In Xanadu did Kublah Khan a stately pleasure dome decree

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bedding the Garden

It's November-ish here at last this weekend in the mid-Atlantic.  Yesterday I made a trip to garden center and came home with not only the two bags of organic manure I needed  (bio accumulation, folks!), but also a bunch of free burlap bags and about 60 crocus bulbs.

Without really meaning to, I've gone bulb crazy in the last week.  First, I went next door to where My now-departed elderly neighbor had a bed of fantastic, deep velvety purple bearded iris, just down slope from the dogwood. The new owner wants only the ideal suburban grass lawn, and has sadly pulled out the beautiful rose bushes, mowing over the iris patch all season long.  It was hard to watch, but I held My tongue and arranged to "help" achieve his lawn goals by pulling the bulbs in the fall. On hands and knees, I combed through the grass and assorted weeds and found eight spears that are clearly iris.  The bulbs were right at the surface where I didn't expect them.  Aren't they supposed to be about 6" under?  Oh, well, it's a well established and successful patch.  Now they have a new home in a large galvanized tub, and I hope that in spring they will bloom again gloriously for Me, in memory of the elder gentleman I barely met.  For this act of purely selfish transplantation alone, the new owner now introduces Me as an environmentalist.

Then I broke up two bulbs of hardneck garlic and planted the cloves, in hope of spring garlic scapes and expanding over several years to achieve total garlic self-sufficiency, on par with Italian grandmothers of the Old Country. Once I discovered the hardnecks last year, I immediately spurned their fractious soft-necked relatives. The garlic are sort of scattered around wherever I could find room in the existing containers, and I have no idea how this experiment might work out.  But this is the fun of gardening, sometimes you just try and see what Life wants to do with your efforts.

As I planted the garlic, I came across three different places in which a brown, softly bark-y little bulb had already put up a 6" green shoot.  Absolutely no idea what these are.  I suspect squirrels have buried them for safe keeping.  It's not impossible the squirrels are redistributing a pile of small tulip bulbs from 18 months ago, but the foliage seems too reedy for a tulip. I know of no tree that drops a nut like this. So it's take-a-photo and show it to the next master gardener I see at the market. Whatever they are, they are sturdy little buggers, putting out no roots yet.  I have dug them up and re-positioned several times, with zero ill effects.

Finally, the crocus. I got a bag of 25 mixed white, yellow, purple, and purple striped.  Then another 35 of two kinds with purple stripes.  I wanted more yellow for contrast, but sold out.  There are now two large enamel pans planted, each with holes punched in the bottom.  One is a lovely white oval with black handles, the other was once the drawer of iris-neighbor's old fridge, and I pulled it from the trash for its obvious utility as a container.  They are now in the yard, with hole-punched ends aimed down grade, and folds of netting over top to stop squirrel raids until I can get some proper bulb-protecting wire grid. The bulbs had all sprouted in the bin at the store so I may very well have 60 crocus with My Christmas amaryllis.

Despite all this planting effort, I have very much put the garden to bed for the winter. Nearly everything that won't winter over - or has proven itself unworthy of the valuable limited real estate (I'm looking at you, ever expanding strawberries!) - is gone.  Many containers have been emptied, the soil broken up, root detrius combed out, organic matter will be stirred in soon so it can rest all winter. The chard has been positioned under a line tied off to the fence corners, allowing Me to tarp the containers during an overnight cold snap. My main concern at this point is that the burlap lining the metal wire containers is failing suddenly, all at once, so that the plants cannot get a good drink of water and the soil is running off.  I need to pull two rosemary, re-line with fresh burlap, and re-plant quickly.  Transplant shock plus a cold snap might do them in, and I was very fortunate all three wintered over last year.  The three lavender were not so lucky.  The big chard needs it too, but I think his days are numbered anyway, so I'm not going to bother.

Hopefully, come spring, the yard will be leveled and it will be possible to install permanent raised beds, putting the container approach into My urban brownfield of a backyard.  I suspect the neighbors do not love this front yard vegetable container garden but, hey, that's where the sun is.  Sharing herbs and tomatoes has thus far staved off a revolt, and it does give everyone in the neighborhood something to jaw about over the fences.

Pain, Pain, Go Away

It happens sometimes that I wake up in pain. If I'm unlucky, it persists through the day, the night, and into the next. This is the legacy of a cartoonish fall a few years back that would have been a sure winner on a funny home videos show.

