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Go on.... shoo!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spinning my wheels, figuratively

Certainly not literally, since my @#$%ing car is in the shop. And racking up major $$$ in servicing as we speak.

I knew there was something wrong; whenever I would brake, the steering wheel vibrated like a Hitachi wand on High in my hands. Turns out the right front brake rotor is damaged. So both front rotors have to be replaced (you can't just replace one), and since you can't put new rotors on old pads, the pads have to be replaced too.

But wait, there's more! I need new tires. And to top it all off, the rubber thingamajig that holds the axle in place (it's called a boot, but I like my terminology better) is leaking. Mechanic says everything is normal wear and tear. I know I have a bad habit of misjudging distance (I have terrible depth perception) and crashing the right front of the car into curbs, so that certainly explains the rotor. Whatever. All I know is it's going to cost a lot of money, which I'm not making.

Today, I was going to post another installment of "Uncommon Sense," but I'm too scattered to give it proper justice. My next subject will be the ever-popular bratting/teasing/pranks, and how far is too far, etc. Does anyone have a topic you'd like me to cover? Anything that has to do with scene etiquettes and behaviors, and what one would assume would be common sense (but often isn't). Y'all seemed to like the first installment last week, so I'd like to continue.

So, in a frenzy fueled with panic over money, I spent yesterday afternoon job searching. Through one of my freelance sites, I found a company I hadn't seen before; one that hires proofreaders, editors and transcribers worldwide. There was a recruitment site where one could apply, so I went there, thinking it would be the usual "post your resume and references" bit, where one does so and then ends up in a great big cyberpile with all the other desperate applicants. However, this one took me directly to a test. Rather, the first part of a multi-part test. I had to pass this before I could progress any further.

Talk about intimidating! They state up front that these tests are challenging, and only 2-5% of applicants pass. That is not a typo; there are no zeroes missing. Two to five percent?? Ugh! As I plowed into Part 1, I could see why. It was freaking HARD, and demanded a lot more than simple proofreading. The first portion was a bit simpler, with multiple choice. But then they had 25 long and complex sentences. I had to indicate whether or not they were correct, and if they were incorrect (most of them were), I had to state why and then rewrite them properly.

A friend asked me yesterday what the difference is between proofreading and copy-editing. The simple answer is that the latter is more extensive than the former. A proofreader fixes typos, incorrect spelling and grammar, the obvious stuff. However, some writing can be grammatically correct and spelled properly -- but still be lousy writing. Too many words when a few will suffice, words that are just a bit off, redundant, overwrought. A copy-editor has to know how to fix that and more.

For a tiny example, in one of the test sentences was the phrase "logical coherency." The more obvious error is that the word is coherence, not coherency. But in addition, one of the definitions of coherence is "logical interconnection." Therefore, "logical coherence" is redundant.

I worked long and hard on that test portion, second-guessing my answers and worrying that I'd missed some obvious gaffes. Finally, I said screw it and submitted it.

I passed!! :-)  So now they sent me a link for Part 2. I know this is nuts, but I've been putting off going there; I'm wondering just how difficult Part 2 is going to be, since Part 1 was such a bitch. And get this: even if I pass Part 2, they still put me through a bunch more assessment tests to determine my skill level before they offer me a contract. They have four skill levels and pay accordingly with each. I've never seen such thorough testing in all my career.

No excuses. I can't go anywhere, I've blogged, I've done all the odds and ends of chores, I've answered email. I'm going to go check out Part 2 of that freaking test now. Wish me luck.

Monday, May 28, 2012

My "sweet 16" celebration

Yeah, yeah. Chronologically, I'm a whole lot older than 16. But today, in spanko years, I am 16. On Memorial Day 1996, a handsome, dominant man came into my apartment and introduced me to spanking, and my world was never the same again.

I wanted to forget about all the stress and heartache and just have fun. I fleetingly thought about buying some champagne, but ran out of time. On Friday, we'd had a brief power outage, not much longer than an hour. When it came back on, one of my cable boxes had blown out. So today, the cable guy was coming over between 3 and 5. Fortunately, he was here by 3:40 and out of here by 4:05. So I had plenty enough time to get ready for ST, but not enough to nip back out to get champagne. Oh well.

When he showed up bearing his toy bag as usual, I thought nothing of it. Until he sat on my couch, unzipped it and pulled out a greeting card. I was so tickled! It was a "blank inside" card with SWEET! written on the front, and he'd filled in a "Happy Sweet 16" message inside. That alone would have delighted me, but then he reached into his bag again, and pulled out... you guessed it. A bottle of ice-cold champagne. :-D  How wonderful is this man!!

I practically danced into the kitchen, getting the glasses while he opened it. We decided that we'd have one glass now, and then another after playing. And then HE decided we were going to combine some of my implements with his to total 16, and he'd give me 16 swats with each one. Of course, his hand wouldn't count.

I had barely eaten anything all day -- I don't usually like to eat before scenes, so my stomach was empty. And that first glass of champagne slammed into me, full force. Delightfully so. It wasn't more than a few minutes before I was giggling and talking funny and acting like a, well, a 16-year-old.

I know the spanking with 16 implements + hand must have hurt. But damned if I remember any of it.

I do recall that I obliterated another cane...

OK, so maybe it did hurt a little.

But hey! It was time for more champagne!

Uh oh! My glass foameth over!

We got a bit rambunctious in the kitchen, with ST determined to find every single pervertable I had in my kitchen drawers. I took smacks from wooden spoons, spatulas, a frosting spreader, a frying pan he plucked out of the dish drainer, a pair of chopsticks, a cake slicer (NOT serrated, no worries). And of course, one of my spoons bit the dust.

That second glass took me from tipsy to slightly woozy (yes, really -- that's all it takes with me), so I drank about 2/3 of it and then lay on the couch with my head in ST's lap. I felt blissfully content, singing along with the iTunes radio playing on my computer, and we stayed there for a long time, chatting and relaxing. My head cleared, and when I told him the effects had worn off, he took that as a green light for us to play again. No complaints here! ST seemed unaffected by the champagne; I guess it's a guy thing (they're bigger and they can absorb more??). I've never seen John so much as tipsy either.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, after Round #3, I finished that second glass of champagne.

So... 16 years of spanking. Millions of swats, maybe? Well, thousands, anyway. What was the difference between Memorial Day 1996 and Memorial Day 2012?

