I will test again midweek, just to be double-double sure, but I think I am good to go. Not 100% — still have a lingering cough and a bit of congestion, and I tire easily. Feel like I’m getting over a cold. Overall, I cannot complain.
My desire to play hasn’t come back yet, but I suspect it will very soon. I am missing John terribly. I didn’t see him the weekend of the party, and I’ve stayed away from him the past two weekends. As it happens, this coming weekend, he’s having a bunch of construction done at his house — his front deck is being completely rebuilt. It will take all day Saturday and Sunday, and my garage space will be filled with construction detritus. Park on the street? It’s the canyon. Parking on only one side, and his street is filled with his neighbors’ cars. Plus I need a parking permit. Plus there will be hours of hammering, drilling and sawing. Upshot? Looks like I’m not going there next weekend either. 😦 And considering Thursday is my birthday, this realllllly sucks.
BUT. It’s temporary. We’ll have a belated celebration. I’ve waited this long; I can wait a little longer. And guess what? Still no regrets whatsoever. I’d do it again. I needed that party. I needed that burst of life. Am I now ready to throw all caution to the wind? Hell, no. COVID is still very much a reality. And now I can’t get the new bivalent booster for three months. Meh. So I’ll be antisocial during the holidays. Considering I hate the damn things anyway, that doesn’t exactly break my heart.
Ooooh! If all goes according to plan, I am being interviewed via Zoom by Jillian Keenan tomorrow for one of her Kinking Out Loud videos. This was supposed to happen two weeks ago, but had to be postponed due to COVID. Stay tuned!
Just a few more days. Leaving Friday morning for Vegas. And of course, one of the things I’m nervous about is that I haven’t played in months and I won’t be in any sort of condition to play multiple times over three days.
John, generous soul that he is, decided to fall on the sword and help out a bit. He’s been providing pre-party “warm-up” for the past two weekends. And despite my abject loathing for his solid Titan hairbrush, he insisted that some use of that piece of crap, er, helpful implement would be beneficial.
Urggh. Yeah. I still hate that thing. But perhaps I’m marginally more ready now.
Yeah, I know. Barely pink. This was in the beginning. But no marks. He promised.
I’m not too worried though. Considering that wood is a hard limit for me at parties, I won’t be encountering this level of nastiness. Bring on the leather, boys.
I do think making me kiss that @#$%ing thing afterward is a bit much…
Yup. It’s happening. For the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Back story: Well, you know. Covid. That stupid thing that was “just supposed to disappear.” *rolling eyes* Instead, it became a pandemic that killed over a million people and it’s still raging with its constant new variants and absolutely zero predictability. Of course, people are so over all this and it seems most of the population has decided to go on with life. John and I, of course, haven’t.
At first, regarding the big national parties, the decision was made for us, since they were all canceled that first year. But then they came back. And people went back. We didn’t.
I wanted to go to the past two Vegas parties. Both times, John said, “It’s not safe. It’s not responsible. Let’s sit this one out and see where things are in six months.” So. Six months passed, and then here we were, with the next party right around the corner. And John said the exact same thing, again.
And I lost it. Truly. Years of frustration and isolation and fear and resentment over this situation burst out of me in torrents of tears.
“You said the same thing the last two parties,” I said. “And life just keeps passing and passing, while we don’t do anything. I want to live. I want to see our friends. I want to play. You keep waiting for us to get control over Covid. We’re never going to get control over this fucking thing, not in our lifetimes. We’re stuck with it. There will never be a perfect time.”
Fact: We are quadruple vaxxed. Fact: Everyone I know who has gotten it recently ended up with a mild to moderate case. BUT… Also fact: These parties are super-spreaders. The last one in Texas, with over 500 people, had countless cases afterward. Fact: We went to a wedding in June. It was outdoors and only had about fifty people, But twenty of them got Covid. And fact: John still is high risk.
Truly a no-win situation. If we didn’t go to this yet again, I’d be depressed AF, inconsolable. And if we went, I’d be worried about John every damn second.
There was a third option, though. One I’d never considered before, because I really didn’t want to. I have been going to these big parties since 1997. Aside from the Covid years, and then that unfortunate year where I dropped out of the scene because of a certain narcissist, I have not missed any of them. And John has been with me every single time.
Going without him will feel like leaving one of my limbs at home. But I’m doing it.
