Category: Ghost

So I’m trying this Kink of the Week thing, and playing catch-up for the moment, since I’ve started it rather late. Today, we’re talking about The Look.

It’s not the mascara
It’s not the tight dress
It’s a look in her eyes that’ll scare you to death
Vampire girl
Vampire gi-i-irl…

My property/wife talks about “Ms Syren’s Monster”, a look I get that’s all hunger. I have one photo of me, with a friend sitting in my lap. It’s from years ago, when I was worryingly underweight, but I looked at the camera with eyes that were all pupil, all wildness, and every time I look at that photo of me with this much-smaller-than-me person wrapped up in my arms, all I can think is “Crap… You can see what I actually am…” I look like the kind of creature who lives among the river reeds, the kind with webbed toes and inhumanly long fingers, who hides her sharp teeth behind shy smiles and huge, dark eyes. Rusalka. Huldra. Glaistig.
My wife loves that look. It means I’ve pushed through all the filters and my sadistic self is out and getting fed, taking what it wants.
I love that she loves it. It’s nice to be able to come all the way out. 🙂
Kink of the Week
Ms Syren.

So February 10th marked four years in Dynamic for me and my wife/property.
We win! 😀
Given the title of this post, maybe I should point out that this doesn’t mark four years in collar (that’ll be May 7th, 2015), and we don’t actually have a contract, per se. The gyst of it is: “Ghost takes care of Ms Syren. And Vice Versa.” And we just sort of take it from there.
Regardless, she signed on for another 40 years, which sounds pretty good to me. 😀
So… other than going “Squee!” about the whole situation, why am I bringing this up? (Okay, I admit it, it was mostly about the Squee). My question is: what do you do with a dynamic like this? How do you deepen it? It still feels… weird? Presumptuous? To be thinking “How do I want to focus my property’s development this year?” but I’m still doing it. It’s still my responsibility to do it.
I look at people who’ve been in dynamic for twenty and thirty years, and I have no idea what that looks like from the inside. Do you just keep claiming more and more of your territory? I keep reaching for the metaphor of cultivation – rather than that of, say, teaching someone new tricks. Where do we go from here?
It would be so easy to finish right here, to say “I guess we’ll find out” as if that were some kind of a Really Profound Statement. And it’s not like we won’t find out, over time, as our dynamic continues to develop. But I’d like to have some kind of a concrete plan for what direction to take.
As it stands, I find myself casting around for a focus-point. Like, “This is the direction we’re going to work on this year”. Given how things are going already, I’m guessing that this is going to be a year of “spiritual stuff” (for lack of a more appropriate catch-all). And part of that’s me, because that’s where I want to focus my energies so, hey, why not focus hers there, too? But that’s not all of it. Where do we go from here? I guess we’ll find out. 😉

So… I was originally going to use my “B” prompt to talk about Blood and Branding – two points on the S/M (or, well, “S” in my case) spectrum where I like to play because (a) they tend to involve inflicting a lot of pain on my co-player, and (b) they let me make art using my co-player’s skin as a canvas/medium. They’re faboo.
I’ve been… not “playing around with”, exactly, but… increasingly aware of how my body-language or physical actions can ‘cause my Servant to Drop.
I’m fascinated by this, partially because the “big as the cosmos” feeling that I associate with embodying my own power in a Very Aware Way (uh… for lack of better words) is… rare. I think I’ve only experienced it (at least in a heavy enough way to really go “Wow… I know what this is – Woah”) a couple of times and, typically, it’s happened by accident. I have a little bit of that awareness going on now – nothing like the Full Effect, but noticeable – sitting in my ribcage and across my shoulders, and tingling in the curves of my ears. I don’t entirely know if those locations are significant, but I figured I’d point them out.
Seeing someone else drop into their headspace like that, at the touch of a hand, is kind of amazing, in large part because I don’t know how to do that to myself. I have theories. But they are theories and I don’t have a tonne of practice (lately) in making that happen[1].
So, right. Body Language. I figure, if I can’t (or am not sure how to) tweak my own body language to be able to (ful)fill/embody My Place, as it were, I can at least put more attention into how and when I am dropping Ghost into hers.
So far, I grant you, it’s been largely accidental. Trial and error, and sometimes what I think will work doesn’t do anything, and sometimes what I think is just a nice, gentle way to touch someone I care about will wind up Dropping her unexpectedly.
But I’m keeping a mental list of what works and the circumstances under-which it has that effect. It’s interesting… Anyone else seen/experienced stuff like this?
Ms Syren.
[1] It tends to happen – frequently, though not 100% of the time – when I’m doing something that is both fairly emotion-heavy and fairly artistic/creative. It has usually involved some sort of significant prep – however unintentional – on my part, to the tune of an hour of vocal warm-ups, days/weeks of anticipation, or three hours of soul-searching followed by Spontaneous Poetry. That kind of thing. :-\