Hmmm... well, in 1996, I marked like crazy. In 1996, it was just his hand, not 16 implements plus a drawerful of kitchen utensils. In 1996, I was a clean canvas, feeling myriad new emotions and sensations, and certain that I'd fallen in love with my spanker.

But in truth, I barely knew him. I never even found out his last name. I didn't know where he lived. He did incredible things to me and I'll always be grateful to him, but he was a stranger nonetheless. And what I fell in love with was what he gave me.

So I suppose that's the biggest difference, between 1996 and 2012. Today, it wasn't a stranger. Today, it was the bestest top ever, and -- even better -- a great friend. And this man, I love to bits.

My chronological 16th birthday sucked, as I recall. But this 16th was indeed sweet. I'm going to treat myself to some chocolate and a few episodes of Dark Shadows, and then slip off to sleep.

Hope everyone had a good three-day weekend.

If I may be serious for a moment...

I fully intend to write my usual light-hearted Monday post. But for the moment, I must to get something off my chest.

I heard from my stepdad on Friday. My mother is now in what they call "end-stage hospice," where she's being watched 24/7. He said she doesn't even respond to him anymore. She doesn't make eye contact, and if she makes any sound, it's a grunt. All she does now is lie there and cough. She won't eat. She reacts to nothing.

It could be days. It could be weeks. Or longer. Because despite the fact that her mind is completely blasted and her body is deteriorating, her heart beats on and on, strongly.

I can't do anything about this. But I can say that I am furious. This is an absolute disgrace. No one should have to end a productive and vibrant life in such a degrading state. In this country, we treat our animals with more dignity and respect than we do our humans.

John and I don't see eye to eye on this. He gets squeamish when I say I wish it would end. "You can't wish people dead; that's not right," he says. I'm not doing anything of the sort. My mother died a long time ago. What exists now is a shell. I wish for that shell to rest, to join her spirit. I wish for the indignity to end.

My stepmother and I have been emailing about this a bit. She is a staunch advocate of end-of-life choices, and she has told me that her wish, should she have a terminal illness or lose her mind (and her dignity), is to be relocated to one of the pitiful few states in this country (what is it now, four out of fifty?) where euthanasia is legal. Fortunately, her husband and family are on board with this. She also told me about an organization called Compassion and Choices, and I intend to join it. I can't afford to be a benefactor, but I will involve myself in it nonetheless, and fully educate myself now, while I still have my brain. Because I will not end up like my mother. I_Will_Not. There is no fucking way that I will end my life that way. I've spent the good years of my life living on my own terms, and I'm going to exit on my own terms as well, dammit. Quality over quantity. When life ceases to have quality, it's time to say adios.

Sorry. Rant over. You may now return to your barbecues and whatever else you're doing to enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. I intend to celebrate my 16-year spankiversary tomorrow, and forget about this crap for a while.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Uncommon sense

This coming Monday (Memorial Day) will be the 16th anniversary of my first spanking and official "for real" entry into the scene. A lot has happened in 16 years, including a whole lot of learning. These days, I find myself in the position of watching new people enter, filled with questions and uncertainties. They are lucky -- they have online forums in which they can pose their questions. I did not. Still, I was fortunate enough to meet good people and get a lot of valuable guidance, in those early days.

A lot of the questions I see on FetLife and other forums have to do with etiquette, and most of these queries have a wide variety of subjective answers. However, one theme I see in the replies, over and over, is that much of "the 'right' thing to do" is rooted in common sense.

The word "common" implies that most of us have this sense to some degree. And yes, as I noted last week on a FetLife topic, common sense seems to be damned uncommon sometimes.

So I thought it might be interesting to discuss certain areas where it seems common sense would prevail, but often doesn't. If people like this, I'll keep it up, with a different topic each time. Today's scene phenomenon will be what I call the "Monkey See, Monkey Do" syndrome.

In my BBW blogs, I mentioned a quickie scene I had with Joe (DrLectr on Fet), where I went to say hello to him and his greeting to me was yanking me down across his lap. I was careful to add, "This is something only friends can do. Don't try this with someone you don't know."

Really -- should I have to say this? Wouldn't you think common sense would dictate that if you see this kind of spontaneous activity, it's between people who know one another?

Yeah, you'd think. Well, it isn't.

Case in point: Several years ago, at a Shadow Lane party, John was hanging out with a friend of ours. She was a sweetie, kind of shy, and played little in public. But because she felt completely comfortable with John, she was relaxed enough to banter and brat with him a bit. He liked her a lot, and she was one of the very few people whom he topped at these parties.

So she was doing her thing with him, and he took the bait. "OK, that's IT," he said, grabbing her forearm and pulling her across his lap. She protested vigorously, but it was all show, and the two of them put on a fun little scene for those watching.

All was well until he let her up, and a spectator stepped in. "My turn!" he said gleefully, grabbing her forearm, just as John had done. Big difference, though. She barely knew this man, and did NOT want to play with him. So she pulled away, saying no. But alas, that was just what she had done with John, and "no" meant "yes" with him. So the guy grabbed her again and pulled more forcefully. She finally screamed for her boyfriend, who came over and said, "Hey, man, she doesn't want to." How embarrassing and uncomfortable for all involved, and how completely avoidable.

Another case in point: During another party, at the vendor table, Ralph Marvell playfully snatched up a hairbrush and did an impromptu "demo" with me, bending me over the back of a chair. People gathered to watch and we had some raucous fun. When we were done, I started to stand back up, and a strange man slipped up beside me. "Nope, you're not done it," he said, putting his hand between my shoulder blades and trying to push me back down.

I didn't know this guy from a hole in the wall. I stood up, giving him a "WTF??" look, but he still didn't get it. He said, "Back down," and grabbed my wrist, giving it a downward yank. Incredible! How clueless can you get? I just glared at him and bit out a very cold NO. Finally, he backed off, after giving me a bewildered and annoyed look. I could tell he honestly didn't comprehend what he'd done wrong and why I was being such an uptight bitch.

What goes through people's minds? "He did it, so I can too"? Where is that common-sense voice that whispers, "But they know each other"?

Oh, and it's not just men who do this, BTW. I've seen women do it too, particularly with bratting and teasing. News flash, ladies. If you overhear a woman playfully insulting a top, there's a good chance that she knows him well enough to know he's OK with that, and he knows HER well enough to know she doesn't mean it. You can't just step up and chime in.

