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Go on.... shoo!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Boardwalk Badness Weekend, Part 1: Pre-Party

I'm home. It's Monday night, and after months of anticipation, our first BBW experience is behind us. My mind is crammed with so many details and the task of recording it all is daunting. I know I'll forget things, as always. But I need to make a start. Especially since I'm being nagged by the Peanut Gallery on FetLife! :-)

First and foremost -- WE HAD A BLAST! Yes, getting there was stressful for me. But it was well worth it. Thursday afternoon until very late Sunday night were crammed with fun and laughs, play, new friends and old ones, and tons of hugs and kisses. The SSNY people really know how to put on a party and please the masses.

Thursday morning, I got up at 1:30. Yes, a.m. John came over at 3:00, we piled his stuff into my car and headed for the airport. There were some stressors early on: 1) We couldn't find Parking Lot C at LAX (what a zoo that place is!); 2) it was raining and we got drenched heading for the shuttle depot; 3) the TSA agent held back John's carry-on and made us sit and wait while he went through it, not saying a word of explanation to us. Turned out he didn't like the Thermos John had in there; 4) the A/C on the plane wasn't working properly and we were boiling; 5) the plane ride and elevation aggravated John's knee and his lower leg swelled up like a balloon. But we got there in one piece, regardless. And Sarah and RG, bless them, were there waiting for us. So very nice of them to offer us a ride! It was fun to finally meet them.

We rode with them and Becka (who was a hoot!) to the Resorts Atlantic City hotel, which took about an hour. By the time we got there, around 5:00, I was exhausted. John had slept on the plane, but I couldn't, so all I wanted to do was get to our room and sleep for a while before the socializing began. I so wanted to greet everyone we saw as we made our way through the hotel, but part of me was screaming, "SLEEEEEEP! I need sleep! And some peace and quiet. I will put on my party face later; right now, I am running on fumes." I was afraid anyone who saw me at that time would think I was most uptight and unpleasant.

So we finally got our room keys and straggled upstairs. However, sweet peace and comfortable bed eluded me a little longer -- we stepped into our room and found a disaster area. The beds were unmade, the carpets were wet and there was a fan blowing in the middle of the room. The bathroom was trashed, wet towels everywhere and mold in the shower. I called the front desk, explained what we were seeing and he put me on hold. Finally, when he came back on the line, he said the room had been flooded and we shouldn't have been put there. He apologized and said they'd switched us to another room on the same floor. Of course, we had to shlep down to the front desk again with all our stuff and get the keys. (groan)

I cannot tell you how lovely that clean, neat room looked, how good that bed felt, when we finally checked into #4203. :-) We unpacked and then hit the bed for a nap.

The official party wasn't starting until Friday, but they'd organized an Early Registration event for the early arrivals at one of the hotel's restaurants, Gallagher's Burger Bar. This hotel was huge, with multiple floors and towers and corridors, and it took a while to acclimate ourselves and find things. But we wound up where we needed to be, and the greetings began in earnest. Hugs and introductions swirled through the crowd lined up to get our information bags and name badges. One of my favorite random moments was when Sarah Gregory and I caught sight of one another and started shrieking and jumping up and down. The next hour or so was a blur of names and faces, some so dear and familiar, others new and friendly. John and I were both welcomed warmly and it gave me that lovely fuzzy feeling I get nowhere else quite like at a spanking party. If I try to name the names of everyone I was delighted to see, I will inevitably forget some of them and upset someone or another, and I so don't want to do that.

The restaurant was very crowded and loud, but we managed to join a table with Sandy and Rad, Brad and Geeeee, and a few others. I had my first food shock of the week when I saw the menu and all the rich, heavy, meaty and cheesy choices. I was not in California anymore! John and I both ordered a spinach salad, hold the bacon. (I will now pause while the bacon-lovers assault me mercilessly.) We enjoyed the company, but neither one of us could handle the noise and having to scream above the decibel of it to be heard, as we were exhausted, so we finished our food, gave Sandy some money and asked her to please pay for us, because we were heading off. We decided we'd call it a night, and the next day after a proper night of rest we'd settle into the party fully.

Friday morning John got up to find a gym and work out, as he always does at these hotels, letting me sleep until 11:30. The hotel had several restaurants, and we chose to check out a café called Breadsticks. Once we were seated, I looked at the lunch menu and was surprised again -- nothing I could eat. I know, I know... I'm an obsessively picky eater. So I also know how to make things work for me on a menu. I saw they had a turkey club sandwich with bacon and mayo, so I asked if I could have just a plain turkey sandwich on wheat, no mayo, no bacon, and our server said sure, why not. Then she indicated my purse on the floor at my feet and suggested that I might want to move it closer to me, or put it on the table, or else someone might snatch it. Really?? John and I couldn't help laughing -- welcome to Jersey!

Later that afternoon, there was another meet-and-greet, this time in a large airy room with a bar and a balcony where people could go smoke. John and I got there promptly at the beginning so John could get a seat on one of the couches and stay off his leg. What a fun afternoon! Lots of folks showed up and the room was buzzing with activity. We did a lot of chatting, and eventually John felt OK to get up and move around the room a bit.

We ended up at the other end of the room near the balcony, talking with DaChief, his friend Lolo and IMmsunderstood. The three of them were BBW newbies as well, so we hit it off. Then along came my old pal Jersey John, who was up to his usual tricks. He untied my shoelace, then pulled off my sneaker. "What are you doing??" I cried, and my John yelped, "Throw it off the balcony!" So the two of them ran out to the balcony, where a few others were smoking, and made like they were going to toss my shoe away. I went frantically hopping after them, yelling "Give me that!" and managed to snatch it away from JJ. Off to the side, a beautiful redhead was having a cigarette, and she motioned me over. I hopped over to her, and she held out her hand for my shoe. How nice! I thought. She's siding with me and she's going to help me put my shoe back on. But nooooo! Once I handed it to her, she reached around and gave me four smacks with it! Everyone started cracking up, including me, and then she did indeed kneel down and help slide the shoe back onto my foot. Upon standing, she gave me a huge hug, which I returned, giggling madly. This lovely copper-haired woman was none other than Caroline Grey.

John and I stayed at the gathering until around 5:00, then decided it was time to decompress a bit and prepare for the Friday night festivities. The party proper was just about to begin, and already my voice was cracking from overuse! I was determined to pace myself and not burn out early. There was a whole lot of fun to be had and I wanted to be up for every bit of it.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Almost time to leave for AC

Sitting here at 10 a.m. having some coffee, which is the last thing I need, come to think of it. Oh, how I envy men before spanking parties; y'all throw some clothes and toiletries (and maybe implements) into a bag and you're done. Women don't have it quite so easy! And this woman tends to fret that she'll forget this or that, or she won't pack the right things.

