Author Archives: Miss Dyyna

Egg Nog

First, a brief history: egg nog was created by the English in the 18th century using brandy, but only really drunk by the rich who had access to dairy and eggs. When it came across the pond in colonial days, we had tons of farms so just about everyone could enjoy it. Because brandy was heavily taxed, we used dark rum since we had access to Caribbean trade routes. Later in the Revolutionary War, rum came in short supply so we started using whiskey and then eventually bourbon.

I did my own little not-so-scientific taste test with all four liquors and the winner for me was actually brandy. It didn’t taste boozy and had a great caramel, vanilla creaminess that was very warming. I also tried to make this recipe not too off the boards nutritional, and used 1% milk and heavy cream. You can save 130 calories, 15g fat, 9.5g saturated fat and 60mg cholesterol by replacing the heavy cream with half-and-half, but I found the latter to be too thin. Either way, don’t think this is without some benefit! It’s “High In” phosphorus and riboflavin – you are doing your bones and teeth a solid so drink up this holiday season. 

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs (see note below about raw eggs)
  • 1 cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup simple syrup (1 cup water + 3/4 cup sugar, heat to dissolve, then chill)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz brandy
  • Fresh ground nutmeg

About raw eggs: I used eggs from a trusted, local source. Apparently you can buy pasteurized eggs in the store, but I couldn’t find them. If you are concerned about using raw eggs, I found this tutorial on pasteurizing them at home.

Preparation

  1. Whisk eggs together in a large bowl. Add milk, cream, simple syrup, vanilla extract, and brandy, and whisk until well incorporated.
  2. Distribute among four glasses and top with freshly grated nutmeg.

No One Can Make You Feel Anything

When this statement solidified for me mid-way through my pity-party, break-up year after PhD, it was so powerful it shot me lightyears ahead in my progress toward moving on and rebuilding my life. It gave me my power back.

I choose how I feel about what other people do around me. So simple, yet so fucking genius!

Think about a situation right now in your life that is making you feel something strong. You feel sad. You feel frustrated. You feel excited. You feel mad, annoyed, scared, happy, worried.

Here are a few current ones for me.

SAD

My step-mom recently sold the house she and my dad were living in for the past 20+ years. My father died suddenly in 2008 at the age of 66. This was the house they shared for the 7 years they were married. My dad was retired then and quite a handy guy so he renovated the upstairs bathroom. He also enclosed the screened-in porch so they had another room to entertain with the family. Even though my dad has been passed away for so many years, I took comfort in visiting her in that house. A place my father had been. A place where I had good memories of him. A place he touched, worked on, enjoyed with my step-mom and the family. She downsized and moved in to an apartment. I don’t blame her, I’m not mad at her for making the choice she thought was best for her. But I’m sad, like really sad that there are no more places I can go where he was. Just a stupid apartment where some of his things or their things are. I recently had a catch-up call with my step-mom. She is looking forward to me and Nerdie coming back east after Christmas, and naturally invited us to come see the new apartment. I told her that I don’t think I’m ready yet to come over. She paused, then said, “Really?” I said, “Yes, really.” I feel sad that their house together is gone, but my step-mom didn’t make me feel sad – that was my choice. She just made her decision to move and is living her life. She didn’t sell the house to make me sad. How would she even know that would make me sad? She did stuff, sad was my reaction – my choice to feel it.

WORRIED

I have been worried about money for as long as I can remember. I started a retirement account at age 23 even though I was working at a nonprofit organization making $22,000 and money was tight (that was 1998-9). I have always been afraid of not having enough money to live a comfortable life or to pay for healthcare if I or someone I love gets sick or hurt. The worry has continued for the 20+ years since then. Today, my specific money worry is about the economy and where the wine business will be next year. I thought this year things would rebalance and get somewhat back to normal port-Covid. Unfortunately instead of visiting wine country, many people took those European vacations that got put off two years ago. The winery is still having its best year to date, but just by a small margin. I recently talked to a private driver who books wine tasting appointments with me for his guests and has become a good friend. He said the same – it was his best year to date, but by $60.38. I don’t know what to think of what is going to happen next year. Will things get more back to normal? With inflation, will the winery’s buyers start pulling back on unnecessary, luxury purchases like $200 bottles of wine? I am worried about paying our business bills, but also about the possible hit my commission may take if people do not buy, if people don’t visit the tasting room, if Club Members skip wine shipments. But again, this is my choice to feel worried. The world is just out there being the world, spinning around with people making choices. I decided, in this case, that I am worried about the situation. No one made me feel that. I did.

DISAPPOINTED

As I look back on my 17 year relationship with PhD, now that we have been broken up for 7+ years, I am left disappointed. I am now the happiest I have ever been in my life and I definitely do not want to go back, but I am disappointed that I believe he just gave up on our relationship because he didn’t want to go through the hard work of talking about it, dealing with it and trying to see if we could repair it. It was easier to continue running in the other direction with the new, shiny lady from work he started bedding and leave all the difficult stuff behind. That’s my opinion of the situation of course, and I choose to be disappointed by it. PhD just made his choices, did his thing, fucked that girl and wanted to keep doing it. All this time later, I have decided to be left disappointed. He didn’t make me feel disappointed, I did and will continue to as long as I let myself.

Sad, worried, disappointed. These are all my feelings. No one made me feel them. No one can make me feel them. These are all my feelings. The powerful thing about that realization is since they are mine, I can change them if I want to.

We have all heard someone say, “You made me mad.” “You made me sad.” “You pissed me off.” “You annoyed me.”