I know, I know. It can be confusing for the new people, seeing some outrageous behaviors that they've been told time and again are inappropriate. I do understand and empathize with this confusion. But again, for any newbies -- always stop and factor in the "they know each other" part of the equation. When you see Danny Chrighton stride across the room, grab me and throw me over his shoulder, you can pretty much assume we're good friends. I'm not in the habit of letting strangers do that. (Although there have been some hotties over whom I've fantasized of such things. But I digress.)

Or, if you see me hug and kiss a male friend hello at a party, chances are I won't appreciate it if you blunder over and shove your face into mine, expecting that I'm going to kiss you too. (Yes, this has happened.)

When in doubt, err on the side of caution: don't assume any sort of familiarity until you've actually achieved it.

Thoughts? Questions? Feel free, please.

Have a great holiday weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Post #400!

I can't believe I'm up to 400 posts in less than two years. What a jabberpuss! To everyone who reads me, from the newbies to those who followed me back in the MySpace blog days -- thank you! I hope to keep you entertained for a long time to come.

So what am I posting for #400 -- something enlightening, earth-shattering and profound? Nah. Shameless self-promotion. :-D

First up, Lily Starr has released the second of the three clips I shot with her and Robert in April, called Erica Scott, the Online Menace. Yes, this is the video based on that infamous incident on FetLife. Robert takes me to task for engaging with "idiots on the Internet," first with an OTK spanking (until his hand blisters!), then a long session with a cocobolo paddle and a Cane-iac Attitude Adjustment strap. For those who wonder if the rumors about cocobolo paddles are true (are they really that painful?), the answer is YES. They SUCK!!! And that strap doesn't tickle, either.

This video has something for everyone, I think. It has plenty of my signature sass and sarcasm, and some clever banter between Robert and me (he is definitely no slouch in the repartee department!). But it also has a hell of a lot of hard spanking, and my shrieking and kicking is real. I hope you'll check it out.

And second -- remember this, from August of last year? The SpankingTube trailer embedded in this post still exists, but alas, the full video hasn't been available for many months now. The Villain retired, and his blog, videos and FetLife account no longer exist.

Because this is how those pesky rumors get started, let me hasten to assure you -- the person behind The Villain is very much alive and well. It's the character that has gone away. Perhaps he reformed. Or perhaps too many people figured out that behind that menacing, steely-eyed exterior was actually a helluva nice guy. :-) Anyway... I miss him. He was sexy and great fun. But now the video we shot together is in my hot little hands (with his and Dana's blessing) and I'm selling it in my Spanking Library, here.

For those who didn't see it last year, the scenario is basically as follows: I answer the door in the middle of the night (don't try this at home, kids) to a creepy stranger, who forces his way into my apartment. It seems I'm going to get robbed, raped or worse... but then I find out he came for something else entirely (and guess what that is!). V plays the maniacal intruder to perfection and this is an action-packed 14 minutes.

I look scared to death here:

But my face tells another story here, I think.

I really do love this piece. I hope you will too.

Happy Hump Day, y'all. Hope everyone's having a good week so far.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Next time, look under the bed, dumbass

Last time ST was here, we played in the bedroom and he had me get the Cane-iac Spanking Buddy out of my vanity drawer. Even though I had given it to him as a gift, he likes me to keep it here. So after he left, I looked on the bed and on the floor, but couldn't find it. I figured he'd accidentally picked it up with all his other toys and put it in his bag.

Tonight when we were ready to play, I mentioned that he might have the SB in his bag, because I thought he took it by accident. He rummaged through everything -- "Nope, I don't have it." Hmmmm... Oh, wait! Maybe it had traveled under the bed somehow (no, I didn't put it there).

Off I went to the bedroom to look, and sure enough, it was way under the bed. You wouldn't believe the noise I got from ST when I came back.

"Aha! You had it all along, and you accused me of stealing it!"

"I did not!" I protested. "I said you might have taken it by accident!"

"You were still blaming me, and all the while it was just your lousy housekeeping!"

I beg your pardon??

"You really shouldn't accuse me of stealing," he scolded, pulling me OTK.

"Dammit! There was nothing accusatory about what I said!" I hollered.

"Yeah, well, I'm about to get abuse-atory on your bottom." (groan) Oh, clever man.

We were both chatty at first, him blathering some nonsense about "poor Erica" and how I get blamed for doing things I didn't do, because I'm a perfect angel all the time. (Well, at least he's finally seeing that.) He said we should shoot a series caled "Poor Erica," and with each installment, I'd get some sort of unfair punishment. Sounds like Monday nights to me! (snort)

"So what scenarios should we use?" he asked.

"I dunno," I muttered. "Some of your lame-ass flimsy reasons, I guess."


"You're really not in a position to be making comments like that, are you?" (Well, no. But when has that ever stopped me?) I insisted that it was true, that he came up with the damndest reasons.

"That's just superior top logic in operation," he claimed. I said that was an oxymoron. He didn't like that either.

"NO, I'm not calling you a moron!" I screeched. "Don't you know what an oxymoron is??"

"Yes, I know what it is," he said. "But it still sounds like it should be the name of an infomercial or something. Doing Laundry with OxyClean for Dummies."

Jesus. Who put a quarter in him tonight?

By the way, here I am, playing the cheerful hostess and offering up the Spanking Buddy.

He liked how my panties tangled up on my feet and legs when I kicked. Said it was a good leg toner, using my panties like an exercise band. He should start his own gym and teach his own exercises.

Yeah, right.

All this jocularity was very well and good, but when he moved me to the ottoman, things began to transition. We got quieter and more focused, and he ramped things up.

No tears tonight. I wasn't feeling the need for emotional release. But I went so deeply into subspace, I couldn't speak any more. I heard incoherent noises... moans, groans, sighs, whimpers. Dreamily, I wondered where they came from, and realized they were my own.

It was an all-leather night, except for the final 10, much later, with the wooden paddle. He didn't ask me to count them, as he usually does. He knew I wouldn't be able to. I could barely take them, they hurt so much, and I shrieked into my pillow. And when they were over, I melted bonelessly into the cushions.

I didn't say anything for a long time. I didn't think about anything, either. My head felt refreshingly clean and clear, the usual nattering at bay. I could have shut my eyes and drifted to sleep, as he curled up next to me and stroked my back, my hair. When I finally spoke, my first slurred words were, "Can I slip into something more a coma?"

Ever want to freeze a moment in time? A moment when you feel so utterly right, so blissful and and at peace, you want to capture it and lose yourself in it?

Eventually, I know I have to raise my head, open my eyes, push my hair out of my face. But I put it off as long as possible. Fortunately, ST is patient. He waits. He soothes, and he waits.

