Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Dungeons and Old Dragons

by Valerie Mann 
A few nights ago, while at the Naughty Sleepover in San Antonio, the attendees were invited to visit a real BDSM dungeon. The Dom who owned the dungeon had given a BDSM-lite presentation in our hotel ballroom (because BDSM-lite etiquette demands that’s where they should be held) and said we could attend his dungeon later that evening.

I will admit, this Vanilla Author of Erotic Romance (VAER) did not attend the presentation. I took a nap, a much-needed nap, so there, but when my roommate came upstairs after the show, she told me what I’d missed. I was intrigued. I edit BDSM romance all the time, plus I have a few friends in the Lifestyle, so perhaps I needed to get a little more edumacation, right? Get a real feel for the whole dealio.

So, after dinner and a stripper show (which I also didn’t attend, I told you I’m a VAER), off we go to a seedier part of San Antonio…all forty of us. Yes, about forty, middle-aged women (for the most part middle-aged), all wide-eyed and pretending this was no big deal, when in fact, I’m guessing for 90% of us, it was a big, fat, hairy deal.

Master Mike, the dungeon owner, welcomed us and gave the grand tour of the house and backyard, then a nice tutorial by himself and other Doms he’d invited to acquaint us with the finer points of the Lifestyle and BDSM community. And then we were treated to some things I doubt this VAER will ever entirely bleach out of her brain. Fascinating—yes. Disturbing—some of it. Do I want to jump into the Lifestyle—negatory. What I came away with was a better understanding and respect for people who are in the Lifestyle. As one lesbian Domme said, “When you decide this is what you want to do, it’s like coming out of the closet. Or in my case, coming out for the second time.”

At about 3:00 am, we left and went outside to wait for our cabs. Remember when I said this was a seedier part of San Antonio? Yeah, it was right down the street from a very active nightclub, just closing for the night, er, morning. Freezing cold, about twenty of us were huddled at the foot of the drive, serenaded by drunken clubbers heading home.

And gunshots. Lots and lots of gunshots.

I’m sorry. I love action movies, I have guns in my home, I’ve taken firearm safety classes and shot weapons. But seeing them discharged FOR REALZ? Where bullets are hitting people? Ambulances show up, police show up, it’s like a scene from COPS.

And all of us middle-aged women huddled like penguins at the foot of the drive were like, “Huh. Looks like people might’ve gotten shot. Hey, has anyone found out what’s holding up our taxi?”

After all we’d seen and heard that day (a sex toy party, a stripper show, then some dungeon time), the gunshots were simply pesky, noisy little disruptions in an otherwise highly unusual evening. But thankfully, three hours later, full of a Denny’s Grand Slam skillet breakfast, this VAER was snuggled in her bed in the haunted Menger Hotel. And that’s a blog for another day.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sleepwear and Creeping Legs

When I was a child, I used to wear nightgowns. Winter and summer time. In the summer, I had cotton sleeveless nightgowns. As I lived in the Central Valley of California, this was possible. In the winter, I had a flannel, long-sleeved nightgown. Even when Dad didn't turn the heat up in the winter (at times, the house was 55 degrees), I still wore a nightgown. Unlike many pictures of them reaching the full length of someone's leg, they never did. Or maybe they started out that way. LOL I don't remember. I do remember them usually hitting me about mid-calf. I had one like this and I loved it. It didn't button down the back, though.

I also had several floral ones that I really liked. One I wore so much that I wore a hole in it under the arms. That one disappeared after Mom said something to me about it looking ragged. :D

I would love to have a flannel nightgown again, but either they are butt ass ugly or really expensive. Seriously, I've tried JC Penney's, Walmart, Target, and Kohl's. Only one word described them: BURN. BURN NOW. (Okay, that's three words. Well, technically, only two, but still.) While looking through one of Mom's multitude of catalogs (and I mean "multitude." I've never seen a person have so many catalogs sent to them.), I found one that I really liked and nearly choked on the price. Eighty dollars for a flannel nightgown? Sure, it was pretty, but not $80 pretty. Now, this one to the left is more like it. And at $30, it's a bargain... relatively.

The issue with nightgowns is their propensity of wrapping around my waist. As cold as it's been this past winter here (yes, I know, it's not as cold as wherever you are, but it's cold for here in So Cal.), I want a little more coverage while in bed. So, I decided to try those lovely fleece pajama sets my mother and MIL have given me.