At my Poly and Power salons, we’ve sometimes talked about roadmaps or the lack thereof. I find, these days, that I am standing on my carefully hewn path, staring at a Point B in the unbroken distance, and going “How the heck are we gonna get there from here??”
My wife says: “You know it’s Poly 201 when you’ve got multiple supportive, accepting families… and you need to negotiate how to manage all the Holiday Stuff without disapointing anyone”.
It’s funny, though, because there are roadmaps.
If Ghost and I were, say, a monogamous couple who had open-adopted a queer teenager who still had a good relationship with the parents-of-origin who weren’t well-equipt to take care of her… or if an older relative of mine (or hers) had moved into our (curently non-existant) secondary suite… there would be a road map for “How to NAvigate Christmas” (or Pass-Over, or whatever your High Holy Day of choice is). Maybe not a perfectly fitting one, but it’s there.
And so it’s still there when the New Family Member is somebody’s sweetheart.
My wife and I had a talk the other night, and I told her that, while I was worrying about things that probably wouldn’t be a problem, I was still worrying about things like “How are Kitty’s parents going to react to me (if they ever happen to meet me, that is)?” and “How are my relatives going to handle either the presence of one or more of your other partners – and the added “strain” of having extra gifts to find for extra people who they don’t really know – at their xmas festivities OR my absense from said festivities if we all go up to someone’s family cottage two years from now?”
And, of course, kids grow up. I know I’m carrying a lot of assumed/presumed responsibilities here for managing other people’s emotions and/or expectations, partly because I’m “The Stay-At-Home-Wife” in my poly family, and partly because I’m both the oldest and the geographically-closest-to-the-parent(s) child in my family-of-origin. I know that it wouldn’t really be the end of the world – I wouldn’t really be being a Bad Daughter – if I spent This or That holiday with family members who weren’t also blood-relatives. No-more than it was when my parents stopped “going home for Christmas” and started building their own traditions with the family they were building together.
But that baggage is hard to put down, and it makes those zig-zagging trails-in-potentia from Point A to Point B harder to find, the obstacles harder to field and ford.
I’m probably not the only person trying to navigate/integrate Poly Phamily with various other family events/obligations at this time of year, so I’m throwing this out there:
We can listen to the stories in our heads – the ones that say “So-and-so expects me to handle everybody’s social calendars” or “So-and-so assumes that Everyone’s Plans will revolve around what she wants to do” or “So-and-so is going to pitch a fit if he’s not included in All The Things” or “So-and-so doesn’t get how important X is to me, because zie doesn’t understand its/their place in my life or doesn’t want that for zirself”… or whatever – without recognizing that the tapes are playing…
Or we can recognize that those stories are there (over and over again, as may be the case – it’s rare than anyone figures this stuff out over night), acknowledge what they’re saying, and bring them out into the open: Not as outburst of “You don’t understand me!” or “What makes you think you’re so special?” or “Why doesn’t anybody care about what I need??” but as a gentle, honest voicing of the fears we hold and the vulnerabilities we often hide while we work through this stuff together.
It’s scary. But I think it will prove worth it, as well. 🙂

Bootblacking 101 in Ottawa

Bootblacking 101 Workshop Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 7pm - 8:30pm Swizzles (246 Queen Street in Ottawa) Come and join us!