So. Bangs are trimmed, toenails are freshly painted for the peep-toe sandals, mail and newspapers put on hold for a few days, shuttle from the hotel to the airport on Monday booked. I've been playing with my new phone for the past couple of days and I think I've got enough familiarity with it to use it properly during our mini-vacation. Although yesterday, when I tried to enter Sarah Thorne's phone number into my contacts (she and RG are picking us up at Philly airport tomorrow), I tapped something wrong by accident and ending up calling her. Then, when I tried to send a text to John, I accidentally tapped send, mid-text. Butterfingers.

Today, I need to pull everything together for packing, wash my hair, do all the last-minute bits and pieces. John is coming over at 3:00 a.m., so I will get into bed early tonight and attempt to get a few hours of sleep, as I have to get up around 1:30 a.m. Ugh! I'm usually just getting to bed then! I am so glad we're going Thursday instead of Friday. I have a whole day to decompress.

I don't think I will blog while in AC, but you never know. But at least now I have Internet access and I can monitor/reply to comments. I don't have to worry about anonymous flame-throwers sneaking in and hurling a bomb while I'm offline for days on end. I was going to turn on moderation, but now I don't have to. :-)

Nervous? You know it. This is a new party for me, with lots of new people mixed in with the familiar. Very different feel from Shadow Lane; many more organized activities. I've already resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to find California-healthy food there (not that I will be eating that much, anyway). I have not committed to any scenes; I'm leaving it all to where the party takes me. When I go to Shadow Lane, it's late summer in the desert; I bring nothing but the lightest clothes. But in AC, it's going to be in 50s during our stay. I have to have dual thinking -- play clothes and non-play clothes. And of course, there are my usual worries about being overwhelmed and coming off like an uptight snob to those who don't know me. Or upsetting friends who want to spend time with me, but I'm too distracted to give them the proper attention they deserve. Plus, out of nowhere, John's knee swelled up again yesterday. And what if our flight is delayed/canceled? And what about...

UGH! Shut up, Erica. Put one foot in front of the other and show up where you're supposed to. Smile. Breathe. The rest is out of your hands.

At least neither one of us has caught a cold. I have been drinking Airborne non-stop.

Anyway. I will see some of you there, and I can't wait. But thanks to my new toy, I won't be completely out of touch with the rest of you for four days. I'll do my best to stay somewhat caught up during the down times, if there are any.

Touching back briefly on the subject of anonymous comments -- as we all know, some nasty cowards out there hide behind anonymity in order to say cruel and vicious things. However, there is a flip side. Some people are shy; they want to say something nice, supportive, complimentary, etc., but they don't wish to give themselves away. I have had some incredibly lovely comments from nameless, faceless individuals, and I often wonder who they are.

Case in point: I received this comment last month, and I keep coming back to it. It makes me smile when I'm down. It tickles and flatters me. And I can't help but wish I knew who wrote it.

What is it about you that causes men to connect with a woman who is feisty, kittenish, mischievous, bright, articulate, and--most of all--a person who exacts respect for femininity?

Whoever you are, know that you made my day, and several more after that, with this brief missive. Thank you.

Have a great rest of your week/weekend, y'all. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 23, 2012

"This is mine"

Tonight, ST came over to give me my pre-BBW warm-up. Of course, he teased me, saying he was going to give me enough for two weeks, since I won't see him next Monday, and if I was still sore when we left for Atlantic City, oh well! But I knew he wouldn't do that. :-)

It was delicious to laugh and play after feeling so sad last week. My mood is shifting and I can feel the excitement (and nervousness) building. Tomorrow, the crazies really strike, with all the errands and chores and odds and ends I have to take care of in the next two days. But tonight, it was all about giving myself over for a couple of hours.

About halfway through the scene, when I'd gone past the smart-ass stage and was quieter and more compliant, ST said, out of nowhere, "I want to make sure you don't forget me in the next two weeks."

As if! "I could never forget you," I murmured into the bedspread.

"Well, I'm making sure that you won't. After all, you'll be off in Atlantic City, playing with all the tops... I don't mind. The others can play with you. But this," he caressed my behind, "this pretty bottom is mine. I want it back. You're going to bring it back to me, aren't you."

You know, from a stranger, hearing that would make me feel like a disembodied ass. But from him? Damned if it wasn't the hottest thing. I just about dissolved into the comforter in a puddle of girl goo, as Danny used to say.

"Yes. I promise."

He let me choose the implement for the finale. Feeling mushy, I said there could only be one choice -- the heart-shaped paddle he made for me.

Stupid, stupid me. A little sweet-talk and I lose my mind. Wait, there's more. He let me choose the number, too. Said it could be anywhere between seven and 900. (!!!) So I could have picked eight, right?

Nah. I said 30. Like I said, blame it on temporary insanity.

Later, we watched the two clips that Lily sent me. I noticed he took off his glasses to view the computer screen, and commented that he looks very different without them. I like his glasses; I think they're sexy in a Clark Kent-ish sort of way.

"Do they make me look smart and studious?" he asked, slipping them back on.

I shrugged. "I wouldn't go that far."

Wrong thing to say. Round Two. Fortunately for me, all the toys were still in the bedroom and we were now in the living room.

Still hurt like @#$%, though!

"Have you learned your lesson?" Tops and their inane questions. But I figured it was in my best interest to say yes, so I did.

He didn't pull me back up. "Would you say you've seen the light?"

WTF?? Before I could answer, I felt something gently nudge between the tops of my thighs, at the base of my cheeks. "What the hell is that?" I screeched. "Don't move," he said, and fired up the camera again.

What is it about my ass and lights?

I told him he's a very disturbed individual. I'm quite fond of him, despite that. Or perhaps because of it.

I'll miss seeing him next Monday. But I'll be back... and so will he.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Some disjointed thoughts on a Friday

I'm all over the place today, but perhaps another post will help me collect my thoughts a bit.

Yesterday was a wasted day. I barely left my computer from morning until evening after reading about Jonathan Frid. Cyberville exploded with the news, with Twitter chirping and tribute blogs and posts rolling in by the hour. I was busy commenting and commiserating and the day slipped away, until I found myself in the evening, my eyes swollen shut, my head aching. I hadn't gotten to the gym, but I managed to wrench myself away from the computer and exercised with my weights for an hour. It helped.

The Internet is amazing. The camaraderie one can feel, connecting with like-minded people from all over, instantly, sharing experiences and thoughts. Years ago, when John Lennon was killed, I remember sitting home alone crying, feeling lost and sad and disconnected, wanting so much to talk with someone who felt like I did but not knowing who that might be. Yesterday, thousands of Dark Shadows fans connected, and it was so gratifying.

I know most of you aren't interested in this, but if you'd like to read a particularly lovely and well-written tribute, go here. This woman could have been speaking for me.

LokiDarksong posted this for me on his FetLife page yesterday. Of course, I asked for the link, so I could post it myself:

Sorry, Johnny Depp. But to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen: Barnabas Collins was a friend of ours, and you're no Barnabas Collins.

