Happy Blogiversary!

June 28, 2009

Yeah, I thought I would at least make mention of it and noodle out my various thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I’ve done it before, but it’s good to revisit the topic from time to time, just for introspection and reflection.

Thanks for indulging my narcissism.

It was 2004 when I first heard the word “blog.” Unbeknownst to me, I had actually done some blogging for a year or so after my oldest son was born, but it was before the term was invented. I had a website designed to inform relatives of the progress of my new baby boy in 1999. And there were updates, pictures, narratives and drama galore. It wasn’t until I had been doing it over a year that I discovered that my website was being visited by half the town we were living in. Back then, 12 hits per day was pretty awesome. While I had the little mailbox for comments, no one really left much for comments and I gave up the website after about a year.

In 2004, I began thinking about starting my own place. I had been active on usenet for years, so this was a natural next step. In addition, while I was active on iVillage I was on the brink of being TOSs’ed. It was then that I decided to open my own place in June of that year, just months before “Rathergate” put blogging on the map. My first blog was called Sensual Dementia, and as you can see I was able to recently reclaim that address from the former crackhouse owner. More on that in a second.

When I first started, I basically continued my story from what it is that I had posting in iVillage. Only this time, it was MY space, without draconian iVillage rules. I could say “fuck” whenever I wanted, as often as I wanted. Of course, I rarely wanted to, but it’s always liberating to have that sort of option. My first readers were people from iVillage, very few of whom exist in the blogiverse anymore. Tajalude is probably the last of the readers left on my blogroll from the Sensual Dementia days.

After only a year, I felt the need to yank the blog down and go dark. It was probably a gross over reaction on my part, but I was under a legal investigation and didn’t want to have anything at all to be discovered in case things got out of control. That was scary, and I’m still not getting into specifics, except to say that I was totally cleared. I then decided to re-enter blogging with my current title and motiff. Reality and Redemption was borne out of a lot of fear and pain. I needed a place to work things out. It also offered up a sort of support system that I learned to lean on for moral support, advice and guidance. there were times when I might have careened off the deep end without timely perspective by my often vocal readers who helped shape this blog.

Let’s talk about some them/you in alphabetical order:

