dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
We all have our stories, right? The ones we tell while getting to know someone; the ones about funny things, about slightly embarrassing things, about our personal quirks. We have the stories we tell when everyone's talking about childhood fears and beliefs, and the ones we share about food, about sleep, about bad sex.

My bad sex story has made the rounds. Any day now, I expect it to be told back to me as something that happened to the friend of a friend of a friend.

The story evolves a little with each retelling, so when it comes back to me, I may not recognize it. Or it may be someone else's story; I'm sure I'm not the only one this has happened to.

This happened years ago, when I was still living with my parents. They were out for the day and Russ came over and we were... hanging out. In my room. Naked. Right... so we were having a good time, when I started to feel a burning sensation in an unfortunate place. I excused myself and tried peeing, thinking about bladder infections, but this felt different. I went back in to the bedroom and confessed to my naked boyfriend that something was wrong and that there wouldn't be any sex, given the uncomfortable circumstances.

Russ blushed. He isn't normally a blusher, but this time he was red.

"I swear, I washed my hands."

"What?"

"Before coming over, I was over at Shane's. And we were making chili."

"I know."

"And I was chopping the fresh jalapeños. I washed up really well after, but maybe I missed some of the oils."

The burning took a couple of hours to complete go away.

It's a good cautionary tale; they might want to add that to some sex ed courses where they still have such things.

The other day, a friend started to tell one of my stories to a mutual friend, but she'd already heard it. I can't remember if I was the one that told it to her. I don't think I did. Maybe I did. It's a good story for telling to new friends.

There's a point in a new friendship that requires a little self-deprecation; a little revealing of a weakness or flaw. Nothing serious – not kleptomaniac-tendencies, homicidal fantasies, or a little problem with compulsive lying – but more like always pronouncing "animation" incorrectly or forgetting to turn the clock back every Daylight Savings Time. I like to tell this story:

Some friends and I meet at a major bookstore at a major cross-street. We walk along a major street for about seven blocks to a restaurant. Once at the restaurant, we only have enough time to get menus and order drinks before another friend called; she's nearby: can she join us?

She's familiar with the bookstore but not the restaurant, so I volunteer to meet her at the bookstore. I get there fine – seven blocks in a straight line – greet her and we head back. I set out with confidence; after all, it's a seven block walk, in a straight line.

We're chatting as we walk. We walk for about six blocks before I notice that we're not on the bright main street but strolling alongside dark office buildings. I don't know where we are.

We turn around and walk back to the bookstore: six blocks in a straight line. Once there, I figure out where I went wrong: when we headed out, I went at a 90 degree angle from where I was supposed to and got us lost even though we only had to travel straight back the way I had just come. There were four other people there that day, and they will never let me live it down, and neither will all the friends they've told, nor will the ones I've told. It works for me; I really do have an awful sense of direction, so the spread of the story means that people don’t expect me to lead, give accurate directions, or follow them.

I have saved some stories; held them close, for the right moment. A story about stories needs, perhaps, a story about story-telling.

When I was in grade four or five, the story of Bloody Mary went around the school yard. Our variation involved entering a dark room at midnight, spinning around several times, flashing a flashlight on and off several times, and then looking into a mirror. Several girls claimed to have tried it and to have seen an awful figure coming through the mirror before they fled the room.

In the schoolyard, I was a voice of reason:

"If you spin around fast enough, you will get spots in front of your eyes. And if you are flashing lights on and off too, you are bound to see things. The other morning, when my mom turned on the lights very suddenly, I saw a spot in front of my eyes shaped like a pony."

Others seemed to believe me. Fears quelled, the myth of the murdering woman in the mirror disappeared from my circle of friends quickly.

In the dark, however, the story still had power over me. I developed a fear of seeing a mirror in a dark room. I never told anyone this fear, so to avoid seeing the mirror in the bedroom I shared with my sister, I would sleep with Susie the Seal on the outside and cover her with a thick duvet, to make the pile high enough to block my view. To this day, I don't allow a mirror in my bedroom.

The stories of other people were stronger than my own. Perhaps it is often that way.
dreaminghope: (Zoey)
Some purchases feel like they should be marked by confetti and trumpet flourishes. Momentous occasions, marking major life changes, happening in front of blissfully unaware store clerks.

Do you remember the first time you bought "feminine hygiene" products?

My Mom kept my sister and I's bathroom stocked through high school, so I was in first year university the first time I needed to buy my own pads. As a budding feminist and environmentalist, I was offended and annoyed that the clerk bagged my pads into a brown paper bag before adding them to the re-usable bag that held all my other purchases. Not offended enough to say anything, of course, but annoyed enough to complain about it later in my Women's Studies class.

Do you remember the first time you bought condoms?