Those statements don’t exist. You, dear reader, cannot make me feel anything. You don’t have the power. And I can’t make you feel anything either as I do not have the power.

I behave in a certain way. I make choices. You do the same. Then I decide what to feel about the choices you make and your behaviors. And vice versa.

This mindset can be applied to anything and everything. Someone accidentally, no let’s say purposely, steps on my foot. It’s going to hurt physically probably. My reaction will also likely be mad. What the flying fuck did you do that for?

Maybe someone just stepped on their foot. Maybe I had a scorpion crawling on my shoe. Maybe a choice I made resulted in their feeling hurt so they sought revenge and stepped on my foot. Whatever it was, I could get mad. I could start yelling at them. I could then be pissed off the rest of the day.

Or I could laugh. I could walk away (hopefully the injury still left me ambulatory 🙂 and forget about it. Think they must have had a bad day and not let it negatively affect me. I could actually be grateful. Maybe I did have that scorpion crawling on my shoe. Whatever my reaction is, whatever I feel about it, it is my choice.

My feelings. My choice. My power.

Fuck if I wanted to be happy about getting a speeding ticket, I could. If I wanted to be sad about selling a case of wine because it wasn’t two cases, I could. It’s all in my control.

Just before I made this internal breakthrough after PhD, I let my sad, disappointed and mad feelings hold me down and hold me back. I was depressed and felt like a fucking cliche. I let all those feelings rule my thinking and control my behavior. Woe is me.

Then I realized I was in control of my feelings. All of them – the ones that made me feel good, and the ones that made me feel bad.

It was like a zillion pound weight was lifted off my shoulder, imploded right in front of me and then disappeared.

I just decided to stop feeling bad…period. That’s it.

Of course it is easy for me to say I just stopped feeling depressed and everything after that was sunshine, unicorns and barrel gin, but we all know it wasn’t that easy. I still have negative feelings I don’t want to have – I mentioned them in the beginning of this post. The point is now I am self-aware to know my feelings are my choice. So if I want to feel sad, I do and I realize that’s what I’m doing. And the self-aware part means generally my negative feelings don’t last as long because I have the control over them, they don’t have control over me. Not that I exactly decide when to stop feeling sad, like I can snap a finger and I am not sad about whatever it is I’m sad about. But instead of feeling stuck and mired I know I am in control.

It is a tremendously powerful feeling to be in control of one’s feelings, and I have found that it also often results in less negative feelings overall. I can more easily say fuck off to the person who stepped on my foot (if it indeed was done with malice) or who was rude on the phone or angry about a late wine shipment. Those minor negative interactions generally roll right off me.

We are all survivors of our circumstances, our environment, our upbringing. I’m not sure I like that descriptor though because I have more than survived. I’m actually better having gone through the hard parts. When it was hard, I worked harder.

Your feelings. Your choice. Your power.

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Diamonds: The Strip Club

I quite enjoy strip clubs. I have been many, many times starting way back in my college years. I even danced in a go-go bar for a month one summer when I was 20. Women’s bodies are sexy as hell. I like them all – tall, short, thick, thin (not too thin though), small boobs, boobs that’ll knock you in to the next room, long legs, muscular legs, and all that ass – yum yum!

Diamonds and I talked and laughed over the years about going together. How fun it would be to post up, look at some ladies, get a lap dance, joke, a few drinks and have a good time. God knows we had spent enough hours in hotels over the years that we needed to get out.

He did some research and found a place near the shore – about a 45 minute drive. We got ready in the hotel room, nothing fancy, but it was fun to get dressed and primp together. He was on point as usual with some dark blue jeans, blue plaid button down, grey sweater, matching dark grey flat cap, and the fucking way he smelled, good god, it was hard to let him keep his clothes on.

We took off and with the tunes on and us singing along. The car ride went fast. When we pulled in to the parking lot, I glanced to the left. It was a typical windowless joint adjacent to a sub-three star hotel.

Fully nude establishments in New Jersey cannot get liquor licenses, but you can BYOB. We grabbed some beers for him and a bottle of bubbles for me on the ride up. We walked in to a dark, but lightly occupied room. Several guys hanging out together along one wall with a full cooler of beers. A Latina woman was on the stage, which was flanked by two poles at either end and high-top bar seating along the opposite side. We first sat along the wall next to the guys to get the lay of the land and check out the scene, get a drink going. I was the only woman in the room fully clothed.

Diamonds is a pretty outgoing guy so he’s chatting with the guys next to us, and when one of the dancers comes over for a few bucks. I’m the shy one, especially sober, so I move quickly on my bubbles to get myself relaxed and more convivial.

There was one lady that immediately caught my eye because she had a body like mine, although a number of inches shorter and with slightly bigger boobs, healthy ass – all my favorite types. We watched her on stage and she was spicy. Although I couldn’t hear what she was saying I could see that she was giving the guys a little attitude – such a turn on.

After her dance and a drink or two, we decide to step out for a smoke. He paid the bouncer to watch our booze and keep our seats. It was cold out so we jumped back in his car and turned on the music and the heat.

As we were puffing and chatting away about the scene inside, I look up and see this older, rail of a white man emerge out of the black woods behind the strip club on a kid’s BMX bike. He sees us in the car and starts riding over towards us. This completely freaks me the fuck out. Where the fuck did this guy come from? Was he high? Armed? Is he just going to ask for money?

Diamonds is calm, cool, collected when the guy rolls up to the driver’s side. He puts the window down a crack.

