New Blog Address

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switched to WP!

Today I switched to Wordpress. It's not quite finished yet, but soon it will be! I will be posting there from now on. Give me a little while to transfer over everyone's links. Actually, this is a fabulous opportunity to say hey - if you link me and I don't link you back like the bitch that I am, will ya tell me? that way the new one will be complete.


gender, again, finally!

Today I wish I had a more private place to post my thoughts. I'm feeling so conflicted, and a little bit confused. But calm and steady anyhow.

I'm going to be included in a "blog tour" of an upcoming publication in April so look out for some new information soon!

I have finally developed my thesis for the capstone project I have to do in order to graduate with my B.A. in Women's Studies. It is as follows:

Two main gender presentations, "butch" and "femme," dominated the lesbian community before the women's liberation movement of the 1960's and 1970's. "Butch" women presented themselves in a masculine way, and "femme" women presented themselves in a feminine way. Feminist of the time viewed the butch and femme lifestyle as a replication of the traditional roles within heterosexual relationships.

The 1990's brought to lesbian culture a surge of novels, anthologies, and other writings about the experiences of butches and femmes. Many books focused on the gender transgression of butch women while others focused on the complex relationships that butches and femmes have to one another. I believe this disproportionate focus on female masculinity has attracted gender theorists because patriarchal culture favors masculinity and undervalues femininity. Writings about the experiences of femmes have only recently begun to appear in academia. My research will assess works dealing with butches and femmes, and the availability of scholarship about queer femininity. I hypothesize that a disproportionate body of work focuses on butchness while relatively few works explore queer femininity. An inventory of the available literature will illuminate the overshadowing of femininity within gender theory and lead to a better understanding of the politics of theoretic production.

This was with the help of Tegee, otherwise I really wouldn't have been able to make it sound that smart and scholarly. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty smart, but she made it sound so much more important and big than it actually is! Craziness.

Had a nice day with Dana, did laundry, had tea, we knitted/cross stitched at the laundromat. I realized that not having a washer and drying gets me out of my uberwhiteness a little bit, and maybe I won't get a washer/dryer. Bought a clothes line today, so we can hand wash some small items, and save on laundry costs by drying them at home. It reminds me of Mexico. And that one time in turkey that we stayed in the top floor of a hotel with out own landing so we strung up our clothes there.

I need to talk to someone unrelated to my situation but who still understands what I'm struggling with. Dana wants me to be happy, but she doesn't believe the same way that I do about it, so our discussions are a little bit circular. I think I need a great big hug and a cry. Haven't had one of those in awhile. It's coming, I can feel it.


Good news is close to home

Got this in an e-mail from a feminist listserv. Good news happening in a town not so far away from mine!

Deputy accepts $370,000 in gender bias lawsuit

By Todd Ruger

SARASOTA COUNTY - The Sheriff's Office has agreed to revamp its promotions process and pay $370,000 to its highest-ranking female deputy to settle her gender discrimination lawsuit.

Settlement includes Joan Verizzo's promotion to captain. Joan Verizzo accused former Sheriff Bill Balkwill of manipulating the agency's promotions to favor men, pointing out that there were no women among the top 18 sheriff's administrators with ranks of captain or above.

Today, Verizzo, a 24-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, will be promoted to captain and retire. The settlement agrees to pay her $300,000 in damages, plus $70,000 in salary that she lost since 2004 because she was not promoted to captain at that time.

Verizzo's lawsuit also pushed for policy changes.

The Sheriff's Office agreed to post all vacancies for lieutenant and captain positions, and provide more training to deputies on gender discrimination issues.

The agency will also create a three-person Promotion Assessment Board, which must include at least one woman, to review and recommend promotions to the sheriff.

And it will strengthen language to protect deputies from retaliation if they make complaints about discrimination.

"I don't think it just helps women. It will help everyone, including men and other minorities," said Verizzo's attorney, Kendra Presswood. "It should make the promotion process fair for everyone."

Presswood declined to comment further until after Verizzo's ceremony today.

Verizzo's lawsuit accused Balkwill of using subjective criteria such as oral boards and changing the point system to de-emphasize education to promote men over better qualified women.

