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Holiday Meme: Question 1

ibarra
Which do you pick Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Such a question!  My answer is that it depends.  I love them both in the right circumstances and associate both with Christmas.

Egg Nog if it isn’t homemade.  I like the dairy pasteurized stuff, especially from Broguiere’s Dairy (Oh My God so good!). I also like the egg nog latte they serve at coffee places this time of year, especially if they do half milk, half nog. Homemade egg nog (with or without booze) is a no go for me.  I wish it were otherwise because I’d love to be able to make some sugar free, but such is life.

The only hot chocolate I’d have over a well-made latte is homemade Mexican hot chocolate.  For those of you that haven’t tried it, Mexican chocolate comes in cake and is flavored with almonds, cinnamon.  I make hot chocolate by breaking off the right amount of cake, grating it, and then heating the grated chocolate in whole milk over a medium heat burner.  Once the chocolate is mostly dissolved and the milk is hot (not boiling), I pour it into the blender with a little pinch of chile powder and blend for 10 seconds or so until foamy.  Fit for an Aztec king!

 

Maid Uniform

maid-uniform
[I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while — months really. It deserves me to say a lot more than I am, but I’ve found it hard to put my thoughts about this down.  This is brief but even writing this has left me feeling ashamed.]

This story begins with online shopping.  I have an old fashioned maid uniform. I bought it off eBay in a burst of desire. The idea of cleaning the apartment dressed in my uniform filled me with anticipation — even though it’s not Paul’s kink at all, I thought it would be fun just for me.  After all, I often pretend to be a housemaid when I’m cleaning and polishing. It’s all fun headspace

My uniform came and was everything I could have hoped for — modest, proper and old fashioned, but sexy in its black and white tradition.  It looks like something a housemaid in the 1950s would wear.

Excited to the core, I put it on, snapped a picture and broadcast it to Twitter.

And then I looked at myself.  What I saw was a Chicana woman dressed as a maid.  I’m from California and that carries with it a lot of baggage. Overwhelmed with feelings of embarrassment, almost a sort of racial memory, I took my uniform off.

It hangs in the closet, speaking to me of things I barely can understand.

I know I shouldn’t feel shame, but I do.  I can’t just embrace the desire and go with it.  Sometimes kink just doesn’t go deep enough.

Advent Blogging

I'm going to try for 25 blog posts in the month of December.  Why?  No real reason except to remind myself what it's like to blog every day.  My promise isn't to do the impressive thing others (like Graham) have done and try and have kink stuff daily. Much as I might want to, that's not going to happen.  But my promise is to try and write something every day.  

Whether it'll be worth reading is a whole other issue….  Stay tuned. 

Anxiety disorder or just my life?

I don't really have a question about this.  I know I suffer from anxiety disorder, complete with panic attacks that wake me up from a sound sleep feeling like I'm having a heart attack.  I also have manic depression (or bipolar disorder 1).  I know I get depressed at this time of year, every year and have for as long as I can remember.  I know all this, really.  I take medications daily (geodon and lexapro daily, ambien and xanax when the anxiety or insomnia get to be too much).  

But like everyone else I know, I also have a stressful life. I'm trying to finish final revisions to my dissertation.  Trying to go on the job market in English despite their being almost no jobs.  Trying not to think too much about the fact my job ends in a month (when I stop being a student) while also trying to find another job. Trying to be a good daughter when my dad is living with us.  Trying to be a good partner to the one I love best while knowing my dad may be slowly driving him crazy.  Trying to keep a handle on everything.

Part of me thinks anyone would feel stressed, anxious and depressed in the same circumstances, that it isn't a matter of what my mental health is like.  This part of me wants to go off medication, whispers that if I just exercised every day, kept a decent sleep schedule and ate more healthy foods, I could do everything that needs to be done.  This part of me thinks I don't need any more doctors, what I need is self discipline (or maybe external discipline too, though that has its own guilt attached).   This part believes if the doctors and drugs don't make me perfect, maybe I can be perfect without them.

