Tag Archive | NYC

F.E.A.R.

fearmeanings

One day in September I did a banking errand for my mom and inside the teller’s area I saw this acronym, F.E.A.R. written on a dry erase board. I’ve seen it or heard before someplace, yet each time I visited the bank I would find myself looking at the board and stare at it. I’d wait in line and quietly reflect. I’m definitely not a Forget Everything And  Run kind of girl. I’ve thought about times in my life where I had to pick myself up, dust myself off, and just move forward, one step, then another, and another. Over those two months I spent caring for my mom in Florida through to today my mind kept going back to those words on the board. Maybe it was premonition. Maybe, that message was preparing me for these past few months and also the months and years that are ahead of us. I have been feeling fear in a number of areas of my life recently.  I have this strange feeling this message came to me at just the right time and that it’s so important for me to Face Everything And Rise right now.

I finally came out to all of my family in the past year. My children and my ex-husband already knew about me being queer and kinky. This was new information for my mother, step-dad, sister, brothers, and in-laws. Some clearly prefer to just not speak about the matter, while others have been very accepting, warm, and loving. I remember telling my mom first. I sat with her at the dining room table, just her and I alone. I was nervous, but it went well. I am fortunate that I’ve always had a close relationship with my mom. I’ve always believed I could tell her anything and that she would still love me. Even then, it was still scary. I guess it’s because I thought it would confuse her, possibly scare her, anger her, disappoint or hurt her. Yet, I knew I had to find the courage to spit the words out and that it would somehow be okay. I didn’t want to live another day longer hiding who I am. And somehow I found the words and it was all okay. I love my mother with all my heart. Face Everything And Rise.

holding-handsMy girlfriend is amazing. She spoils me with affection and truly she inspires me to be better and do better. Of course I think my Daddy is the best and deserves all kinds of goodness and kindness. Everyday I want to bring joy and happiness into her life. There has been more than a few times when I have had to call a BFF to walk me off the ledge, because the truth is sometimes I think she deserves better than me. She’s very organized, completely got this adulting thing down one hundred percent, and just has it all so together. Meanwhile, I’m going through life flying by the seat of my pants, usually making it up as I go along, and so often very sure that I am quite a hot mess. Maybe a fun, sexy, lovable hot mess, but a hot mess all the same. So sometimes I feel insecure or fearful, because I am opening my heart to love again. Yet, I’m a risk taker, so I just leap. And as surprising as it is to me, my hot butch Daddy feels similar fears too. And then there are other fears. External fears of how our progressive little bubble of NYC may change in the coming years. I will not stop holding her hand, kissing her, or hide my love. Love is love. So each day, week, month, and hopefully over the years, together we will overcome our fears. Face Everything And Rise.

fear-quotesSome days I still become emotional and cry when I think about this year’s Presidential election. Like many other women, the loss hurt, but even more it’s left a shadow of fear. I fear for my young adult daughters. I fear for my gay and trans friends. I fear for immigrants and people of color. I fear for all marginalized groups. That’s a lot of fear and I have to lift myself up, dust myself off, and move forward. One step, then another, and another. Now is not the time to lose heart. Now is the time for strong women to support each other and build each other up. I’ll be in NYC volunteering for Lesbian Sex Mafia. I’ll be in Washington, DC on January 21, 2017 at the Women’s March on Washington. I’ll do what I can to hold space. I know who I am. I’m the kind of girl who will Face Everything And Rise.

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An Ocean of Love; NYC Dyke March

 

2leatherwomeninthecity.jpgWe were two leather women in Bryant Park, NYC, waiting to see who would come walk beside us under the banner of Lesbian Sex Mafia, in the NYC Dyke March. A dear friend was co-chairing this get together with me for our club LSM and we wanted a decent turn out. I believe it’s easy to allow ourselves to fall into the trap of high numbers=success and the same is true in the reverse, low numbers=failure. A few days ago I told my friend, forget about quantity, relax and let’s enjoy the company of those beside us. Let’s go for quality.  It turns out in the end we had the best of both worlds, quality and quantity.

A small group of women turned up from an assortment of places to walk beside us. They were women we met at the Lesbian Sex Mafia Pizza Munch, Uncle Red’s SUBMIT Party, LSM monthly educational classes, LSM members, and a fancy leather woman international title holder with her lovely half. Turns out we didn’t have a banner, so we were a group of women marching in organized chaos, and it damn… was amazing.