Once the head of the sheriff's human resources department, Verizzo says six less-qualified men were promoted to captain while she remained a lieutenant. Then she was effectively demoted to a position in the warrants section, and told Balkwill she planned to file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Two days later, she was transferred to the Animal Services Division, where her supervisors had less seniority and experience than Verizzo.

Verizzo, who has a law degree, started her career as a prosecutor but was hired at the Sheriff's Office as a research specialist and became a law enforcement officer nine months later.

On Thursday, Presswood filed another gender discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a female corrections deputy with similar accusations against Balkwill.


old school, new school

In the last two weeks I have been accepted by a very gentle Dom for my training as a submissive. I have thought about doing this off and on for about a year now, and something shifted in my that compelled me to offer myself. Even now, I am simply a lump of clay just beginning to take shape. I learned a few different kneels on Sunday. Tuesday and Wednesday I took private kneeling meditations to practice. There is a thin, red band around my right ankle - I knit it myself out of some old Persian yarn which Maggie gave me. I'm referred to in lower case.

But you know, I'm already seeing how freeing it is to begin to give up control (little by little, in my case, and not completely, given the fact that this is simply a training). When I am told to do something, like homework, or a meditation, or when I receive instructions as to where I shall be at what time, I simply obey as best I can. I am seeing how the role of a Dom is partly that of a guide.

Was talking to Maggie last night about how fearful I am that I will not find a Dom that can understand and respect my primary relationship with Dana, and not take away from my relationship with her. I said, "but I shall just have to blow that cloud of fear away as if I were blowing out a birthday candle. wwffff! Adios, fear!" The funny thing is that she said she had just blown out a candle that smoked more than it should have afterward. Perhaps we cast a spell of good fortune for my search? We shall see...

my temporary Sir is quickly becoming a very treasured friend, as is His maggie.


Please respond - homework help! (general update, too)

I am a week overdue with this assignment, and it is mostly because I never received even ten responses. I know I haven't been writing much, but my last semester of school, moving, and a number of other stressors are really kicking my ass right now. Not having routine or a work schedule to work around has really disintegrated my

Even if you feel you have little to say in the matter, won't you be a dear and complete this survey? It's for a good cause - my degree in Women's Studies! E-mail your responses to missavarice@gmail.com, my lovelies!

Also, please pick up a book called Black Male Outsider: Teaching as a Pro-Feminist Black Man if you have any interest in the importance of men's, specifically black men's cooperation and support of womanist and feminist causes. If you're not interested, you should be.

In a talk that miss bell hooks gave at my university two weeks ago, she said that in our American culture, we have been taught to alienate black maleness, we have not been taught to relate with black maleness in a holistic way. It was a huge "aha!" moment for me and I truly hope that by reading this book (perhaps also by reading Musings of a Manwhore?) and by making intentional choices in the company that I keep, that maybe I will make some progress in that area.

Healthwise, I have had swollen tonsils for five days now, I have been on antibiotics for four days, but they had done nothing to improve my condition. Four hours on prednisone, and the antibiotic is no longer doing double duty and the white spots are already beginning to disappear. this has been one of the most expensive non-chronic health issues I have had in a long time. I'm very grateful that I have not had any major health issues in the time that I have not had health insurance. On my to do list for March is to see if I can get on the county health insurance program. I'm not employed and I do have a laundry list of health issues that make it hard to both sit at a desk for 8 hours and stand on my feet for 8 hours. What kind of job lets you sit down and stand up as often as you want? I'm thinking very few.

Also, I'm not supposed to even be typing this because I'm grounded - two weeks behind in one class, totally on task with the other class, wtf is up with the imbalance here?

Do my survey
Read a book
Tonsils are looking better!


Ooh! Rope fun!

These two patterns are relevant to my interests!!


knotty, naughty.

I've posted a little ditty about my recent knitting adventures over at The Femme's Guide! It is five reason why knitting is good for the soul.

I've been spending some lovely time with Maggie, and I have to say that it has been so long since I have made a friend like this, that I am making it a point to savour every moment. We talk so easily, and about things that we both love, and nothing ever seems awkward or out of place. The gratefulness continues!