We talked it out. I’m not scared of getting Covid at this point. And if I get it, I will stay away from John. He will never be affected. I’m also encouraged by the fact that neither one of us got it at the aforementioned wedding. John said, “I’ll be worried about you if you go, but I’ll feel bad if you don’t.” So… we chose the lesser of two uncomfortable situations. Try it once, he said. See how it goes.
This party is not what we used to attend. When we went, it was Shadow Lane, then Shadow Lodge, and it was at the Suncoast Hotel. Well… Shadow Lane/Lodge imploded last year, and the owner of it stepped down. A new crew stepped in at the last minute to take over and salvage the party as best they could. Now, they are the permanent party owners, they have found a brand-new venue (the Suncoast kicked us out, for reasons unknown to me, although I did hear rumors about an obstreperous guest who got the police called), and it has been renamed Oasis. So, although it’s a familiar experience, it will also be completely new, in every way — including the fact that I’ll be solo. *gulp*
Even though it’s a month away, the decision needed to be made. Registration, ticket purchase and hotel booking all needed to be done in advance. No tickets at the door. And the group hotel discount would expire soon. Plus, I had to book a flight. John and I usually drive, but I don’t feel like driving four-five hours two ways by myself.
So, Sunday evening, I registered, bought a ticket, and booked my suite. Then Monday, with the help of a very airline-savvy friend, I booked a flight. All done. Fully committed. No turning back.
Then I proceeded to panic. All the negatives rushed into my head. All the friends who are not going. All this money I’m spending (I told John this is my indulgence, and he’s not paying for any of it). All the unknowns and what-ifs. Who will I know? Who will I hang out with? Play with? Eat with? And of course, the ever-present “Am I too damned old to be going to one of these things anymore?”
Ugh. I cried a lot. Again. Then worked out and calmed down, and thought it out.
Yeah, I’m really nervous about this. But I am also excited. I have that sense of adventure thrumming in my veins again, that anticipation. So much potential fun. So much potential play. So many possibilities. Versus playing it safe, sitting at home, reading all about it, and wanting to open a vital artery.
I will do all the safe things. I’m bringing masks, hand sanitizer, wipes. I will wear a mask at the airport, on the plane, in the Uber. I will be careful. This is a vax-only party, and there will be fewer people than the Texas party. The new venue looks gorgeous. So dammit, I’m. Doing. This.
You guys know I’m not into the holidays. When I first started seeing John, Christmas was a huge affair with multiple gatherings — his parents, his siblings, his nieces and nephews, etc. For years, I went to these things… and honestly, I hated them. Dreaded them every year. They felt forced, John’s family was never nice to him, there was too much rich food and way too much alcohol, and I always wanted to pass on it all but couldn’t. Cut to the present: his parents have passed, two of his siblings have moved away, the nieces and nephews have grown and moved on to their own lives, and the one remaining sibling in town is a hopeless drunk with a lecherous husband, and John has pretty much fallen out with them. Hallelujah — free at last.
So, these past few years, I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do for the holidays –absolutely nothing. I send cards, I get gifts for John and a few friends, but that’s about it. A few years ago, John, as a joke, made a Festivus pole from a steel pole he’d found, even attached two pieces of wood at the bottom so it would stand. And from then on, it took on a life of its own. Over the years, a tree skirt and pine cones were added, I wrapped the pole with holiday paper, and John added the topper, a knitted duck in a Santa hat (which he christened the Festiduck). I added the gold tinsel and the beads. So now, each holiday, we get into it, putting up the pole, putting cards and presents under it, and John tacks up other odds and ends of Christmas decor throughout his house.
But wait, there’s more.
Anyone remember the video on Saturday Night Live, about 12 years ago, the Christmas satire called “D*** In A Box,” with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg? If somehow you’ve managed not to see or hear that, Google it. It’s hilarious. Anyway… at one point on Christmas night, John left the room for a minute, then he came back in, holding his phone. Blaring from it, I could hear the opening lines of “D*** In A Box,” the guys crooning “Hey girl, I’ve got somethin’ real important to give you…” I looked over, and damn near died laughing. John had taken a rectangular gift box (with wrapping paper on it), cut holes and threaded a shoelace through it, and tied it around his hips, so the box was directly in front of his crotch. And he was dancing and bobbing around with this ridiculous thing along with the video. Oh. My. God.
