Monthly Archives: March 2010

LOST: Bryson Bear

The blog has been a bit quiet lately even though I’ve been having some great adventures, including going to Gallifrey with kink friends and meeting up with lovely people in San Francisco at SF-CP, the first of hopefully many San Francisco spanking parties.  I’ve been working on my calligraphy (yes, caligráfica has also been quiet) and have been pretty active on Twitter (I helped with live-tweeting SF-CP until Twitter crashed that night). There’s a reason and it’s not that I’ve been too busy to blog. Rather, it’s been that while we were at GallifreyOne (the Doctor Who convention at LAX) the day after we’d heard the sad news about Alex, my long time companion Bryson Bear vanished from our room. Despite a great many phone calls, meetings with hotel security and housekeeping, he has not been found. A month later, I have to admit he’s unlikely to be returned.

This blog entry, were it a Usenet post, would be labeled COREDUMP. It’ll be my way of letting go and saying goodbye. Those of you who have followed the saga of Bryson on Twitter, well, I’m sorry for dragging it out and give much thanks to the many of you (especially Barrister) who were happy to talk bears with me when I needed it.  Your kind thoughts were much appreciated.

Bryson’s History
Bryson is the oldest of my stuffed animals, though he is only 12 or 13. There’s a reason for this — when I married the first time I was quite young (21) and married someone significantly older than me. Though he was the sort of person who was attracted to teenagers — I had just turned 18 when we met — he was uncomfortable with reminders of our age difference. When we started living together he convinced me to stop sleeping with and eventually to give away my few plushy animals.

My parents, especially my mother, didn’t understand why I had to leave my ex-husband. It wasn’t until later that his drinking problem and abuse were revealed to them. I had been too ashamed to talk about it and didn’t think anyone knew. When I left him in May of 1997, my parents didn’t exactly shun me, but they were distant, so much so that they didn’t make contact with me for six months, even on my 30th birthday (Paul’s gift was the only one I opened that day), though they did talk to me whenever I made the effort to contact them. It was, except for daily calls from Paul, a lonely time.

Unknown to me when she lived with us, my sister had actually seen and heard a great deal so she understood the problems in my marriage. She told my parents what had been going on and why my leaving was a good thing, perhaps the only thing I could do. When I saw my family at Thanksgiving, my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, her way of reaching out. Normally I can never think of anything when people ask me that, but at that moment I knew. I told her I wanted a bear. She was surprised, but she told me in retrospect she was touched. I’d never really been the sort of child who was into dolls or animals. This was the first time she remembered me asking for either.

shaun-and-brysonAt Christmas I unwrapped the bear. I named him “Bryson” after the author Bill Bryson, whose books Paul had given me for my birthday that past July. It immediately felt like I’d had him all my life. From that night on, I slept with him every night and within a month found that I woke up whenever he fell out of the bed. When Paul came to visit the following May, I introduced them, and, in something of a test, asked him if it bothered him to sleep with me if I kept my bear.

Paul passed of course, so much so that from then on when he’d call me at bedtime he’d ask if Bryson was there too. When he wrote the glossary for the The Treehouse, he made an entry for Bryson so people would, if they liked, understand how important he was to us.

Bryson traveled with me pretty much always. This means he went to England and Scotland a large number of times. He went with me to Chris and sparkle’s wedding, to numerous Shadow Lane (among other) parties, to Oregon where I cared for and said goodbye to my nana and grandpa. I held him and passed him over when bookbabe and I talked about dying, when Paul and I broke up and when we got back together. Bryson was on the bed while I played with Alex and other dear friends. I wept on him, talked out loud to him and, well, just played with him — he was well balanced and with little effort could tumble and adopt an amazing number of yoga poses. Sometimes when Paul spanked me, he’d make sure I had Bryson somewhere within reach. Bryson posed with Shaun under our first Christmas tree, when Paul moved to the US. Bryson was always comforting, with just the right amount of soft squishy-ness.

In fact, I cried on Bryson his last night at the Marriott LAX as Paul and I talked about Alex and how much we’d miss him.

What Happened to Bryson?
The answer to that is we don’t know.