This week I've been thinking a lot about the wishes that I once had to be a student of submission. Before I met Dana, I had been rather interested in finding my "in" to the bdsm world. I don't think I've found that yet. But we are in a state of very easy openness in our relationship and I think I'm ready to start looking for someone to lead me in the paths of obedience. I have a lot of thinking to do about what I do and don't want in such an association, and I need to find someone who is willing to work with my apparent "smart ass masochist" tendencies - where I feel the need to disobey purposefully because I like the punishment, rather than being "good" and having delicious pain as a reward. I'm certain I can be schooled, but I understand that not everyone can handle such an unruly girl as I am.

Perhaps part of it stems from the fact that for most of my life I have done basically everything as I was told, even to my detriment. But the last two years has been about doing whatever the fuck I want. So now that I've basically molded my life into a style that works for me - emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and otherwise... Now the idea of doing the bidding of someone else doesn't seem so bad, especially if the reward is pleasurable pain... and who doesn't want that!

There's so much more to think about. I had been in a dry spell until this very moment. And my honey is right by my side at every step with just the right words to bring me down to earth.


Survey says...

One of my classes is asking me to gather responses to two very simple survey questions, I'm to get at least ten responses and then report on my findings. So if you want to help me with my homework, e-mail or comment me your responses (include your return e-mail), and I will reply with the disclaimer that basically says who will be using your answers for what, and that they will be anonymous.

I am taking a class at my university called “Men and Sexism" or "Feminism and Men” in the Department of Women’s Studies. Please respond below to the following questions:
1) What do you think sexism is?
2) Do you think feminism is an effective strategy for bringing an end to sexism?

Please fill in the following information:

*Name (you can make one up)
*Gender (and sex, if they are different than "usual")
*Economic background (For example, do you come from an economic background that you would consider to be: upper class, middle class, working class, or under class [poor]?)
*Sexual orientation
*Religious affiliation (if any)
*Highest level of education attained
*Response to question 1:
*Response to question 2:

I realize that the answers to this might of sort of biased if I know you folks, so if there are any of you that aren't really in the field of women's/gender studies, please answer! I'm looking for a broad range of answers.



I think, today, I met a kindred spirit. A tea drinking, deep thinking, ship sinking woman with a love for the everyman, everywoman, everyone in all of us. She has a tongue and a mind for language, and a great deal more than that. She taught me to knit and said such wonderful things about my beginner's swatch. We talked and knit vulvas and drank tea for hours with nary an awkward silence.

The funny thing is I have been curious about her from afar for nigh on two years, fearing I were not of her kind. And maybe I'm not, but she treats me as though I am one . . . of a kind!

The best part is that (I feel) we have so much in common, and it is always joyous to be in the presence of someone who knows your customs and shares your attitude about life.

I am nothing if not grateful.


Sexual Autonomy / Sexual Freedom

I really can't believe I waited until today to check out Sinclair's post about Sexual Autonomy and Sexual Freedom. My answer is was short. Until I started writing.

For me, Sexual Autonomy means having age-appropriate access to the wealth of information that exists about different types of relationship styles, different sexual activities, fetishes, and interests, as well as safer sex practices and contraception. I think this will only happen when we live in an environment that encourages open communication, mutual respect, and an understanding of the important role that sexuality plays in every person's life. I think that's what sexual freedom is, too. Perhaps autonomy means that technically, we all have a choice in what type of sexual life we engage, whereas freedom means that people in your life won't harass you for your choices... even if they might be the "wrong" choice. We can all screw up or bless our own lives equally!

I don't think any one moment in time created sexual freedom in my life. If I had to pinpoint a time when I became free, I would probably choose the day that I drove back to my hometown after leaving a religious training school a day's drive north of here. It wasn't any one sexual act, but it was the fact that I was disregarding other people's rules, and making them up for myself. Each day in the journey to sexual freedom, I loved myself and knew myself a little bit more. After years of suppressing and ignoring my sexual being, finally, enough was enough and I wanted to be in control. It wasn't just my sexuality that got freed up, it was the rest of me as well! I went back to college to get the degree I knew that I wanted (Women's Studies / Feminism), I took my stuff out of storage and found my own place to live, and about a year later, I met Dana. I wasn't expecting to like her as much as I did, but she pretty much blasted all of my "preconceived notions" out of the water. Our family histories are so similar, and we have made it our number one priority to talk about anything and everything as soon as it comes up, so that we don't hold onto confusion and anger. The best part is that it's not "too good to be true" - our relationship together has snags in all the right places, so that we build each other up instead of tearing down the one we love.