We ended the evening by watching some SNL skits on Hulu. He'd never seen their parodies of the Lawrence Welk show, which are hysterical. You can't fully appreciate them unless you grew up with that stupid show, which we both did.

I am particularly sore tonight, squirming in my computer chair. Not complaining, however. It's the good pain. :-) I'm in my happy place.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fifty Shades of Ellen

No, this is not going to be a review of "Fifty Shades of Grey." Why? Because I haven't read it. Nor do I intend to. The most I've done is flip through it in a bookstore. However, I've been keeping up with the mass media about this book (one of three), about the author, about the phenomenon that is this trilogy. I watched E.L. James on "20/20." I've read the reviews -- both from vanilla readers and those of us who know BDSM firsthand (no pun intended).

My impression? It's a vanilla imagining of what we do, not to be confused with what we actually do or what we're about. It's written by a bored housewife who did all her research on the Internet, and it's being gobbled up by legions of bored housewives who engage in missionary sex once every couple of weeks or so and wonder what this kinky stuff is about. It's an S&M version of those overwrought, clichéd romance novels I eagerly consumed in high school and college as a closeted spanko, surreptiously seeking the occasional spanking scenes. And finally, it's yet another twist on that tired old chestnut storyline, "young, naive girl gets enmeshed with an older worldly gentleman, who just happens to be conflicted and damaged, but they complete one another." Meh.

Anyway... a friend on Facebook passed this on to me, and it's simply too good not to share. The incomparable Ellen DeGeneres, attempting to do an audio version of the book -- as one might expect, she had a bit of trouble with it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On my mind: Speculation

Before I get into this, one important note. I will be referring to certain people and blogs, but I am not going to name names. Some of you will know who I'm talking about, others will not. Please don't ask me for details. I've chosen this route to maintain at least a modicum of discretion.

A week or so ago, I stumbled across a post on a blog I've never read before; the title of the post attracted me, because it mentioned people I know. I went on to read what I considered a lot of passive-aggressive speculation and innuendo about the relationship between a professional domme and a married couple. She (the domme) and the wife co-top the husband. Sounds perfectly normal, perfectly healthy to me. But apparently to some, it's up for questioning.

Granted, this blogger never accused the domme of anything; in fact, they complimented her and made a point of mentioning several things that they did NOT think she was doing. ("It seems pretty clear that she is not intent on destroying a marriage.") What this person didn't seem to realize (and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here) is they're planting seeds of speculation by the mere mention of what the person is NOT doing.

The blogger's overall question was, what does a pro domme get out of "investing time and taking care of a married man." What drives her? Is it the money? (Yes, they speculated on how much money she might be making from the deal, which was in bad taste.) They ended the blog by stating that they "seriously doubted" this domme's motivation to develop such a closeness with a married man was linked to not being ready for her own relationship, or fear of too much closeness. Once again, just stating this, even in the form of denying it, sets up speculation.

I was really, really annoyed by this blog, on so many levels. The first thought that came to mind was, how is this any of the blogger's @#$%ing business? But then I realized that wasn't fair. We live in the age of the Internet, of reality TV, of tabloids. Everyone knows everyone else's business. And if they don't know it, they feel entitled to know it. So I moved on to the next point.

What drives this domme? Why does there have to be a drive? How about that she likes these people, she connects well with them and the three of them enjoy a mutually satisfying scene friendship/relationship? What a concept! Why does there always have to be a salacious undertone to scene relationships? What, a pro domme should only top single men, or single women? One connection has to lead to another? What narrow-minded nonsense.

I can understand a garden-variety vanilla person coming up with all sorts of ulterior motives, because they can't comprehend the nature of what we do. But this blogger is one of us. They should understand, at least on some level.

And really, if they had these burning questions, why not address the source directly? Again, this is the age of just about everyone being accessible. Write to the domme, comment on her blog, tell her you're fascinated with her relationships and would like to know how they work. She'll either answer your questions to the best of her ability, or tell you she's sorry, but it's not your business. But don't put out these questions and speculations on a public blog. That's kind of tacky.

This blog irked me for more than one reason, truthfully. I was piqued on behalf of the domme and the married couple, because they are my friends. But also, because so many of us have fallen prey to speculations about our lives and relationships. I know that some of this is unavoidable when you're a "public figure" (said tongue in cheek) of sorts. But come on. It goes too far sometimes.

I've been the source of much speculation, myself, over the years. "What's the deal with her and John? They've been dating all these years, but never lived together? He's mostly a bottom, but he's with a bottom? How does that work? Why does he come to the spanking parties with her, but not play? He sees dommes on his own, and she sees tops on her own? Why? What are they getting from each other? What exactly goes on between her and these tops she has in her home?"

I mentioned in my book that, back when I was playing with Danny, a friend once alerted me that the topic in the Shadow Lane chat room that evening was "are they or aren't they fucking like bunnies." Good grief.

And yes, I've been spanked by married men, and men with relationships. What drives me to do this? No big secret, folks. I like these men! I connect with them, they spank well, we meet each other's kink needs in one way or another, they're my friends. Yes, I have loved many of my play partners. I fully admit that I love ST. So what? Does that have to have a secret agenda? I love them; I am in love with John. Big difference. John is on a special and untouchable level, all by himself.

The speculations and gossip often go beyond who is screwing whom or how A is secretly in love with B, etc. When I first entered the scene, there was an iconic spanking model who had fairly dominated the 90s video scene, and she had once been a very public figure, going to parties and so forth. Then she went behind the scenes and started producing, but stopped appearing in front of the camera. At the same time, she dropped out of the party scene. Well, she was producing videos, so she was clearly still alive. But the stories! The one I heard was that she'd contracted some sort of horrible, disfiguring disease and she didn't want people to see her like that. Funny... when she turned up again at the parties a few years later, she looked fine to me.

I know I'm all over the place with this entry, and I knew I would be. It's a broad, tangential subject. Therefore, to wrap this all up:

1. Scene relationships are rich and complex, and allow for many more variations than vanilla. If it really floats your boat to speculate on someone else's relationship, knock yourself out. But don't publicize your thoughts, even if you phrase them in the manner of "I'm sure he/she's not doing that...." You may think you know what you're talking about, but unless you're living these people's lives, you really don't.

2. If you have a question, try asking the source, if that's possible. I can't speak for others, but I'm quite open and I'm happy to answer questions people have for me. I'd rather they ask and get the proper answer, rather than coming up with their own.