Here’s what we do know:

On Friday morning I woke up early, went for a swim and then came back to the room. After showering, I got back into bed for a bit, played with Bryson and mapped out the day using the Gallifrey program. Finally, I posed him on top of the pillows, next to the still-sleeping Paul, got up and went down to the Marriott LAX lobby to use my computer. Paul met me there and we went out to a late breakfast or early lunch at the local IHoP.

When we came back to our room it had been made up — bed made, bathroom cleaned, floors swept. Bryson, almost always placed in the center of the bed by housekeeping at any hotel we visit, was nowhere to be seen. At first I wasn’t too worried — sometimes in the past he’d been placed in chairs. Then I started searching under the bed, in drawers, in corners and finally in our luggage. Paul started looking too. I even looked in the room’s safe. Within a half an hour it was clear, barring secret panels, there was no way he was in our room. Somehow he must have been swept up by the cleaners.

I made my first call to Marriott housekeeping, asking them to check the laundry. Housekeeping took a description of Bryson but then stated that the sheets hadn’t been changed so there was no way a 16 inch tan bear would have been picked up with the linens. I got off the phone, re-searched the room, again with Paul, and then checked the sheets which sure looked and smelled like fresh sheets. I called again, got connected with lost and found and then re-connected with housekeeping. After a few minutes of discussion, I started getting more and mo
re upset and they decided they should send up security to search the room. Security wasn’t able to find Bryson in our room (I think they assumed we hadn’t searched) and promised the laundry would be checked and they’d get back to us.

At this point, it never occurred to me Bryson was gone for good.

I’m not sure how well Marriott searched housekeeping or the laundry (which is subcontracted off-site) but we’ve been pestering them every few days for the past month. Last weekend someone from housekeeping gave me contact information for someone from the laundry service. They did a detailed search of their lost and found, finding one bear from the weekend in question. Sadly though, when a photo was sent, the bear found was very much not Bryson.

Unable to stop myself, I’ve searched all my luggage over and over, as if he’ll somehow appear. But he hasn’t.

Bryson is gone and I can’t find him.

zille-and-tardisDespite all this searching, is Bryson sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting to be found? (It doesn’t seem likely at this point, but maybe.) Did he get thrown away by someone who just saw an old be and didn’t realize how important he is? (A terrible thought, and the one that bothers me most.) Did he get taken home and given to someone’s child who’ll love him at least as much as I did?  (The best thought of all as he deserves love and appreciation.) Or, being as how this was a Doctor Who convention after all, did he take off in Tara’s TARDIS? He was a bear full of adventure, always up for a trip. Had Bryson met the Doctor, perhaps he wouldn’t have been able to resist, especially if he thought, given that the TARDIS is a time-machine, that I’d never realize he’d gone, if he believed he’d be back before he was missed.

I understand that, I would have said yes too.

What now?
This morning I got a phone call from Marriott claims telling me that, though this in no way accepts that they have any responsibility for his loss, they are sending me (well, actually Paul since the room was in his name) a check for $20 as a gesture of goodwill. I bit my tongue, thanked them and restrained my real thoughts. They’re sending the check, though I suspect we won’t cash it, silly though that sounds. And for sure, I’ll never leave another animal on a hotel bed.

animals-of-the-bedMeanwhile, Doug, an expert on teddybears is helping me track information on the sort of GUND bear Bryson is. I’m not sure it would be right, but I think I’m going to try and get another like him. My mom is planning on searching again for just the right bear. And as this last rather bad picture (taken the week before we went to the LAX Marriott) shows, there are plenty of animals in on our bed — Milton (a manatee) came with us to San Francisco. Bryson was my first animal, but isn’t the only one by a long shot.

I’m not going to forget about Bryson. Nor will Paul, though I don’t think much more can be done with either the hotel or laundry.  If you find him out there, let us know. We’ll make sure to come get him and bring him home.

Meanwhile, fare thee well, beloved faithful old friend.  Come back if and when you can.

Before I go to San Francisco – working on my final project.

For those of you who have been following my calligraphy course, I’m down to my last class.  I’m working as best I can on my final project, trying to get as much done as possible before we go to San Francisco for SF-CP (the spanking party Zille’s organizing) for the weekend.  And yes, I’m excited about the party too.