“Hey, my man, what’s up?”

“Can I get a little money for something to eat?”

He looks like he’s been living in the woods for awhile. Dirty clothes, face. Smelly, quite thin frame.

“Sorry man, I can’t help you.”

“Can I at least get a smoke?”

“Sure.”

Diamonds gives him a couple of smokes, puts up his window and the guy rides off.

I guess when you are 6′, 300 lb and half-black people tend to not fuck with you that hard or at all. I was so scared the guy would pull a knife or a gun or do something really crazy. Diamonds wasn’t worried at all.

“I have a scary side as well, but reserved until needed. It wasn’t needed.”

We finished our smokes and headed back in to the club. We moved our drinks to a couple of chairs right at the stage for a better view and to get some more attention from the ladies.

Diamonds asked me to pick a girl and suggested we get a lap dance together. I knew exactly who I wanted – that sexy, spicy one with the nice C boobs I wanted to get my hands on. When she got off stage and started walking around the club, Diamonds got her attention and made the deal.

We followed her back to a room on the opposite side of the club. It was a long, rectangular space with just a curtain closure. There was cushioned bench seating along the three walls. It was unusual in that there were other guys getting lap dances in the room at the same time. Weird and distracting, but not bad to have all that eye candy.

She asked us to sit next to each other, and as the next song started, she started moving her body to the rhythm while she took off her bra top. Finally, those yummy boobs I was waiting for. She first put her hands on my knees and spread my legs apart. Then turned around and started grinding her ass into my vagina. She pressed in so hard she actually got clit contact. Fuck. I reached over and gripped Diamonds’ thigh close to his cock.

While she was moving around, he leaned over and whispered something in her ear. She immediately got on to the bench next to him on her knees then crawled across both of us. Her ass up in his face while she buried her face in my vagina. She pressed her closed mouth against my jeans and rubbed up and down. I looked over and smiled at Diamonds while he watched her ass bounce up and down in his face.

She climbed all the way across and straddled me backwards, leaning back on me. I asked if I could touch her. She nodded and I immediately grabbed two handfuls of those beautiful, soft tits. From the outside, I squeezed in and up and then softly pinched her hard nipples. Diamonds ran his hand down her thigh, leaned over and put his wet lips right on mine. A brief make-out sesh while I had titties in my hands – absolute heaven.

But alas the song ended quickly. We thanked her, he tipped her and then we moved out to return to our seats at the stage.

Diamonds immediately asked me to pick another girl I liked.

“That was fucking hot.”

Oh, yes it was. I had only wished the lap dance room was a bit more private. I wanted to get away with a little more.

We watched, we drank, we went out for smoke breaks – thankfully the biker from the woods never reappeared – we laughed at the whole night.

I picked another woman for a second dance. Taller, blond, much bigger tits. We followed her back in to the lap dance room. She was less enthusiastic with much less rhythm and just took turns dancing on him, dancing on me. Boring, but the first girl was in there dancing on another guy. Neither of the ladies stopped dancing, but our first dancer started chatting us up. We were having a good ole time joking with her while she grinded on this other rando. I wish her boobs were in my face instead.

After the blah blah second lap dance, we went back and hung around at our stage seats. We talked about getting another dance from the first woman, but we were a bit buzzed, horny and had a 45 minute drive ahead of us.

I slept most of the way back, and shuffled sleepily from the car to the hotel room.

As soon as the door closed, Diamonds was grabbing me. Kissing my neck, reaching down to unhook my belt buckle. I woke up pretty quick.

He puts his hands on my hips and pushed downward to get me on the bed. Took off my boots while I continued taking off my pants. I had barely gotten my top over my head and he was on me, grinding his cock, still in his boxer briefs, over my already wet pussy. I wanted his cock in me.

Thinking back to the first dance and those perky soft boobs with the hard nipples. Watching her ass bounce up right at his nose, inches away from his full soft lips. We were both so ready to fuck.

He buried his face in my neck, slipped his cock through the front opening of his boxers and plunged into me hard. I let out a loud gasp and threw my arms around his neck to hold on for the ride. He scooped up both of my ass cheeks to get the leverage to pound me, pulling them back and forth in rhythm with his cock sliding in and out.

I let him have me.

His breathing quickened and got louder. Pounding, pounding, pounding until he couldn’t hold back any longer and exploded.

He moved to the side, but I wasn’t done. I was so turned on by the entire night, I needed to finish.

He sat up on the bed leaning back on the pillows at the headboard. I remained in the same spot now perpendicular to him and bent my legs over his. My ass was swimming in a pool of our sex. I wiped my drenched lips and clit with the heel of my right hand and went in direct and fast with my right index and middle fingers.

Diamonds sat there quietly watching. My clit was so swollen it didn’t take me long to cum. I followed his explosion with one of my own, arched my back as I screamed out several profanities while I rode the top of the wave.

Coming down was calming. After all the sexual tension and build up from the night, it was so satisfying. I slid up next to him and put my head on his chest. I rubbed his soft, smooth body. We just lay there enjoying each other’s bodies and the fun, sexy night we just had.

I caught myself dozing and with painful realization pulled myself off of him and in to the bathroom to clean up. Went home to my sister’s and crashed with a big smile on my face.

“Wow and to say epic. Everything was epic last night sweets. That lil spicy white girl was fun. I kept whispering in her ear to do more things to you lol. We were boss in that place. We came back and it got a lil spicy lol.”

“God that was such a fun night! Thank you!”

