The Not-So-Big Goodbye

Hi there,

So after a year and a half of intermittent posts you may have noticed that my posts have slowed down to a new level of, well, not being active. Life’s been busy the past few months (I’m kind of employed, I write for “real” site, I’ve had health things, I applied and got accepted to college) which means I’ve been struggling to stay active on this blog. Recently as I worked on trying to keep The Holywell Street Librarian (Oy, what a name! I don’t know what I was thinking or drinking when I chose it.) alive I’ve had to admit that the best thing I can do for myself is to allow HSL to gracefully come to a close.

Part of the problem is that I set this blog up with too broad of a topic scope. If this was a magazine or something with other authors I think it might have worked but as it is I’m overwhelmed trying to write a variety of posts while balancing everything else in my life. As much as I love the idea of this blog I know that I can’t do what I want to do with it and rather than try to cram it into my life I think it’s time to move on.

Normally when I decide to move on and start something new I rush ahead with a plan that I scribbled on the back of a napkin and like two hours of sleep. This time I’m trying to be good to myself and give myself time to breathe and make calm, rational decisions. For the last few weeks I’ve been putting time into a project that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. Today as I “officially” end HSL I’m happy to announce the start of my new project: The Jaded Matron.

The Jaded Matron is going to be a sex focused blog where I write reviews and talk shit about sex related things with a focus on my experiences as a trans woman. (I think it’s technically called “sex writing” but I’m uncomfortable claiming fancy titles.) I’m super excited about this blog which is actually starting TODAY so go check it out. Although I’m no longer posting on this blog it will remain up for probably the rest of human history as a monument to my greatness and my folly. Updates about my life and writing will always be available on Twitter and at my website.


constance augusta a. zaber

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Elust #70

exposing 40Photo courtesy of Exposing 40

Welcome to Elust #70

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #71? Start with the rules, come back June 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

Exposed! My Mom Knows!

Flash Fiction: “A Taste”

I am a Sex Blogger & I Reject Pseudonymity

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

‘X’ is for X…
Give my guilt an erotic payoff? Tell me more.

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*


All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!



Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

The Great Outdoors (Or Why I Trust Him)
I’m Reminded You Can’t Force an Orgasm
Yes I am Sexy
Why Choose Monogamy When You Can Choose Every
Would you? Could you?
On Being Haunted

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

A Horse Among Unicorns: Embracing my Straight
Being a Disabled Top in Kink Community
And here I thought kink was all about consent
10 Signs You Don’t Understand Submission
The Answer

Writing About Writing

Sex in Real Life vs Fiction
Terms of Use


Six Nine – A Happy Horny Haiku

Erotic Fiction

One Saturday Evening
Stolen Minutes
Haunting you
Q is for Quenched
A schoolgirl spanking story 10
Sit Here Please
My Prize

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Spanking, Brits, and what if we didn’t?
“V” is for Virgin

Erotic Non-Fiction

My first date with Lexy – Part 2
Goodnight kiss
How To Kiss Me Like You Mean It
running cold and hot
His cum came out my nose.
Going Down. Honey, Coconut Oil and Cum.

ELust Site Badge

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Sex Toys in the Library: Bamboo [Review]

I’m trying out a new format for my reviews by using subheaders and making a mini table of contents at the top of the post. One of these subheaders will be for information that I feel could be relevant to trans women because I’m frustrated by how many reviews are cis centered. Feel free to let me know what you think about these changes.

specsdetails for trans womenmy review – links to other reviews

As much as I love the world of luxury dildos and vibrators I simply don’t have the sort of pocket change to try out every Lelo or solid diamond butt plug that catches my eye. Until my boat comes in and I can buy the fancy ass vibrators I’m focused on finding good quality vibes at a wallet friendly price. My favorite vibrators are the ones that are affordable but can mimic some of the functions of the more expensive ones. Sure they’re not waterproof and might give out in a few months but when a $20 vibe can do one or more of the functions that I like in a $120 vibe I’m not going to complain.

One of the nicer vibes that I’m currently ogling is We-Vibe’s Tango (Any deep pocketed people out there who wanna throw a girl a bone vibe?). I’m a power queen and totally interested in the punch that this little vibe packs. Although I’m obsessed with my Hitachi I recognize my need for a smaller, quieter, travel friendly vibe. I’m been eyeing the cheaper Bamboo for a little while now and when I decided to treat myself after getting some good employment news I picked up the Bamboo to see if it could do the trick.