Massage has made all the difference in My recovery and is the most important element of My day to day comfort.  I like to have new boys talk to Me while they massage whatever I extend, so that I can assess their instincts and skill.  It's curious to observe whether My body's opinion about a boy matches the conclusion of My analytical mind. A long-term boy would surely be dispatched to some attend semi-pro classes. Sometimes I can look back and recall the moment when I heard a click or snap in My body and thought, "Uh-oh". Sometimes it's, "Hmmm, maybe throwing those two big bags of topsoil in the trunk Myself wasn't such a hot idea." Sometimes, I just slept wrong or sat at the computer too many hours.  Sometimes the pain is a house pet that comes and goes at will.

This need for pain management nicely tees up a core challenge for Dominants... accepting the limits of our power and control.  We don't really have total control of much in the grand scheme of things, but people on both sides of the slash get a lot out of the fiction that we do, and out of the process of making the world bend.  At M/s conferences, there is sometimes a class on how to deal with situations in which the Dominant falls ill, needs surgery, or is otherwise unable to sustain the previously-normal degree of visible control  in the relationship.

It's a somewhat different thing, though, to have to surface the issue early in the get-to-know you process. The illusion of power doesn't get the chance to take hold, and that can be a bit more reality than many new-ish boys are ready to cope with.  As I live with the pain, I'm coming to accept it as just another facet of reality. As the acceptance happens, I'm more comfortable presenting it when it arises. We're all middle aged, everyone has something by now, this is My piece of it. I'm hopeful that the pain also has the effect of weeding out earlier the boys whom time would show to be unsuited, leaving only the gems.

We Midwesterners like to think we are made of hardy, tough stock. No whining. Soldier on. But I found this mindset doesn't actually work very well in a D/s dynamic. I really can't swing a flogger when I'm in pain, and it's not in anyone's best interest to try. Hiding pain is seldom successful and creates a question about what else I might be trying to hide.  Yet announcing this physical weakness doesn't mesh smoothly with My self image as a with-it Dominant, or what I believe most boys are hoping for.  I had to get to the point of having compassion - for My pain, My need to complain more than I think I should, for the body that is no longer resilient in the ways I took for granted - before I could accept it enough to make it an oh-by-the-way when talking to a new boy.

Pain management has taught Me to ask for and better receive service.  It has cut some of those Midwestern roots of self-sufficiency out from under Me, and put more focus on community, another fine Midwestern virtue.  Service meant less when it was limited to things like serving tea. I like tea, but its absence meant little to Me, so its appearance didn't mean a great deal more.  But to have an important service provided, something I can't actually do for Myself, something like massage for pain relief, that's a different thing.  It requires Me to be fully aware of My vulnerabilities, to admit them in the moment (Dominants love doing that), ask for help (another favorite Dominant pass time), and to trust someone to meet a need I would prefer to not even have. It requires Me to do several things I'd rather not, in order to receive a wonderful experience I do very much want.  In fact, I find now that the emotional significance of the service I receive is directly proportional to how much vulnerability I am willing to share.

After all, what can you really give the person who has everything?

I can't say I have enjoyed the process as it unfolded, but I like where it has taken Me.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sweet Irony

On the slaveofmistress-s blog, SOS' spring post about not ironing his Mistress' clothing got Me thinking about how I would react in the same circumstances.  I love ironing.  It's meditative and an unusually primal feeling, one that carries a lot of happy in it. I've even toyed with acquiring some of the old cast iron irons, and fantasized about using them instead of My delightful Rowenta.  When I visit Mount Vernon and other historic homesteads, I am always particularly fascinated by the laundry house.  When I'm feeling nesty and have a little free time, I enjoy ironing My collection of linen tea towels, folding and stacking them neatly all together, far away from their lesser cotton bretheren.  Last time I got so in the zone that I ironed the linen sheets.  I enjoy laundry generally, perhaps because I lived over 15 years in a 4th floor walkup without a washer/dryer.  There's just something so comfortable and homey about the faint sounds of My little euro, front loading w/d set, whirring away.

Only one boy has ever attempted My laundry and it wasn't successful, despite clear instructions, since he insisted on loading the washer too tightly, using too much bleach, as well as occasionally melting My spandex clothes in a too-hot dryer.  As you might imagine, he's gone now.  I have developed a progression of tasks I train with a new boy, usually sweeping/vacuum first, then dishes. Only after trust is very well established will I ever again let a new boy upgrade My iOS. Laundry is about the last task I would entrust, not just because of the financial impact of errors, but because I'm a very sensual person, and I choose My garments first on the basis of fabric.  If a garment does not have a nice feel on My delicate skin, I don't even consider taking it into the dressing room. Silks, wools, cashmere, pima cotton, linen of every application I can find... My carefully chosen fabrics give Me a lot of pleasure, and I want them baby-ed to stay that way.