Wanna know just how upset I've been? On Wednesday evening, Lily Starr sent me RapidShare links to two of my three clips for her. I downloaded them and planned to watch them yesterday. As of this writing, I still haven't watched them. This is unheard of, people. Perhaps I will watch them today. But if not, they will keep. I'm just not in a spanky mood.

That said, I am grateful that if this had to happen, it happened this week and not next! Good lord, this would have trashed me for BBW. Just writing that makes me feel incredibly obsessive and silly, but it is what it is.

But life goes on, and it's getting closer. Today, I booked our shuttle from the hotel to the airport on Monday after the party. Thanks to Sarah Thorne, we have a ride from the airport to the hotel on Thursday; I look forward to meeting her and her hubby. 

On happy notes: 1) I got Chrossed today, despite all my melancholy posts this week. And 2) Alex Reynolds wrote a blog about our visit a couple of weeks ago, here. She had been posting about her vacation to L.A. in parts, and when she posted Part 2, I teasingly wrote on her FetLife page: "Where's the one with ME in it, dammit?" So today, she wrote on my wall, linking me to Part 4 and saying, "Here's the one with you in it, dammit!" LOL  Anyway... I read it, and it started those damned waterworks going again. But in a good way, this time. Thank you, sweet girl. I'm really, really touched.

Would you believe that just this minute, I finally got that freaking phone delivered? Guess I'd better get myself to Verizon so I can get it activated and all that good stuff. Better late than never.

Thanks for bearing with me, everyone. I promise next week, no more sad stuff. Just lots of excited, back-on-topic stuff about Boardwalk Badness! 

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

OT; RIP, Jonathan Frid

Yesterday's news of Dick Clark made me a bit wistful and nostalgic. But today's news has me flat-out bawling like a baby.

Jonathan Frid, the man who made a daytime Gothic serial vampire into an icon, passed away last Friday, April 13. His family just released the news today.

You all know how I feel about Dark Shadows. And yes, I can step back enough to see how utterly silly it is to weep copiously over the passing of a soap-opera actor. The way I'm carrying on, you'd think John himself had died. But I can't help it. I knew this day was coming; he was 87, after all. And looked very feeble when I saw him at the Dark Shadows convention in 2010. But I didn't know it would hurt this much.

There was something so comforting about just knowing he was still out there, even though the show has been off the air since 1971. It still exists on video, in its living actors and in the hearts of its many fans. The passing of the actor who played the character Barnabas Collins feels like the death of a loved one.

Jonathan Frid saved Dark Shadows from cancellation. It floundered in its first year, originally conceived as a Gothic mystery, minus the horror. The vampire Barnabas was brought in as a last-ditch attempt to bump up the ratings; he was intended to be a temporary character, pure evil, who would wreak havoc and then be killed off. But Frid's portrayal of him was so rich and complex, the fans went insane. And Barnabas remained, becoming an anti-hero of sorts, a reluctant vampire, hating what he was, mourning for his lost love and always hoping for a cure from the curse that befell him in the late 1700s.

Just a sampling of the myriad clips out there, a nice montage of Barnabas's first appearance, when grave-robber Willie Loomis released him from his chained coffin. I like this one; it really captures the creepy air and tension of the show:

Actress Kathryn Leigh Scott, Maggie Evans/Josette on the series, author of several Dark Shadows books and a regular in the conventions, wrote a beautiful tribute to Frid on her blog, here. She is on Twitter, and a couple of weeks ago, to my utter glee, I discovered she was following me. I tweeted directly to her this morning, expressing condolences for the loss of her friend and colleague. She actually tweeted back to me, saying thank you. What a gracious woman.

Scott and Frid, 1967:

Now, because it's my blog and I can, I'm going to indulge in a bit of bitchiness. Next month, the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp remake of Dark Shadows will premiere in theaters. I'll spare you my ongoing rant about what they've done to it; suffice it to say Burton has re-imagined it as a campy spoof, and Johnny Depp has taken Frid's suave, charismatic character and made him into a clown and a freak.

Ugh. Anyway, behind my tears, a small part of me is smiling at the irascible and irreverent Jonathan Frid and his timing. His passing, a scant month before this mockery appears, seems like the ultimate "fuck you." If the DS fans were going to hate this film before, they're really going to hate it now.

I know this blog won't appeal to my usual readers. But please indulge me today. And please, please don't laugh at me.

RIP, Mr. Frid, the one and only Barnabas Collins.

EDIT: For another lovely Frid tribute blog from "one of us," please see my dear friend Dave Wolfe's blog, here.

EDIT #2: Just read this and it made me laugh out loud, which felt good. I do believe this will be my favorite Jonathan Frid quote ever.

In 1991, on the 20th anniversary of the TV show's demise, Frid told PEOPLE: "I only did the part for some pocket money to go teach on the West Coast. And, of course, because I didn't particularly want the job, I got it. An audition room full of cadaverous-looking creeps, and I must have really looked the part." 

He added, "I always thought I looked like this damn silly ass. I couldn't believe people were ever really scared."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

America's Oldest Living Teenager...

... is no longer. Dick Clark passed away today, at age 82.

Yeah, I know. There is probably at least one generation out there saying, "Who's Dick Clark?" (sigh) But to many of us, he was an institution. As long as I can remember, the man has been everywhere.

I don't remember ever watching American Bandstand, although I was certainly aware of it. Clark began hosting it in 1956, I believe, and it went on, what, forever? Into the 80s? I do remember hearing his radio show, "Rock, Roll and Remember," for a long time. And I definitely remember watching him on the game show Pyramid (started as $10,000 Pyramid and then the grand prize increased over the years). His standard sign-off was a salute to the camera and "This is Dick Clark... for now, so long."

Oh, he also hosted a TV Bloopers show for a while. I loved those. And of course, there was his New Year's Rockin' Eve countdown show. Like I said, the man was everywhere.

When I heard the news this afternoon, I had a vague memory of hearing my father talk about DC, maybe 30-35 years ago? Anyway, he met with him for some showbiz reason, but I can't remember what it was. For grins, he got me an autographed picture. I went digging through a drawer, and lo and behold:

I unearthed another fun memory while I was digging around in there. When I was 11 years old, Dad went to England for six months to write for Tom Jones's variety show. While he was there, I wrote him letters, and one time I included a letter to Mr. Jones, saying how much I liked the show and asking for an autographed photo. Such a pre-adolescent crush I had on him! 

Look what I found!

How cool is that? Sadly, that picture he sent is long gone; it went missing years ago. But it's still fun to have the letter.

OK, lest I get in weepy nostalgia mode, change of subject. Some are asking if I got my new phone yet. That was briefly delayed. I went to Verizon yesterday, all ready to buy, but I was derailed from the getgo. First, the saleperson I'd spoken to at length on Friday wasn't there, and I had to start all over again with someone new, who felt the need to give me a lot of spiel about alternative products. He went in a completely different direction -- suggested that I stick to a regular cell phone and get a tablet instead. I don't want a freaking tablet! When I finally convinced him that I'd made up my mind, he did spend several minutes with me, demonstrating the phone and some of the features. Then it was time to buy... and they were out of stock on the phone. @#$%!