And yes, I got a picture.
There is no being a Grinch with this goofball. ♥
So, it was a nice day. I got some fun surprises from friends, and got to be with the most important person in my life, and oh! It even rained. Really couldn’t ask for more.
I hope everyone had a good holiday, whatever you chose to do. As 2021 draws to a close, I have several thoughts about this past year, and what’s ahead, but you know… I just don’t feel like talking about them right now. Too depressing. So I’ll let my hero, the incomparable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speak for me this fine December day.
It’s been quite a week. I have been at the heights of joy, in the pits of sadness, and boiling over with frustration and anger. Because everything has felt so random and crazy, I think I’ll just list things in no particular order. That way, people can read, pick and choose what they relate to, and ignore the rest.
I watched a special on ABC last night: “Eyewitness to the Death of John Lennon.” It was first aired in December 2020, marking the 40-year anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. Jeezus, forty years. And just like that, all the feels and the tears came rushing back. Guns and crazy people then; guns and crazy people now. What’s changed? What’s gotten better? Broke my heart all over again.
Here in Southern CA, Orange County specifically, there is an Italian restaurant who — yes, you are reading correctly — will not allow people to wear masks inside and who demands proof of NON-vaccination before you’re allowed to dine there. (How the hell do you show proof of that, anyway?) The owner is self-righteous and smug and militant about his stance; I watched part of an interview with him and he was so belligerent that the newscaster cut it short and said, on the air, “You sound like an idiot.” Last Tuesday night, I saw a tweet about an article that stated the owner was getting a huge kick out of the anger over this and he’d said he was “enjoying watching people’s head explode.”
So, Miss Mouth here tweeted: “What an asshole. I hope HIS head explodes when his restaurant is shut down due to massive Covid infection.”
Y’all know I didn’t mean that literally, right? You know it’s a figure of speech? Of course you do. Well, apparently Twitter didn’t. They locked down my account for a week. Said I violated their policy about “abuse and harassment.” Seriously?? Unbelievable. I saw many tweets that were a great deal worse than what I’d said; Twitter is so damn arbitrary. Oh well. I do have an alternate account for these instances, so I’ve kept up. Oh, and just for grins, I went and checked out the restaurant’s Yelp page. The place was bombarded with so many one-star angry reviews that Yelp temporarily disabled all the reviews and comments. Good. Fuck that guy. It’s too bad, though. It would have been fun to post a review along the lines of “Be sure to try the special: Roast Leg of Lambda with a side of Covidini. Better yet, stay the hell away from this Petri dish.”
On the good news front: Guess who is coming back to CA to visit me? C from Oregon! I can’t believe he is making that long trip again, and just for one day this time, but I’m thrilled that he wants to. I am seeing him two weeks from Monday and I can’t wait. Also, I heard from Mr. Woodland and he wants to play again soon too. Ah, this makes me happy.
And it helps make up for the fact that the man I played with a week ago Tuesday has seemingly dropped off the planet. Never heard another word from him — no email, no text, nothing. No feedback on our play. No check-in. Radio silence. I thought he enjoyed himself — I guess I was mistaken. Fortunately, I had no emotional investment this time.
Covid is on the rise again, escalating rapidly, with the Delta variant taking over. Breakthrough cases in people who are fully vaxxed are increasing. First they said the cases were 99% unvaxxed people; the latest I read is that the new cases are 86% unvaxxed. The numbers are going in the wrong direction. And guess where the latest really bad red zone is? Yup. Las Vegas.
Where we’re supposed to be headed in a month.
Our tickets are purchased, our hotel room is booked. I am craving this party with all my heart and soul. Not just because of the play — that’s actually secondary. I want to see our friends. I want hugs, lots and lots and lots of hugs. Jay, my sweet, wonderful Sister In Spirit is coming — this is her first SL. And it would be our first time meeting in person. We have been online friends for seven years, shared a million emails and texts, exchanged many presents… but I’ve never gotten to look her in the face, throw my arms around her.
But I have to face reality. It might not be safe to go. Yes, everyone at the party will be vaxxed. But we’ll be all over the hotel. Hallways, restaurants, elevators. Constant exposure. Tons of people — it’s a holiday weekend. And even vaxxed people can carry and transmit the Delta variant. Yes, the vaccine helps. Yes, even if we got Covid, it would most likely be a mild case. I’m not concerned about myself.