They've been really nice, except for one small thing: the legs creep. Yes, they do. Not my legs, but the pant legs creep up. It's not uncommon for me to wake up with the pant legs up around my knees. Obviously, that's not as bad as around my waist, but I'm not sure that I like it.

The only time I wore pajamas as a kid was when we went skiing. Those cabins were cold, colder even than our house. What I wore weren't really pajamas, but my longjohns. The legs didn't creep probably because of the cuffs at the ankles.

Now, I realize that I could wear longjohns again, but I don't have any left. I wore the last pair out before Christmas. :D I could also wear those one-piece booted foot pajamas... if I liked them. I don't. Having to undress all the way down in order to use the facilities is not my idea of comfortable.

So, I can buy some longjohns, wear my current flannel night, which I don't really like (snowmen on a light blue background with snowflakes) and barely hits my knees, or wear my fleece pajamas.

Of course, I could also go buck naked, but then I'd be really cold. It might be a bit sexier than my current nighttime attire, though. I am sure Charlie would prefer it. (g) Oh, well, not gonna happen.

So, what's your choice in PJs?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Climbing out

Last week, I came down with that horrendous cold that's been making the rounds. I lost two days of work to it, which means I'm climbing out of the "to-do" list that has piled up. This wouldn't be so bad, but I've been climbing out of that "to-do" list since the end of January when I finished the quarterly reports and 1099s. The quarterly reports often eat up 2 weeks easily. Add the 1099s and you've got another week or so.

When I am "climbing out" of the abyss of my to-do list, other things are neglected. Sometimes, I feel a bit overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. I just feel like a hamster on a wheel, although I hope my efforts are more effective than the hamster's.

Between homeschooling Lily, running two publishing houses, being a wife, and just trying to stay sane, it seems like an endless spin day and night. Is there a way off? I don't know. And if there was, would I want off?

Sometimes I think I'm addicted to the "I've got to do something" itis. If I don't have anything to do, then I don't know what to do with myself.

However, I think I might be okay with that. To be honest, I don't really know what I'd do if I were off the wheel, but at least I wouldn't feel like I was constantly climbing out.

So, yeah, I'm climbing out. Any tips?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Rise of the Guardians and Life lessons

In the world where I grew up, work was work and play was play and never the twain would meet. People grew up and got jobs they had to do to pay the bills. Then they had jobs they had to do to make sure the household kept running roughly in a forward and productive direction while remaining on the livable side of tidy and clean. If people had time left over, they played. If they played, they played pretty damn hard, because when was the next chance going to come along? Maybe never.

I confess, I pretty much hated the world I grew up in. My observation was that all work and little play made adults pretty miserable. I wanted none of it. I simply resolved never to bother with the whole growing up thing. I liked my crayons and paper and my books. I went to school and took art, so I could keep my crayons. Now I write my own books. Growing up is for schmucks.

Last week, I took my twelve-year-old daughter to see Rise of the Guardians. We laughed and cried and thought Jack was a little anime cutie, and we wanted to see it again. I've been trying for months to figure out if she still believes in Santa. I realized that day that it doesn't matter, because I still think Santa exists. I know dreams are worth dreaming and nothing exists until you believe in it
And that's what I want my kids to learn. Because I look around at the people who learned lessons from the world we grew up in and I see them wilting and turning grey. There is no wonder left. If they can't afford bigger and better toys, they're miserable, bored and lonely. They don't remember how to play.

I'm  not so naive I don't understand there are things you have to do in life that you would rather not do. Someone has to change the diapers, clean the kitty litter and scrub the toilets. No one really wants to do that shit, because no one, at least, no one I've met, really thinks feces is fun. I'm sure these people exist, but I'm going to bet they're pretty rare.  But neither are there many people who dream of working at day jobs they hate, I think.

So I'm going to teach my kids to dream. To keep the wonder and always remember how to play. In fact, I'll encourage them to find out how they can make their play pay the bills. Because working five times as hard as anyone else at the thing that makes your heart sings means you'll make some breath-stopping, head-turning, jaw-droppingly beautiful heart music. And the world needs that like we need the sun.

Sorry for the lack of snark today, but after two weeks of one thing after another, I decided I could bitch and complain, or I could remember how lucky I am that I get to make my heart music and so I chose to sing.

And now, Bobby Wills can sing  bit, because he's way better at it than I am, actually. (sorry, fellow strong women, just plug your ears. Country music ahead!)