He ordered it and it should be FedExed to me tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Damn. Nothing about spanking in this post, is there. Well, just to stay topical -- for those of you who enjoy the facial-expression photos, here's a fun screen grab from one of the Spanking Court clips, which I found on The Spanking Spot. Quite authentic too, I can assure you!

One more week until BBW. My nervous breakdown is due any minute.

So long, Dick Clark.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pre-emptive Strike(s)

Many strikes. Hundreds of them. What for? Nothing I'd done. No, these were what ST thinks I'm going to do. He say I'm going to get addicted to my new Smart Phone and be on it all the time, like everyone else.

Jeeeezus. I haven't even gotten the @#$%ing thing yet and I'm already in trouble for it.

I protested that I wouldn't do any such thing. He didn't believe me. He even had the nerve to suggest that I'll be on my cell phone tweeting and texting and doing God knows what while he's spanking me.

"That's ridiculous! Why would I even turn on my cell in my apartment? I have a landline and a computer here!"

Makes sense, right? But of course, to a spanker, the only logic is Top Logic and anything else is null and void. Humph. I guess I'll just have to prove it to him. He also warned me that if I ever text and drive, I'll never sit again. Not to worry... I don't intend to. With all the ranting and bitching I've done about other people doing it, I'd be the world's biggest hypocrite if I did it myself!

He congratulated me for being Chrossed, to which I moaned that I hadn't been Chrossed for two weeks in a row. "You're Chrossed lots of times!" he said. "You don't have to be every single week!"

"But I want to be every week!" I whined.

"Oh, so it's all about what you want, huh?"

Duh. Well, of course it is. What else would it be about? Silly of him to even ask such a thing.

"Well then, I guess I should spank you really hard, then, so you'll have something to write about."

I shrugged. "You don't have to. Even if you're light, I can spin it."

He didn't like the sound of that. "What do you mean, spin it?"

I said that I'd simply write a post about what a lame-ass he was tonight.

That did it. Me and my big mouth.

We changed things up a bit tonight, position-wise. He said we needed to make the pictures a little different. Hey, I'm all for that. But I didn't know "different" was going to be so damned uncomfortable.

Doesn't seem like it should be all that uncomfortable, does it? Well, it was. The top of the chair was digging into my belly and my shoulders ached from bracing with my arms.

Booo hoooooo. Yes, he felt so sorry for me. NOT.

After a while, he let me stand up and grip the chair. So nice of him, don't you think? I wasn't rolling my eyes, honest. I was looking skyward and thanking the deities for the kindness of this man.

Ah, finally I got to lie down. Funny, though... I didn't find a whole lot of comfort in that either.

But finally, we had our grand finale (20 with the big strap and 10 with the paddle). I was just a tad perplexed when he put me back over his knee, but this time it was just so he could massage on some lotion. :-)

Silly me, I thought we were done.

Nah. Later, I got up to change the channel on the stereo. Apparently, my bending over got him all hot and bothered again.

I swear, it's like a red flag in front of a bull! Back OTK I went for Round Two.

(And yes, those are cassette tapes. Not a word out of any of you. They're old and I don't play them anymore; most of them have been replaced by CDs or iTunes downloads. But I am a saver.)

He kept saying, "Just a few more." But then he got into a debate with himself about exactly what is "a few," anyway? More than two, less than 10? A few dozen? A few hundred? All the while he was musing over this nonsense, he was spanking away.

Oh yes, ST was in good form tonight. (groan)

It was a fun night; a lot of laughing. Sometimes, I just need to laugh. :-)  He certainly had his share of chuckles as well. (Have I mentioned lately that ST has the most diabolical laugh?)

And tomorrow, I plan to buy the aforementioned Smart Phone. Stay tuned for my adventures with that. I'm sure my Luddite self will be tested to the max!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

OT: Dragged into technology, kicking and screaming

OK, y'all. Most of you know I'm kind of a Luddite. Also, most of you know that I hate the phone. If I could correspond with everyone via email for the rest of my life, I would. Receiving phone calls is like having someone drop in on me unexpectedly (which I hate), and I don't like making calls either, as I always feel like I'm bothering or interrupting people.
That said, I've decided to get a Smart Phone.

Why, you ask? I'll tell you.

1. Last weekend, I got lost. Literally. There was a mega-accident on the freeway on the way home from John's, and I had to take an exit I'd never taken before. Once off the freeway, I had not a clue where I was, or in which direction I was heading. It was Easter Sunday and everything was closed. Panic-stricken, I pulled over, turned on my antiquated cell phone and called John at home. "I'm lost. I'm on the corner of Flower and Sonora." He Google-mapped it, asked me a couple of questions as to what I was looking at (could I see a freeway if I looked ahead of me or behind me, etc.), and then gave me directions to find my way. I was rattled for a long time afterward. There is no excuse in this day and age to get lost anywhere.

2. Neither John nor I have laptops. (Yes, I know there was talk about my getting one last year, but that never happened. I was too overwhelmed over the variety and decided to wait.) So, we're both dependent upon our desktops at home for the Internet. This past Friday (the 13th, naturally), John's computer crashed and he had to take it to the shop. Which meant I was Internet-less once I left my place for his. I admit it; I'm an Internet junkie. I finally (and with much embarrassment) told him last night that I wanted to go to Fed-Ex Office to check my email/blog comments. Ridiculous.

3. Boardwalk Badness. Again, no laptop to bring with us. Therefore, we would be Internet-less from early Thursday morning until Monday afternoon. That sucks. Enough is enough. Everyone seems to have non-stop access to the Net, either via phone, tablet or laptop these days. I want it too.

So I've been researching and reading, and I've been to my local Verizon store and spoke at length with a salesperson. (Verizon is my carrier.) I know a lot of you might squawk at this and tell me no no NO, but I'm not getting an iPhone. I have my reasons. First and foremost, I want a phone with a proper physical keyboard. I hate touch screens. Hate. Them. I tried using one in the Verizon store and couldn't even type my address without a ton of typos. Second, the Android phones come equipped with GPS; the iPhones do not, you have to add that. Third, the Androids have a bigger screen, which I also want.

I've read a million reviews, and they all conflict. I read a bunch of them for the Droid, and they varied from "Great phone!" to "Worst phone ever!" So, just for giggles, I also read reviews on the iPhone. Guess what? Also a spread between five-star raves to one/two-star rants. Not everyone thinks that Apple products are the Holy Grail. Oh, and I don't need access to the iTunes library. I'm not putting music on my phone; I have an MP3 player for that. Nor am I watching videos. I watch videos on my TV screen, not a tiny little phone screen. (Never could understand how people can stand to watch anything on a screen the size of a couple of dominoes.)

Apparently people say the same thing about ALL the Smart Phones' batteries: they all suck. They all don't last. So I'll deal with that regardless of the brand.