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Our Planet

When work wakes me up in the middle of the night, I know exactly what will settle my brain and put me right back into dreamland…David Attenborough. If you don’t know Sir David Attenborough, you really should take the time. I have no idea what he did as a young man, but now, most certainly in his 80s, he narrates the most beautifully calming nature shows. Of course the cinematography is mesmerizing, but his voice is the soothing white noise I need on those nights to turn my brain right off.

One recent restless night, I started his series called “Our Planet” and the first episode included several minutes about rainforests. He talked about one area being so lush that female birds can raise chicks on their own so the males spend 100% of their life attracting mates. You may already be aware that the males of most bird species are the pretty ones – brightly colored, fancy feathers, barreling chests. But these particular birds Sir Attenborough mentioned, called Manakins, native to Mexico and South America, have quite an elaborate dance routine for attracting females.

In particular, the Golden Collared Manakin first spends lots of time clearing the forest floor of leaves and sticks. When a female arrives, he dances from branch to branch in his pristine home showing off his colors and then does a back flip to really impress. She checks out every detail before deciding if he gets the tail.

The Blue Manakin practices such an intricate dance that it involves three other males. They practice on the daily. One of the males plays the female and watches on as the other three take turns flying to the front of the line, making a short display for her examination and then moving to the back of the line for the next male to show off. They continue until the lead male performs a final move, then he flutters and waits. If she doesn’t immediately fly off then…boop boop sexy time.

On another sleepless night a few months later I made it to the second episode about the jungle. The focus was on New Guinea. It is so isolated there that it has evolved some very strange and curious creatures, including the Western Parotia. It is one of 40 species of Birds of Paradise.

The male is truly unusual. When not on display for a mate du jour, he has jet black plumage with a stunning golden-green iridescent chest and black ‘wires’ darting out from the top of his head.

In preparation for a female, he turns into the most OCD cleaning guy I have ever seen! However, I suppose you could blame the female, who visits only the tidiest of male homes.

Every morning, he clears his area’s forest floor. Not just a light sweeping, but rather he moves every single branch, leaf, and tiniest piece of debris. One rogue leaf may ruin his boop boop chances. She inspects, he continues to try to impress not only with his spotless abode, but his dance routine must also be flawless.

First, his blue eyes flash bright yellow. He fans out his feathers, gives her an affirmative head bob, and then presents his iridescent chest patch. He’s not holding anything back! She continues to be coy turning her head from side to side to continue the inspection. If she is satisfied with his cleanliness and dancing display, you know what comes next…

Now the last time I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t a male bird – no bright colors, iridescent feathers, head wires nor particularly clean home. Although I would say I have a dance move or two that may attract the opposite sex.

But every day I prepare to host a private wine tasting at our wine country tasting room or travel for a wine event, I feel like a Western Parotia.

When guests visit wine country, they are on vacation. Yes, they are more than likely coming to taste and buy wine, but for them it’s fun time – no risk, no real skin in the game. The same holds true for wine events on the road.

What all these guests (aka female birds) don’t realize is all the time, effort, OCD cleaning and personal grooming I have put in to preparing for their arrival. Just like those male birds, I didn’t wake up like this. Yet it must be flawless if we want the boop boop (aka wine sales).

Right now, I am sitting in a hotel room in Dallas preparing for a wine event this evening in fact. First, back at home, I decided which wines I would pour and calculated about how many bottles I would need for three events with about 20 people each. It’s not an exact science. I have attempted to communicate with my host my desire to invite guests that collect wine and have the means to purchase at my winery’s bottle prices. I have encouraged my host to put me in touch with their caterer or chef to put together dishes that will pair well with the wines. Please no pickled items, asparagus, vegetables from the cabbage family, spicy flavors, strong herbs or sauces. Chefs aren’t usually wine-trained and my hosts aren’t professional wine sales people so these are delicate dances.

I lugged a 12-bottle hard case filled with wine into the car and through the airport. I also shipped myself wine and picked it up at a local Fedex shop. I then moved these boxes and case of bottles in and out of the rental car and then onto a hotel cart and in and out of my hotel room every night because I don’t want the car to get broken in to. Also, it’s warm and humid here – not good for wine.

Once in the room, I cleared out the min-fridge to fit bottles of white to chill. I have a queue of red wines on the desk waiting for their turn in the decanter. Stuffed in my suitcase I have printed out order forms, a list of large format wines, a display large format dummy bottle that I had carefully wrapped in a tablecloth in my bag brought to inspire and encourage large format sales in advance of Christmas coming up. I have wine keys, pens, decanter, funnel, black napkin, a black outfit for me (in case I get red wine on myself), wine club information – all which I packed with my clothes and then load into the car for each event.

I arrive about an hour early to the event – typically the hosts’ private home, but sometimes a private dining room in a local restaurant or their country club. I never exactly know what the layout will be so I find an area – corner of the kitchen island, counter in their bar area, side table – and begin clearing my forest floor. I display the large format bottle with an updated list of available bottles for sale. I put order forms listing the wines we will taste that evening either at each place-setting if a sit down, coursed dinner or several in a clipboard laid around the event space if a heavy app reception. Don’t forget a pen with each form! I get the whites back in an available fridge or ice bucket. I check the reds to see if they need more decanting time.

(Momentary pause to swirl the decanter in the hotel room.)