The Bamboo is a bullet style vibrator that measures about 3.75″ and a little over .5″. It’s made by the UK company Rocks-Off (although you can’t find it on their website for some reason). It comes with a AAA battery but be warned that when it comes time to change the battery you might have trouble getting the battery out. When I’ve changed the batteries at work I’ve had to pull the damn thing out but the battery on mine just slid right out. The material is ABS plastic which means you’ll be able to use your favorite lube with it. (Info on ABS plastic and lubes available at LubeZilla.) The toy is waterproof which is great for cleaning (you can use a speciality toy cleaner if you want but I just use water and a little alcohol free soap) or the shower but because the motor isn’t sealed in like a rechargeable vibrator I’d be hesitant about submerging it in the bath. You won’t get electrocuted if you do submerge it, you just have a slightly better chance of water getting past the seal and into the motor and then you’ve got a dead vibe on your hands.

bamboo 2

There are ten settings (three speeds and then seven different pulsing patterns) that you cycle through from a button on the end. When you turn it on it’ll start back at the first and strongest setting. It comes in five colors although not all the online sites I’ve looked at have offered all five. If you want to activate your 6 month warranty you will need to create a free profile over at The plastic packaging around the toy itself can apparently be reused as a storage box but it’s too bulky for where I keep my toys. The outside box has this like London punk aesthetic that feels kinda awkward and contrived. Lots of art that’s meant to look like tattoos or something and their website continues the look with lots of skinny white models in some sort of hipster/punk style.

I’ve seen the Bamboo being sold for around 20-25 dollars at the stores and websites I checked.

details for trans women

For those of us into muffing I found the Bamboo with its tapered point to be a good fit with the vibrations strong enough to spread out when inside me. Muffing isn’t my favorite activity and I prefer to use it with the angled point on my frenulum (foreskin pulled back.) Lately I’ve been a bit drier than usual (I think HRT might be the culprit, I’m just not precumming as much as I used to.) which made the point of contact with the vibe a slightly irritated and sensitive but a few drops of lube helped negate that problem. The length of the vibe and its flat sides meant that I could lay it against the shaft of my clit which was mildly pleasant but the Bamboo isn’t strong enough for me to really get off on that feeling. I did use the narrow tip to trace the head of my clit and with lube that was a fun sensation.

I'm not saying that the Queen of England has a Bamboo because let's face it- she probably has the Tango.

I’m not saying that the Queen of England has a Bamboo because let’s face it- she probably has the Tango.

my review

When I laid down to try the Bamboo I made sure to keep my Hitachi out of arm’s reach. Knowing me I was afraid I’d try the new vibe for a few minutes and make a snap decision and reach for my best friend. It turns out that I didn’t even need to do this because the Bamboo had enough power in it to actually bring me to orgasm, something that I wasn’t expecting. Honestly I just thought that this pocket vibe could be a new addition to my masturbation routine; just to put in some variety before the Hitachi came in to finish me off.

Like I said before, I like a nice strong vibration, preferably something rumbly like an old cement mixer being driven at a high speed over a pothole covered road. While the Bamboo did lean more towards buzzy than I usually like I found that the highest setting was strong enough. The two lower settings weren’t enough for me (I could barely feel the lowest setting.) and I only cared for one of the seven settings. The settings mostly reminded me of someone tapping out Morse Code which meant that I’d laugh whenever I thought about someone using a dick to send messages. Maybe if I could be an adult and try those other six patterns without getting distracted and laughing I would enjoy them more but I doubt it; the patterns were either too light or had too many blanks periods of no vibration or both for my tastes.

I do wish that there were settings higher than the current highest one but because it runs off a weeny AAA battery I doubt the designers could have gone higher. The fact that it starts off on the highest setting may annoy some people, although for people who just want that power it’s not going to be a problem.

The vibe is quiet enough for me. It’s not as quiet as those tiny bullet vibes that take cell batteries but it’s quiet enough that I doubt it could be heard through a wall.

My biggest complaint (and this isn’t much of a complaint) is that the vibrations carry through all the way to the end so my fingers developed that numbness of holding onto a vibrating piece of plastic. I even wrapped the end with a hankie to see if that would help but there wasn’t any noticeable difference. Given the level of kvetching I hear from friends and customers this seems to be a problem no matter the clit/bullet vibe. As I told one customer, “If you can make a product that buffers the fingers from vibrations you’ll be wealthy.”