Russ offered to go to the pharmacy, but I insisted that I would buy them. A rite of passage, perhaps, or a test of my ability to do this "adult" thing. It was such a big deal to me - I felt shaky and jumpy - but to the clerk, I was just another student in an on-campus pharmacy full of students getting ready for the weekend. I lost my virginity a couple of days later.

Do you remember the first time you bought a pregnancy test?

I doubt there's ever been anyone who has bought a pregnancy test for themselves or their partner in a neutral emotional state. Considering my emotional turmoil, I was a little surprised that a pregnancy test was just scanned through along with my bread and cheese. Given my state of mind, I expected the transaction to be remarkable, maybe even traumatic.

Standing in this virtual room with a hundred-odd friends, acquaintances, and almost strangers, I have this to say: I am not pregnant.

More than two weeks of nausea, bloating, breakouts, smell sensitivity, breast tenderness, mood swings... despite being a consistent Pill user, I really thought I was in trouble. Even after my period started, I took a pregnancy test this morning, just in case.

One beautiful line. Relief.

I am not pregnant.

"Congratulations" isn't quite right, is it? After all, non-pregnancy isn't really an achievement. Never mind; I will celebrate my non-pregnant status tonight by spending the evening as I spend many Wednesday evenings - crafting - but accompanied by a large glass of wine.

It's been a stressful couple of weeks. Maybe two large glasses of wine.
dreaminghope: (Sexy - Cinnamonsqueak)
Sexual Ethics

"How many people here have sex with the lights on?" the teacher sat cross legged on his desk and looked at us evenly. Some of us looked back at him and raised our hands immediately; others giggled and blushed and either raised hands tentatively or not at all.

We came mostly in pairs – couples – to take a class on "Getting Down and Dirty with Mother Earth – Greener Sex". The teacher was dressed in jeans and an unbleached cotton shirt with a mandarin collar.

"Thank you," he acknowledged our raised hands, "That's the first thing to cut out. Keeping the lights on is an unnecessary waste of electricity. If you want a bit of mood lighting, consider some LED Christmas lights."

I wrote Xmas LEDs instead of lights on my notepad.

"What about candles?" a student by the window asked.

"Well, beeswax might be an acceptable choice, if you aren't vegan, of course, but don't get cheap candles. They're made with petrochemicals."

I wrote beeswax candles? and drew a bumble bee and some flowers.

"But, even better, if you want to be able to see each other, just have sex during the day."

Someone at the back giggled like a middle school student in their first sex ed class.

At the end of the class, the page of my notebook is covered with instructions.

The bedroom: organic cotton sheets, furniture made of sustainably harvested wood, and compact fluorescent bulbs.

Romance: organic and locally grown fruit, organic and locally made wines, and fair trade chocolate (in moderation – shipped from overseas = larger carbon footprint).

Sex play: shower together (save water during foreplay), organic hemp cuffs, modifying second hand clothing for role playing costumes, and sex toys (durable – buy to last – rechargeable batteries).

"It is hard to choose a good lubricant. Avoid petroleum-based ones, of course. There are some commercially made ones that are water-based or made with hemp oil, but simplest of all would be some organic extra virgin olive oil."

Smell like salad dressing, I noted.

"It really comes down to seeking out the most natural products and getting as close to how things used to be, before plastics and chemicals, as we can."

"When did sex get so complicated?" my partner whispered as he looked over my pages of notes: products, ideas, resources, instructions.

"Doing the right thing has always been complicated," I whispered back.

"Sex can be the most natural thing in the world," the teacher said, "if we really work at it."

Fiction inspired by “The Greenpeace Guide to Environmentally-Friendly Sex”.
dreaminghope: (Default)
Has anyone seen my orgasm?

Quite possibly too much information – siblings should not proceed )

I just hate to leave it wandering around by itself.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
Monday morning. Breakfast isn't until 8 AM, and I packed most of my scattered sarongs and glittery bits the night before, but I'm up before 7 AM anyway. I leave all of my cabin mates mumbling in their sleep - they all made it back to the cabin last night; some for the first time all weekend - and grab my towel and head for the swimming dock. It's empty; the first time in years that I have gotten the dock to myself.

I sit for awhile, wearing only my cloak, and watch the mist race across the surface of the lake and the sun reach above the tree tops. I probably look meditative.

When I finally drop the cloak and slip down the ladder - fast; if you stop halfway, the cold water on your ass or breasts may convince you not to get in at all - it's simply because I can't sit still a moment longer. I do a shallow but rapid breast stroke back and forth to warm up and to out-swim thoughts of Pagan politics and bad pick-up lines.

It takes a dozen short laps, but I finally relax into the water and the trees and the sky and the mountains.

Finally, I get cold. After floating for so long, my body feels heavy under the relentless downward pull of the air. I feel like I weigh twice as much when I pull myself up the ladder as I did when I went down it.

