Category Archives: travel

Christmas Eve Travels: Advent Blog Day 24

blue-canary
Today started before the crack of dawn as we headed up to my parent’s house in Portland. The taxi arrived on time, but we were a bit wary because the night before we had been unable to print out boarding passes. When we got there (after going to the wrong terminal — damn code-share flights!) the machine printed my boarding pass for both legs of the flight but only one of Paul’s.  When we went to talk to the agent about it, she said it wouldn’t be a problem, that he’d be able to get his boarding pass at the gate when we changed planes in San Francisco, a plane change we only had one hour to make.

The flight was on time, but when we got to San Francisco, we had to not only change planes, but change airlines. This meant going through security again. But Paul didn’t have a boarding pass. The machine gave him one, but while we were in line we realized it wasn’t a boarding pass but a luggage receipt. Paul stepped out of the security line and went to talk to the agents about it, telling me he’d meet me at the gate. I didn’t want to let him go without me, but I knew he could move faster through the airport without me. So with rising dread I went through the security check point and waited nervously at the gate.

Our flight was boarding and our row had been called when, hurrying in his sock feet, I saw Paul rushing through the terminal. We made it on the flight and arrived in Portland early.

Last night with Paul and my parents was wonderful. My dad made prime rib, my mom scalloped potatoes.  After dinner we exchanged gifts and everyone was happy.  The best gift I got was from Paul, a ThinkGeek canary night light, though the CD of Bernard Cribbins songs was a close second.

It’s late and I must head to bed.  But Merry Christmas and many thanks to those of you who made this advent journey with me.

-o-0=0=0-o-

Advent bloggers so far (go see them!):

padme & Anakin – Journey to the Darkside

Marie – Life, Lemons & Spanking

EmmaEnchanted – This Kinky Life

Quai  –  Spanking Discussion

Poppy St. Vincent – Poppy’s Submissions

Sharon – The Evolution of a Pin-Up Model

Tiger – Innermost Me

Indy – Not So Submissive

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.

LOST: Bryson Bear

bryson-closeupIntroduction
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.

Leaving Las Vegas

[okay, let’s see how typing with my thumbs in the moving car goes.]
I’m going to try and do a more organized party report once we get home. Pablo and I are headed home from what is, I think anyway, my 14th Shadow Lane party. Since there’s been 29 total. I’m catching up to 50%. There’s just no way to claim newbie status anymore. Who’d have guessed?
Before every party I’m nervous enough to wonder why we’re going, even though I have never regretted attending a single party and have always been sorry when we’ve had to skip / miss one. it’s not about the play (though some of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever been part of have been at SL parties) — I’m fortunate to have married someone happy to spank me as much as I can stand. it’s the chance to spend a weekend away from real life stress and surrounded by and celebrating spanking and how damned much fun it is that makes the parties such great events for me.
The economy in the past 18 months has made it difficult for some of our friends to travel for pleasure. This made it all the more wonderful that so many were able to make it this time around. I especially enjoyed the sadly too-rare chance to hang out with some of the folks from FL Moonshine and SSNY.
it’ll likely be a while until we can do it again. Meantime the friendships continue on and offline. The afterglow feeds Pab and my feelings toward each other. My most heartfelt thanks to Butch, Eve and Tony for working so hard so their guests can play so much.
And with that, we’re almost to Baker and lunch. NV is behind us for now.

This entry was sent from my iPhone.

Shadow Lane: Saturday Morning Shopping

For whatever reason, I woke up at 6:30.  Spent a few minutes online and then decided to shower, go down stairs, get coffee and blog.  A latte clutched to me, I settled on a comfy bench and pulled out my beloved MacBook and stuck my earbuds in my ears.

I have to confess that part of the reason I plugged in my ipod was in the expectation that this would mean someone would come and talk to me soon.  Even so, it was a huge surprise to look up and see Niki standing their with her partner HH.  Apparently she had already spoken to Bailey (who was coming down soon) and Pab (who was not, though had woken up enough to confirm that I wasn’t in our room). Niki’s instinct to search for me near coffee just shows how well she knows me.

not-bettie-pageA quick conversation showed I had no plans.  Niki did.  She wanted us to go over to the mall at Planet Hollywood and explore the Betty Page shop there.  That sounded like a great idea to me. We collected Bailey, dropped the MacBook in my room, told Pab where we were going and headed out. (okay, I know the picture is from the film and isn’t really Betty Page.  But it’s cute anyway, isn’t it?)