For the longest time we lived in a state of constant fear. "What if we break up?" and "If we're still together by that time, then we'll..." But that's no way to live. So for now, we're together indefinitely - which means that there is no end foreseeable... until further notice. And I'm very happy with that.

I know this post was meant to be about sexual freedom, but that is what being with Dana means to me. She means having all my sexual needs met, and being allowed to ask for what I want, and being allowed to spread my love around. Being with Dana means getting to explore new things, talking about our likes and dislikes openly and honestly. It means me being able to experience sacred sexuality gatherings, and to talk to her about my girl crushes (and precisely the same for her as well!)

It's good stuff, I tell you what. I found a letter last night that she wrote to me back in July. She said, "You are the perfect seasoning to my very hearty broth!" Now if that doesn't make you laugh freely then you need to get your heart checked.

Let's be free to be, you and me, shall we?


feminine = sexually available?

Aggh. Disgusting! I was out looking for a rental house, as I am pretty much always doing these days, when two men in a city utility truck and asked if I were the owner of the house. Thank God I am not. I said, "No, I'm just checking it out as a rental, why?" They told me the city wanted to know something from the owner, but I didn't know obviously, so I just sort of looked at them. Then the guy in the passenger seat says, "Are you looking for a roommate?" Of course, I said, "No." The other guy thought I didn't hear, and repeated it, "He wants to know if you're looking for a roommate." At this point I'm getting in my car and saying rather loudly "No, thank you." As I closed the door I heard him say, "We could bring in a bunk bed!"

That is so sick. I've been listening to a lot of stories from my friends about the ways that men have treated them, and the part that's so enraging is that it's the women who are in therapy for the ways men have treated them, rather than the men seeking psychiatric help for the ways that they've behaved toward women. Because it's fucking normal for men to be nasty and violent. It makes me want to scream! Part of it probably has to do with my apparent heterosexuality (as a femme) that makes me seem sexually available to all men. Even if I were purely heterosexual that would NOT mean that I am always sexual available. I wish I could communicate in writing how angry I am that I can't go out in public alone without expecting to have to defend myself against these kinds of threats. It is absolutely sick.


A brief update

My seasonal part time job wound up working me full time for nearly three weeks! Great for the money, but bad for writing and stuff. Sorry 'bout that. I gatta say, the after Christmas sales have been outrageous. I got a 5 foot Christmas tree for $17 so next year we will have a proper tree. This year Dana made a tree out of construction paper, beer caps, and little pompoms. It was darling, there are pictures, but it was not meant to weather the years unfortunately.

Monday afternoon we adopted a cat. His name is Jacques Cousteau. Don't blame me, Dana named him after our third favorite song, "Foux du Fa Fa". We had friends over for the last night of Hannukkah and as we sat on and politely requested noms, which we gladly provided to him. You should have heard the happy noise he made! It sounded like "yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!" Poor guy was so hungry. It took us awhile to figure out his sex, but after our friends left, I noticed his furry little balls, teehee!

I wanted to take him to the vet, and I was perfectly content to leave him outside until such time as I could take him to the vet. Dana used to be a pet bather, though, so she decided that we should take him right away. She brought him inside Monday afternoon, clipped his nails and gave him a bath. Later on we brought home a collar for him and flea treatment for all the animals. Tuesday I took him to the vet, who confirmed that he had no microchip and said, "I think he has adopted you!" And so he has.

It's hard to really name my Flight of the Conchords favorites, though. I mean. There's Business Time which has become an inside joke among all my beloved. And the first I ever heard was Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros ... totally hilarious. I'd say All the Ladies in the World is among the top five, as well... "lady many lady!" Speaking of beautiful girls, another fave is The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room... is that a compliment?? My personal all time favorite has got to be Inner City Pressure!