Finally, and this made me laugh like hell: While researching and comparing, I stumbled across an article about Steve Wozniak (you know, the co-founder of Apple?). In this article, he sheepishly admits that he prefers his Android phone to his iPhone. LOL! He hastens to add that the iPhone is a better phone overall, though. Right, Woz. If that's so, then why do you have an Android in the first place?

The Verizon salesperson made a good point. Since this is my first Smart Phone, I'm not going to notice any of the nuances between Android and iPhone; no matter what I get, it will be a huge improvement over what I have now and it will keep me happily entertained for a very long time. She said they haven't been getting any complaints about the Droids (although they've gotten several about the Blackberry, so I scratched that off), and once I get more Smart-Phone savvy, I could always get an iPhone somewhere down the line. In the meantime, the Droid has both the regular keyboard AND the touch screen, so perhaps I could practice on that. After all, I wouldn't be surprised if regular keyboards on phones become obsolete in the future.

With a proper keyboard, I may even learn to like texting. I mean, it certainly would suit me better, given that I feel less intrusive texting rather than calling. However, I will swear this to you all now, and you can hold me to it: I will NEVER TEXT AND DRIVE. Never. And if I go back on that, forget about spanking. Take the phone away from me and don't give it back. Seriously. I have verrrrrry strong feelings about people who are careless behind the wheel of a car. I lost a loved one that way.

And oh! I'll have a camera! Granted, the camera on the Droid is supposed to be mediocre. Still, it's 8 megapixels. And right now, my cell phone has no camera. I can't tell you how many times I've been driving through John's canyon and seen a deer, and thought, "I wish I had a camera with me."

So I plan to buy my new phone sometime next week and fiddle with it before the party. Hopefully by the time BBW weekend rolls around, I'll be somewhat acclimated to it.

Go ahead, laugh. I know I sound like I'm buying God knows what. But remember, technology and I are not comfortable bedfellows.

What's next for me, a flat-screen TV??

Friday, April 13, 2012

Correspondence Hall of Shame, 4/13

It's Friday the 13th! By all accounts of superstitious lore, it's supposed to be a bad day. (The new Three Stooges movie was released today; perhaps all those triskaidekaphobics have it right after all.) However, it's pouring rain outside and I'm feeling quite safe and serene. So forget the calendar and have some fun with me.

Little lady u r beyond all thats real,noway to explain u.

"Little lady"? Who are you, John Wayne's ghost? And really, what's to explain? I may be a complex woman, but I'm not particle physics.

I would love to spank you hard. And afterwards, go down on you, have insane sex with you and again spank you when you need to get wet... I am sub but also love to spank and play with a woman like you... I bet you get so wet...

I'm quite wet now, honey. Know why? Because reading this crap brought on a powerful need to take a shower.

I'd love for you to play bad mommy with me and mollest me in my sleep

Why don't you go to sleep and dream that I'm molesting you, sonny boy. Because it won't happen any other way.

Well, may I say you look fabulously sprightly for your age.

No, you may not. Sprightly?? Who the @#$% am I, Granny Clampett?

I know some people out there might think I write these missives myself. But honestly, I do not. This last one has to be real, because there's no way I could make it up.

254 miles is only a hot rainbow to the pot of hot steaming love gold. So let's cash it in for pleasure beautiful goddesses of my passion. That I hold deep in side my soul that only a lady of desire would understand..........let's email this and follow the rainbow love.

OK, there's something hot and steaming here, but it's not gold. You're 254 miles from me? Good. Stay there.

And finally, here are a few of those wonderfully whacky search phrases people have used to find my blog.

smarty bitches in panties

This smarty bitch is usually not in panties whenever ST is around.

underage girl spanking

First of all, ewwww. And second, how the hell did anything to do with underage girls lead to me? That's like Googling "rocket scientists" and coming up with the cast of Jersey Shore.

surprise injection panties down

Say it with me -- WTF? I don't want to know what that injection is, and if you want to surprise me, stick with flowers or some chocolate, OK?

The rain just turned into a deluge of a thunderstorm. I suppose I should wrap this up before there's a power glitch. Have a great weekend, y'all. :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Odds and ends not in my book, part 9

A Former Play Partner

At the Labor Day Shadow Lane party in 2004, I had one of what I call my "Oh my god, who is that" moments. Doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's powerful -- I'll see someone at a party, in a kink photo, etc., someone I don't know, but to whom I'll feel an instant, inexplicable attraction. In this case, he was chatting with a friend of mine, so I immediately cornered her and asked who he was. I'll never forget what she said:

"Oh, that's J. Isn't he gorgeous? He looks like Orlando Bloom, but masculine!"

My dear friend wasted no time in letting him know I wanted to play with him, and he took me by the hand and led me into one of the suite bedrooms, where we had an awesome first scene. Lucky, lucky me, I then found out he was local.

J was younger; early-mid 30s to my late 40s. Smart, funny, very flirtatious. And while he enjoyed spanking, he had other passions as well: women's feet, and tickling. Did you know there are tickling groups and parties, just like our spanko parties? Granted, tickling is not my thing. But I liked him. So we compromised; he could tickle me, massage and nibble my feet all he wanted, but he had to give me a damn good spanking too. I'd even make sure I got a pedicure before seeing him, so my feet would be soft and pretty.

His life was busy. He had never married, but he had two kids from a former relationship, and she was a bit of a flake. So, although it was supposed to be shared custody, he ended up with most of it. Plus he worked ridiculously long hours. So I didn't see him very often. However, I have two standout memories of him.

We had a play date one evening; I was over the moon that he was going to make it, because he'd had to cancel the last time. When he arrived, he came in bearing a white paper bag. "What's that?" I asked. "Oh, just a little present for you," he said, handing it to me. "I felt bad about standing you up before."

I looked inside and screeched with delight. It was a huge piece of my favorite cake, from my favorite coffee house/bakery. I recognized it immediately. I'd never told him about this place or that cake -- how the hell did he know??

He teased at first, saying he was clairvoyant. But then he admitted that he'd spoken to a mutual friend of ours, and she'd told him, "You really want to blow Erica's mind? Stop and pick up a piece of this cake for her." So he did. And it was out of his way, too.

After we played, I offered to share the cake with him, but he declined. So I sat cross-legged on the bed in my underwear, blissfully scarfing this slab of cake, while he watched me and smiled at my glee.

Another time, he was inadvertently the cause of one of the hottest scenes John and I have ever had. We'd been to a local party, and J was there as well, so after it broke up, he invited us and a couple of others back to his place. He lived in an area with permit parking, so John and I had to park several blocks away.

When it was late and we were preparing to leave, J and I were talking about having another play date and he said, "Don't forget that pedicure." John overheard. "Pedicure?"

"She always gets a pedicure before she sees me," J explained. "Oh, really?" John said, raising an eyebrow at me. I just shrugged. I mean, what's the big deal? It's a pedicure, not a bikini wax.

But after we left, John was strangely silent as we walked in the darkness. Finally, he spoke. "You're getting pedicures for other men?"