The march starts on in front of one of my favorite places in NYC, the main branch of the NYPL in Manhattan. Our small band of women gather in between Patience and Fortitude, the two lions in front of the library entrance. One man rushes forward to take a photo of a person marching in our little 2016-06-25 17.41.20organized chaos and when the person states their displeasure in the manner which the man took the image, the man come within 6’’ of our friends body and face to say some crap about being press and not just a random photographer. I don’t believe he was press, but regardless of his press or non-press status is beyond me his behavior was not acceptable. I stepped forward and let the man know he was too close to this person and in this person’s personal space. There was some back and forth, but eventually he left. There is always that one person who has to be a dick. We got past that moment and we didn’t let it affect our day.

The Dyke March is a non-permitted protest. We depend on and love our march Marshalls. They hold hands and block the cross roads and keep us safe. There are protesters who bring signs with words of 2016-06-25 17.43.57condemnation and shouting their hate speech. These detractors are peacefully blocked with by organizers and supporters own banners or drummers/musicians/noise makers who follow along making sure we receive positive messages of love and support. My favorite is a girl holding a sign saying, ‘’You’re Making Ellen Proud’’ What can I say, I am an Ellen fan. This morning I was wondering where is the, ‘’You’re Making Porshe Proud’’ poster. Maybe next year. Another favorite of mine was The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Crops. We all stopped to dance, because their energy and love was just that much that it required attention. So much goodness, so much, it was …amazing.

 

We started as a small group of 13 women in Bryant Park united by some association through the Lesbian Sex Mafia, we became several hundred in front the NYPL on 40th Street and 5th Avenue, and I turned around and somehow we had become thousands. Unlike permitted protests, in this march the only barricades are our march Marshalls. People can step in from the sidewalk at any time along the route and join us. And they did.  The march came to a halt and we create a moment of silence for Orlando. I turned around in 360 degrees and I start to feel tears welling up. We were an ocean of love and this ocean extended far beyond what my eyes could see.2016-06-25 19.12.52

The Smut Club

sleepingbeautyOnce a month a small group of submissive women friends get together to here in NYC to review a work of erotic literature. This month and the previous month we did two classics; The Story of O by Pauline Reage and this month was The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, by Anne Rice. Just like last month the story was very easily divided into the loved it and hated it groups. There were a few common themes in the discussions for the past two meetings. This month we took a little more time to discuss why the two camps might happen.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is not the fairy tale you may remember of your childhood years. One of the girls talked about when she first found the book at a local book shop and picked it up and bought it. She said when she picked up the book she had no idea what she was getting into and what she thought she was buying  was the more common variety of romance smut. She said if she had known she would have at least blushed a bit and been embarrassed when she took it to the counter to buy it.  She also recounted that when she got home and started reading it she found the book disturbing, but yet she couldn’t put it down and was excited.  One thing we all agreed on is Beauty and all the other prince & princesses spend a lot of time getting spanked. The spankings are never ending. I am fairly sure there is spanking in every chapter. Another consensus was that Beauty cries a lot and was very whiny. Some of the women were annoyed, “I wanted to tell her to shut up. Nothing had even happened to her yet and she would be crying!” Another spankingperson was quick to point out most the whining and complaining was actually happening in her head and not out loud. That we were privy to her thought processes. All agreed to that and understood how we do that ourselves. This book is filled with sex, spanking, crying, more spanking, pony play, exhibition, paddles, dildos, humiliation, voyeurism, more spanking. What it didn’t have and the big topic of discussion was the lack of consent. This is a adult fantasy book.

SSCThis month we found our little group again divided in the discussion of consent in the book. People had issues all over the map regarding the questionable ages of the characters and lack of consent period. My argument for this both times was to look at the dates that these books were published and that this was fantasy writing. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty was published in March 1, 1983. It is exactly at that time, in 1983, that David Stein was writing a statement of identity and purpose for the now defunct New York group Gay Males SM Activists (GMSMA) and it was most likely the first time the future mantra of Safe, Sane, & Consensual was penned. I tried, perhaps not too well, to tell them about the difference in the times between then and now. We had conversations on consent, but it wasn’t like it is now. I can’t even hug someone now without asking consent. Is that good or bad I am not sure, but I digress. I tried to tell them that SSC, and now RACK, PRICK, or whatever mantra people are using… well SSC came to be some type of creed or slogan that slave david stein ever meant it to be. Here david writes,

“In the beginning, however, ‘safe, sane, and consensual S/M’ wasn’t a slogan

but simply the preamble to a statement of purpose that goes on to talk about

such things as community, responsibility, tradition, education, and gay

liberation.” … “The ‘safe, sane, and consensual’ formula was put forward as a minimum

standard for ethically defensible S/M, because that must be the basis for any defense

of S/M rights. Today, however, and especially in the hetero and pansexual

communities, S/M itself (or “BDSM,” which some find more palatable) is

frequently defined in terms of SSC, while the SSC slogan is treated with quasireligious

reverence and even explicitly referred to as a “credo” or “creed.” Instead

of asking people to think about what it means to do S/M ethically, and to make

the hard choices that are sometimes necessary (if only between what’s right and

what’s right now), many organizations today act as if these issues have all been

settled, assuring us that sadistic or masochistic behavior not deemed SSC isn’t

S/M at all but something else — abuse, usually, or domestic violence or poor selfesteem.”