While I found the button to be easy to use it’s small enough that people with limited mobility in their hands may not find it so easy. The size of the vibe itself could also be a bit small and the plastic somewhat slippery (particularly with lube) but if it’s just a mild inconvenience creating a grip with rubber bands wrapped around the base could help with that. If you live near a brick and mortar store they might have a display model you could test out to see if the button/size of the toy works for you.

I went looking for a cheaper, discreet vibe that would be good for travel but still had some strength to it and the Bamboo met those qualifications even better than expected. It’s not the strongest bullet vibe out there but within its price range it’s the strongest I’ve come across. For people who don’t need a lot of rumbly power the range of three speeds and seven different settings could set this above other bullets with fewer options. Although it’s clearly not the Tango it may be able to hold you over until then.

links to other reviews

Toy Meets Girl: Review: Rocks-Off Bamboo

They're both British asit turns out.

They’re both British as it turns out.

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In Which Constance Augusta Is Reminded That You Can’t Force an Orgasm

Throughout my relatively short history of being sexually active I’ve managed to accidentally injure partners (e.g. Kneeing a partner so hard in the crotch that they fell off the bed and onto the linoleum floor.) and myself (e.g. Tweaking my bad knee during orgasm induced leg tremors.) Usually I find this stories hilarious and am prone to spouting them off in situations that are perhaps less than appropriate but last week I had an mild masturbation related injury that I found myself too embarrassed to share. The issue is that telling anyone about what happened would result in me sharing that I violated one of my personal sex/masturbation commandments: Do Not Try To Force An Orgasm. Sometimes It Just Doesn’t Happen But You Can Still Try To Relax And Enjoy The Ride.

The night in question I was stressed out and just wanted to spend some quality time with my best friends vibrating wands. I took out my Mystic Wand, hoping to use its softer vibrations for a more relaxed, quiet event than if I used my “We’re Not Supposed To Call It Hitachi Anymore” Magic Wand. After getting comfortable and setting the appropriate mood I switched on the wand, ready for the Me Time that I’d been needing all day. Pretty early into it I had flipped the power up all the way in an attempt to get the sensation I’d been expecting. This was the point when I realized that there was a strong chance I was not going to orgasm. I know my  body and it was clearly telling me that it just wasn’t feeling it today.

I’ve recently started new medications that from the beginning I knew would likely impact my sensitivity and could change how I orgasm. Although I had this theoretical knowledge I wasn’t expecting to confront it until farther down the road. Being hit with the sudden thought that my orgasm of four nights earlier might have been my last orgasm EVER was less than pleasant and because I have the personality of an unnervingly determined Jewish grandmother I decided that I. Was. Going. To. Have. An. Orgasm.

If someone came to me with this scenario my advice would probably be something along the lines of, “Well does it still feel good when you’ve got the wand on your clit? It does? Ok then! Enjoy that sensation, relax, try to let go of the orgasm fixation and remember that it’s all about the journey, not the destination.” The issue is that I only offer advice to people who ask for it and I was not asking for advice. Rather I was asking for, no, demanding an orgasm. So instead of taking a deep breath I plugged in my Hitachi, a toy I fondly think of as the Hulk Hogan of my sex toy drawer.

With an intensity that I usually reserve for a nice Reuben sandwich I had that big ol’ wand on my clit because dammit I wanted that orgasm. Right before I reached the point where the wand was going to remove layers of skin I stopped, groaning not from pleasure but with irritation. As I tossed aside the wand my right wrist had a blast of sharp pain that flared up at any movement of my wrist. In my determination to “finish” the damn job I had completely ignored the wrist cramps that came from holding my wrist in one position for the entire time as my hand gripped the wand with a fury from the deepest part of my soul.

For the rest of the night I went about with a throbbing wrist, shouting at me for being a stubborn old bastard. At service the next morning my wrist groaned when I had to hold the hymnal with my right hand and when I tried to pick up my after-service coffee I had to set it back down before I got it to my lips. Two days later the stiffness was still there, a reminder of my poor decision.

There’s an embarrassing epilogue to this cautionary tale. The afternoon after fucking up my wrist I gave it another try. I made sure I was properly hydrated and actually relaxed before opening my sex toy drawer and settling onto my bed. And you know what? I fucking came. It was slow getting there but I took my time, made sure my body was into and enjoyed every minute from start to finish.

And the next night’s orgasm was even better.