Bootblacking 101 Workshop
Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
7pm – 8:30pm
Swizzles (246 Queen Street in Ottawa)
Come and join us!

The poster pretty-much says it all.
My lovely wife, as she’s wrapping up her title year as Bootblack Ottawa 2013, is giving a bootblacking 101 workshop this Wednesday (that’s tomorrow) at Swizzles Bar, which is on the lower level of 246 Queen Street in Ottawa.
So. If you love leather and want to know how to take care of it, or if you want to know how to protect your boots against the salt roads of the coming winter, you might want to check this one out. 🙂
I’m pretty sure the workshop is free, although do bring a donation just in case (if it turns out to be free then, hey, bonus).
Hoping to see lots of people there.
Ms Syren.

So my Ghost and I got married. Just over a week ago today. 🙂
I am, duh, rather chuffed about this. I grin to myself every time I wind up mentioning my WIFE to somebody (I’m trying not to be obnoxious about this, but you never know).
A friend of mine was teasing me at a party last night – a married, poly, left-wing bi-guy, just to give some context – about the Bourgois Institution of-which I was now complicit. And, while I was well-aware that he was teasing me, it does fall into the Ambiguous Feelings About Marriage that turn up in my head sometimes.
I know it’s an institution that privileges monogamy and (in many, many places – including my own province, up until about 10 years ago) heterosexuality over, well, pretty much everything else. I know it’s history is deeply rooted in sexism. I know that it plays a huge roll in the continued existence of proprietary beliefs around and behaviours in romantic relationships.
And I still believe in it.
I am a newlywed. Before that, though, I was a divorcee. I have experienced marriage as a sexist, proprietary institution, and I’ve experienced “wife” as a state heaped with social obligations and expectations – about taking on household chores, maintaining familial traditions and correspondences (for two families), wanting and conceiving (biologically-related) children, wanting and purusing a particular kind of middle-class, suburban life[1] – all of which came with a denial of (and occasional shaming about) my bisexuality, my queerness, my dominance (and sadism – which I was only just discovering), my budding sex-positivity, even my religiosity[2] and environmentalism[3].
I have been a wife – with all its attendent social assumptions – before. And before, when I was a wife with a husband, the assumptions that people make about “wife” (and about “married” and how those things fit into the charmed circle of socially acceptable behaviour) chafed at my a lot because those assumptions didn’t actually fit who and what I was/am.
Now, I’m a wife who has a wife, and I find that the social assumptions that get made are rather different. Part of that, of course, is that “wife” can’t hide all the things that we are. We are openly poly – one of my wife’s other partners spent xmas with us chez my sister’s cottage with my extended family; we are obviously dykes; we are members of our leather community and our O/p dynamic isn’t something we keep in our bedroom[4]. We walk in the pride parade with the queer sexworkers and I’ve been on the news (recently, and seen by my landlord – we talked about it the next day) speaking on the importance of decriminalization. “Wife” doesn’t render those things invisible because I’m actively living all of them now.
When I introduce Ghost as “[…] and this is my wife,” people don’t mistake either of us for a man, and they don’t mistake either of us for het.
Instead of implying a lot of social conformity, “wife” tells people that my relationship with Ghost is one to be taken seriously, one that’s based on love and trust and mutual care, and one that comes with the expectation of those things will last a lifetime. And it does it with a single word.
I love my partner, my servant, my lover, my beloved. And I am damn pleased to be able to call her my wife.
Hands (with rings, post-ceremony)
Ms (Mrs) Syren.
[1] Said life appears to be a set of certain socially-conservative-but-officially-Liberal attitudes that my Maid of Honour (who lives in the suburbs and is het, vanilla, married, and a mom, – fyi) collectively refers to as “Barhaven” in tones of particular disgust.
[2] Both in that my religion is not Abrahamic and that it’s an active practice that involves actual faith and contact with the holy, rather than a sort of socio-secular worldview with no sense of the numinous involved in it at all.
[3] I don’t even know. 😛
[4] I may explain it “gently”, but nothing changes the bit where my wife calls me “my Lady” and gets down on her knees – in front of my mother – to help me on and off with my boots.