  1. 2amsomewhere – My overall motif has been to collect other blogs about relationships that are/were trainwrecks. I discovered 2am (or he discovered me) while his was in the midst of totally running off the track. The addition of him to the blogroll was as natural as gravity, as I have a bias toward a guy’s perspective. Generally speaking, it’s always been harder finding guys in the “relationship” genre of blog writing. Plus, we’re both nerds so there was instant connection.
  2. Always Aroused Girl – For the longest time, we have totally been kindred spirits. For a long time, we were both two of the most popular sex bloggers who were not actually having sex. We wrote all about sex and about what we needed and weren’t getting and people loved reading about it. My 3rd most popular post of all time was when she became my keyholder for my chastity cage. It was my most popular month of blogging ever, as many of her fans flocked over to see what the deal was. My most popular post of all time? Again, lots of kinship with AAG there, it’s the one where I wrote about sticking something up my butt. It doubles on my 2nd most popular post ever, where she was the first to comment. Her popularity has continued to soar, and she deserves the recognition as she works harder at it than anyone else I know. Plus she’s more interesting to read now that she’s actually having sex regularly.
  3. Aphron was a another natural blogger I would read in our little community. He appeared on my radar when he linked to me in one of his earliest posts after I reappeared. Taja probably had him blogrolled before I did, and we borrowed heavily from each other in those days. Back then, I only had two blogs and it felt like plenty. FWIW, I would not trade wives with him, and I’m still amazed that he has stuck with it like he has.
  4. I’m skipping a bunch of people, because they are either inactive or I’m not too active in reading them (and they might not be too actively reading me). I’m treatiung people who I’ve shared a fair amount of virtual love with, on whatever level. But I should make a mention of Christian Husband, who did help drive a lot of the religious discussions around our part of the neighborhood. We disagree sharply on so many things, but when it came to sex and relationship and how faith intersects those themes, we found a lot more agreement.
  5. Emily started out as a non-blogger who left large and insightful comments on my blog. Her comments were so large and so insightful, I highly encouraged her to get her own blog. It’s not that i resented the realestate she occupied in my comments as much as I knew she had a story that was apart from what i was writing at the time. She finally took my advice, and I was right. Our space/community is a lot richer for her contributions.
  6. FADKOG is not a relationship blogger, per se, She’s not exactly a mommy blogger, either. I probably would never have read her at all if it weren’t for our time together in the Real Blogger House. I would link there, but since FTN went underground, it’s sort of pointless. But I did have fun getting her in a chastity belt, even if was for only a few minutes. she’s the only reader, as far as I know who is an avid DRR fan and her comments on my dance videos always make me smile.
  7. FTN. As I said, he’s gone underground and I’m tempted to not mention him at all. But since I have spent a lot of space in the past linking to him and his posts, I feel comfortable in saying that he is responsible for fucking up my blog by making all those links dead. So there’s that. But the guy did manage to inspire a lot of posts from my end and ended up being a sort of “community organizer” for a lot of other blogs mentioned here. The sexual conflict, tension, discussion as well as his willingness to dive into how it related to Chriostian belief help drive traffic both ways.
  8. Katie Fleck is an odd one to have in my blogroll which is precisely why she’s there. I wanted a SAHM on my blogroll and she is the penultimate SAHM. She is insufferably perfect, smart and cute. That’s why it was a hoot leaving comments in her blog knowing that her family members might follow back here to my sex posts leading to interesting discussions at the holiday dinner table. “Who is that guy and how do you know him?”
  9. Cat regularly comments here while I somehow rarely seem to be able to return the favor. But her blog appeals to me on a variety of levels. Aside from the regular relationship drama, there’s the autism connection and the kinkster connection.
  10. Xavier/Xi Summit or whoever he is at the moment is a relative newcomer to my blogroll. I think he might have migrated from iVillage, but I’m not sure. What I do know is that he’s the only one on my blogroll who still has a fair amount of “country boy” in him, and it comes through in his writing. He hits on a variety of levels including the religious and nerdy as well as the gardening and relationship themes.
  11. Therese – I’ll never forget those earliest exchanges where Therese came ’round in comments, addressing me as “Mr. Jones.” At that time, her marriage had been through the proverbial train crash, and she was doubtlessly looking for kindred spirits with which to commiserate. I followed her back to her own brand new blog, and pretty quickly grew fond of her and her writing. And so did most of you. She somehow keeps things relatively modest while also injecting a healthy helping of hotness.
  12. Taja already got a mention above, but I’ll mention her again as the longest-running member of my blogroll across blogging time periods. When she started blogging, her marriage really did look like an Amtrak derailment waiting to happen, but the sexual conflict seems to have taken a backseat to trying-for-baby issues. Some her posts were the absolute hottest, and the HNT’s she posted were also stunning.
  13. Tom at The Edge of Vanilla – The initial commonality here would be the chastity theme that dominated a lot of my thinking early in the blog’s life. I still think about it alot and when I’m hankering for some kink, Tom’s place always has something interesting. However there have also been common interests with fitness anfd technology and relationship issues that go deeper than just the plastic cages and padlock. A lot of the material I had read until I discovered his site was so outlandish that it was really refreshing to see someone bring in some realism along with the hot stories.
  14. Trueself joined me fairly early on as one of many RSS reads. I had her blog as well as another blog by someone who was some sort of avid Illini fan and took me about 3 months to figure out that this was the same person with two different blogs! Trueself certainly fit my genre of a marriage that was skidding toward disaster, but she also had a very dark and raw flavor that has suited my own mood at various times. There is no sugar coating or spin in the way she tells her story. It is very primal but very well told. And very, very prolific. I absolutely can not keep up as she uses her writing to decompress and purge her deepest darkest thoughts. And she has a lot of them!
  15. Desmond – Another commenter-turned-blogger-turnedcommenter-turned-blogger-turned… well , you can get up to speed in his own words. At some point I quit trying to keep my blogroll current and simply put him in my RSS reader. I’m still unsure why he gravitated toward our corner of blogspace. Okay, he was looking for sex talk (I had lots of that) but he also like the fact that a few of us were bringing our Christian beliefs into our struggles and writings. Not many sex bloggers were doing that in 2005, but there were apparently a lot of people who were looking for some Christian sex talk. Even as a commenter, Desmond was more of a provider of content than a consumer; he definitely added a lot of depth to the discussions, no matter which direction they took. He’s simply got a lot more life experiences to share.

Okay, I know that I’ve missed some people and overlooked others. I’m going through a sort of sex/relationship blogging contraction at the moment. One thing that I learned about being a relationship blogger is the it is sometimes easy to eastablish relationships of a sort but it is much, much harder maintaining them. The first few years I had gobs to say and devoted tons of time saying it. Now I don’t have as much to say, I have less time to say it and too many blogs to say it on!