My Beloved and Cherished Love


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A Miss Marple Drinking Game

At some point in January I decided that it would be a good use of my time to read every Miss Marple story Agatha Christie ever wrote (I’m so serious about it that I made a Goodreads shelf for what I’m modestly calling 2015: The Year of Miss Marple and yes, bolding the text is mandatory.) Right now I’m finishing up rereading the Miss Marple short story omnibus which means that I can only talk about Miss Jane Marple and nothing else. This will probably have a negative effect on my social life so I’ve put together a game that only needs me, a Miss Marple story (I wrote this with the original stories in mind although this will probably work with the film adaptions as well) and a GnT. I suppose homemade cherry sherry is probably the most appropriate but I think that sounds revolting. You of course can drink whatever you want with this, no need for it to be alcoholic.

The Miss Marple Drinking Game

Drink whenever:

  • Miss Marple is described as “old fashioned” or “Victorian” or “fussy”
  • Actually whenever the term “old fashioned” is used to describe anything
  • A character shows up who used to have a different name (e.g. Raymond’s wife Joyce who becomes Joan)
  • Miss Marple counts her stitches (Next Level: Drink for every stitch she counts)
  • Someone “indulges” Miss Marple
  • Miss Marple gets embarrassed because of sex or human bodies or other similarly modern things
  • Someone is known almost exclusively by their nickname
  • “It wasn’t X it was Y in a hat and a wig and a dress and fake glasses and a mustache!”
  • There’s a stage or film actress who men are drawn to
  • A retired military man with a mustache coughs
  • A character wonders if Miss Marple has finally gone dotty the poor old dear
  • A vicar mumbles something into his beard and/or soup
  • A reference is made about Miss Marple’s age
  • There’s a twinkle in Miss Marple’s eye
  • Something racist and/or sexist makes you cringe
  • The local constable is a plodding country man with a good heart and strong accent
  • Miss Marple says something that makes you go “awwwwww”
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The Very Real Women of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Yesterday I woke up to news that I’ve been expecting for year- the death of Sir Terry Pratchett. I first came across Pratchett when 13 year old Constnace accidentally subscribed to a monthly sci-fi/fantasy book delivery service (Don’t ask.) and got a hardcover copy of Thud! in my first delivery. After reading it I tore my way through every Pratchett book in my town and school libraries. The books making up his Discworld universe were funny, real, honest books that imprinted their stories onto my impressionable teenage brain in a very permanent way. As I prepared yesterday to write about the man who made such an impression on me I thought about how his humor made me laugh when my depression tore at my brain and how I can still see his influence in my writing. These gifts pale when compared to the one of the greatest treasures I found in his work: the women who populate Discworld.

Pratchett’s Discworld is so real and enjoyable because he managed to create a fully formed universe with all the complexities that this entails and with that came fully formed, complex women. As I struggle to this day to find female characters I can relate to it has always been so satisfying to consistently and reliably find them in Pratchett’s work. He wrote women from all walks of life, from Queens to soldiers to servants, who went beyond old tropes (in fact they frequently played with these tropes.) His female characters could be heroes or villains but it was always likely that they would live in a morally grey area.

There is one trait shared by these women- a hardened core forged by living with misogyny. Like the women I grew up surrounded by, the women in Discworld step up in times of crisis, don’t bat an eye when the world goes pear-shaped and are often carrying on after the men have collapsed. This isn’t to say that the female characters are always strong. No, Pratchett was too talented a writer to fall into that trap. Rather he recognized that the circumstances of women’s lives often force us to learn how to be tough as fucking iron nails when the shit hits the fan. Of course there’s the great and strong Granny Weatherwax who is as tough as a thrice boiled boot but so is Magrat the “wet hen” and the privileged Lady Vimes who raises dragons in her spare time and knows what to do when fanatical Dwarves attack her home and family with flamethrowers.

Pratchett’s female characters  also support one another, something that’s almost radical when talking about representation of women. This is so, so, so important, particularly as our culture continues to support girl-hate. I doubt if we’ll ever know how intentional this was but it sure is damn inspiring and part of why I feel so strongly about putting Discworld novels in the hands of girls (and really women of all ages.) For a great example of this I refer you to the unlikely triad formed by Cheery (bless her massive little heart), Sgt. Angua and Tawnee in Thud!

I think it was his keen insight and observational skills that allowed Terry Pratchett to write such real female characters. So often I’m annoyed, frustrated and angry at how male writers create female characters that are foils for their male leads at best and props at worst. I just want to shake these men and force them to read Pratchett and say, “THIS is how you do it! View us as people,  write us as people!” I realize that this is a low-bar to cross but Pratchett cleared it with great ease and joy.

Thank you Mr. Pratchett, thank you for writing books with humor and life and real women. As someone who has struggled with my womanhood I found in your books three-dimensional women I could relate to, find comfort in and be inspired by. Thank you, Mr. Pratchett, you will be missed.