It was during this long conversation about consent one of the women asked a question and made a point that I think resolved why we were so split on the liking or disliking of the book and also on our issues of consent. One comment was the observation that most of the other books we have read so far in our Smut Club were not fantasy and this book and O were both fantasy based. You have to be able to apply suspension of disbelief. I’d say it’s likened to believing in fairies! Just for a moment you must be able to believe the unbelievable. Those who enjoy fantasy books, like this one woman, will be more likely to enjoy the Beauty Trilogy. The other question and observation was regarding to when we read the book in reference to when we entered the S&M scene. Myself and a few others read this book before or near the beginning of their journey in BDSM, while others had been involved in the scene long enough that they don’t think of themselves and novice per se, but having some experience. We didn’t get much of a chance to even get into character discussion, but I think the favorite character from what I recall was Prince Alexi. The least liked character was the Prince. The impression was he turned out to be too much of a mamma’s boy. He wasn’t dominant enough *gasp*! Overall this book was not hated as much as O, but I think the majority of women in our group do not lean toward fantasy writing.

As much as we women enjoy the discussion about our smut the truth is we love to be around people who make us laugh, smile, and feel welcome as we are. Each month our Smut Club moves around the city and this week we were on the Upper East Side. This month our host, who is a vegan, asked we keep her home a meat free zone. I have to admit that it was great. Usually we all bring the unhealthiest gluttony of baked goods and preserved items anyone can imagine. I hope everyone enjoyed the snacks as much as I did and that we start bringing more yummy goodness. So gathering together over smut although it stimulates are minds in a laid back way is really just a very good reason to munch out and socialize. At this moment the Smut Club is probably the best female social group for submissive/slave/bottoms in NYC.

Along the lines of good smut, next month I’ll be doing a book review here as part of a virtual book tour of author Xan West‘s newest book, “Show Yourself To Me: Queer Kink Erotica” Its a book filled with 24 short stories. The book will become available is eBook and old fashion paper on October 2. My review for the tour is scheduled for October 12th.  I’m looking forward to checking out all the good girls, bad girls, fierce girl and the Daddies in this newest release of queer erotica!

A Worthy Quest: The Bagel Pub

 

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Part One, August 15

As I walked up to the store front I immediately thought, “We are off to a great start… this is promising!” What impressed me right away from the sidewalk was the statement, “Bagels baked on premises.” There was all sorts of tasteful and artsy signage customary to NYC style of sidewalk chalkboard stand up signs. I was blown away by the freshness, cleanliness, and simplicity. I took a look around and saw a full staff with 7+- persons in the front end behind the counter and more than were2015-08-15 10.28.20 not visible through an open doorway to the kitchen area. They do a lot more than bagels and this place has a very steady stream of customers coming for baked treats, bagels, wraps, deli salads, fresh fruit juices, shots, and smoothies. Another observation was that at 10 a.m.+/- all the deli and baked items displayed in the open cases and closed cases were fully stocked with as near to perfect presentation as you can imagine.

Let’s talk about the bagel experience.

I ordered the my favorite as I have been doing through my NYC bagel quest, “A whole wheat everything bagel with lox spread on one side and scallion spread on the other, and then squish the two sides together.” These are the very close if not the exact words I use when I order. I try hard to not alter my wording much so I can keep the scientific aspect of this quest consistent.

2015-08-15 10.36.48They make the bagels on site. +1

They boil them. +1

They had all the traditional primer recommended flavors available.