This part of me doesn't want to go to an intake appointment with a new therapist tomorrow morning.  Doesn't want to bare my soul to another stranger.  I've talked about this before

Fortunately I don't trust this part of me anymore. I know better.  So much as I hate it, I'll be at the appointment.  Hope I like her. 

A Ferris Bueller Sorta Day

ferris-bueller
Today is a Ferris Bueller kind of day for me.  You see, I’ve called (well, emailed) in sick to work. I am a bit sick — allergy eyes, ears and throat making me feel a bit like I have a cold. Mostly though I was aware I can’t be out tomorrow and was a bit afraid I’d end up really out sick if I kept pushing it.  Plus, my mom is coming in tomorrow so today is likely the last day I can be home alone with Paul for a few weeks.

Still, I feel too healthy to be home on a sick day and am not sure what to do with myself.  If it were a Saturday, I wouldn’t have been up at 6:30, probably wouldn’t even be up now at 7:45 AM.  But today isn’t a non-work day, it’s a day off work. Part of me doesn’t feel like it should be wasted on being asleep, though a nap will probably make its way into the afternoon time.

I have to admit though, much as I’d like to say I’m off to the Dodger game or even the beach (bit cold for that, but still), so far I’ve done some work from home, had coffee and played on Twitter.

I’m sure Ferris would find it all very dull.

Still, even though my plans for the day so far mostly include working on the revision of my dissertation. I’m going to keep score and try and feel like today really counts.  After all, who knows when the chance to call in sick and not be really sick will come around again?

Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

Back and all that stuff

great-britain
Paul and I got back on Thursday from our travels.  Where have we been?  Vegas where we attended yet another amazing Shadow Lane party.  Northeast England, where we visited Paul’s family and I got to attend a wonderful conference.  London, where Paul attended a counter protest about the Pope’s visit and finally Paris, where we spent far too little time.  Through it all we got to play in hotel rooms.  I feel like my mojo got a lot of love.

Someday I may blog about all that travel and play, though given my track record I understand if you doubt it.  I’m honestly not all that convinced myself.

But for now, I’m home and it’s hot.  113 today in Los Angeles, 103 in Santa Monica.  A new record high.

Life With Father – A Whine

life-with-father
In an economic time when so many adult children are moving back in with their parents, I’m experiencing the opposite. My dad has now lived with Paul and me for six months.  While he stayed with us two years ago for some months, this is the longest stint and one with no end in sight.

How did this happen?  Economics mostly.  My parents moved to Oregon eight years ago for work reasons. Three years ago my dad was transferred back, just as the real estate market tanked. They can’t sell their house in Oregon, though my mom is living there, trying her best to sell it.  My dad? Well, he stayed with us for a bit, then rented a place in LA for a while.  The cost of maintaining two residences was just impossible to sustain.  Besides that, he doesn’t live alone well and needs someone to look after him.  Needs a reason to come home from work at the end of the day and not stay in the office until 8 or 9 at night.

This is not a situation like the one my parents faced when my grandparents moved in with them.  My father is in good health and works — works longer hours than me most days. He takes out the trash, brings home food, sometimes drives me around. I’m not “taking care of him” in the sense of being his caregiver.  But I do find that I somehow have become his companion, much the way my mother is when she’s in town (she’s coming tomorrow).  My father is the oldest of seven children.  He has never lived alone, likes being around people, likes doing things all the time.  It’s hard to tell someone like that you want to sit on the sofa and stare into space for a couple hours.

On a day-to-day basis it’s okay — and honestly the burden of entertaining him was also there when he had his own place and my mom was away.  He doesn’t like being alone and doesn’t do well in solitude.

More detail.

Paul and I don’t live in a big house.  In fact, we don’t live in a house.  We rent a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment.  Usually one bedroom is for us, the other is a study and guest room.  The apartment is just the right size — for the two of us.  With three adults (and for the next two weeks, four adults) the apartment seems a bit too small.  Showers and even trips to the bathroom become matters of good natured negotiation.  Working from home is a lot more difficult, something that matters because Paul always works from home and I do two days a week.