I haven't seen the post on how Mistress S handled SOS's failure to iron Her work clothes two mornings in a row. It would be a big deal to Me. I have a bit of a linen fetish and slipping into a pretty linen blouse in the summer, fresh and crisply ironed, is a rare form of delight.  Sliding in between two ironed linen sheets for the first time is such a feeling of joy and well-being. I don't care to be called a Queen, but ironed linen sheets make Me feel like Royalty indeed.  When I go to kinky camp, I love walking around wearing nothing but a large, gossamer piece of pretty linen, which doubles as clothing, towel, and all purpose, poolside accessory. If I had instructed that a linen blouse be ironed and ready for Me to wear to work, and was disappointed, yes, that would be a non-trivial problem for the boy responsible.

Someone once asked Me what is My personal definition of luxury.  I have long answered that it is visits to pristine tropical beaches and custom made clothing/shoes.  Both of those fantasy images assume ironing... the linen dress and deck towel at the beach, the custom linen blouses.  I will even admit to lusting over a Miele mangle. No room for it, of course. But a wonderful boy who loves to serve Me, to whom I could entrust My laundry, and even My ironing... now that would indeed be luxury of the highest order.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


I'm going to see My special boy this week, it's a rare treat, one for which I am grateful to his Madame. Like most rare treats, there are costs, there are risks, gratification is delayed, and I'll be hungry for it again soon after.  I just finished boxing up some toys I want at hand, several things one doesn't take in a carry-on, and certainly not when traveling with colleagues.

I like to walk into a situation fully prepared, able to accomplish My goals and riff easily when I choose. That's often not possible outside home and My local, familiar dungeon.  In these places, I know the equipment and environment, so I know how to plan.  Being a Dominant is far more about MacGyver engineering than I would have guessed at the outset: "I want to hit him with this, there, so how do I affix him to that or that, when I have only this, this, and this to work with?"  Conference dungeons and especially hotel rooms are the epitome of the challenge. When's the last time *you* stayed in a hotel room that had actual legs on the bed, suitable for bondage? Nope. Solid bottoms, solid headboards have become the norm. And then there's the noise.  In a kink conference hotel, whacking and screaming is fine and dandy, but otherwise? That calls for quiet, effective toys and a good gag.  So in the face of the uncertain environment, I want a few key toys that are already extensions of My body, whose behaviour I can predict.

I have something like a pleasant form of performance anxiety before a visit with My special boy. I love the feeling of all cylinders firing, I want the scene to go well, I want to feel that chemistry and have something spark. I want us to connect with Joy in each other, in the ways that only happen with him, and float afterward as long as it will last.  Lather, rinse, repeat, if at all possible. That's a tall order, and I hate to lose time or focus on fixing physics gone awry. It's all on Me as the Dominant to make it a success, and yet, holding on tight doesn't actually work. There has to be room to co-create the scene, I have to allow a flow, I can't get so caught up in the responsibility and technical challenges that I stop being present.  Because it's all about being in the moment, the shared moment, together.

What I can control least is My headspace on the day, and that has everything to do with what play will succeed. Work is crazy of late, and the days running up to our visit will be particularly so.  I will be tired from travel, and I hope that when we finally connect, there will be energy to do more than fall asleep together.  It's OK if that happens, breakfast beatings are a fine way to start the day too.  But I still want our night to be as I envision.

When I started being publicly kinky some time ago, I wanted to Do Things, things that no one in My life was inclined to let Me do.  I wanted to hit people, and initially, didn't care who it was, provided they consented. Now I can hit as many people as I can schedule. and what matters is who.  It's funny that I stopped being vanilla, came out as kinky, became a heavy player, and at some point I got so kinky, I fell off the end of the spectrum and in a way, landed back at vanilla.  It's all about the relationship again.

So I box up the toys and send it to him. The boy says it is safe to use his office address, and I trust him to assess those risks accurately, I also trust him not to open the box. Sure, he is smart enough to possibly get away with it.  But W/we both enjoy the anticipation, and I don't think he would spoil it for Me, spoil it for U/us.  A label eludes us, but an us there certainly is.

There's a package headed  to Me as well, tiny, but powerful.  Here's hoping that all packages reach their destinations and converge as planned.