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Clickbait Headlines from Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf Roger Fry 1917

Portrait of Virginia Woolf by Roger Fry [public domain, c. 1917]

13 Photographs of Hedges That Will Inexplicably Invoke Memories of a Woman Who You Loved but Never Kissed!

You Haven’t Lived until You’ve Experienced THIS Sense of Twisting Despair!

I Asked Ten Men What They Thought of Women Writers and You Won’t Be Surprised by What They Thought!

6 Tweets that Prove the World Is Even Worse than You Thought!

The ONE Thing That Women Need to Write!

15 Drinks to Hold at Parties While You Stare off in Quiet Despair at the Futility of it All!

What this Upper Middle Class Housewife Is Really Thinking Will Scandalize You!

George Charles Beresford [public domain, 1901]

George Charles Beresford [public domain, 1901]

Think That Anonymous Is Usually a Man? This Video Says Otherwise!

The One Pair of Shoes That All Women Need to Really Communicate the Dangerous Darkness We Live In!

Can You Name All the Different Types of Failed Relationships in this Photo?

Happy? Here’s 130 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be!

Wild Silent Falling Suffocating Depression Told By Full House GIFs!

This Vine of a Baby Eating Soup Will Do Little to Alleviate Your Thunderous Impounding Sense of Doom!

[public domain, c. 1927]

[public domain, c. 1927]

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Sex Toys in the Library: The Pulse [Review]

On the morning of December the 19th I took to Twitter over issues I had with the language used about the Pulse, a new toy from Hot Octopus that had been rolled out earlier in 2014. By the end of the day I’d been gifted a never before used Pulse from a friend who had no serious interest in it. Who says miracles don’t happen?

Screenshot from 1/29/15

Screenshot from 1/29/15

Despite my earlier criticisms I was excited to give the Pulse a shot and see if it would make up for my annoyances with its publicity and media language.

The Pulse is a weird little creature that looks like a hunchback stingray that hugs the external genitalia (what some call “penises” but what I’ll refer to as my “clit” when talking about my personal use.) Its hugging arms, or “Expanding Wings,” wrap around the user’s genitalia while the “Oscillating PulsePlate” stimulates the frenulum with the intention of providing what Hot Octopus modestly describes as “the most powerful and unique orgasm you’ve ever experienced.” This orgasm of apparently epic proportions comes from its use of oscillation instead of traditional vibration. They’re very proud of this oscillation tech and talk a lot about how they’re the first company to take this from the medical world into the sex toy market.

While I had my issues with the Pulse’s marketing and publicity there were enough rave reviews out there that I had some hope for a toy that would be enjoyable. Apparently I’m in the minority of reviewers because I found it to be mildly pleasant at best and downright annoying at the worst.

My main issue is that I just couldn’t get this toy to stay put. My clit is of average to larger-than-average size and yet the Pulse continually slipped off when I wasn’t firmly erect. Even when hard it would move around unless held in place. If the vibrator, sorry, oscillating pulseplate was stronger this wouldn’t really be an issue but whenever it wasn’t on my frenulum I could barely feel it. Honestly even when it was on my frenulum its oscillations were nice but didn’t do much (even on the highest setting) and I kept finding myself thinking longingly of my beloved Hitachi. At one point I wondered if my clit just preferred stronger motions but after being brought to orgasm by a wand on a lower setting than my Hitachi I feel safe in saying that I can enjoy softer vibrations/oscillations when they’re not being delivered by the Pulse. The motor does feel pretty strong to my finger so maybe I’m having a hard time getting my frenulum to make actual contact with the pulseplate? My only other thought is that my issues with the Pulse could be related to the fact that I’m not circumcised and that my foreskin just kept getting in the way (I don’t know of any reviews where people mention being circumcised so this is currently based on my own speculations. I’ll update this if I get more information.)

Hot Octopus recommends trying it with lube and jacking off with it and while lube definitely improved my experience I can’t say that it was enough of an improvement for me to win me over. Jacking off with this as a masturbator was fairly irritating in general. Even with lube I found it dragged in ways that occasionally got pretty unpleasant and the oscillations didn’t extend much into the silicone wings so most of the sensation came from the pulseplate as it moved along (The oscillations do extend into the back of the toy however and holding onto it for longer than a minute would end up with my hand being shaken into numbness.) The pulseplate also seems to be pretty sensitive so whenever I pressed harder to try and milk as much vibration as I could I just ended up stopping the motor.