Then now that my area is clear of debris and looking sparkly, the guests begin arriving. I flash my brown eyes blue, put on a wide grin, turn on the charm and puff out my chest. I do my very best to impress – talking about the fancy vineyards, barrels, our winemaker; sharing details about the winery’s history, how we are special. I listen to the comments on my initial display and pivot to capture and keep their interest. I subtly layer in talk of small, limited production, difficulty in getting the wines, the order forms, the large formats, the wine club, visiting the tasting room in wine country – whatever will get me that tail!

This goes on for several hours and only when I observe people picking up their pens and beginning to write on the forms do I know my display may indeed work. Cautiously optimistic fluttering and waiting. When they motion me over to ask a question, I get a whiff of excitement at their interest. When I see several bottle quantities circled, my excitement grows. But the deal has not yet been done.

Not until I receive the completed form…

A case order, a multi-case order, wine club membership, large formats or library wines included – that’s the sexy tail I want. Then I know all those hours of work cleaning every branch and leaf from view, my plumage, my dance moves – they worked!

This is a hard way to live.

Sir David Attenborough didn’t mention the stats on these male birds’ boop boop success, but I imagine it is rather low. Just like in wine sales. That’s not to say I never sell wine – I do pretty regularly after people taste and I dance.

But most sales are just a few bottles and some people attend events (more often than not for free where the host bears the venue, glassware and food costs), drink and leave. These are the rudest kind of guest that, if karma lives, I hope will go straight to a special circle of Dante’s hell reserved for leeches.

The amount of work hours that go in to wine sales is extraordinary, but then there’s the emotional impact. I don’t know how the Western Parotia feels when he doesn’t get any, but when I don’t sell wine or just a few bottles, after all that physical work, emotional commitment and business expense I’ve made to display and impress, it gets me down. Now I have to pick myself back up, somehow recharge, and get back out there for the next opportunity – usually the following day. It’s exhausting, especially when travel out of state is included.

Yet when I am successful, like a recent trip to the south, where everyone bought cases and joined the wine club, it’s just the drug I need to energize me for the next display. It’s what keeps me coming back. It’s what keep me motivated to clean my forest floor. It’s why I practice my dance moves. It’s why I’ve been in sales for nearly 25 years.

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Any Meat Bones Stock

Learning to make proper stock in culinary school was a fucking game changer. It was what we did from day one to the day before graduation.

Laying out 50 pounds of bones-du-jour on to sheet pans, roasting them until deep brown, struggling to get them in the huge industrial stock pots bolted to the floor, stirring and skimming for hours – on the daily. The second most laborious part of the job was straining. There was a convenient spout at the bottom that when opened would gush stock. However this procedure required you play tag team with a fellow student – someone willing to donate practically their entire body to the pot reaching all the way in to keep the drain from blocking on the inside with bones and veggies and one stationed on the outside trying to keep the spigot clear and the stock flowing.

Yet the most laborious and dangerous part of the process was balancing stock pot after stock pot on over turned milk crates, switching them out just in time before they overflowed. Then enlisting some strong arms to carry them away as they inevitably sloshed over creating animal-greased floors was a precarious lawsuit in the making day after day. Yet, we all survived.

While learning this important skill, I decided I needed a taste test comparing to store bought. Even though homemade stock in the at-home kitchen would not have been nearly as dangerous to produce, was it worth the 3-4 hours of simmering time for poultry stock and the 6-8 hours for beef stock? The answer is just yes, fucking yes you need to make homemade stock. Every store-bought version I could get my hands on was either thin and watery or too salty or both – and all about 10-15x in price. The cherry for me in making stock is that I also get to use more of the whole animal.

So please take a lazy weekend afternoon and make stock. After you strain it, pour into smaller containers, label and freeze. Your rice, grains, soups, sauces, just about any place that calls for water in a recipe, and, most of all, your taste buds will worship you in response.

It’s taken me forever to read “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain. He writes as fantasticly as he narrates. Maybe it’s our Jersey connection, but that straight-forward attitude is golden. And while he is making fun of you, you have to admit he’s nearly always right.

Here’s what he has to say about stock:

“Stock is the backbone of good cooking. You need it – and you don’t have it. I have the luxury of thirty-quart stockpots, a willing prep crew, readily available bones and plenty of refrigerator space. Does this mean you should subject your guests to a sauce made from nasty commercial bases or salty canned broth? Make stock already! It’s easy! Just roast some bones, roast some vegetables, put them in a big pot with water and reduce and reduce and reduce. Make a few months’ worth, and when it’s reduced enough strain it and freeze it in small containers so you can pull it from the freezer as needed. Life without stock is barely worth living…”

I am a convert and he’s is absolutely correct that stock is life.

Years later post-culinary school, I would now call myself a bone-hoarder. That turkey carcass after Thanksgiving? I’ll fight you to the death for it! Thankfully no one actually wants it so I have never had to use my Chef’s knife to procure it. They don’t know what tasty pleasures they are missing.

I am awfully glad that Nerdie didn’t examine my freezer before he proposed or he might have thought twice after seeing a good 30-40% of the space devoted to either bones, finished stock or both. But now just try and get him to eat rice made with water – HA!

