Sunday, December 20, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. - Winston Churchill

Hello all. Welcome back to The Disciplinary Couple’s Club.  Our weekly on-line gathering of men and women who are in, or would like to be in, a Domestic Discipline relationship.  I hope you all had a great week.



Well, wasn’t that an interesting non-hiatus hiatus.  For once, I don’t think I can be blamed for injecting politics into everything.  Here I was, minding my own business all week, just laying around on my couch and posting Christmas-themed smut.  Then, Alan brought up some of Julie’s latest conspiracy theory nonsense.



She followed him over here, I resisted the temptation to respond for about fifteen minutes, then 150 comments later. . . .  I’m just at the end of my rope with the conspiracy theories and the questioning of anyone with credentials or expertise about the thing in question  just because . . . well, precisely because they know things and, hence, are either elites or representatives of the ever-growing Deep State (I'm sure Barr and Pompeo are its latest members according to the folks who make up Julie's new fan club).


And, whichever side you were on in the election, when did it become OK to pout and insist the only way you could lose is if the other guy cheated?  Would you let your kids behave that way if they pouted like a little baby after a lost baseball game or placing second in the science fair? Regardless of who you voted for, have you ever seen such a bunch of sore losers?



I know that some were annoyed that I let the kettle of fish boil even after Alan gave me the OK to delete his comment that kicked the whole thing off, but I sincerely believe that when we have innocent poll workers and honorable government officials getting death threats for just doing their jobs, it is important that each and every one of us call out these fuckers when we see it happening.  This year, if during the Christmas dinner Zoom call your Drunk Uncle starts with the borderline racist comments, or starts ranting that Obama is a Kenyan or Hillary was running a pedophile ring, kick his ass off the call.  He'll whine to all his other old geezer friends about you being a part of that “cancel culture” thing he's heard about on Fox but wouldn't be able to explain if you gave him an Urban Dictionary.  Then, raise your glass and enjoy the company of the rational and the principled of whatever party. 



Now that I have that out of my system (for a few minutes until some other bit of stupidity lights me up again), I know this will come as a great disappointment to the true spanking fetishists who so desperately want to get back to scintillating and controversial topics like “what’s your favorite implement,” but I’m not there yet when it comes to getting back to real DD posts.  This recuperation is kind of knocking me on my ass, and I think I’m going to need another week or two before any real DD spark arises.  I’ve had brief periods like this before, and some of those pauses in my DD interest level also coincided with medical procedures.  After disappearing into surgical anesthetic ether for a few weeks, the interest always returned.  I don’t doubt the same will happen this time, too.


Of course, looking back at past posts, I’ve almost never done a real DD topic just before Christmas.  I guess I get contemplative and introspective this time of year.  Some people measure their progress (or lack thereof) from calendar year to calendar year or from birthday.  I, on the other hand, tend to measure things from Christmas to Christmas.  This year, I guess what surprises me is that 2020 seems to be ending up a lot like 2019 for me, even though the two respective years progressed almost entirely differently.  Here is what I said in my Christmas post last year: 

It’s been a chaotic two- or three-year run, and for the most part I can’t say I’m going to be sorry to see 2019 in the rearview mirror.  It was a year that could perhaps be summed up with that phrase about “the best laid plans of mice and men.”  I ended 2018 with a fairly detailed vision of what I wanted from 2019 from a career perspective, and by mid-January virtually the whole of that plan had fallen apart and things actually went in the opposite direction. 


It was a year that proved to me that while many hard things are growth experiences precisely because they were so hard, some are just mistakes. There were some career decisions I made very early in 2019 that made my whole year a roller-coaster with too much travel, too little sleep, and too much bad hotel and airport food and drink.  I have to call out my wife for not only putting up with it but supporting it by, if nothing else, just going along and keeping everything semi-normal.  Though, it has become a running joke with us that perhaps I should be concerned that she has taken it so well, maybe I need to come home early from a business trip to make sure there isn’t a new boyfriend I need to kick out of my bed.  But, in all seriousness, she has put up with a lot this year.


Deepening relationships also applied to my anonymous blogging life.  I’ve had more regular, though mostly still anonymous, contacts with people I’ve met through blogging world.  I’ve exchanged thoughts with Tomy about how amazing it must have been that during the days when he and his wife were actively running the Disciplinary Wives Club website it seemed to almost operate as a real club in which people actually got together and got to know each other on a personal level.  I really have only one relationship from the blog that is kind of like that, but that’s a start.


So, that was where I was at the end of 2019 – a year for which I felt no affection. Then along came 2020 to put everything in perspective. I had planned for it to be a continuation of 2020 but also a “light at the end of the tunnel” kind of glide-path into a more relaxing, even boring, mid-life transition.  I anticipated a lot of continuing cross-country travel, with a hard push through to the end of my current work career, then a hand-off of my primary role to a protégé I’ve been grooming for years. I was really looking forward to a tough but worthwhile year, culminating in a graceful departure accompanied by the kind of socializing and commiserating with long-term colleagues and clients that one expects when it comes to “gold watch” ceremony time.. Then along came 2020.  Everything was going according to plan until March, then all of a sudden no travel, a big slowdown in my real job, turmoil around succession and transitions, and no prospect for in-person good-byes and orderly transitions anytime in the near future. Champagne good-bye toasts turned into Zoom calls from my home office.  Without warning, I went from a roller-coaster of activity to enforced stillness and social isolation. 