Mom came to visit for a couple of weeks, but it was a whirlwind trip for her because she was packing up my grandmother's house with her the whole time because she found a buyer. Owning two houses was too much for her (totally understandable, don't you think?) So she'll be getting a motorhome for my uncle's backyard for times when she is in this area, and she's going to be adding on to her mountain home. Grandma's a tough gal though, so they got everything finished! Dana got to meet my beloved dachshund, our childhood pet. A very sweet thing. And mom acknowledged to me that she knows I'm with Dana, and that I live with her and everything. She's not happy about it, but we've decided that if we keep everything on a very superficial level when it comes to Dana, that mom doesn't mind talking about her. She made the hominy casserole that I brought to Christmas dinner and everyone loved it - mom made a joke about D being able to cook better than I can and I can see that she's not going to spend her life crying over me. That's a good thing.

Grandma's giving us her kitchen table, a couch, and a chair - how awesome is that? We're getting ever so close to the end of Dana's lease and I'm a little nervous, but excited too. The homes in the area have decreased quite a bit in the last two months - I've found several 3BR homes renting for $800 monthly which is fantastic, so I'm hoping to snag one asap and get the hell outta this apartment complex, and out of apartment life... hopefully forever! Of course there are lots of costs involved and I'm not going to be working much... there's so much up in the air, it's crazy!

Sorry for the long rambling update. And the lack of sex. We've been so busy, tired, menstruating and having yeast infections from antibiotics because of swollen tonsils that we haven't had any wild and crazy sex. Except for that threesome... I've still forgotten to tell you about that! I'll save it for another night.

One final note, after grocery shopping, I made cream cheese cracker dip with pepper n onion relish, corn bread pudding, and an oatmeal pear crisp. Love it!

Goodnight darlings!


Reflections on Glory

We discusses God's glory in church today. The speaker gave an account of a time when he was out on a dock that stretched far into a beautiful lake. Looking up, he saw the expanse of the sky bright with many stars, and fell into a great wonder. He was awed by the majesty of God's creation and told of how God's glory must be so much greater than that. He said that the hebrew word for glory was like the opposite of "making light of" - it is to recognize the emotional/spiritual weight of something. Of God.

The speaker's story reminded me of a night when I was out walking along the beach with my dear friend. The moon shone bright above us, and was reflected in the water just a few feet from where we walked. I realized that as far as we walked, the moon was still reflected right next to me. I called to my friend, a few steps away and said, "face the water, look down at your feet, what do you see?" she replied, "I see the moon!" and as I looked down, it was shining in front of my feet, too. In both places at once, the light shone for us. I could see how God used that reflection to reveal his character to me. Above, he shines for all to see, like the singular moon, he is a blessing to the world. But down here, at the personal level, God walks beside each one of us, lighting the way, bringing comfort and freedom.

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
(Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel)

An old Advent hymn calls for God to unite the world. Bind all hearts in one! Dissolve the things that divide us! Bring the kingdom of peace! This is my prayer for the new season our country has entered, and my prayer for the world.

And another song talks about being united in love, and about caring for those less fortunate. In this song "slave" simply refers to someone of a lower caste who lacks access to resources.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
(Oh, Holy Night)

Let us remeber that we are all made of stars.


Writing for Femme's Guide

For those of you who don't know, I have been contributing to The Femme's Guide to Absolutely Everything since September. I don't like to cross post, and I've done a poor job of letting you all know when I post over there. You can read all my posts here. In lieu of timely announcements, an overview of a few recent posts follows:

In "Thigh Chafing: You Don't Have to Grin and Bear It" I laid out an armory of weapons with which to combat inner thigh chafing. Not a fun thing, yet it's a rather frequent event in the warm Southern climate.

Money Matters I recommended a blog called femme economics at Queercents.com, which deals with creating and maintaining one's femme image on a budget.

I contemplated whether butches or femmes are the "stronger" of the two, in Who's the Strongest?, but I came to the conclusion that we face the world together, holding each other’s hand for confidence and balance.