3. When in doubt, try minding your own @#$%ing business. :-)

Monday, May 14, 2012


That's what tonight's spanking was: personal. I will write about it, but I will not give the reason. This time, it's between ST and me. But it was real. Something from my past that wasn't one of my finer moments.

It was good timing. I was feeling raw and sad, craving emotional release. ST's combination of compassion and firmness was just what I needed.

Before we even started, he told me to strip. It wasn't about seeing me naked; he's seen that before. It was about rendering me completely vulnerable. Perhaps another night, I would have playfully protested. Tonight, I was surprised, but I did what he told me.

He set up the camera to take one action shot:

But after that, he focused on the task in front of him and the camera remained off, until we were done.

I kept still and compliant, and said little, except to answer him when he asked a question. After a while, all I could do was nod. It took a while, but I could feel myself trembling on the brink of tears. All I needed was one more push, but I couldn't quite go over. So, while my body struggled to absorb the pain, my mind conjured the image of my mother's face this weekend. That did it. That's enough to break anyone's heart. I wept through the strapping and the final paddling. Sometimes, life is so damned unfair and makes me feel so utterly wretched. And when I'm feeling embarrassment and shame on top of that, all I want is to be spanked into oblivion.

Afterward, he comforted me. Stroked my hair while I cried into the bedspread. Told me I was beautiful. I came back down to earth with a lighter heart. Still the same damned problems and insecurities, but for a little while, they went away.

It is to ST's credit that I feel comfortable enough to stay undressed long after the scene. Usually, I'd rather cover up/put my clothes back on as soon as it's over. Exhibitionistic as I am in pictures, up close and personal is another story, and I am self-conscious fully naked with most people, although there are exceptions. John is one. ST is another.

We talked for a long time. Played a little more, after the mood lightened. Oh, and even though they hadn't stayed on very long, I wore the itty-bitty short shorts that Kat bought for me in Atlantic City.

Yes, that reads "KISS MY." These are a bit too small to wear publicly -- they barely cover my butt cheeks. But to wear for a spanker? Perfect.

ST may get himself a girlfriend one of these days. I hope he does; he deserves to have one. But oh my god, I hope when he finds her, she will tolerate my existence. My special compartment in his life. Because I would take nothing away from her.

I won't think about that now. For this moment, he is my dear and trusted top, and my friend. For tonight, my mind is quiet and I will sleep.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thank you

I really appreciate everyone who commented to my Friday blog, self-indulgent post that it was. No one suggested that I was wallowing in self-pity, for which I am grateful. I was simply in a dark and sad place, and very tired. Probably some delayed party drop plus being sick, disappointment, dread over seeing my mother, stress over the situation with John's mother, and so on and so forth. Feeling invisible on here kind of made the house of cards topple. So thank you for being nice to me.

Wrapping up the endless Dark Shadows whining: The movie was what it was. It doesn't matter who likes it or who hates it. The reviews are mixed, but none of them are raves that I can see. A lot of what I didn't like is also disliked by the reviewers. I was going to post a collection of snippets from some of the worst reviews, but really, what's the point of that? It's over. The movie is done, it's out, it will do whatever it does and then fade away. The original will endure, as it has for the 41 years since it's been off the air.

One good thing to come out of this -- they are finally releasing House of Dark Shadows on DVD, sometime within the year. So, if any of you are curious and want to see a Dark Shadows movie -- my suggestion: See this...

Not this...

ST saw both; what a good sport. I asked him, as an objective viewer, if he thought the second movie was any sort of homage to the series (from what he knew of it). His reply: "If I didn't know differently, I wouldn't have thought one had anything to do with the other."

I think this will be the last Dark Shadows event I attend. This one made me feel old and foolish, waiting in line for so long to get perfunctory signatures from actors in their 60s and 70s, probably all thinking, "Christ, I'll never get to live that damned old show down." I did what I wanted to do most: I met my heart-throb, I got to see Jonathan Frid up close and personal, I got to see what these gatherings are about. But going again and again, year after year, attending ALL the annual festivals like the die-hards do? Nah. I'm done.

Moving on. We went to see my mom and stepdad yesterday, after struggling through two hours of horrendous traffic on three freeways. Normally, the drive takes about an hour and a quarter. This visit wasn't a shock to the system like our last one; I knew what to expect this time. My mother was fairly unresponsive, although she sort of smiled at me once. But most she sat and stared, coughed, and would say a word or two and then fade back out. She has unexplained edema in her extremities, and one arm was grossly swollen. Her skin is like paper now, and the swelling made it break in several places.

I called to her several times, but she didn't look at me. She's in her own world now. I wonder what she knows, what she hears. Whether or not she knows me.

We had dinner with my stepdad; at least he seems to have forgiven me. John was very sweet and supportive, and I don't know what I'd do without him there. He actually made me laugh a few times. When a server came to our table, offering a basket of freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, John said, "I already have my cookie, right here," and put his arms around me.

M opened up a bit about how tough things have been. At one point he looked at us, sighed, and said, "Don't grow old. I don't recommend it."

Amen. I don't, either.

There are other odds and ends of life that are on my mind as well, but honestly, I don't want to go into them. Life is feeling a bit bleak right now, but this too shall pass. It always does. I felt the purest of joy just a couple of short weeks ago. I will again.

Back to the gym this week, too. No more excuses. BBW was a good excuse, as was the cold. But "I don't feel like it" doesn't cut it.

For tonight, I'm going to sleep. And I hope everyone who is (or has) a mother, had a good day today. If not... find something that will make you feel happy. I will endeavor to do the same.

Friday, May 11, 2012


I wasn't going to blog at all, but decided I needed to say something, just so I don't seem like I've gone missing.

I was going to write about my evening at the Dark Shadows movie premiere party, but it turned out to be a night of just a few high points, much ado about nothing. The good: 1) ST came with me, 2) I got to give Kathryn Leigh Scott a rose and tell her how much we all appreciate her gracious attitude toward the fans, 3) I got to see House of Dark Shadows on a big screen, 4) I tweeted about being at the Vista and Kathryn retweeted me. Other than that? I stood in line for over an hour-and-a-half, waiting to get to the autograph tables and hopefully get some pictures. But by the time I got up there, they were running out of time and hustling us along like cattle. I got no pictures. The stars were, for the most part, clearly tired of signing things, wrote the bare minimum and pushed my book back to me without making eye contact. And last, but definitely not least, the new movie was awful. Beyond awful. So appallingly ridiculous, all flash and no substance, no resemblance to the show whatsover except for the name and the character names. I could go into more detail, but you know what? This is a spanking blog, not a Dark Shadows blog. You guys would be bored, and I don't blame you. If I delve into the minutiae, you won't know what I'm talking about anyway.