But thanks for those who have stuck with me over the years and the bumps and grinds. Of course the second I say I’m going on hiatus, is the second I decide I have more to say! But I’ll just keep at it at whatever speed I can for the moment.

Cheers!


What does “working on it” look like?

June 16, 2009

We are rapidly approaching the end of therapy, at least for the summer.  Last night, Arwyn and I had a rather  intense exchange about where we are at.  We’ve had these before, of course, and sometimes they get somewhere for awhile and then fizzle out.  Sort of like Farmwife’s garden analogy where the weeds keep coming back if the place isn’t tended regularly.  And the garden of our marriage is pretty lush with noxious weeds.

One of the questions that came out of a recent 1:1 therapy session was this: What would it look like if Arwyn made our relationship a priority?  If she was to really commit to working on it, what would it look like?  I had no idea, so last night I asked her.

A bit of background: for the past few years she’s been working part-time at a church preschool as a teacher.  She’s good at it and everyone tells her so.  She’s just gifted in this area.  She works 3 hours/day for 3 days a week, plus whatever time she puts into planning for it and putting stuff together.  She’s quite thorough and a bit of a perfectionist sometimes.  The preschool follows the school calendar, so sh gets all the breaks the kids get and summer off.  It doesn’t pay a lot, though.  This past spring many of our counseling sessions revolved around the idea of Arwyn considering quitting her job in order to concentrate on our family and especially our marriage.  While I was willing to support her in whatever decision, I had a few misgivings about the idea as in she’d get bored being at home alone and would simply find other things to fill her time.  The financial hit, while small, would involve us sacrificing some of the comforts we’ve started to enjoy since getting out of debt.  In the end, she decided she would stay with her job.

So I brought this up last night, and pointed out that she’s been off for nearly a month and I hadn’t seen any real work on  our relationship or marriage.  I brought up a few things I had tried.  So I asked what she had done.  Every time we have a joint couple’s session, the therapists asks us what we think the other has done to help strengthen our relationship.  And more often than not, I find myself grasping for anything.  ANYTHING.  I’ve come up with her doing laundry, taking care of the kids, sometimes cooking for me and having sex a time or two.  And the domestic chores truly look lame to me.  I mean they are important, but these are not reasons to get married and poor reasons to stay married.  She has a much easier time answering that, because I do step in help with domestic things and occasionally buy little things for her or make things for her or whatever.

But without getting real confrontational, I asked her to help me out.  I could be just really obstinate and blind and missing all the things she is doing for our relationship.  So what has she done?  She had to think awhile and she did come up with one thing.  Back when she bought Fire Proof and The Love Dare.  That was one thing and I definitely used that as an example in one of our counseling sessions back in February.  But she had to really dial back a long way.  She admitted that she hasn’t done much since then and hadn’t picked up the love dare book since she bought it.

We then had an exchange about how hard I can be to please, sometimes.  I didn’t really see this, but I’m more than game to hear here out.  She wanted to me to name stuff she could do to make me feel appreciated and valued as she said she had no idea. I should have just given her (another) copy of my top 20 list.  And perhaps I still will.

Throughout the discussion, she did occasionally venture into “I’m sorry but you seem to want me to be someone who I’m not.”  I’ve heard of other guys getting caught with that one, but I really wasn’t accepting it.  I asked her, “Well, are you happy with who you are?  Are you satisfied with the way things are?”  She said no.  So basically, I’d like to see her be whoever she’s going to be and would be happy to help her get there, but staying the same is not a happy option for either of us.

There was lots of other content here, but sex was not a major part of it, as that just pushes her too far.  And she was on the edge of leaving the room crying as it was.  She does feel a lot of guilt from that so I didn’t feel like pushing it at the moment.  What did come out was that my interest has waned over time.  A lot of the hope has drained away for anything resembling a lovely, regular and fulfilling sex life. I’d still like it, but I don’t see Arwyn ever turning into someone who could want or enjoy that.  I’m just looking for something more basic that says she values our relationship beyond the money and lifestyle I provide.  Then perhaps we can build on that.


Media Free Night

June 8, 2009

In a comment to my last post, MP suggested that we have a computer-free night.  And frankly, that is a wonderful suggestion, except our therapist suggested it first.