But John is another story. He is high-risk. He is compromised.
I’m seeing the writing on the wall. He’s already saying things like “Well, we’ll have to spend more time in our room, take more breaks,” “We can bring more snacks and eat in our room more,” “We’ll have to keep our masks on even in the party rooms,” “Maybe we can just stay for a couple of days instead of all four,” and so on. It sounds like if we go, we’re going to be uptight and preoccupied about the specter of Covid every damn minute. And what fun is that? People are coming from all over, bringing who knows what. And, as mentioned, Vegas is a hot spot now.
I suppose I could go by myself, take John out of possible harm’s way. But the thought of that is nearly as unbearable as not going at all. I’ve never gone to a party without John, not once in 25 years. I can’t imagine being there without him. Yeah, I’d have lots of people to hang with. But I’d feel like I was missing a limb.
So. There isn’t a blessed thing I can do at this point. All I can do is watch and wait, and hope. Maybe things will improve in Vegas over the next month.
Or maybe things will get so bad that we’ll all get locked down again. Who knows. It’s unthinkable. But then again, having this pandemic go on and on like it has is unthinkable as well.
Here is where I could go on a long, expletive-filled rant about what I think of anti-vaxxers and Covid deniers. But I won’t. Y’all know me. You can well imagine what I’m thinking and feeling right now about these people with their willful ignorance and utter selfishness.
Perhaps this says it all.
So yeah. I’m all over the place. Oh, and did I mention that John’s and my 25th anniversary is at the end of August? SL was going to be our celebration getaway. Hopefully it still will be. Only time will tell.
How are you doing? Come talk to me. Stay safe, everyone. ♥
How was everyone’s Christmas/Hanukkah/whatever? As most of you know, I’m not into the holidays at all and neither is John (and especially not in the train wreck known as 2020), so we playfully celebrate “Festivus” — the Seinfeld-invented holiday. We started with a steel pole a few years ago (the Festivus pole), but each year we keep embellishing it. I wrapped it with festive paper, and John provided what came to be known as the “Festi-duck,” complete in his gold tinsel nest with his Mardi Gras beads.
John attached the pole to two pieces of wood at the bottom so it would stay erect. Last year, he added a tree skirt he found being discarded. Oh, and pine cones. It’s goofy fun.
This year, we didn’t make a big deal out of gifts. He wanted some new sheets, so I ordered a really nice set for him online. As he does every year, he went to a local gourmet shop where they have all kinds of unusual foods, and bought a bag filled with an assortment of treats. He also gave me a gift card and a Patagonia tote bag I can use for my groceries.
Doesn’t our pole look cheery with all the odds and ends and packages?
Here we are, with the Festi-duck appearing to rise out of John’s head. Not the best picture quality. I swear, I’ve worn makeup twice in nine months.
When I delved into the large treat bag, I was thrilled to discover gourmet hot cocoa, cookies, chocolates, English toffee.
And then there was this. Like I said, gee, honey…
I laughed so hard I had a stomachache. Who comes up with stuff like this?? And what flavor are white jelly beans? Not that I’m going to eat them anyway… Leave it to John to find these! And if I’m so damned naughty, when am I going to get a spanking already? (grumble)
I got some other really nice things too, from various friends. Considering the dire circumstances surrounding us all right now, it was nice to be able to forget it all for a little while and share some gifts. I wish I could actually see my friends, but I guess that’s not going to happen for a while yet.
Oh, and for those who follow Seinfeld and are familiar with Festivus traditions, we decided to dispense with the airing of grievances and feats of strength this year. For one thing, the whole freaking year has been one long grievance. And for another, simply surviving 2020 (not to mention four years of Agolf Twitler) was not only a feat of strength, it was fucking Herculean.
I hope everyone stayed safe and well, and were able to enjoy some special moments. ♥
Can be loving, affectionate, loyal, quick-witted, playful, sensitive, empathic, tenderhearted, mercurial, stubborn, sarcastic, impatient, perfectionistic, contrary, opinionated, cranky, antisocial, restless, kinky, exhibitionistic, rebellious, incurably flirtatious, or any combination of the above, depending on the day. Questions/comments/want to say hello? firstname.lastname@example.org