(Now I knew, in my rational mind, that John couldn't care less about this. But in the moment, it felt real, and extremely crucial.)

I squirmed. "Well, he likes my feet."

"Isn't that rather intimate?" I shrugged again.

We got to my car, and I started to get into the driver's side. "No," he commanded. "Give me the keys. I'm driving."

Mystified (and nervous), I got into the passenger's side. He got in, shut the door, and faced me. "If you can do special, intimate things for other men, you can for me, too. Take off your clothes."

I was speechless. "All of them?" I managed to squeak.

"All of them."

Mortified (and very excited), I slowly removed my sweater, sundress and panties. "You can leave your heels on."

And then he drove home. I could not cover myself up in any way, and he deliberately took the route with the most traffic. All the way, he taunted and teased me, reached over to touch me. "What's the matter? You're shaking! Can't you answer me? Cat got your tongue? Oh my, I do believe those truckers are high up enough in their cab to see that you're naked."

Finally, finally, we got home. I think we went from the garage to the bedroom in seconds flat. And I had such a powerful orgasm, I wept afterward. (Sorry if that's TMI!)

Later in 2005, J got into a relationship, and we couldn't play anymore. (sigh) Been there, done that. But at the end of 2006, I heard from him. He was single again, and wanted to know if I knew of "any strikinging beautiful brunettes in the mood for a little slap and tickle." (Told you he was a flirt.)

By then, I was in a very happy play partnership/friendship with Danny, but you know me... always room for more spanking! After I replied and said I'd love to see him, he wrote again and said he'd call me between Christmas and New Year's. He never did. And that was the last I heard from him.

What made me think of J, after all these years? Believe it or not, I stumbled across him on Facebook, of all places. I sent him a friend request, which he accepted. Last week, I dropped him a little note, saying it was nice to find him here, that I still had fond memories of him and I hoped life was treating him well these days.

Yesterday, I saw he'd replied. I figured it would be just a quick, polite note, "Nice to see you again too, hope you're well" sort of thing. But it was three paragraphs.

What a turnaround. He's now married with a new baby, and owns his own business. Looks like the player settled down.

His first paragraph read as follows:

Thanks, Erica. I still have fond memories too. Even though you may be known as a feisty wise-apple, you were always so sweet to me. Not to mention you would indulge me in my passion, despite the fact it did nothing for you. I had a lot of fun with you, and it was always a pleasure.

That made me smile. And tear up a little, too. Why? Not sure. Maybe because it reminds me of all the people who have slipped away. Sometimes, I wish these people were still realities, and not just fond memories.

But such is life. Blowing a kiss to all who haven't gone away.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What was that reason again?

Oh, that's right, I forgot. ST never needs a reason. If he doesn't have one, he makes one up. (put-upon eye roll)

Tonight, he was in quite the evil mood. Had a new and special way to mess with my head; he kept giving me light little taps with the implements, running them over my skin, brushing them against me, more light taps. And then when I'd least expect it, WHAM! I never knew when to brace myself, when to take a deep breath, when to hunker down. And that's exactly what he wanted.

At one point, he took soooooo excruciatingly long, teasing me with the strap, that I finally blurted, "Oh, for fuck's sake!" He laughed. "Am I boring you?

Before I could answer, he gave me several fast and hard whacks. "Was that boring?"

"I never said anything was boring!" I shrieked. Damn these tops! I can get myself into plenty of trouble without them putting words in my mouth!

Later, over the ottoman, he started up with the taps and brushes again. "Take that!" he teased. "Bet you won't do that again... whatever that was."

"AHA!" I yelped in triumph. "I knew it! You don't even know what you're spanking me for -- you just make shit up!"

No more tapping. "You wanna take that back?"

"I can't take it back! It's said! You can't unsay things!"

"I suggest you try. Say it backwards."

Oh, good grief. "UP SHIT MAKE JUST YOU!" I yelled.

Thank goodness he was satisfied with that; I didn't have to actually say the words backward. Uoy tsuj ekam tihs pu sounds like a foreign language.

He switched gears somewhere in the middle; went from playful to his more sinister side. His voice deepened, roughened; his hand fisted in my hair. When his fingernails dragged across tenderized flesh, I had to bury my face in the pillow.

"Please!" I cried. "Please, please!"

"Are you begging me?" he murmured. "I like it when you beg. I like it when you struggle, too." And I was doing plenty of that, writhing all over the ottoman. My mind screamed, "When is he going to stop??" My body sent a clear and opposing message: "Don't stop."

I don't know why tonight's photos don't show the red. Because it was most definitely there.

Finally, I felt cool, smooth wood moving back and forth, back and forth across my cheeks. "You know what's next, don't you?" I nodded.

"Ten more." I nodded again.

"They're going to be hard and fast." I moaned, clutched the pillows.

"Are you ready?" One more nod. But still, he didn't strike. More caressing, back and forth. I waited, shaking, legs twitching. "You sure you're ready?"

"I'm as ready as I'm going to be," I managed to say.

He delivered. So fast, I couldn't count. But I knew after 10, he'd stop.

Several minutes later, he asked me how I was. "Spacy," I murmured. I was bonelessly relaxed, mush-brained, and had the urge to giggle. Perfect.

We talked for a long time afterward, and it ended up being later than his usual time to leave. So guess who was in trouble for that?? Of course, he had to test all the toys before he put them away. Just to "make sure they still worked," he said.

"This is so wrong!" I protested. "Next week I'll remind you to leave on time, and you'll tell me I'm throwing you out and I'm a rude hostess!"

He didn't deny it. Rather despicable, isn't he? And I wouldn't have him any other way.

In other news: VOD (Video on Demand) site just put up its very first clips from Spanking Court! In Spanking Court Cases Vol. 1, there are two scenes, and Scene 1 is one of mine. :-) It's the one where the Court Disciplinarian and I face the judge, I have to confess to the name I called the C.D., and I get 200 wooden paddle strokes (and break down and cry). Scene 2 is with Alex Reynolds, the friend I met last week. I believe she cries in her scene as well. So this is a great clip for those who enjoy tears. (I wonder if it's the clip of hers where she broke the C.D.'s paddle? hee hee)

Here's a photo, speaking of red -- probably the most marked you will ever see me:

That's Judge Spanks, AKA Feenix on Fetlife. You can read all about the clip (and download it, if you so desire) here.

Two-and-a-half weeks to BBW!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pics from Lily, and fun with Alex

Lily is a fast worker; she's already put up our clip of "The Devil Wears a Red Bottom" from Wednesday's shoot. You can find it on Clips4Sale here, or on Spanking Library here. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase a flat-rate 30-day membership to Lily's clips, where you can stream all her content, here.