And so it was, that we designated Thursday nights as our official media-free night.  That means no TV, no computer or any of that.  Once the kids were in bed, it was just us.  And the first week, it was very, very nice.  There was talking, affection and sex.  It was a nice experience that I was keen to repeat.  But when I came home form work a week later, Arwyn was on the computer.  I figured she would finish whatever she was doing and once the kids were in bed, we would have our media-free night.  But this did not happen as she stated she had a lot of work to complete in preparation for her teaching class the next day for her preschool job.  The next week there was some sort of special event at school for one of the kids that derailed everything and exhausted us both and that was the end of that.  Arwyn just was never able to commit to it just like every other time we have tried to do some sort of date night, special night, couples prayer time or any routine that involves us connecting without the kids.  We do manage to spend a fair amount of time during the week to talk about the kids and schedules and logistics.  But apart from being parents, there isn’t much else going on with and for each other.

My feeling is that Arwyn wants me to just be lying about doing nothing but waiting on her.  And she really could have that but it would take more work commitment than she’s willing to put into it.  So the real story is that she doesn’t want me for herself and doesn’t want me to have a life of my own.


Occupied

June 5, 2009

In my last entry, a couple of folks insinuated that I might be more into my laptop than my wife.  Hmm.  I have to think on that one.

I mean, my laptop is pretty reliable.  So far, turns on whenever I push the proper button.  In Windows, it takes awhile to warm up, but once it does, it runs pretty well.  In Linux, it turns on faster and responds quicker.

Note to whoever invents a digital robot spouse: needs to make sure that she is able to dual boot between OS platforms.

When Arwyn is so uninterested in me and resists whatever  overtures I make toward her (and not just sexual) then I’m going to find other things to occupy my time. And oddly enough, she spends as much time on the computer as I do.  In fact, I probably spend more time offline than she does because I do have other interests once the kids are in bed.  I had been watching Lost and a couple of other shows on Hulu.  I have also been reading a few books.  I also listen to a lot of podcasts and audio books.  These I do while she’s either sleeping or on the computer.

I love the internet because it is such a rich repository of knowledge.  When the tornado touched down here last year and I needed to fix the roof, I found video on Youtube on how to do it.  When I wanted to make pesto, I found the recipe and a video on Youtube on how to do it.  I’ve been trying to listen to a number of free audio books from Librivox.  Mark Twain stories go over well. Try Extracts from Adam’s Diary; hilarious!  Fannie Hill took a fair amount of time and was interesting in that different readers read different chapters.  But it is such a literary classic, everyone should read it or listen to it.  Pilgrims Progress does not go as easily and neither does Orthodoxy. But I have discovered that this is a good way to access good public domain literature while driving or doing something else where reading isn’t possible.  And I don’t know if I would go for literature any other way.

I also listen to a number of podcasts.  One of my favorite musical ones is Mark Gunn’s Irish and Celtic Music Podcasts.  It’s definitely worth checking out, even if you’re not Irish.

A while back, someone had mentioned that they were reading N.T. Wright.  I had to look him up.  Although I had heard of him, I hadn’t read him so decided I might get a book or two.  While waiting for my books, I was looking for podcasts and stumbled upon one he did with Anne Rice.

Anne Rice?  The woman who wrote about Vampires?

Yep.  That was the one.  I had no idea she had become a Christian and had been writing Christian novels/fiction.  So I got and just finished Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. The non-Kindle version.  This is a curious book, but it is exceedingly well-written.  I recommend reading Rice’s testimony in the back of the book before reading the rest of it as it will help add a lot of the context.  Rice was raised a Catholic and returned to that flavor of faith when she was converted.  So there are more than a few influences of that in the novel.  However, there are enough things contained therein to offend pretty much anyone looking to be offended.  But if you remember that this is a work of fiction that contains a lot of research and scholarship, it should go down better which is why I recommend reading her ex[laination of how she came to write it.  You can also catch her podcast with NT Wright.

Wright writes a lot like CS Lewis, with that same sort of scholarly, English style of writing supported by the dry wit of someone who knows his material but also knows people.  I ordered two books.  I found that I sort of stalled out while reading For All God’s Worth and after 2 chapters picked up Rice’s book and read that one to completion.  But now I find I’m more easily able to handle it.  I’m also looking forward to reading Surprised by Hope.

So you see, I do have some other interests going on , in addition to considering a career change keeping and up with the boys who are each involved in different sports and activities.  And teaching Sunday School.

So I keep pretty busy with other things that function as diversions from the lack of intimacy in my marriage.  We’ve also had a hiatus from counseling for the past few weeks and I haven’t exactly missed it.

Okay, that’s enough content for the moment.  I’ll see if I can pick up the pace just a tad this summer, in between all my other stuff. Yeah, you may have noticed that blogging didn’t even make the above list of things occupying my time.

D.