Suffice it to say that, upon walking out of the theater after midnight, as ST walked me to my car, I was somewhat shell-shocked, saying over and over, "Oh my God. That was stupid. That was so, so stupid." And then, much to my chagrin and embarrassment, I started to cry.

I didn't get to sleep until past 3:00, because I'd drunk so much Diet Coke. So today, I am tired and, now that the adrenaline has subsided, finally feeling the dregs of my cold.

Tomorrow we are going to see my mother. It is Mother's Day on Sunday, after all. At least this time, I know what to expect. Still not looking forward to it, though.

This blog, of late, has diminished readership and way fewer comments. It also hasn't been Chrossed for three weeks, even after a detailed and pictorial five-part blog about BBW. Perhaps I have become redundant.

So I think I'll just back off for the weekend, and wish y'all a good one. Sorry to be such a drip.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"The Enigmatic Ms. E."

Those of you who read my book may recall my mentioning a couple John and I befriended early on in our relationship -- A & C. C was a fetish photographer and worked for LFP (Larry Flynt Publications), and she and A went with us to BDSM and spanking parties. In 1999, before Erica Scott was born, C took some photos of me at a Shadow Lane party and then published them, anonymously, in the amateur section of Taboo magazine.

Guess what I found stashed away in a coffee table compartment, among a pile of old Consumer Reports and other dated odds and ends? Yup. That old copy of Taboo. And what do you know -- I have a scanner now. :-)

So check this out, from about 12 1/2 years ago:

Oh, don't be so shocked. I had panties on. :-)  By the way, that's A doing the honors, not John. Tsk.

You can't read the blurb unless you enlarge the photo, so here's the verbiage: (remember, I did NOT write this!)

The enigmatic Ms. E., a 29-year-old resident of Encino, California, may be mysterious about her identity, but she's perfectly candid about her desires. Submissive to her molten core, she likes "spanking, spanking and more spanking." Bare-handed over-the-knee is her favorite, "because it's more intimate." But E. also enjoys a well-wielded wooden paddle, the zing of the leather strap and even the odd stroke of the cane. Our toast to E: Bottoms Up!

Makes me giggle, reading it now. Submissive to my molten core?? Enjoys a wooden paddle? (Not!) But I can overlook all that -- they did, after all, call me a 29-year-old, and I was 42 at the time. :-)

And mysterious about my identity? That didn't last much longer, did it.

In other news, Lily Starr put a preview clip of "The Devil Wears a Red Bottom" on Spanking Tube. You can check it out here, if you're so inclined.

Tomorrow is Dark Shadows day, and wouldn't you know, I've come down with John's cold. Argh. So far, it seems to be a mild one and I'm drowning myself in Airborne and soup and nasal spray. No gym for me today; I'm going to rest and do my best to shake this damn thing off. After all, I've shot spanking videos with a cold; I can certainly go to a movie premiere with one. The show must go on.

Hope everyone's having a decent week so far.

Monday, May 7, 2012

ST returns :-)

After a week off, he was raring to go tonight. It was all I could do to get him to sit on the couch and talk to me for a few minutes! Of course, he wanted to know all the juicy details I didn't mention on the blog. But I couldn't think of all that many, honestly. This party was one of the most drama-free I've ever been at.

He was definitely perturbed that I didn't play enough to make my plane ride home uncomfortable. Oh, and my "exposing myself to all of Atlantic City" in our hotel window didn't meet with his approval either. What a surprise!

Oh, and damn, I'd forgotten to have a glass of water ready for him, like I always do. Spankable offense!

(Do you get the feeling he'll use any old damned excuse, no matter how lame? Typical top.)

So off we went to the bedroom to make up for lost time. He was pleased that I brought in his water and toy bag, but miffed that I didn't go to my vanity drawer and get my Spanking Buddy of my own volition. Sheesh! You can't please some people.

"It's been so long, I may have forgotten how to do this," he warned. Oh please! Two weeks is "so long"? Hummph. Believe me, he remembered how to do it.

"I've missed this bottom," he said, swinging away with that wicked belt of his. "But I'm not going to miss it tonight! Not once!"

He didn't, either.

He was quite the chatty one this evening. Sometimes, we both get quiet as we focus on the matter at hand. Tonight, he yakked away while exercising his arm and using all his toys. "I need some new toys," he mused, cracking his big black strap. "These leather implements are getting too floppy."

"Perhaps they need Viagra," I muttered.

He was also pontificating about the spiritual effects of spankings and how he should start his own business, providing therapy for girls who are in desperate need of guidance. I said they'd soon see what a charlatan he is.

Ooooh, he didn't like that. What? What did I say? I protested, saying I was simply calling him a good actor. You know, like that famous actor, Charlatan Heston?


I'll tell you what -- they'll have to pry those implements out of ST's cold, dead hands.

The "grand finale" was to be 20 with 1) a cane, 2) the strap and 3) his wooden paddle. I hunkered down, preparing myself.

But there was to be no zoning out for me. After every stroke, I had to say, "I'm giddy with joy to be back here with you."

"NO WAY!" I screeched. "OK, I guess I'll just keep going until you do," he said calmly. Ugh. I knew I was screwed.

So I said it for the first 20 (having to put up with his critique of my delivery, saying he wasn't "hearing the joy"). When he moved to implement #2, he said, "And yes, you have to say that, still."

Stroke 1. "One -- that, still," I intoned. OW! Christ. Some people have no sense of humor.

He cut me some slack, or so I thought, by saying I didn't have to repeat the phrase for the final 10 paddle swats. BUT... they were going to be fast.

Of course they were. Breathlessly fast.

We talked. We caught up. I gave him chocolate. I yawned blissfully. It had been a stressful weekend, since John had a horrible cold and we still had to go see his mother and blah blah blah. Reality sucks after a party weekend. But now I felt peaceful once again.

Amazing how that happens.

I will be seeing ST again this week, on Thursday, but not for play this time. He is joining me in my other passion, Dark Shadows. At a Hollywood theater, they are having a movie premiere party for the new DS movie. Several of the original stars will be there to sign autographs, and there will be a charity auction of show memorabilia. Then they are showing two movies -- House of Dark Shadows from 1970, with the show's original cast and characters, and the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version of Dark Shadows.