Meanwhile, here are some stills! Me, ordering Robert around:

Notice I went for the "professional" look by wearing my glasses. Here I am after Robert decides it's payback time:

Really, what an outrageous way to treat one's boss:

The final indignity, one hell of a strapping:

At least that stupid "Vitamin Water" he brought me was good for something:

I'd felt a bit tired after the shoot, so I came home and slept for about an hour. Then I was keyed up, but didn't feel like driving to the gym, so I worked out here for nearly two hours, using the apartment's treadmill and assorted weights. So yesterday, what hurt? My bum? Not at all. But my legs ached so much, I could barely walk. Figures! I have some marks on my upper thighs, but nothing on the bottom proper.

Yesterday afternoon, I met Alex Reynolds in person for the first time. She's been in town for the past week and she too shot with Lily and Robert, among others. She and I have been connecting on FetLife for about a year, I think, but never got the chance to meet. We came close, since we both shot for Spanking Court last year on the same day. However, she had to leave and we missed each other by about 20 minutes.

Anyway, she's a sweetie! She was staying in downtown L.A., and told me she'd have transportation, so we could meet anywhere. I chose a Starbucks in Studio City, about a half-hour from me, as a meeting point. When I arrived, I got a text from her, saying she was running late because there had been traffic and she missed her bus transfer. Bus? I was confused, as I'd thought she had a car. When she got there, she told me the car she'd been using had died, and it turns out that dear girl took two buses from downtown in order to meet me. How nice was that?

We chatted for 2 1/2 hours and got to know each other a bit better. By the way -- the photo on my book cover? The photographer was someone Alex had recommended to me.

It's been a week of treats: ST, Lily and Robert, Alex, spankings, video shoots. Just what I needed after last weekend. And now it's time to head for John's once again.

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover (or neither, like me), have a great weekend, y'all. :-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fun shoot with Lily Starr!

I had a great time today with Lily and her man Robert. Sorry I don't have any pictures from the clips yet, guys. We didn't actually take any stills, so I believe Lily is going to pull some screen grabs.

But in the meantime, please do enjoy this photo of Robert's hand:

(in best Urkel voice) Did I do that?? Yup. :-)

I arrived at their hotel at 10:30 this morning. We'd planned three scenes: 1) I'd play a teacher and Robert, formerly my student, is now the principal and my boss (gulp); 2) I'm the Boss From Hell, treating Robert like a slave, and he rebels, and 3) Robert takes me to task for being an online troublemaker, engaging in flame wars and getting online restraining orders on a "social media site." (Can't imagine where we got that idea!)

It was a bit of a challenge, shooting office/school type scenes in the hotel room, which was small and was mostly usurped by the bed. But we did our best; fortunately, there was a desk and we made good use of that. We did the teacher scene first, and besides a hand spanking, I got quite the vengeful caning. (With a Cane-iac cane, no less -- and one of the thicker ones, too!) Apparently, when I'd been Robert's teacher, I wasn't very nice to him. Fancy that.

Next we did the Boss scenario, and I got to chew up the scenery, sending Robert to fetch my dry cleaning, ordering him to bring me bottled water and then complaining because he brought me the wrong kind. Finally, I tell him he needs to work overtime, even though he's got $100 tickets to the Philharmonic that night. He quits in a huff, but not before some substantial payback. More hand spanking, and then his belt this time.

All kidding aside, I have to give Robert props here; he's one hell of a spanker! I'd never played with him before and I was impressed with his prowess, especially with the implements. Perfect aim, no wrapping, careful positioning. And he asked beforehand what he could and couldn't do; very respectful. I gave him the OK to smack on my upper thighs a bit (and yes, I lived to regret that!).

Oh, and he likes to make you repeat phrases. (groan) During the teacher scene for the final ten, he had me saying, "It's not so much fun when the shoe is on the other foot." I couldn't resist, midway, saying, "It's not so much fun when the cane is on the other ass."

Yes, we did that stroke over.

The roleplays are fun, but I really do like it best when I just get to be myself. Our third scene was the "Online Menace" one, and I think we had the most fun with that, especially since it was based on something real. We never mentioned any names or specifics, and FetLife was never mentioned either, but all our friends will know what we're referring to! Robert and I had great banter and kept up with each other well. So I was little perplexed when, in the middle of the OTK spanking, he just stopped.

"What?" I said. In reply, he stuck his hand in front of my face, and there it was -- a big fat blood blister. His first ever. Bionic Bottom strikes again! He was quite the trouper, though -- he still continued with the hand spanking for a while, but then switched to implements. Ouch, ouch, ouch.... a whole lot with a wooden paddle (thank goodness that was the last scene), and then the finale with a leather strap called the "Attitude Adjuster." By the end, I was kicking and shrieking and apologizing.

Lily was quite the trouper herself, following through with this visit so shortly after her dreadful hospital stay. It was fun to be able to hang out with her a bit; we're mostly online buddies. She's a sweetie!

We did the three scenes in record time; by 12:45, we were out of there. Robert and Lily were heading over the hill to shoot with Bliss Evermore, so we parted company after goodbyes and hugs. What a blast! Thanks, you two! I can't wait to see the final product, and I hope you had a safe drive back home.

Quick aside: Speaking of Cane-iac, they have a new section on their site for Professional Disciplinarians. It's new and has four women listed there so far, but they plan to add more. If you're a pro top and you'd like to advertise on Cane-iac, check out the pro page here and email them for more info.

Pictures soon, I hope!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The need

I didn't even know what it was, just that I needed something. Sleep? Food? Fun? Attention? Probably all of the above. But I felt so tired and drained today, I actually considered canceling on ST, because I didn't feel up to playing. I wanted to see him, but I didn't think I'd be any fun.

Dragged myself to the gym and made it through the workout, but still felt like someone had replaced all the blood in my body with lead pellets. Just wanted to curl up in a dark bedroom and sleep. But instead, I showered, washed my hair, dressed nicely, straightened up the place. I may not have wanted to play, but somewhere underneath the malaise, I knew I needed to.

He'd read my blog; he knew where I was. We talked for a while. He was sussing me out, gauging my mood. When we transitioned into play mode, there was none of the usual banter and sass. All I said was, "Please take me somewhere else." He understood.

Sorry, guys. No pictures tonight. And no entertaining repartee. We barely spoke through the entire scene. His demeanor was gentle, but the spanking was not. It pushed me and pushed me until I broke. Exactly as I needed to.

Everything seemed to hurt more; I was hypersensitive and I thrashed and squirmed a fair amount. But once the tears began, I settled into the pain, welcoming it, absorbing it. He was quiet; didn't speak, didn't ask questions that demanded answers. He just let me be and poured all his focus into what he was doing.

When the time came for the final wooden paddle strokes (because that is always how we end), he didn't make me count. However, in a final attempt to blast out the last of the lingering tension, he gave me the last four very quickly, and I damn near screamed. But it was over.

I kept my face buried for a long time; I don't know why it's so hard for me to face him after a scene, especially when I've been crying. Self-conscious, perhaps. I know he wants to see my face. But he waits, patiently.

"What would I do without you," I murmured. Rhetorical question. I don't want to know the answer. Not for a very long time.