Friday night. This is my twelve time at this Gathering, making me an old-timer here. It's like a family reunion; a very dysfunctional family reunion. It's the fourth year that this camp has been at this site and the paths, lit by long strings of Christmas lights that twist off into the woods to temples and lairs and docks and grottoes, are familiar. I even remember some of the tricky sections where the roots seem determined to twist the ankle of anyone not paying enough attention.

Saturday. We're still arriving, mentally and spiritually, to this place out of place. I hang out in the shade, too lazy to go to any workshops. I catch up on gossip and share some dirt of my own.

I envy the person I was my first year at this place, when I arrived alone amongst the Pagans as a naive seventeen year old and found a sense of community. Some part of me is still that sweet and naive.

A new friend calls me "Snow White" and teases me that little birds sing just for me and squirrels frolic at my feet. I think of a certain Snow White scene from "Shrek 3".

I say something a little nasty about a difficult member of the community and get rewarded with a big laugh. It's funny because it's true, and because it's sweet little me that said it.

Don’t mess with Snow White.

Saturday night. Or Sunday morning; I'm not wearing a watch. There's a fire, hot in the cool night, warding off the damp and the exhaustion. The drummers are maintaining a beat well despite scotch and wine and beer. I dance in the circle of dirt between drums and fire until I'm too hot, then I remove my shirt and dance some more. My hips know the beat my hands can never quite find. All around, the shapes of other dancers and the drummers' hands in the firelight. Through half-closed eyes, I see the half-round moon rise above the trees and shimmer on the lake.

As the night wears on, some of the drummers leave the fire, and the less experienced drummers left stumble more often. I begin to feel the ache of my legs from the length of time I've been dancing. An hour, two hours? I've lost track. I trance out and return over and over, never quite reaching the other state but always close. My body flirts with the drummers, trying to re-create the rhythm when they falter.

There's need and desire in the night, and it isn't all mine.

A young woman - 21, she says - with a carrying voice and too much to drink tries to lose her virginity. She pursues one man for several hours, flattering and teasing awkwardly, even as he tells her over and over that he is not going to sleep with her. He tries to spare her feelings, but she simply does not stop until he actually leaves the fire on an invented errand. He leaves her on the lap of a sweetly monogamous man who tries to soothe her ego only to find himself on the receiving end of her attentions. He talks about his wonderful girlfriend a lot.

Two people at the far side of the fire dance around each other, gradually becoming intertwined. They leave for the shadows before the rating reaches X, though she is topless.

An intoxicated pirate rawly propositions a friend. It seems that he'll take any to his bed, but none seem eager; we laugh at him in the morning, both for his behaviour and for his well-deserved hangover.

Sunday morning. Around the campfire, people cradle their coffees and their heads. I get a few (mostly mock) glares for my cheer. The young woman from the night before pokes at the embers and casually drops that she did get someone to bed the night before, though she doesn't say who. I fill a large garbage bag with cans and bottles and carry it to the main lodge. I pass a cabin mate who is heading to bed.

Monday morning. The closing ritual is simple and bittersweet, and followed by a whirl-wind of packing up our own cabins and the rest of the site and trying to say good-bye to as many people as possible. Garbage and recycling gets gathered up and all the Christmas lights and tent decorations are bundled into plastic bins. From magical space to just another children's camp in just a couple of hours.

Some of us caravan off site and meet at a White Spot restaurant in the nearest town. Over burgers and milk shakes we start processing, decompressing, and planning for next year.

It takes time to pull myself out of the Gathering mind space. My spirit feels heavy under the relentless pull of the real world. I feel twice as heavy coming out as I did going in.
dreaminghope: (Happy Bug)
So traumatizing to turn on the Internet yesterday morning and have an LJ error message... glad to have my fix back!

Friday: Cleaned my office. It made me feel better about the state of my apartment. When the dust bunnies are big and thick enough that you can pick them up and drop them into the garbage can, you haven't been cleaning enough! Also, I unplugged everything, untangled all the wires, zap-strapped them into tidy bundles, and re-plugged it all. As part of this process, I made a disturbing discovery:

Everything in my office, except for one light, was plugged into one electrical socket. From that one socket emerges a heavy-duty extension cord. At the other end of that cord is a surge-protector. Plugged into the surge-protector is another surge protector. That one socket and two surge-protectors power two monitors, two computers, one printer, a CD player, a couple of speakers, a space heater, the ADSL modem and several pieces of unused equipment.

It appears that previous office managers, upon finding that a piece of equipment is obsolete, wouldn't unplug and remove it from the office, but would dump it behind the computer tower and find somewhere else to plug in the new piece of equipement. The one time they may have actually removed an item, they left the extension cord it was plugged into plugged in!