In the first of two posts I made in preparation for my Queer Theory term paper on femm e and femininity, I chronicled some of the events that lead to The Origin of my Femme Identity. This post was followed by my most recent post, where I came up with four answers to the question, "How Does Femme Queer Femininity?".

One of my goals is to start doing product reviews on makeup items. I've recently been working with mark. makeup and I'm falling in love with their commitment to portable makeup and on-the-go application. I'll be writing that soon, work schedule permitting. I'm working 40 hours this week... haven't done that in months!

Another year, another banner - help!

Last year, my dearly treasured Mr. Sexsmith created the lovely banner that you see here.

I have been rather pleased with it for the longest time, and it was one of my most special and unique gifts last December.

Since the NYC Sex Blogger Calendar came out, though, I have been struggling to prepare the new layout for my switcheroo over to wordpress.com because I do not know the interface over there very well, and also because the colors in the banner match my blogger theme and I can't figure out how to incorporate this theme into the available wordpress themes. Also, it has to be exactly 720 x 180 pixels, which is a different size than the current banner.

So, my darlings, wouldn't one of you love to craft a new banner for me? My new theme will likely be white, so any photo will do. You can see all of the photos I've posted here under label "shots".

I'll be ever so glad to send you something in return. My specialties lately have been beer bread and cookies of all sorts. Make your request, and you will find your mailbox filled with home baked goodies. If you're not the type to eat food from strangers, I'm sure we can work something else out :) I make handmade note cards from nature photos that I have taken, I could send you a ten pack with envelopes! See? The options are endless.

A post about last week's best threesome ever to come!


cooking love.

You'll never believe what I found at 4 a.m. (after having shopped for three hours) at an outlet mall. A kitchenaid mixer for $160. Everywhere that I looked on the internet, it was way more expensive than that, plus shipping!! I just made more beer bread dough in the mixer tonight, and the loaves are cooking as we speak! I would truly love to be able to bake breads for a living. All kinds of breads! I am so in love with the kitchen right now. Our tiny kitchen, with cabinets that start a foot above our heads, with two drawers, and hardly any counter space. I am in love with making food come alive. I am enchanted by the way I can take many things and make something wonderful out of them!

The recipe I'm using is located here. It has a few unusual ingredients... mustard powder, powdered milk, and sesame seeds. You can buy sesame seeds at the grocery store, but I would go to a health food store or somewhere that sells them in bulk for cheap! I just substituted the mustard powder with a nice big glob of dijon mustard. We started drinking powdered milk because it's so damn cheap and if you keep it real cold in a container that closes you'll hardly notice the difference! Then again, we also drink soy milk and almond milk in addition to regular milk, so perhaps our variety of milk consumption also makes it easier to like something that a lot of people dislike. I swear of poor people who pay almost $4 a gallon for milk knew that you could get ten litres for $8, It would be flying off the shelves!

I did a booboo in my breads tonight, so they're not coming out quite right. When I was making the yeast mixture, I accidentally put the salt into it, instead of the bowl of dry stuff I was mixing up. Oops! I had to make another batch of yeast and soak it back into the sticky icky non-yeasty dough. They came out fantastic last time, I made six loaves (instead of two or four, like the recipe suggests) and Kay and Ash took a couple home with them and loved them! I have a lot of beer hanging around the house that I don't really drink much anymore and it seems like a good use of an used thing. I used a dark beer the first time and that seemed to work out a lot better, color wise. And besides, a thick, sweet, dark beer makes a good breakfast!


December Love

So far I have only had two replies to my offer! Don't you remember that the season of festivals is upon us! The season of giving! I have already assembled treats for all two of my recipients... wouldn't you like to be next? I'm going to start sending out my December love on 12/10... It will be my pleasure!

E-mail and we'll exchange pleasantries so you'll know I'm a real person :)


Pictures to distract you!

Since I don't seem to have much of substance to say recently, due to the onslaught of feminist homework assignments (way harder than regular homework, I assure you), I give you two pictures.

Did you know she keeps my baby picture above her desk?

This is the two of us on the night that we had dinner with my late aunt's ex partner of 25 years.