The clerk asked if I wanted it toasted, instead of assuming. +1

The bagel was wrapped in thin paper prior to cutting. Then they wrapped it again in a 2015-08-15 10.37.56sturdier paper.+2

The bagel had all the appropriate seasonings that make it an everything bagel. +1

They gave me a whole wheat everything bagel with scallion spread, fresh lox, capers, red onion, a lot of thin slices of tomato* (I have a high standard for tomatoes). -3*

The bagel itself was visually great. It had the ideal small blisters here and there and the very visible signs of stretching of the dough as it cooked. I took a bite to test the texture before I returned it. It was crisp and just right crunch that requires use of the teeth. Plus great on the inside as well. +2

I re-ordered the bagel. I point out what I got and I repeated my order clearly and concisely. No one offered me any kind of refund for the cost variance of the bagels. I know enough about the bagel business to know that fresh lox will cost more than 1 or 2 spreads. -2

2015-08-15 10.47.01The second chance bagel came wrapped in one sheet of paper. It was cut before it was wrapped. -1

The bagel itself looked great. Awesome quality on the outside and inside just as the first one. +1

The smears were… weirdly applied! Somehow they took what I said to mean put one type on one half, then the other on the other half, and then slice it down the center keeping both flavors separated from each other. I am thinking about it now and maybe this guy worked in a pizza place before? At this point I was talking to myself, shaking my head, and throwing my hands up in the hair. I stood up and got a plastic knife and reapplied the spreads as I like it. DIY! -1

I ate half of the bagel and decided to ask to speak to the owner or the shift supervisor with the intention of letting him address the problem with understanding the order and the lack of any inquiry about the cost deferential that wasn’t offered to me. He took more than 5 plus minutes to come out. I told him I am a freelance/amateur writer and I am writing a series on best bagels in NYC and that this is the third place I’ve visited. I explained to him what happened with my incorrect orders. He didn’t seem to be interested in the quality of the service at his business and simply wanted the bottom line, “What did I want?” I told him as the owner I wanted to hear from him before I write my article and give him a chance to address the concerns. He asked me again what I had gotten and again I explained. He commented about the strange half & half order that was made and said it was because of how I ordered it. I agreed there was a misunderstanding on how I wanted it, but I let him know that this was the only place I have ever been to that came up with that interpretation from what I stated. He replied, “Well, we are one in a million.” That was said with sarcasm and not humor. Again he came back to, “What did I want?” I restated that the two things I wanted to speak to him about were the fact that no one even thought to ask about a reimbursement and that I wanted to give him a chance to address the order/service problems. I was trying to be fair and give him a chance to address, redress, & correct the problems. I felt this would be a great way to gauge customer service of the establishment.

During the conversation the owner made comments such as, “let’s not get excited,” and “you know we are really busy here.” I can really genuinely say I was not even close to “excited.” I do know when he said that I cocked my head to the right and semi-smiled, but rolled with it to see what other pearls this man was going to toss me. There was a woman in the background that was listening to all the conversation. I am going to guess she is involved in the running of the business and she brought me $5 as a refund. I pretty sure she knew she was witnessing epic fail at customer service. I left there thinking I will come back again and see how it goes the second time around. This place has incredible food fare. Exceptional quality everything in regards to food from what I gauge with my eyes, but service could use improvement and management needs to stay in the kitchen. His staff was very friendly, even if they screwed up they seemed to care more about fixing it than the owner, and they were authentically apologetic for the errors. This reminds me of Catskill Bagels where I loved the product and employees, but the owner is not himself good with people.

Overall this place I would absolutely recommend to go to eat a bagel at in NYC. Yes, even in spite of my mishaps this artsy fartsy place bakes a very good bagel.

*About tomatoes: I believe many, if not most Americans, haven’t seen or tasted an honest to goodness non GMO tomato. I have and it’s a rare thing nowadays for me to eat GMO whitish-pink flesh crap excuse of a fruit grocery stores and restaurants try to pass off as a tomato. I am having none of it!

Part Two, August 20

As promised I went back and gave this place a second chance. I thought they might remember me from last time, but if they did they didn’t say anything or show it in any way I could tell. So again as I entered I found the place very clean and pleasing in overall appearance. Although this time I would say the variety of deli and baked goods were not as well stocked as the first time. Those other deli items aren’t why I am visiting, so that’s here or there for my current purpose.

I ordered exactly the same thing I always get: an everything bagel with two types of cream cheese, scallion on one side and lox spread on the other, squished together.

2015-08-20 11.07.53Observations

This time they got my order right the first time. +1

It wasn’t toasted +1

The crust was blistered all over. The inside was chewy. Damn it was beautiful +2

2015-08-20 11.13.46The seasonings were the right type and they were all over the bagel, not just the top side. The seasonings stuck to the bagel while you handled and are it. +2

They didn’t wrap up the bagel in paper before cutting it this time and they didn’t wrap it a second time in thicker paper wrap like last time. -1

Conclusion

This place has bagels that meet the Good Bagel Manifesto standard.