The day after tomorrow I am marrying my servant.
To me, this is a way to let the not-so-kinky world (members of our families, for example) understand the depth of the relationship we share.
When I was trying to sort out what it would mean to me to put a collar on my Ghost, what it boiled down to was: I want to keep her for ever.
And, frequently, that’s also what putting a wedding ring on someone boils down to – with or without the desperately sexist property rights business in its origins: The desire to spend the rest of one’s life with a particular person.

So here I am, a kinky, polyamourous dyke set to walk down the aisle holding the hand of my Servant. One of her other girlfriends is going to be her maid of honour. My big gay aunties are coming into town for the ceremony.

And what kind of promise can I make to a wife who has already vowed to honour and obey me?
To treasure and guide her. To lift her up and help her be her best self. To celebrate her achievements and help her through her rough times. To take care of her. To trust her. To love her with an open heart and to cherish her all the days of my life.

One Year In…

So. One year ago today, I collared my servant.

Last year, it was a Saturday, and happened to be Spring Fling 2011 on top of that. Today is rather more low-key. (We keep joking that she should shampoo a rug or something on special occasions like this, but it’s mostly business-as-usual today).

She has an appointment booked with a local tattoo parlour and will be having some appropriate words inked into her wrists this coming Friday. (Er… just in time for us to take part in Come As You Are – a rainbow youth event happening in a small town near us – with bandages on her wrists… Woops).

I still feel very much like I don’t know what I’m doing (for more on that, try the cultivating entitlement and holding power tags) but I’d like to think that I feel like this because I keep staying on my own edge, rather than resting on my laurels (so to speak) where it’s easy.
Who knows.

Anyway. That’s my news. I was saying to my Ghost this morning that I like having a life where we have lots of anniversaries to mark. It makes me happy. 🙂 (And gives me an excuse to do fancy, if light, dinners every now and then). 😉

Ms Syren.

Boot-Making (Full Steam Ahead!)

My servant is a leather worker by avocation – she’s a boot-black and general leather-footwear repair-woman. She’s kept at least one pair of my boots on life-support for years and her goal (one of them) is to (eventually) make custom boots.
Obviously, she’ll be making custom boots for me (:-D) before she goes Public (and, y’know, after). But that’s a ways off at this point.

The first trick is to learn how to make boots.
So far, I’ve been able to find her one book – a reprint of an Edwardian (iirc) coblery manual (making very boring men’s dress shoes) – on the subject. It’s something, but it’s not actually all that useful, given the kind of footwear I want. (If you’ve ever seek Kinky Boots, you know what I mean).

That said, my Ghost is a smart cookie who knows how to work garment and boot leather (repairs) already and has plenty of experience working with blueprints.
Also, honestly, building a garment for your foot isn’t that hard. Building a Really Good Garment for you foot is probably more difficult, but bulding something functional and wearable? I’ve done it. (Once, but still — I made myself a pair of boots out of fabric one year and stitched them – badly – to a pair of soles that I cut out of a set of boots that were cut All Wrong for my feet[1]).

That said, here’s a handy video that shoes the general idea (I think it’s actually an ad for a shoe-making course, but it gives you a bit of a run-down):

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, then there’s the second trick: Which is knowing where/how to obtain soles in my size. I have Very Big Feet. Size 13-14 (or size 45, depending on where you’re at).


Conveniently, my Ghost knows her way around a wood shop (to put it rather mildly).

(Relevant backstory: A couple of weeks ago, I bought a pair of fabulous shoes (which I totally wore to the play party at Spring Fling this past weekend). They have thick, cork soles. This got me Thinking).

Perhaps my Ghost could make me some properly-sized shoe soles out of poplar, tulip poplar, or willow (which, according to this article about clogs, are traditional materials for wooden Dutch clogs).

