to get everything set up to run without me for a few days. I got Max's packing done yesterday, but I still need to pack my own bag, and somehow get our rope-filled suitcases under 50 pounds each without taking out all the clothes. I run around naked a lot, but still, a few outfits would be nice!

And just in time for me to be out of town somewhere fun, I have finally succumbed to the temptation of Twitter. You can follow my day-to-day adventures here - but I don't guarantee it will always be interesting. I'll add a sidebar to the blog when I have a chance. Shibaricon updates will be sporadic, since phones are not allowed anywhere in the conference space, but I'm sure you'll hear some snippets from me. If you'll be there, come say hi!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Debauchery Recovery

Today is all about recovering from a weekend of debauchery. Actually, most Mondays are. My past couple of months in a nutshell: Kinkfest, 7 weeks of sick (the death cough is finally receding), 4 workshops, a weekend of culinary debauchery in NYC, a bunch of rockin' dates with various and sundry playmates, SEAF, and Max's birthday. The excitement never stops - and while I often say that ironically (for instance, when I've spent all day filing), it's actually true.

So while I had enough energy to launch a blog post today, I don't have enough active brain cells to write anything cohesive. I think all the champagne this weekend may have disabled my capacity for critical thinking. Instead, I'll leave you with this adorable (and probably not safe for work) song, linked by the inestimable Anita Wagner.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One year later

Today is my anniversary. Well, one of them. One year ago, Griffin and I had our first capital-D Date.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, since I've never mentioned Griffin here. People who have attended Max's workshops will remember him as one of the co-instructors. We've been good friends for several years, and as it turns out, had both been nurturing a secret crush for much of that time. In typical junior high fashion, we'd been flirting like crazy, but were both completely convinced that the other was not interested in pursuing anything more than friendship.

When April 2009 rolled around, we'd gotten in the habit of monthly dinner dates. Over sushi, we'd talk about D/s, poly, lifestyle issues, personal history, likes and dislikes, what we were each looking for - in short, everything you suss out before adding a partner, if you're a slow-moving kinky nerd. We also made lots of stupid jokes and hung around in playgrounds at night. On April 8th, after some gentle prodding from a matchmaking friend (and some negotiation with Max), I decided enough was enough. Tonight would be the night, I would confess my crush, whatever the consequences. I spent a whole lingering dinner gearing myself up for it and waiting for the right opportunity. And in the car on the way to dessert, Griffin beat me to the first move. There must have been something in the air. The date suddenly became a Date, and the rest is history.

When that long-burning fuse finally exploded, it was hot and fiery and may have temporarily blinded innocent bystanders. We couldn't keep our hands off each other, played hard enough I worried about scaring my neighbors, upended our schedules to have more time together. We dove into a passionate exploration of the possibilities - shmoopy affection, intellectual intercourse, an intense D/s dynamic - and found them all delicious. Since then we have settled into a more well-measured routine. We've had to be realistic about the limitations of our busy lives - we each had a full plate before adding another partner. But we're still crazy about each other, and still enjoying our mutual exploration.

Due to the eccentricity of poly scheduling, I actually won't be spending the evening with Griffin today. I'll be seeing a concert with Max, followed by a date with someone else. Griffin and I are saving our celebration for this weekend, when we'll have some uninterrupted time together. And here's one of the many reasons Griffin is a good partner for me: he's hoping I have a good time tonight. Thanks, sweetness.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Romantic Day Like Any Other

I'm not currently a big celebrator of Valentine's Day. Neither am I a big detractor - I have had some wonderful experiences with lovers on February 14ths in the past. (In fact, I have some naughty pictures to prove it. Maybe I should post them someday.) In my life I have vacillated between handcrafting cards, preparing special meals, and taking romantic getaways on one end of the spectrum, and all the way to calling it "VD Day" or "Singles Awareness Day" on the other. But in general, it's just another day. And in my world, every day is a good day to shower your loved ones with affection.

With that in mind, Valentine's Day as good a day as any to send a shout-out to all the wonderful people I love, and those who love me. Friends, family, lovers, playmates - you know who you are. Thank you for moving through my world, and sharing yours with me. I have a wide range of relationships in all flavors, from sweet to sadistic, and I'm grateful to those who have shown me the infinite ways love can be expressed. Who knew spanking, bondage, and ass fucking could be so romantic?