Even that’s not the worst of it however.  I realized yesterday with a jolt of panic that, with my mom coming tomorrow  for a two week stay, I would likely not be alone much at all between now and the end of August when we leave for Shadow Lane. I’m not getting enough time by myself which makes me feel anxious and cranky.

Nor do Paul and I get enough time alone together.  Sure we can go into our room and close the door. But I still know he’s there or know he’s going to come home.  We can’t really pull out our play stuff.  It’s not that he isn’t respectful of our privacy — I mean, we’re pretty sure he did walk in on Paul spanking me in the living room and was polite enough to re-lock the door and disappear for a half hour — but it’s hard to really relax when I know we’re not alone. (I recognize that this isn’t anything new for people who have kids.  But the thing is, we don’t have kids .)

Meanwhile my sister and her family may need to move into the house in Portland and live there with my mom.  On the one hand I want it for them as it would mean my sister-in-law, who is currently unemployed, would have landed a great job.  On the other hand, this could mean a year or more of my dad staying with us.  I’m not sure we / I can take it.

So why haven’t I told him?

::sigh:: He’s my father.

He’d do the same for Paul and me without a thought.  He moved my grandparents in with him and my mom, again without a thought.  He tries so hard not to be in the way. Further, and this is hard to write, he takes better care of himself when he’s not alone.  This matters to me as both his parents (and their siblings) died young.  His father of a heart attack at 50, his mother of a stroke at 67.  My dad is 64 and is the oldest male member of his family, save one who’s had two quadruple bypass surgeries.  While his health is good, I know that his chances of making it much past 70 are statistically low.

How will I feel about adding stress to his life and sending him away if something happens to him? I can’t do it.

I wish I could just enjoy this chance to be an adult with my father, to appreciate the interesting and wonderful things about him as he seems to about me.  What I feel though is a selfish longing for my old life.  The one where Paul and I live alone, together.

Okay, whine over.  Thanks for listening.

The scene viewed from two poles

masks
Blogging the other day, I mentioned that for me, there’s a link between kink and being bipolar. Casey mentioned on Twitter that she’d like to hear more about the connection.  So here goes.

The easy answer is that both the spanking fetish and bipolar disorder are parts of who I am so naturally they’re connected for me.  But that answer’s easy and not either complete or useful.  The sort of thing one says to avoid anything too personal.  The honest answer is more involved.

One of the symptoms of the manic side of me is hypersexuality.  Not everyone who’s bipolar has this one but I do.  My desire for play is highest at these times, as is the depth and breadth of my desires — at a certain point pretty much everything sounds hot as all get out.  Over the years I’ve made some poor choices at these times, been careless with both my body and safety.

Example: One time I was craving contact and play so much I picked someone up on AOL. I met with them to play at my place an hour later.  This was without any negotiation or even knowing their real name (never did learn it). They weren’t a bad person, but we had very different limits. I ended up getting physically hurt, realizing after they’d left I needed medical care.

There’s nothing wrong with being sexual or playing with a lot of people.  I firmly believe my inner slut is to be loved, accepted and embraced.  But there are right and safe ways of doing it.  The above was neither and I was lucky it didn’t turn out worse. Yet my manic side has real advantages to my scene self sometimes.

You see, generally speaking I’m both shy and introverted. I don’t socialize well and spend a lot of time inside my own head.  When I’m mildly or hypo manic, I’ve got a lot of energy for scene social life, am able to manage friends (on and offline), blogging and play effortlessly.  Mania is, for me, partly characterized by insomnia, which means I have a lot more time to get things done, a lot more time for play, a lot more time for people and new projects.  I love the me I am during these times.  If I could live my whole life in a state of mild mania I would, even with the occasional lapse in judgement.  Manic Mija is a lot of fun at a party, though probably less fun to live with full-time.