It’s touted as a great couple’s toy but my experiences with the Pulse were so disappointing and cumbersome that I didn’t want to subject any partner to hearing me swearing a blue streak at a hunk of silicone, plastic and metal.

It’s made with silicone which is great but it’s also not waterproof which is not great. I have this (potentially unreasonable) expectation that if a toy is sold for anything over $20 (ok, let’s say $40) it really should be waterproof and honestly I’m not sure why the Pulse isn’t. It seems like the motor is pretty well sealed up inside the toy which as far as I can tell is one of the basic requirements for a waterproof toy. The Pulse is also so sensitive to water that you can only clean it with a wipe or a damp cloth. It’s a massive lint magnet which isn’t that unexpected because it’s silicone but unlike my other silicone toys I can’t blast the lint away with a stream of water or soak it off with a bath. The two buttons used to control the power are on the side of the toy and are just small enough to be irritating when you’ve got slippery lube hands but large enough to accidentally hit when you’re holding it. Also it’s damn loud, something that people with thin walls should definitely be aware of.

Portrait of the Disappointed Blogger and the Toy

Portrait of the Disappointed Blogger and the Toy

There are some positive elements of the Pulse: It has a good battery life (USB rechargeable!), it’s made of silicone (I already said that though), and… you can masturbate with something that looks like it’s from a bad 80s sci-fi film? (That’s actually the best selling point for me.) These few selling points really aren’t enough for me to recommend it to anyone; particularly when considering that it retails for $99. I’m much more likely to recommend buying a good wand (The Hitachi is a great option and more affordable to boot!) which can stimulate the frenulum in the most delightful ways. The only time that I’d recommend the Pulse is for people with limited wrist/hand mobility but I think this is pretty sad commentary on the state of accessibility in the sex toy world.

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Happy Birthday Emily

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

I’ve been sitting here for far too long trying to write an opening sentence that conveys just how important Emily Dickinson is to me. Considering that I’m talking about a poet who wrote in short and honest sentences perhaps it’s appropriate for me to say just this: There is no poet who I’ve found more accessible, more moving or more applicable to my life than that great Amherst spinster.

Throughout various drafts of this post I’ve had to keep going back and changing all references to Emily Dickinson’s life from present tense to past tense. I think this is because Emily doesn’t feel dead to me. When I read and think of Emily her life and words feel so relevant to my immediate life that it’s like we’re in a conversation. Her writing connects to my depression, speaks to my religion and asks the same questions about the world. Having her on my bookshelf feels the same as having one of my best friends always and constantly available to answer the anxious texts I send at midnight.

I live just one town over from where she lived and part of me feels like I should get schlep through this Autumnal mist over to her house or grave but I really don’t want to. And I don’t think Emily would want me to either. As I interpret it, Emily’s life and writing was about self-determination, about authentic expressions of emotions. Rather than dragging myself over to Amherst I’d rather stay in my burrow and experience my appreciation of Emily in my most honest way.

According to the tour guide from my visit to Emily’s house this photo was taken shortly after the teenage Emily had recovered from a serious illness that left her weak and thin. Wouldn’t you love for the one picture everyone knew after your death to be one of you as a teenager following a physically exhausting sickness? Supposedly Emily didn’t like it and her family didn’t consider it the best depiction of her.

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Music to Bake to

The world has darkness and fear and at times it feels as though this darkness and fear is overwhelming. It can grab at us and pull us down, convincing us that there’s nothing we can do. Personally I’ve grown up with a lovely complex that makes me think that I have to fix every wrong in this world single-handedly and while I’ve started to admit to myself that I can’t actually fix every wrong in this world single-handedly I still get that itch whenever another injustice shows up in my life. I’ve found that one of the few things I can do during these restless moments is bake. I can’t end trans violence, racism, anti-semitism, misogyny, colonialism or any other darkness in this world but what I can do is bring forth miracles from flour, eggs, milk and sugars.

Normally I keep NPR (VPR specifically) on from waking until sleeping but when I bake to fight darkness I tend to blast music. When I bake I want my music to have a swing to it, to make my hips move, to inspire me to actually sing out loud and carry me out of darkness for the time it takes me to put together a loaf of bread. I can’t share my baked goods with everyone out there but I can share this, a playlist of some of my favorite baking tunes (click the image or the link beneath it.)

Now I’m going to go put together a pumpkin cream scone recipe. Take care of yourself, everyone.

Music to Bake toMusic to Bake to (53 minutes, 15 tracks)

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