INGREDIENTS

  • Cooked Bones (skin and meat on ok, sauces and breading no)
  • Oil
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic cloves
  • Herbs
  • Whole Peppercorns

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Peel off any visible skin from the bones and then break the bones, if needed, to fit in your stock pot. I found that about 2-3 # of bones fit into my Dutch Oven.
  • First, put the skin in the pot over medium heat. Let the fat render off. If you don’t have enough of a coating of fat, add a little canola, vegetable or olive oil.
  • Add a whole onion, peeled and cut into what the culinary world calls production cuts. These are rough, imprecise cuts so just run your knife through it and put it in the pot.
  • Meanwhile do the same production cuts with 2 carrots and 3 celery stalks – mas o menos. After the onion edges start to brown, add the carrots. After the carrots start to brown, add the celery. This takes about 8-10 minutes between each browning.
  • Then add the celery. Celery doesn’t brown, so just cook until you see it start to soften.
  • You know those annoyingly small garlic cloves in the bulb? Save them and use 3-4 of them here. Smash them with the side of a knife and throw them in the pot, skins too.
  • Add some herbs, woody-er ones, like thyme, sage, rosemary, bay leaf, depending on how you might use the finished stock. I typically use thyme and bay leaf because they are flavorful, but not too strong in flavor.
  • Add about a teaspoon of black peppercorns cracked with the side of your knife.
  • Put the bones in the pot. Fill to the near top with water.
  • Bring to a boil, then cover most of the pot with a lid, turn the heat to low and simmer, yup, 3-4 hours for poultry stock and 6-8 hours for beef/game stock.
  • Check periodically to make sure it stays at a simmer. Skim if you’d like, but I don’t bother.
  • This would make a food inspector cringe, but after the allotted simmer time, I turn off the heat, put the lid on and let it sit just like that overnight.
  • The next morning there may be a solid layer of fat on top. If so, gently heat to reincorporate. Don’t be afraid of fat and skim it off god damn it! Fat is flavor – just like stock!
  • Then turn off the heat, and using tongs, pull all the big bones out of the pot. I learned this step the hard way after making a right mess trying to strain. The weighty bones came barreling out of the pot, hit the side of my straining vessel, turned it over and all that work went down the side of the cabinet and on to the floor. Now I had animal-greased floors! No fun – so take the bones out first.
  • Place a fine-meshed colander or chinoise over a glass Pyrex bowl with a spout. The spout is non-negotiable!
  • Pour the stock into the colander and fill the bowl. Get yourself some restaurant-grade pint and quart containers. I found them easily and cheaply on that big box store in the clouds. The lids fit tight and you can freeze, microwave and dishwasher them.
  • Continue until it’s all doled out. Label and freeze.

Diamonds: The Chicken Noodle Soup Year

Just as in previous years, February through December passed by in a flash. I was New Jersey bound again – looking forward to my sister’s big New Year’s Day bash and seeing Diamonds. It was harder and harder to act casual around him at the party with all my family and their familiar friends around. We probably spent too much time talking to each other, drawing attention, but if anyone suspected, they looked the other way.

Then on to the really, really good part – getting a hotel room and him all alone!

“Started feeling a little sick last night with a cold trying to fight it off. I hope this isn’t my bad cold for the year. Not before I get alone time with my snookems lol.”

“Oh no!! Fight that cold! But I’ll take care of you when I see you love.”

This time I made the hotel arrangements and picked one of those places that were short-term stays for business types so we’d have a small kitchen. I planned to check in early and set up a bunch of creature comforts for him when he arrived. Homemade chicken noodle soup. His favorite body wash so he could warm up in the shower. Candles for soft lighting.

I picked up all the ingredients from a nearby grocery store. I bought a whole chicken so I could use the bones to enhance the crappy store bought stock while shredding the meat for the soup itself. I didn’t quite have the 3-4 hours, and likely the kitchen equipment and utensils, to roast bones and start stock from scratch.

I also picked up some bubbles for me to entertain myself while cooking. The ingredients to my favorite cooking adventures always involve bubbles and music. This time I was planning on the addition of watching porn as well.

I went to the Target next door to pick up the candles and noticed that they already had Valentine’s Day stuff out. I saw this cute, short apron on display – white with pink hearts that tied around the waist and was open in the back. New ingredient…cooking mostly naked! After all, it’s only safe kitchen etiquette to make sure the important front bits are covered sufficiently.

I got to the room, unpacked, set everything up and got going. He had to run over to the city to meet with his jeweler about a piece he was working on for a client so he was running even later than expected. As much as I couldn’t wait to see him, I was excited to spend a few more hours attempting an as-much-from-scratch chicken noodle soup in this ill-equipped hotel room kitchen.

The knife was dull af with a nearly bendable blade it was so thin. The one cutting board was way too small. Two electric burners. No tongs. One large pyrex bowl.

In my little apron, flip flops and nothing else, I soldiered on. I had bubbles, music, muted porn and hours to myself…heaven!

I set up the candles and body wash for him. Ginger ale, OJ and vodka in the fridge. Airborne, cough drops, sour cream and onion potato chips, beef jerky. How ever he felt, I wanted to be prepared.

The bubbles and porn were making me a little too hot in the kitchen. I definitely wanted to wait for him for the pleasure so I teased him with a few pictures in my apron.

I bent over the bathroom sink and took a picture pointed backward into the mirror so he could see my long legs and ass.

I sat on the couch with my legs crossed, lifted the apron to reveal just a hint of my pussy.

I laid on my side on the bed, bent my knees, stuck out my ass so he could see all the long curves of my calves, thighs, ass, back.

I hit send on all of them.

“Wow fucking wow. I can’t wait for that soft ass to fill up my hands. Every curve of you. I love the way you keep me so locked in. I’ll be there soon!”

By the time he walked in, I had only about a glass left in the bottle. He looked around at the soft lighting and the pile of everything I could think of to make him feel better. Without hesitation, he walked right over to me, picked me up and gave me a zillion kisses on my face.

My smile was wider than the sky.