They really only failed with the wrap/cut section. I feel I finally found a place worthy or ordering bagels from. Now I just need to find out what time I have to get there in order to get one still warm. That will make it perfection.

A Worthy Quest: Catskill Bagel Company

August 12

After having read the primer about how to recognize a truly good bagel I knew I would have to go revisit my old bagel shop in the historic Ditmas Park neighborhood in Brooklyn. It’s the only place I even remotely recalled having a bagel with a blistering skin. I always liked the bagels here, so I got up early and planned to start my birthday with a fancy bagel. This is my second expedition on the search for a good bagel in NYC and I’m feeling hopeful. Here are my findings:

For consistency through my search, and since it is one of the types in the primer stated as being an acceptable choice, I ordered my favorite a Whole Wheat Everything Bagel. Also for consistency and because they are listed as acceptable smears to choose; I got one side with scallion cream cheese and the other with lox spread (and then I have the two sides squished together).

2015-08-12 08.14.261. First observation is the bagels here are a lot larger (in all ways) in size from the last place I reviewed. +1
2. They make these on site. +1
3. They boil them +1
4. They clerk asked me before he started to even move any direction if I wanted it toasted (he looked shocked because I said, “No.”, but that is because he knows me and it is a big deviation from what I normally say – which is “Toast it a bit on the dark side! —sshhh don’t judge!). +1
2015-08-12 08.14.495. They put both flavors on, but I think they charge an extra $1 (that is because the owner yelled at them once when she saw they weren’t charging extra, before that they didn’t used to) -0
6. They did not wrap the bagel before slicing it. -1
7. The bagel has small tears, stretching of the skin, and a couple places where smallish blisters are on the skin. I couldn’t see the other bagels too well to say if they did have blistered skin or not, but it didn’t look like it. The bagels are kept far away from the counter front. Either way my specific bagel did show some minor signs or blistering. +1

Overall I would say this place makes decent bagels, but I don’t think they hit it totally on the mark. Definitely above the average bagel though. One warning, I will say the owner is absolutely horrible. When I lived here I actually would look in through the window first to see if she was there and if she was I would turn around no matter how hungry I was. Her employees are top notch though. I give it up to her for hiring good employees and keeping a well run business. You know some people can be good at running a business, but not good with actual people.

Back to the Future

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One of the things I love about NYC is that there are so many fun and interesting things to do all year long in public spaces. The city parks, libraries, and museums all year long host a slew of activities that are free for city folk to quench their thirst for fun, educational, and cultural things to do. Last night in Bryant Park near mid-town Manhattan, was the last movie of the Summer Film Festival. Bryant Park is one of my favorite parks and I was very committed to making it to this last summer event with my friend Jenny. It was a great night, the weather was perfect with a cool breeze, no mosquitos, and the Bank America building changing colors once night fell made a nice back drop.

Jenny and I met over a year ago at the NY Female sub/slave Forum, and we made plans to meet up at the park around 6:15ish. I’ve made a few really good friends over the past couple of years from the few all female s-type groups here in the city. I was very happy to have Jenny’s company. We’re both single in the city and we’re near the same age, so Back to the Future is a classic 1980’s film for us. The obvious coolness is that we are now in the “future” travel date shown in the movie! One of the other dates shown in the movie is November 5, 1955 and I have a friend who was born on that date. Anyway the Great Lawn at Bryant Park was packed! Luckily I got there a little earlier than Jenny and even though we were too late to find space on the great lawn, I managed to grab us some chairs just to the side of the lawn. When Jenny got there we thought about trying to squeeze into a space on the lawn. Jenny is a native NY’er and I was going to send her to do the dirty work of getting us a space. We decided not to sit on the lawn though, because we wouldn’t have been able to lay down, worried our backs would end up hurting, so we thought it was better to sit in the chairs with a back rest. The chairs were a good idea, but the location not so much. It’s a learning experience, but the chairs we picked bordered the perimeter and were roped together and not movable. It turned out that directly in front of us was the walking path and we had to deal with people constantly walking in front of us and blocking the view. Jenny really had it with those people. I on the other hand was very annoyed by people stepping on my shoe and a couple times on my toes. At some point I got the brilliant idea to kick anyone who stepped on my toes. I started saying loudly to passerby’s, “If you step on my feet I’ll kick you!” Some guy not paying any attention did step on my foot and yes I kicked him. Okay other than that we had a great time… Well actually the kicking threats were a little fun and even the revenge kicks were a little fun too. Jenny put up with me although she definitely did not encourage me… The movie was great, the crowd cheered, laughed, and roared!

I love NY.