Friday night: I changed clothing and got cleaned up at the office, then hoofed it to a quick bank appointment. Deposited money into my RRSP, had a quick sandwich, then headed downtown. I met my boss and my co-workers at a pub, had a drink, watched them have several drinks.

Then, we headed to see Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles - Dan, my boss, got us all tickets as a Christmas present. It was lots of fun. The guys in Rain are very talented (they should be; they've been pretending to be the Beatles longer then the Beatles were the Beatles), and there was a large range of Beatles' music presented, along with appropriate costuming and lighting. And a lot of people in the audience were right into it: singing along, dancing in their seats, etc.

Saturday: Slept in a lot. Hung around the house, reading. I was feeling a bit off, head-achy, so I didn't do much.

Saturday night: Jamey came over to do some work on our computer, then we hung out, drinking lattes and watching Around the World in 80 Days on pay-per-view, then talking until Russ got home from gaming at about 1 am.

Sunday: After a nice pancake breakfast, Russ and I went downtown to the "Taboo Sex Show". It wasn't great, though it was amusing to see how much some very crappy sex toys and badly made fetish wear costs. Upon returning home, Russ immediately pulled out his sketch book and started designing some leather accessories, to be made properly.

No good deals on vibrators, so I'll go back to Womyn's Ware this week... my old vibe is making a horrid squealing noise.

Now I am full of sushi, hanging out with Russ!
dreaminghope: (Sexy)
Since the credit card charging website is down, I can't work, so I'll finally record my wonderful weekend notes.

All about my weekend... very detailed account... )

The summary: It was a perfect weekend.
dreaminghope: (Firelight)

I cannot record it all. It is impossible to summarize the whole experience. But there are some random memorable moments here. )

There's too much! I'll have to process some more and maybe add more later.

dreaminghope: (Firelight)
I love listening to the rain while I'm warm in bed. That's where I'll be headed in just a few minutes. Hopefully the cats will join me. Listening to Puck snore quietly and Zoey purr will complete the cozy picture perfectly.

Today was lovely: Up early to the Farmer's Market with Russ and Jamey. Russ and I got a gorgeous jade plant to replace the one killed by nasty bugs a few months ago. The new one is huge! The main stalk is an inch and a half thick!

We also got cinnamon buns, of course, and raspberries and strawberries. Back to Russ and I's place for lattes, cinnamon buns and fresh, perfect raspberries.

Jamey and Russ had a go at roasting their own coffee from green coffee beans. The first experiment was not a complete loss, but it was definitely not a win either. And it was pretty smoky.

Lunch was strawberries dipped in sour cream and damarara sugar -- fabulous! It was Jamey's first experience with this, and, like everyone, she took her first bite tentatively, but was enjoying it by the second berry.

Then Jamey left to run errands. I curled up with a book until Russ left his video game to find me. We had some wonderful sex and then cuddled up for a long nap. We can't normally sleep while touching, but we napped all cuddled up together. Then we lay around in bed, reading and waking slowly.

Russ is out tonight, so I rented and watched movies I know he'd tease me for renting (The Sweetest Thing and Drumline) and finished up some work stuff. Not exactly an exciting Saturday night, but it was just what I needed.
dreaminghope: (Giggle)
Today is Clean Sheet Day in my home! I changed the sheets moments ago to one of Russ and I's indulgences: a really nice set of Egyptian cotton sheets that we bought when we got our new mattress.

I love the feeling of crisp, fresh sheets against my skin! I wish I'd shaved my legs this morning, as that would've made it even better, but it'll still be a delicious moment, slipping naked into the bed.

In fact, I'm going to go seduce Russ off his PlayStation Game and see if he wants to experience Clean Sheet Day with me! ~giggle~
dreaminghope: (Default)
The "Everything To Do With Sex Show" was fun. I looked at more cheap-ass vibes and cheesy sex toys (does anyone actually purchase penis extenders?) then anyone should see in their life, but there was good stuff too. I found a silky negligee for $20, for example. Maybe I'll be wearing it to Sin City soon. And it was fun to wander around looking at sex stuff for an afternoon.

It was also nice to spend an afternoon with ED. She seems to be doing well (though she needs more sex), which was really great to see. She's so enthusiastic about going dancing and getting out doing things that she's inspiring me to get out of the house and go dancing and stuff. This is a great thing.

It was really good that Russ wasn't home last night, seeing as how he wouldn't have gone to Sanctuary and I might have bothered his sleep, crawling into bed at 3 am. Also, I slept until 1 pm, since there was no one here to wake me up (once I'd let Puck the cat out and shut Zoey the kitten out of the bedroom at 8 am). However, I know I'm going to miss him more tonight. Oh well, he'll be home tomorrow at some point.

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dreaminghope

February 2014

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