I have always bemoaned the fact that from year to year not much seems to change, all my resolutions to live a different life notwithstanding. Then, along came 2020.  But, it wasn’t just Covid and the social turmoil that came with too many black victims of police killings.  Objectively, even apart from the pandemic, social turmoil, and the profound challenges to our democratic processes concocted by our Crybaby-in-Chief, 2020 was objectively worse for us than 2019. 



At the end of last year, I tried to put 2019 in a more optimistic context than I had experienced as it was grinding along:


Still, as I said at the end of last year, I can give thanks for a few simple things.  All my immediate family made it through the year in one piece, as did most of our extended family.  Most of our family and the important people in our lives made it through the year in relatively good health.  None of our close friends or family suffered health or financial calamities, and one of my family members who was having a rough time on the financial and career front seemed to stabilize and improve her situation by the end of the year. And, while all the business travel truly sucked, it did lead to making some new friendships and deepening others.


2020 was a different story.  We did lose one very important family member.  Others bore the brunt of the pandemic even without getting Covid. One of our kids was just starting a promising career, then along came Covid furloughs that have now gone on for almost nine months. Graduation ceremonies and other important milestones went uncelebrated. Then, very recently, out of the blue someone who served as an important mentor, almost a big brother figure to me just up and died with no warning. And, of course, he was an all-around great person.  A vigorous and healthy “man’s man,” a natural leader, good friend, great father and family man, merry prankster, etc. Of course, it’s always the guys like that who leave you way too early, while the narcissistic conmen and sowers of division eat their McDonalds’ cheeseburgers by the bag-full and go on and on and on.  The suddenness of my friend’s death really put me back on my heels for a few days, and it brought home that even though he was a mentor to me, I was pretty selective in applying his lessons.  I did a good job of incorporating his lessons in leadership and integrity, but I didn’t spend nearly enough time trying to take apply his example of light-hearted exploration and just having more fun.  I naturally tend toward earnestness and intensity, and there is a downside to that.  Hopefully, I’ll do a better job of modeling him in 2021, now that he is gone, than I did in the years after I saw his example but didn’t do enough to follow it.



Still, as bad as 2020 was, I am trying to keep it in perspective as it gets closer finally to  receding into the rearview mirror.  We did lose people close to us, but we weren’t among the 300,000 families in the U.S. who lost someone to Covid, and while we know people who got the virus, none of them ended up on a ventilator.  In other health developments, a good friend of ours got a scary health diagnosis near year-end, but early detection and treatment led to a good outcome. On the economic front and extended family front, the wonders of technology meant many could continue to work without missing a beat, which wouldn’t have been the case had this pandemic come around even a few years earlier. That same technology allowed us to keep in touch with friends and family even when we couldn’t be with them in person.  And, that Covid shutdown may be the only reason I’m still here bitching about politics and the deplorables among us.  I was really wearing myself into the ground in 2019, and when my body finally had enough, it pushed back hard.  My behavior was also going in a very bad direction, culminating in some real tension with Anne in October.  Now, here we are at year-end, and prior to this little medical diversion, I had lost 15 pounds, was hitting the gym daily with strength coming back fast, I was going weeks without drinking at all, and my energy levels were slowly coming up.  I don’t think any of that would have happened if it were not for the forced, involuntary slowdown of 2020.  So, 2020 proved to be a lot like my view of Domestic Discipline – the closer it is to non-consensual imposed boundaries, the better it seems to work!


While 2020 wasn’t a bad year for the blog, I did seem to lose a little bit of momentum when it came to adding Disciplinary Wives to the conversation.  Carol, Cecilia and Jennifer did start dropping in (did I miss anyone else?), but our wave of new female commenters seemed to peak last year with the addition of Danielle, Cecilia, Belle, and Liz and others.  I hope we can ramp it back up in 2021.


So, all in all, 2020 is in a class by itself in terms of overall shittiness, even if things could always be worse.  But, before we get to the very end, let’s all take a pause to appreciate this time of year and remember what Christmas can be, even if we don’t always appreciate it as much as we should. 

In the words of Scrooge’s nephew Fred in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol:


"I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round--apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”


 So, let’s appreciate the beauty of the season.


Keeping in mind that a smaller, simpler Christmas has its virtues. 


Let’s display appropriate enthusiasm Christmas morning, while appreciating those who keep us in line when our enthusiasms exceed appropriate boundaries.  


Hopefully Santa was in one of the priority groups for Covid vaccine, but I’ll make an exception for him and his helpers even if they violate our quarantine, don’t wear their masks, and don’t maintain appropriate social distancing.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each and every one of you who makes this blog worth coming back to week after week, year after year.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Content Moderation

 Hi all.  I hope your week is off to a good start.  Some of you tried to post today and may have gotten a message saying your comment had to first be approved by the moderator (me).  Just to clarify, despite yesterday's heated political back and forth, I have NOT turned on comment moderation.  I've tried to avoid doing that as a general matter and have done it only when I had a temporary troll infestation.  The reason some people's comments were temporarily blocked today is I always have the moderation settings set to require approval on any comments on older posts, as trolls and commercial spammers often drop comments into older posts thinking that the moderator might not see and delete them.  Google's settings for that function is pretty binary, defining older posts as 14 days or older.  Given my recent hiatus, the most recent post was on November 30th, so today that post passed the 14 day mark.  I have checked periodically throughout the day and am trying to approve comments expeditiously.  

I may try to post something tomorrow or later this week, but probably not much beyond more holiday art.  Sorry for the lack of anything truly new and DD related.  Hoping to get back to real posting sometime soon.