While Paul and I have been to Shadow Lane a (big) number of times and I’ve been to a few other smaller parties, this will be the first time we’ve attended a single night party together.  I’m really curious about how the SF scene will react to a party devoted to corporal punishment.  Well would be my guess.  At least I have lots of options of what to wear.

Plus there’s a weekend in San Francisco and a chance to see some of my favorite peoples.  Very cool!

The image above is the final mock-up on cardboard of the project done with pen, ink and colored pencils.

For more images of the work in progress, see this entry (1)  and this one (2).

Marks OR Thrashing the Scribe

[I was in the middle of drafting this real life account when the news came about Alex’s death.  One week later I’ve decided to finish writing it.  Aside from everything else, it’s a story he likely would have liked.]

Paul and I haven’t been playing as much as we usually would and his Sunday thrashings of me have (largely) been on hold for most of the past month.  The reasons are mostly that my dad’s been living with us again.  This is not because of any problems in my parents’ marriage, but rather problems they’re having selling their house in Portland. I’ve had mixed feelings about this — on the one hand I miss it, of course, because I think about such things all the time. However, at the moment of truth I tend to feel great relief at any reprieve.  It’s probably evidence of how regularly thrashings (as well as “That Thing”) had been happening that generally I’ve felt like a kid who’s skipped out of detentions.

Last Tuesday had all the marks of just such an “almost” thrashing. The night before what I was to wear for the day was planned (nothing too exciting — but a collared shirt, tie, grey games skirt, knickers and knee socks). The plan was that I’d do some schoolwork and then, when he felt like it, we would go over my returned calligraphy homework and then he would thrash me for the mistakes my teacher marked.  It was to be “fun” in the sense it wasn’t a punishment for anything serious (Paul doesn’t actually care much whether or not my calligraphy is improving), but on the other hand, reflected on my lettering practice having been cut down by real life events.

That was the plan.  Then there was real life.

We stayed in bed a bit later than I’d intended. But then, promised some coffee and a croissant,  dressed in my uniform, except for the kneesocks (I wore tights so I could go out more easily in public), and we headed out for coffee — well coffee for me, chocolate tart for Paul. The revised plan was we’d get back, I’d change out of tights and into knee socks and Paul would think about thrashing me.  I was excited about it — lettering has always seemed such a perfect premise for punishment.  It’s impossible for anyone, even someone like my teacher who’s been a professional scribe for 30 years, to do 100% perfect calligraphy.  I’ve been doing gothic textura for a total of 7 weeks.

But after we got back, just as I was starting to change into my uniform, the phone started ringing. After we had dealt with several calls, our building’s handyman came to the door and said he’d come to inspect the bathroom.  Apparently there was a leak somewhere and it needed to be fixed immediately  Plumbers were then in and out for about two and a half hours. By the time they’d left (and then come back for things forgotten and left again) it was mid-afternoon.  My father would be coming home in a couple hours.

I guessed this was another thrashing deferred and felt both disappointed and relieved.  That is, until Paul went to get his canes and told me to change into knee sock and to fetch my homework. My heart started thudding.

Less than five minutes later I stood nervously in front of Paul as he questioned me about each mark.  When he reminded me there were to be six strokes of the cane for each mark, there suddenly seemed a great many.  The first twelve strokes would be delivered over my knickers.  Then those would come down.  For each mistake (for I’d made the same mistakes multiple times), the first twelve strokes would be with the lighter cane, the rest with the heavier one.  I shivered involuntarily; both canes hurt.  The lighter one is whippy and stings fiercely, while the heavy cane also stings but is heavy enough to leave bruises like those caused by a hairbrush or paddle.

caning-blockAs an aside: Although we’ve been together for a long time, Paul has only just started using canes on me regularly.  Until he bought the complete set from Canes4Pain, canes had always been an implement for which he didn’t have much enthusiasm.  While I love a traditional school scene, I wasn’t sorry about that, he’s strong and more than capable of creating a lot of pain with his hand or a hairbrush or tawse.  All that has changed — whether because of the quality of the canes (high) or a great deal of practice in the last 6 months, Paul has become both more skilled with canes and far more likely to use them.  Me? They fill me with dread.