I had no intention of going... but then Jonathan Frid died. And of course, now I have to. I want to be with other DS fans and share that particular wacky camaraderie. They will probably have some sort of tribute to him. Personally, I wanted to go for the first movie and the autographs and then leave before the new movie starts, but ST nixed that. He insists that I watch it, and if I end up liking it, I'm in BIG trouble.

(sigh) What the hell. I paid in advance for tickets, and they include both movies. Might as suck it up and watch it for cultural literacy, since everyone is going on and on about it. But I can already tell from the promos and the trailers that it's going to piss me off!

The rest of the evening will be a blast, and I think it's so cool that ST wants to go with me, considering he's not a DS fan and all he knows about the show is what he's heard from me. I've already warned him, he's going to see a lot of strange people! But he assured me he likes "quirky things." Oh, this will be quirky, all right. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A few more BBW odds and ends

I promised you photos from Sunday night; last night, Ten sent me some, so here they are! I think these are from a point before many more people joined in; I seem to recall there were others. But perhaps they wouldn't have been OK with their faces being posted.

Anyway, here I am sprawling on Joe:

Molesting Gino (the look on Joe's face cracks me up!):

Left to right: Marie, Gino, me, Joe, and Lilia Spinoza:

Happy bunch!

Random memories returning: You may remember how we had several aggravations on Thursday (which, fortunately, were the last of them for the whole weekend). On the way to the airport, I was driving and John was drinking coffee out of his thermos. Be careful with that coffee, honey, I warned. We got to the airport, went through all the machinations with the shuttle from the parking lot, and finally we're in line to check our baggage, and I took a good look at him. He'd spilled coffee all over his shirt (his white t-shirt) and on his tan khakis for good measure.

So, after we went through TSA, John took a toothbrush out of his carry-on and disappeared into the men's room. I waited for several minutes, then he walked out. The entire front of his shirt was drenched, as well as the leg of his pants; he'd taken everything off and scrubbed out the coffee stains in the sink with the toothbrush. (My bad; I burst out laughing when I saw him. I couldn't help it.) Poor guy was wet and cold for a while after that, but at least he got most of the coffee out!

And finally -- back to the scene with Alex on Saturday night, poor Alex whom I was teasing relentlessly. On the table in front of us was a jar filled with Blow-Pops lollipops. Ms. Big Mouth here snatched one of them, waved it at him and yelled, "Hey, Alex? Blow me!"

Yes, I know, that's physically impossible. But it still got a big laugh.

I am finally coming down. Reality has set in and I've had to deal with the fallout from my credit card getting hacked over the weekend. How that happened, I have no idea, but thank goodness for B of A alerting me to irregular activity. Card is cancelled, but I'm waiting for a new one and in the meanwhile, all my accounts that are auto-billed are squawking. Blech! But it'll all get resolved. John caught a cold (pretty typical aftermath for one of these gatherings, with so many people, so many germs and so little sleep). But it's OK. I will be smiling over this party for a long time.

And I know I've been neglecting other blogs -- will get back into reading them this week, I promise!

Have a great weekend, y'all.

EDIT: Almost forgot this. There were three people I was especially looking forward to seeing at this party, but all three of them had to cancel at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. InspecterHide, Andrew Morgan, and Dana Kane, you were missed! Andy and IH, I hope to see you both at Shadow Lane. Dana, I hope I don't have to wait that long!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Boardwalk Badness Weekend, Part 5: Sunday night and The End

I'd forgotten to mention that on Saturday night, I hadn't gotten to sleep until nearly 5:00 a.m., so no wonder I was running on exhaust fumes after getting up early Sunday morning for the Court. But it was worth it. And both John and I slept like the dead Sunday afternoon and were ready for the evening's festivities.

A lot of people had gone home, and many of the remaining had gone on the Sunset Cruise that Joe (Dr. Lectr) had arranged. I don't like boats and sailing, so I decided to pass on that. But from what I hear, it was a wonderful time, and the boat stayed in the harbor instead of going out into open water like last year. So, if we go to BBW next year, we'll do the cruise for sure (if Joe does it a third time). But meanwhile, we knew everyone wouldn't be back until 8:00 and then they'd be going to dinner, so we had lots of time.

We went for dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the hotel. John had roast duck and I had a big bowl of comfort food -- soup with noodles and wontons. Back to our room to freshen up (I changed into black leggings and a raspberry-pink long sweater), and we did most of our packing as well. At around 9:30, we wandered up to floor 52, and of course, found a suite party going on in Tom's room.

Steve from the UK had told me that he wanted to do another scene with me, this time with a "kiss of leather." (gulp) Sure enough, we walked into the suite and there he was, and he wasted no time in corraling me and bringing me down to his room for a sampling of his implements.

What a fun scene! First, a nice OTK warm-up with his hand (after dispensing with my leggings). Then he had me lie on the bed, with pillows under my hips, while he selected a half-dozen implements: four leather, one wooden paddle, and one cane. He decreed that I would get a dozen with each one, and I'd have to count them.

Ah, but there was a little caveat. He didn't care for kicking. I kick. So if I kicked, I'd get penalty smacks... on my thighs, with his hand.

As I recall, I made it through the first implement without kicking. But the second one made that errant left foot of mine fly up in the air. True to his word, Steve held my ankles with one hand and gave me several firm smacks on the backs of my thighs with his hand. Ow ow OWWWWW!

Lesson learned. For the remainder of our scene, no matter what he did, I didn't kick again. Oh, he tried his best to make me do so! He even resorted to tickling my feet, devil incarnate that he is. He faked me out, tapped me with the implements, ran his nails lightly up my legs, kept me waiting. I yelled, I pounded the bed with my fists, I squirmed and twitched.

But I never kicked again. I ain't stupid!

When it came to the penultimate implement, a small round wooden paddle, he said "We have a bit of a dilemma here." (he pronounced it "dilemmer" -- gawd, I love British accents!) "Oh?" I said. "Yes," he replied. "Unfortunately, this paddle is too small to cover both cheeks, so it seems we'll need to do 12 on each cheek, won't we?"

"WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?" I screeched. "But...."

"Decision's made, deal with it," he smirked. Damned tops! Why do they ask us questions, like we have a choice in the matter, when they damn well know we don't?

He checked in periodically -- I liked how he did it. He'd pause, lean down and say, "Look at me." When I did, he could see by my face that I was all right.

After the grand finale with 12 cane strokes, he asked if I'd like some lotion, and I said yes, please. A nice warm hug, and back to the suites.