He put me down and we immediately locked lips. God how I missed those thick, pillowy soft lips.

A first few little kisses got steamy quick. He picked me up and put me on the edge of the small peninsula at the edge of the kitchen that doubled as counter-top space and dining table.

I was so ready to go – physically, emotionally, mentally and literally with only that apron on.

He put one hand on my back and gently laid me back on the table. Threw off his hoodie, slipped off shoes, dropped jeans and drawers and pulled my hips right on to his hard black cock.

For a nanosecond I wondered if the table would hold me.

The feeling of us together again was all encompassing. There was nothing else in the world. The entire hotel could have fallen around us and I don’t think we would have stopped.

I sat up while he was still inside me so I could watch his cock sliding in and out. One of my favorite POVs.

I moved my hips back and forth while he ran his hands all over my body.

He stopped, put his hands under my ass and in one fluid motion picked me up keeping his cock inside. I put my arms around his neck and he walked slowly to the bed, bent down and rested my ass on the edge. I laid back. He kept pumping in and out of my now slick pussy.

I put my legs straight up in the air and crossed my feet so my pussy would be wrapped around his cock as tight as it could be. He held my ankles to one side of his face and stared right into my eyes.

Without warning, our sex was suddenly transformed. All that pent up emotion from not seeing him for a year came rushing in.

It was one of the most connected moments I had had during sex.

I got a tingle in my nose and could feel my head and eyes start to well up. Our sex had just become love making.

While I didn’t cry, I think he saw the emotion on my face and felt it too. He stopped. Without a word, I sat up on my knees and we wrapped arms tightly around each other.

His smooth skin, wide chest, thick arms, big hands swallowed me up whole.

He pulled back and we started kissing. I put my hands on either side of his cheeks and pressed in to his lips with a new passion.

A new love for him.

I moved back on the bed and he climbed on. He slid right into me, but stayed leaning back a bit. I noticed the angle allowed me to have access to my clit.

I pulled my lips apart and started rubbing with my right index and middle fingers while he moved back and forth slowly and deliberately. Watching me.

The feeling inside was tremendous. It didn’t take me long to reach my summit. As I was screaming out, he quickened his pace, which elongated my orgasm. It felt like it was going on forever. The increased volume of his moans woke me from my trance.

Once he came, he collapsed beside me on the bed. I climbed on top of him so we could get as much skin contact as possible. I didn’t want to stop feeling his body on mine.

I put my head next to his and rubbed his head with my right hand. He ran his hands slowly up and down my back.

We had not uttered one word.

For those moments, I felt like we had melted together into a sweet chocolate-vanilla swirl.

Eventually we got ourselves up, partially clothed ourselves in pajamas, and we came back to reality. Hours flew by as we drank, talked, laughed. He ate the chicken noodle soup with a deep appreciation in his eyes and many thankful words.

I fell in love that night.

It was an absolute true, but crazy feeling. Nerdie and I had been dating for two and a half years. We had already had some conversations about marriage.

How could I be in love with two people at the same time?

I had no answers at that point. Only that my feelings were true. I wanted to marry Nerdie and have him in my life every day, be his partner, be his teammate, be his lover, build a life.

I wanted Diamonds too. To be a best friend, a best lover, stay this close forever.

We saw each other several more times before the month was over and then I went back home.

“I was talking about you this am if your ears were ringing. Nothing bad just talking to my mom about people, relationships, etc. Just how me and you are a rare case and how special you are to me and how we get along. And how I had a great time when you were here. And I can’t stop thinking about you. And even though I don’t talk about the sex all the time it’s totally fucking amazing with you. I’m all over the place in my head.”

“I’m crazy in my head too…we text and don’t see each other for 12 months…then bam! I want to be with you 24/7 all over you…want all of you and all your time!”

“Our vibe is real and trust me I want to give it all to you. I’m sorry so sorry sweetums. It’s hard as fuck for me. I knew it would be when you came. And I know it’s not possible. Strong when apart weak as a muthafuck when near.”

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Regret

It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It’s Death Row.

“Feel sad, repentant or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss of missed opportunity).”

Oxford Languages

I am not an ‘everything happens for a reason’-type person. When one door closes, another one opens. God has a plan. And the worst for me, when friends say ‘mercury is in retrograde’ so you have no control over the shit that’s about to pop off.

I guess I don’t like thinking I have no control over my life even though I know I don’t control a great many things about my life and what happens in it because, well, there are people in my life. We are all unpredictable.

When regret came knocking as my relationship with PhD was falling apart, I succumbed to it – that Death Row of the mind that keeps you imprisoned in a Groundhog Day-like mental wheel of sadness, disappointment and loss. I hated the loss of control – of my own fucking thoughts, of the place someone else put me in. I clearly recall loathing what I called the ‘cliche’ I had become – left for a younger woman at work after years of a sex-less relationship, and oh yes, I was middle aged.

But the definition of regret is cemented in the past. It’s about something that has happened or been done – past tense. Reread the definition above. There are several -ed’s.

Besides the regret I was feeling from the failure of my relationship with PhD, as I look back, I could regret a great many things in my life:

  • I cheated on my very first boyfriend, twice.
  • I tortured myself and wasted so many years trying to find a flavor of Christianity that fit me.
  • I refused to forgive one of my best childhood friends (cannot recall what she did that made me mad). She called to apologize, I didn’t forgive her. And not only did I lose a great friend, but she became very popular in high school, while I was a shy, nose-in-the-books, part-time jock with few friends.
  • I choose a career in the non-profit sector, and while it was mostly fulfilling to help and serve, I wish I had gone off in to the business world. My bank account would have thanked me.