But the thing is, whatever I might want, I don’t get to stay like that.  And the higher or more manic I am, the harder and farther I have to fall. People who are used to me being in touch wonder what happened, sometimes worry they’ve done something that caused me to break off contact.  Knowing this will happen (it’s only a question of when, not if) sometimes makes the highs harder to enjoy.  I feel that how ever happy I can make people in the now, they’re going to inevitably be disappointed when the “real” me swings back again.  There’s also nothing quite as awful as suffering from a bout of depression after having made a series of terrible manic choices and commitments.

Yet my depressed side doesn’t feel like the “real” me at all.  I’m fortunate as bipolar people go in that I don’t experience severe depressions as often as I experience mania. Those times are connected with my scene self only in that depression makes everything, everything, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g feel like a huge effort. While there’s never really a time when I don’t feel some sort of desire for play, depression leaves me feeling play impossible with anyone other than Paul.  Even then, he has to lead completely.  The only emotions I feel like I can show are hurt and pain.

There’s probably more to it, but that’s as far as I can go with thoughts on the scene and being bipolar.

I like this one…

side-effects
As I wrote a while ago, I’m bipolar 1.  For eighteen months I was a good girl and took lithium twice a day — had bloodwork for it on schedule once a month.  The drug worked, in so far as my mind and body were quieted by it. And goodness I slept well.  But maybe it worked too well.   My body gained 40 (yes, FORTY) pounds, something I was not happy about.  But worse still was what it did to my mind.  I lost the ability to think in a complex theoretical manner.  My then doctor, a very nice older man, seemed to think this was a valid trade-off for sanity.  I didn’t and stopped taking my medications.

My body, my science experiment, right?  Okay, yes but maybe not a great idea.  Without a mood stabilizer, which is what lithium is, my moods were, well unstable again.  The anxiety and fear began to creep back.  My sleep was disrupted.  And the feeling that the inside of my bones were buzzing came back too.  Even though no one around me complained (Paul is good that way), I could also feel the rise of mania.  It comes with the warm weather for me.

After 6 months I realized I couldn’t keep living like this and went back to talk to my doctor only to find he had retired.   I was given a new doctor.  At that point, before my first appointment with her, I almost gave up.  I’m so glad I didn’t.

My new doctor is great. I love her.

She’s younger than my first doctor, about the same age as me actually.  No judgement about kink stuff, just wanted to know how it made me feel and how I see bipolar disorder in connection with kink.  They do connect for me, and that’s fine.  Even more importantly, she understood that my academic work matters a lot to me, that not being able to think in a theoretical manner or read philosophy wasn’t a trade off I wanted to make for sanity’s sake.  So we’re trying a new drug called geodon.  Three months in and it’s looking good.  It’s not ideal — I feel achingly drowsy on it sometimes and it costs a lot, even with my insurance — but I can take it and still write, still focus, still feel like myself.

These are good things.

Now to try and do something about these forty extra pounds of me.

Startle: Swots

three-tailed-tawse
First, a confession, I’ve definitely got a thing, so to speak for BBC radio quiz shows and panel games for purely vanilla reasons (as pure as anything is for me).  I’m devoted to News Quiz, Just a Minute and a number of others.  The comedians working off each other just plain appeals to me.

On the kink side, I love that comments about CP seem to appear at pretty regular intervals in all of them.  My all time favorite was the moment on “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” when the irreplaceable Humphrey Lyttleton said “I was caned at school at it never did me any harm” ::3 beat pause:: “…though it did almost make me late this evening” or something close to it.

The Radio Scotland program, Swots, which was hosted by Miles Jupp and Susan Morrison and broadcast last summer, takes this to a whole other level.  The premise of the quiz show is that it’s set in a 1960s Scottish classroom where “the belt” (in the form of sound effect belt slaps and “ouch”) is used for any wrong answers to spelling and maths questions.  Wonderfully funny with an added thrill (for me anyway) of the sound of belt whackings and references to having to report to school masters “in vest and pants.”

Startling and delightful!

For more information (but you’ll need to find a download site yourself).