I feel like, frequently, the upper-and-insole of a shoe or boot can be make almost like a very structured sock – icluding cushioning for the footbed and everything – the whole of which is then glued to a sole like these ones:

Which – one hopes – results in footwear like these (all of which I would wear in a heartbeat, fyi):

Classic yet Contemporary

How fucking awesome is the carved detailing on that sole?

Just the thing to wear with a micro-mini (or, y'know, nothing at all...)

Oh. Oh my. I believe these speak for themselves just fine. 😀

By the looks of things, many wooden-soled shoes have the upper decoratively nailed to the sole, like these ones:

I don’t actually know if that’s decorative trim or if the upper is actually held on (in part) in this fasion. I think it’s partially dependent on whether on not you’re dealing with a sandal. My thought, though, is that if a “decorative” trim like that is also firmly part of the upper, it will help to keep the sole connected to the upper if the nails are more than just deocrative heads.

This video shows how to “make a shoe” (not one you can wear) by covering a pump with plastic wrap and then increasing the structural stability by covering it with packing tape. (Just watch the video, you’ll ge the gist pretty quickly).

As far as making a wearable shoe goes, it’s useless. BUT for making a last? It’s perfect.
After you have your shoe-form made (and well-shored up with duct tape and similar), fill it carefully with plaster of paris and let it harden. You could just as easily do this by shaving your legs and duct-taping over a pair of dollar-store nylons while resting your heels on a block/tealight-holder/cup of the right height.

Since wooden shoe-soles tend – going by the pics I found anyway – to be chunky/platform style, One might use a three-inch heel “slope” (set your heel on a three-inch-high block) if one wanted a 3.5″-4″ (or higher) heel, since the sole under the ball of the foot would be 0.5″-1″ thick.

My thought is that Ghost could make me wooden shoe soles like the various ones pictured above (sticking to a single, easy-to-walk-in heel-height – ~3″ – and pattern, to begin with), afix rubber treads and caps to the parts that come into contact with the ground (possibly by cutting half-soles to fit?) and then glue leather “socks” to the soles, complete with a functional-yet-decorative nail-head (actual nales) trim that would act as a secondary fixitive to keep upper and sole together.

Anyway. That’s my thought. I look forward to helping my Ghost persue her goal and, incidently, to reaping the benefits of (a) have a custom cobler (haute shoe coture for moi! ZOMG!) On Staff and (b) getting to be her spokes model if/when she decides to open for business. 😉

Ms Syren.

[1] The soles were totally fine, but the actual cut of the boot was too shallow across my instep, which meant they cut off the circulation to my foot. Very Bad Situation. So I hacked them up and made something custom-cut. YAY! 😀

I have to take two mintues to squee/brag a little bit.
See, we’ve had Pest Control in this morning — our (new) landlords are (finallly) treating the Roach Problem that’s been aflicting our building for years. Huzzah! (Here’s hoping it goddamn works!) And what this means – aside from, we hope, no more roach problems for any of us – is that everyone in the building had to pack up their kitchen and empty their cupboards completely. O.O
We got word of what we needed to do, and when we needed to have it done by… on Easter Friday. A scant few days before Pest Control was going to be coming through.
Yeah. On the one hand? Great. Three-day-weekend means extra time to pack and clean.
On the other hand? Holiday weekend means multiple family visits and going out of town.

So here I sit, amids the entire contents of my kitchen (carefully packed into boxes and/or neatly stacked on the dining room table), and I want to squee. Why? Because my servant kicks ass. That’s why.
Moving – and, more to the point, all the stuff that goes with moving: packing, and clutter, and upheaval – stresses me out a LOT. And, as Ghost put it, packing up the kitchen was like all the hastle and stress of moving, minus the benefit of actually going somewhere new. So you can imagine just how helpful I was with all of this. It took about ten hours to clear the kitchen, and well over half of that was done by Ghost, by herself, after she got home from her day job. And she made sure that our unexpected guest and I had tea and dinner and everything on top of that.

So, yeah.

My girl is awesome, and I’m very, very happy to have her. I and I just figured I’d tell the internet about it, so that everybody knows. 🙂

Ms Syren.