No party weekend is complete without a double flogging from the amazing Fineous. Back in Tom's suite, he found me and we went into the bedroom, where I stripped down to just panties and stretched out on the bed, waiting for him to work his magic.

Sooooooo incredibly sensual and delicious! He always starts out lightly, then builds up, bit by bit, until he's going at it medium-hard, but it never hurts. It just feels like a tingly, powerful massage. And afterward, the actual massage, neck to foot, with lotion. My feet were sore after three days of high heels and a lot of standing and walking, so that was most welcome. I love you, Fineous! I put my clothes back on, and was sprawled on the bed with F, Sarah and another Sara, enjoying the afterglow, until Tom came in and tossed us off because he and Russ were going to double-strap Stefanny.

Later in the same room, I was lying on a divan near the bed, still feeling blissfully relaxed, watching Fineous flog Sarah. Gino Colletti wandered in and came over to me -- I've known Gino for about 12 years. He asked if he could sit on the divan with me, so I said sure and scooched back a bit. Then he asked, "May I lie down?" and I said yes to that as well. So he joined me on the divan and I snuggled up against him. That's a typical Sunday night at a party weekend, folks. Inhibitions go by the wayside. We chatted a bit until John came in, saw us and pretended to have a conniption about it, which made both of us laugh like crazy.

Things are starting to blur now, because it was getting late. I knew we had to get up at 5:30 a.m. and we should get some sleep, but I didn't want to miss anything. I didn't want to say goodbye yet. Thankfully, right about then, we found out that Joe and Ten had booked the suite next to their room and opened everything up for the final blowout, so we wandered over there.

Seeing Joe sitting on the couch, I ran over, flopped down and laid my head on his chest. We hadn't played yet -- well, except for a brief moment on Saturday night in the ballroom. I was making the rounds, and I'd gone over to Joe and Ten's table to say hello. I said hi to Joe, and he replied by pushing out from the table so that his lap was exposed, and then yanking me down over it. Well, hello to you too! LOL!

(To the newbies: That's what's known as the "yank and spank." Don't try this with people you don't know. But for good friends whom you know will be totally OK with it, have at it!)

He let me up, saying, "And how are you, Erica?" I said, that's it? "Oh no," he assured me. "We'll continue this another time."

So at that moment, very late on a Sunday night, winding down a wonderful party weekend, I knew I wanted Joe to be my final scene, and I told him so.

He and I had played for the first time at the last Shadow Lane party, and I remember writing about what an amazingly powerful hand he has. We found a private spot for a quiet little scene, and talked for a while; he said he'd thought, after the fact, he'd been a little too nervy last time, spanking me so hard when it was our first time. I assured him that it was totally fine and reminded him of what I'd said after that scene: "Oh my God! How is it that I've never played with you before?"

Still, he started out lighter. I know he was trying to be mellower and gentler, do a nice Sunday night wind-down spanking. But you know what? I didn't want that. It was the last scene of the weekend, and I wanted to blow it out. So I taunted. I teased. And finally, I said, "Come ON, don't be a pussy."

(I really am quite the potty mouth at these weekends!)

That did it -- he ramped it up, full bore. YES. When he started to pull my leggings back up, I blurted, "That's IT??" He laughed. "You want more?"

"Give me a break, it's my last scene! Don't wimp out now!" Oh, myyyyy... let me tell you, he didn't. I shrieked and squirmed and laughed... damn, that was fun. Perfection. I wanted no more, after that. Thank you, dear Joe.

We congregrated with others in the hallway, including PTL, Ralph Marvell, Jersey John, and Alex. Alex was still toting around that bottle of Kinky Liqueur, offering it to anyone who might want some, so I grabbed it and took a huge swig right from the bottle. My feet were killing me, so I took off my sandals and sat on the carpet, next to a tub filled with empty liquor bottles and glasses. Ralph laughed at me. "Is this what you've come down to, Erica? Sitting in the hall?"

"It could be worse," I retorted. "I could be lying in the hall." And then proceeded to do just that.

"Stay there!" PTL hollered. "I need a picture!" Here you go:

Almost forgot this -- earlier on the couch when I was semi-sprawled on Joe, several others joined us and we had a funny pile-up; Gino, Lilia Spinoza, Fineous, Joe and me and a couple of others, I forget. Anyway, Ten grabbed the camera and took several shots while we hammed it up. Can't wait to see how those came out!

Finally, it was nearly 2:30. I hated to leave, and part of me was tempted to just stay up all night, but I knew we'd both regret it. So, reluctantly, it was time to say our goodbyes.

Mir and I had a long hug in the hallway, and ended up tearfully singing "I'm so glad we had this time together." Then she and Mr. Rob started singing the "good night" song from the old Lawrence Welk show. What can I say... it was late, we were loopy and we're... of an advanced age. (sigh)

Went into the bedroom to say goodbye to Ten, but just as I approached her, she turned away and leapt onto Fineous on the bed. "Hey!" I said. "Excuse me, I'm busy raping someone," she answered.

"Well, knock it off! Get your ass over here and say goodbye to me, goddammit!" (see what I mean about that potty mouth?) She grabbed me in a big hug, then lifted me off my feet and spun me around! Damn! Strong girl, that Ten!

Joe was busy flogging Immsunderstood so we had to wait to say bye to him. I sat quietly watching, while John talked with others. When Joe was done, I hugged him and Imms, plus Steve and PTL, and on our way out, we hugged Linda and Paddy. And that was it.

Our shuttle was prompt and we had a very nice driver who talked with us all the way to the airport. The plane ride was uneventful (and no TSA getting huffy over John's thermos this time). I have to say, we were lucky with both flights in that 1) our seatmates were quiet and unobtrusive, and 2) we had no children or babies in our vicinity. I even managed to sleep a bit on the plane home; I was that tired.

What a weekend. I think I'm just starting to come down now. I wish this party weren't so far away; adding up all the various expenses, it turned out to be a very pricey weekend. But John said it was OK; it was absolutely worth it, and he said we should do it again next year! :-) I love that man. You know, these parties are a joy, but I know I wouldn't love them half as much if I didn't have such a dear and understanding companion at my side.

Thank you, Mike Tanner, Miranda, Jules and Mike Stein. Thank you to all who contributed to the party. Thank you for the warm welcomes, the hugs and kisses, the play, the laughs and camaraderie. I didn't play anywhere near as much as I usually do, and I don't care. As ever, it was about quality, not quantity.

Hope everyone enjoyed my reports.