So I was drifting toward this thrashing, part of me not believing it was really really going to happen even as I was being tied down.  In my head, I somehow thought that because this thrashing was for “play” it somehow wouldn’t hurt as much.  But then he started talking about my work, the mistakes I’d made (the first one had to do with me not slanting the lower stroke on the letter “a”) and, finally, delivered the first stroke with the whippy cane.  Even over my knickers it had me gasping with shock and pain.  My first reaction was panic, total panic as I realized I had dozens more of these to go and, all too soon, my heavy school knickers would be coming down.

I began to babble that this was impossible, that I couldn’t, that it hurt too much.  Paul’s response was his usual, that there was nothing for me to do and delivered another stroke.  I pulled my tied hands up to cover my face and cried a bit against my arm.

“Hands down.”


“Keep your hands in front of you.  If you pull them up again, I’m going to smack the back of your legs.”

Aside number two: Paul ties me mostly to make it easier on me, though I’m sure my not being able to put my hands back makes things easier for him as well. Because as an adult I’ve almost always been spanked / thrashed in spaces where we might be overheard, I don’t tend to yell out very much.  My pain reaction is all about trying to move away.  When I’m tied I tend to yank my hands up and cry out into them.  I worry a lot about being overheard, both because of fear of the cops showing up and embarrassment that our neighbors (some of whom know WIIWD) might, well, hear me crying over being thrashed.  Paul, as far as I’ve been able to determined, doesn’t worry about either situation, damn him.

My hands went back down.  The first 18 strokes hurt a huge amount (and we were still on the repeated “a” mistake), while at the same time I was constantly aware that my knickers wouldn’t be up much longer.  At the same time, I was internalizing the mistake and feeling bad that I’d repeated it so many times.  I started to sob.

t thinking, my hands pulled up so I could cry into my arm.  Instantly, or so it seemed, hard, stinging smacks started raining down on the backs of my thighs.  The thing about a traditional caning is that however much it hurts, the careful spacing generally means I can absorb the pain and stay somewhat in control.  Fast smacks on my legs though leave me with nothing to do but howl and try and escape.  Escape being impossible I heard myself apologizing and promising to be good.

And I was.

For the rest of the thrashing, my hands stayed down (partly on account of me having a death grip on the coffee table’s wrought iron bar).  Midway through, as we switched from one one marked practice sheet to the next, I got to take a break.  Rather than helping though, which is what I thought would happen, it just raised my anxiety and let the pain from the thrashing soak in.

Finally we’d gotten through the last mistake, by which time I had found a little bit of courage.  But the last few strokes with the heavy cane were amazingly hard.  I could tell Paul was quite proud of them, something I didn’t understand until I escaped to the bathroom to wash my face and examine my marks.

He’d managed to land the marks so the tramlines went almost equally across both of my bottom cheeks.

As I sat, doing my nightly practice on a very sore bottom, I couldn’t help but wonder at how my fantasies and real life have managed to meet so perfectly.

World’s Cutest Police Car?

smart-police-carThe other day I was at my calligraphy class, which is held at a middle school in Beverly Hills.  When I came out I saw the following very cute SmartCar police car.  It’s a real police car, complete with lights and siren.  So very cute — and like all SmartCars it looks like you could pick it up and tuck it in your pocket.

SmartCars have long held a certain fascination for me. Back in 1999, the first summer I spent in Edinburgh, I spent hours wandering the city, stalking a green one I desperately wanted to tae a picture of.  When they started appearing in Los Angeles a couple years ago, again I stalked them, less for pictures than just to look at them and smile.  It’s not just their smallness — they somehow look confident — they remind me of a small terrier hanging with the big dogs, all the cuter for not seeming to know that it’s tiny.

Another oddness about them is the way so often in Los Angeles they seem to have two people in them — the maximum capacity.  Maybe it’s fuel economy, but I like to think it’s because, like me, other people love the little cars.

Now all I need is to find someone with one to drive me around.  Though it’s probably not a good idea to try and get arrested, even in Beverly Hills.