At the cab stand we ran into Dr. Dan who was also headed to the mall (he was looking for dance music).  He shared a cab with us which was a good thing for a few reasons.  First, Dan is a very nice guy indeed.  Second, once in the cab I realized I had left my wallet on the table in the hotel room (!!!) so it was great that my sponging was spread a bit thinner and third, I could talk with him about having forgotten one of my medications. Ever the helpful gentleman, he offered to get the information from me later and call the ‘script into a local pharmacy.

After wandering around the casino for 10 minutes like mice in a maze, Niki, Bailey and I finally found the mall and then the Betty Page shop. The store was a treasure trove of wonderful dresses.  My forgotten wallet seemed like a wise decsion as I looked on the lovely dresses.  You see, I’ve gone up a size recently and, while trying not to be crazy about my weight as nothing is as tedious as me whittering on about body image, I didn’t really want to buy a lovely dress that would, by summer, (hopefully) need to be altered in order to fit.  Bailey, like me, was admiring the many lovely things while Niki actually tried some on. She found a fantastic dress (well, actually she found many fantastic dresses, but this dress looked especially amazing and so she bought it.

While Niki was busy in the dressing room, Bailey found the spanking bench / machine discretely located in the back of the store behind velvet ropes.  Its shiny red leather surfaces looked unworn and like a prop so we didn’t ask even to pose on it.  This would prove to be a mistake as, apparently, had we bought an “I was punished” t-shirt, we’d have been entitled to a go on the machine.   Ah well, got to save something for next time.

We couldn’t linger because we had meet Dr. Dan (remember, shared cab) to be back for the suite party / demo Northern Spanking was hosting. Niki was going to be in the demo, but only as the crime “victim” as she wasn’t planning on playing this weekend and she warned me that the suites were smaller than at the SunCoast so arriving early would be important. Even though crowds are sometimes a problem for me, I very much wanted to watch so I could see the NS girls in their uniforms.

On the way out the four of us (Dan, Bailey, Niki and me) were so caught up in our happy chatter and in such a hurry to get back that we basically threw ourselves into a taxi van, talking at full volume.  As we pulled out, the driver pointed out a MASSIVE queue of people we’d somehow missed and, in our oblivious state, had jumped ahead of.  We were mortified, especially when the driver told us that she’d been trying to hold the door closed to keep us out.

Oh the shame of it all.

Still, it did mean we got back to the hotel right on schedule.  This was where and when I found out I wouldn’t just be *witnessing* the NS scene…. (to be continued).

Countdown to London

After a weekend spent caretaking an elderly friend so his wife could have a bit of a break (they have a pool so it’s been fun as well as a bit challenging), Paul and I are off tomorrow for a trip to Britain. We’re leaving in less than 24 hours and I’m not even packed.  Though we’re only going to be their two weeks, the time seems packed with an almost disorienting combination of visits with relatives, scene friends and a trip to the Edinburgh festival.

It will be important not to mix the scene friends and the relatives up — I had a dream last night where in a jet lagged blur I absent-mindedly wore my new gymslip to a dinner with my inlaws. This  couldn’t really happen only because I’m not taking my gymslip. (It’s with me after all at the request of my beloved — so the danger persists.)  Otherwise I’m completely capable of such a mistake.  The only bright spot in the nightmare was the knowledge that Paul would be even more
embarrassed than me.  Trust me, that doesn’t happen very often.

hello-kitty-bikeI’m not planning on bringing my laptop — my mac powerbook is a creaky 10 this year and I can’t justify the 8 pounds of excess weight (maybe Santa will bring me a macbook air) so my internet access will be only as frequent as I can pry Paul’s laptop out of his selfish, hard and large hands.

It’s been a great weekend though.  My birthday present finally came. It’s a new bike — a hot pink Hello Kitty beach cruiser (picture here — you can click for a larger version).  This very special gift, even cooler in person  and speaks to my Hello Kitty desires which I will try and remember to write to you about another time.

Sadly, I’ve barely had a chance to actually ride it yet and only just around the block, but whenever he’s missing me, Paul goes into our friend’s garage and finds me stroking it in a loving yet slightly disturbing fashion.

Anyway, we’re about to leave for London as I write this.  I’m bringing a journal so with any luck I’ll be able to write some dispatches as computer and ‘net access allows.  In any case, if I go silent for a few weeks, you now know where I am.  If you miss me, tell Paul to share his computer.  (Note: he’s not selfish.  We share everything else.  But our computers seem to be a share too far.

When we get back it will be almost time for Shadow Lane in Vegas.  I’m
looking forward to getting together with some of PB authors (Iris,
sparkle and Bridget will be there) and (hopefully) getting to call the
others at the same time so we can all wish Iris much happiness in her
coming (and happily spanko) marriage.

August looks to be a very good month.