We watched a couple of episodes of Fawlty Towers (I had it from Netflix) and then he had to go. He was sleepy. So was I. In fact, I wanted to go to bed then and there, but it was too early. I needed to eat, to blog while it was fresh.

Now I'm well fed, well spanked and well cared for. I will sink into blissful sleep, have a day of pampering tomorrow, and then get up bright and early (bleah) Wednesday morning to go shoot with Lily and Robert. ST offered to take the day off work and come be my fluffer (or in this case, reddener), but I told him that wouldn't be necessary. :-) It's going to be lots of fun and I look forward to it.

Funny side note, regarding Twitter. I was tweeting with a friend an hour or so ago about tonight's scene, and I mentioned that I felt incredibly "drained." In the next few minutes, I noticed I had a new follower.

A plumber.

No, not that kind of drained, dear. Put your snake away. Please.

Feeling a bit mushy and weepy, but in the best possible way. Thank you, ST.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

So, so tired

I wish I could sleep for a month. Deeply, dreamlessly, and awaken rejuvenated and ready for BBW, without a care in the world. Then again, I wish I'd won the Mega Millions lottery too. John and I actually bought lotto tickets on Friday, and neither one of us ever does.

Anyway. Yesterday is behind me. All things considered, it went as well as it could. As luck would have it, yesterday John's family was busy moving his mother into her new assisted-living place, and John has been exempted from the physical labor because of his ongoing knee problems (I guess something good comes from everything). On Friday night, he told me that we were invited to have Saturday lunch with his mom, sister and niece... BUT. The but? It was completely up to me. If it was too much for me -- both families in one day -- then we could pass, no problem. Probably needless to say, I very gratefully passed.

My stepdad had come around during the week; he agreed to meet us at the facility. We arrived around 3:45 and found him in the lobby. We then walked into the halls, looking into the activity rooms. In one of them, several people were sitting around a long table, talking and playing games. I looked them over, but didn't see my mother; I did notice a shrunken, motionless figure slumped in a wheelchair, back to us. M then said, "Here she is," and the figure's head turned slightly.

No. That wasn't my mother. It couldn't be.

It was.

She was dressed and had a jaunty black hat on her head. My mother never wore hats. M explained that he had bought several of them for her, so she could hide her hair, which was now fully gray and shapeless. She'd always been so meticulous about her hair, having it styled and colored well into her 80s. He knew she'd want to hide it when it looked like this, even thought she couldn't say so.

She said "Hi." We asked her how she was, and she said, "Fine." M asked if she knew me; she said "of course." But otherwise, she just sat and stared, unmoving. We wheeled her back to her room and sat around her; I sat on the floor beside her wheelchair. She had pillows piled on her lap and her arms laid on top of them. They never moved. Her legs never moved. The only thing that moved was her eyes, blinking and blinking, occasionally looking around but mostly staring. Once in a while, they would flicker over to me. I'd beam at her and say, "Hi, mama!" Her lips would twitch slightly upward. Then she'd go back to staring. Sometimes her eyes closed. Occasionally she drooled.

I stroked her arms and her hands. Her hands were cold. M was very sweet to her, cooing over her and getting up every few minutes to lean down to her and give her a kiss. She always kissed back.

Her heart is still fine, as well as her lungs and other organs. But she can't walk and she eats maybe every other day. Baby food. They get her in and out of bed, they change her, dress and undress her, feed her. Keep her comfortable, treat her gently and kindly, attach a smiley-faced sunflower on a bendy stem to her wheelchair. Fill her with pills. My stepdad visits her every day.

When it was time for dinner, before we wheeled her to the dining room, I asked if I could have a few minutes alone with her. When M and John left the room, I lost it. I told her I was sorry, that I knew I'd been a disappointment to her and I wished I could have been what she wanted. I told her I loved her. I kissed her hand and her cheek; I lay my face on her arm and bawled.

She started to say something. "Don't... don't think you have to..." And then she stopped. Stared off into space again. "What is it, Mom? What were you trying to tell me?" I asked again and again. She said no more. But somewhere in that shell, there was still a bit of her left. When I said, "Mom, please look at me," she did.

M and John came back, and we took her to the dining room. At her table place was a plate with three cups of mush on it: one white, one green, one orange. But she wouldn't take any of it when M tried to spoon it into her mouth. She did, however, drink a full glass of orange juice through a straw he held for her.

Back in her room, the three of us talked and caught up. John did most of the talking with M; I spent most of the time just watching her. I couldn't believe how still she was. My mother had never been able to sit still; she was always moving, always futzing with something, cleaning, adjusting, straightening, putting away. I could go into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, put water on to boil, then take a cup from the cupboard and a spoon from the drawer. If I walked out of the kitchen and then came back in when I thought the water was ready, she'd have put the cup and spoon away.

M asked what our plans were. I just wanted to go back home, but he suggested we might want to eat out here before we drive back, since it was about dinnertime and we had a long drive. I took the plunge and asked if he'd like to eat with us. He hesitated for a second, then said, "Sure, OK."

We said goodbye to her. I leaned over to give her a kiss, as I'd seen M do. She kissed back.

I insisted on paying for dinner. I didn't want M spending any money on me. When we were done eating and it was time to leave, M said it was up to me if I wanted to come visit her again, but if I did, I should give him a call and he'd be happy to meet me there. Then he said, "I know you think I hate you, but I don't." Feeling John squeeze my hand under the table, I looked away and said, "Well, you don't like me very much, either."

"I do like you. And in many ways, I admire you." (whaaaaa????) "But I don't like some of the things you've done."

Fair enough, I guess. I tried to tell him how I was feeling, tried to explain the depression, the fear, the panic attacks. But he just kept saying, "That's a rationale. We all have things we don't want to do. In those situations, you think of others, not yourself."

Thank goodness John doesn't say things like that to me. But it's OK. Like I said, overall, it went as well as it could. We hugged goodbye, and M said, "Next time dinner is on me." So at least he wants a next time. I figured he'd pretty much washed his hands of me. He's really something else, my stepfather. Ninety-four years old, still sharp as a tack, still driving, still completely lucid and functional. But he doesn't feel well. And I suspect it's sheer force of will that keeps him alive, so he won't leave my mother.

John asked me if I wanted to see her again. I thought about it, then told him that in a way, seeing her like this was almost easier than it had been before, when she was still mobile and speaking. When I'd be forced to carry on a conversation with her, but really couldn't, since she kept repeating the same thing she'd just said five minutes ago, 10 minutes ago, etc. When I didn't know from one minute to the next if she was going to fall over, void her bladder (or worse), or ask me how my brother was. When I didn't know if she'd be sweet and docile, or full of rage and bitter hostility. Now... it's pretty straightforward. Heartbreaking, but straightforward.

I did the right thing. M told John that he doesn't think he can forgive me for being out of touch for a year. But at least I was in touch now. I'm trying my best. Some will judge me, others will not. I don't feel guilty. I'm just sad.

Now I will sleep. And tomorrow, I will see ST. Life does go on. Life, love and yes, spanking.