I must give credit where credit is due - there are some sweet souls in my sphere for whom this day is extra-special, and who have given me beautiful tokens of affection. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You imbue the day with delight.

Now get out there and do some everyday lovin' - whatever that looks like for you. And as for me? I suggested ass fucking.

If ass fucking is also your idea of romance, don't forget to check out Peg-Ass-Us tonight through Wednesday!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Women doing womanly things (not fisting)

I'm in the midst of a weekend-long women's conference - and not a kinky one, for a change. It's taken some mental readjustment. I can't remember the last time I went to a non-kinky/non-sexual conference. Hardly anyone is wearing black, and everyone is fully clothed. Nobody is talking about fisting or cunnilingus. The women are much freer with touching strangers than I'm used to, since in the kink scene the social etiquette is to ask before touching. Most of the humor in this crowd is about bras, feisty old women, and hot flashes - despite being female, I am decidedly not the target demographic. And unlike kinky women's events, there was no controversy about who was woman enough to attend.

I've got to say, this event is a blast from my past. The focus is women's wisdom, spirituality, and empowerment. I'm exposing my unbleached, all-natural, hippie woo woo roots here. I was raised with plenty of woo and spirituality, and I went to Evergreen, where meditation, vegan cooking, and tie-dye are nearly obligatory. I understand and speak passably the language of the mind/body/spirit genre. Since I moved to Seattle, I've moved further from those pursuits, and I rarely consider my spiritual leanings. Mark Yu is always a great reminder of how to plug in to that part of myself and why I should. (By the way, this conference is why I'm missing Mark's Chinese New Year shindig tonight. Sorry, Mark and Cecily! I hope I'll see you soon!) Most of the folks in my regular social circle are skeptical scientific atheists, and while they have no ill intentions, it's easy to absorb their cynicism. It's relaxing this weekend to be in a large group of supportive women who don't ask that anyone prove the veracity of their beliefs, and who are largely unselfconscious of their own.

I'm thinking of this conference is a refresher course in getting plugged in - and enhancing my kinky and poly skills. Even though I'm not learning bondage technique or power exchange dynamics, I can apply all this knowledge to my everyday kinky life. Most of the workshops I'm attending are focused on self-care, awareness, and intentionality - concepts that are key to thoughtful topping, engaged bottoming, and clear communication. You don't need to be a woo woo woman to think that's wise.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I've been a little under the weather this week. It didn't stop me from getting up to some sexy mischief today (for which, a big thank you to my co-conspirators), but sadly, it did prevent me from going to Bang 4 the Buck over the weekend. Since I consider this the most rockin' women's event of the year, that was a big disappointment. I heard plenty of stories from my girlfriends, but it's just not the same.

I did see Midori and KellyB briefly, as they were staying at Max's house. They are delightful house guests, and I was sorry to see so little of them this time. I also had the opportunity to serve at the dinner party Max threw for Midori. Buffie came along as my lieutenant, and together with Max, we hosted (and served sushi and sake for) nearly 30 people. I think everyone enjoyed the occasion, and from a hosting perspective, everything went smoothly. I have worked behind the scenes on several similar parties in the past, and am always refining the quantities, timing, presentation, house layout, and all the other little details that make or break a soiree. My goal for this kind of event is for all the pieces to fall into place so seamlessly that the guest of honor doesn't have to think about them - she can just show up and focus on being fabulous and interactive. I think I achieved that, and as a service bottom, I find that kind of success immensely satisfying.

I was not in service to Midori, of course - this was a service to Max, and the overarching theme of our service relationship is, "What can I do to make his life easier?" He gave me some specific tasks, but also the broad goal of a smooth and successful event, and meeting Midori's needs is part of that. Everything I do in service is one less thing for him to worry about, and I'm always pleased when I can see him relax about some aspect because he trusts that I'm handling it.

And can I just sing Buffie's praises for a moment? I could not ask for a better helping hand in the kitchen, or a lovelier co-hostess. She helped out with this party, not as a service transaction, but as a favor to me and Max because she is fond of us and because she is fabulous.

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