But those feelings keep me in the past on a loop of misery and self-loathing…ie Death Row. Regret implies that I fucked up, I’m stupid and likely, I’m a bad person for making a mistake that may have hurt myself or someone else, or even worse, for a mistake that someone else made that hurt me.

One of the most freeing realizations that got me off Death Row was that my thoughts are actually something I can control. In fact, they are, as far as I can tell, the only thing I can reliably control, and, furthermore, no one else in the fucking world can control my thoughts. They are mine all mine!

When the power of that realization washed over me, I felt like I could float, the lightest I had ever been in my entire life.

I control what I think, and therefore….wait for it…what I feel.

I decide what I think (and feel) about everything – from the sweater I see in a store to the weather to when someone cuts me off on the highway.

And the latter is the most important.

Because no one can control what I think, no one can make me think (or feel) anything. This is in my control, my brain, my thoughts, my feelings are my power.

But just as with any power, you need to hone it, focus it, train it.

The end goal being (well first, getting off Death Row!) you being in control over what you think and feel about everything that happens around you, how other people act toward you and treat you, how you act toward and treat yourself.

When PhD cheated on me, I had a self-loathing, pity party on Death Row for about two years. Woe is me. What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this? (I actually had an answer to that one – karma from cheating on my first boyfriend.) I should have done this or that. Going over and over and over it in my brain. Death Row.

I let his choices, his behaviors toward me create the thoughts and feelings in my brain.

I felt regret.

Then when I realized I had control over my own thoughts and feelings, it was all in my power. What he did wasn’t making me feel bad, feel regret…I was doing that.

PhD acted the way he did. My reaction was the Death Row, the pity party, the regret, the sadness for the loss, the disappointment over what was and what would never be. But when I took back control of my thoughts and feelings, I said to myself, “Fuck that shit!” I’m tired of feeling bad about what someone else did to me, about the regret. I’m tired of Death Row.

So I fucking seized that control and began what ended up being a nearly seven year journey to the happiest place I have ever lived in my brain. With the simple realization that I have the control of my thoughts and feelings, no one else.

I no longer believe in regret, fucking waste of time and brain power.

It is not to say that I don’t get sad or upset or mad or frustrated when I feel like people treat me poorly (or when I treat myself poorly), but I realize I have control over how long those feelings last, and now they generally last a lot shorter than they used to.

I have a pity party every once in awhile, for sure, but subtract any regret I may feel for making the bad decision(s) that went along with it. I am human and I make fucking mistakes.

The key to eliminating regret, for me, is to be self-aware enough to realize you don’t have to feel bad for making a choice that you maybe shouldn’t have. You are human. The very important part of the equation is that you learn from your mistakes and make better choices in the future…because that’s what you have control over.

You have absolutely zero control of the past.

And guess where regret is…in the past, past tense, remember?

After cheating and being cheated on, it was very important to me that I not be in a relationship again where cheating could be a possibility. So I researched and read about relationships and found Ethical Non-Monogamy (ENM) where transparency is the foundation. You don’t have to cheat because you and your partner build an open, honest space together. This is not to say that this type of coupling is without its own challenges, but honesty is at the base and that was what was important to me. I could handle the challenges (boundaries, jealousy among them), and yes, I’ve made lots of mistakes with Nerdie in the process, but we work through them. That openness and honesty about our sexual desires doesn’t stop at the door of the rest of our relationship. ENM requires exceptional communication, which gets extended to the entirety of our relationship.

Freeing myself from regret, accepting myself as a human who makes mistakes and tries to do better, and, at the pinnacle of it all, realizing I have ALL the power and control over my own thoughts and feelings, and no one can take that way from me keeps me floating far away from Death Row.

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I’ll Most Likely Kill You In The Morning

Remember the scene in Princess Bride when Wesley and Buttercup are walking through the Fire Swamp and he tells the story of how he became the Dread Pirate Roberts? The then Dread Pirate Roberts takes Wesley on as a valet and every night says:

“Good night, Wesley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

As much as I say I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life, and I absolutely am the happiest I have ever been in my life, still non-monogamy isn’t all fantastical tales and happy love endings.

I look back on all the various relationships I have had outside of my primary one and that sentiment from the Dread Pirate Roberts now resonates with me strongly. It has only just come together in my head. As if after each date my lover says:

“Thank you for a fantastic evening. So fun and sexy! But I’ll most likely need to get rid of you pretty soon.”

Maybe I’ve just become cynical about dating.

I think until the two recent difficult break-ups this year (I have not yet wrapped my brain around writing about them although one of them is mentioned below), I approached meeting someone new with excitement and an open heart, just waiting to see where the adventure would take me, not looking to see what was around the corner.

I say in dating app profiles, and often in person, that I want to care about my partners. While sex plays a strong leading role, I want to enjoy the time I spend with someone outside the bedroom. I want to be intellectually challenged, playful, comfortable, enjoy activities together, and genuinely caring toward a partner. I want to know about their lives, history, challenges, aspirations, passions.

I want to connect.

I have since learned that connection can be dangerous. It requires vulnerability. Vulnerability, in my experience, often leads to pain and disappointment.

I suppose I could simply call myself naive and that I need to get tougher. You would think I would have a thicker skin being from the fuck you East Coast. I often walk around like it’s old, worn leather, but it’s really just an act. As much as I don’t like to admit it, I have a liquidy candy center.

Maybe this in just par for the course from non-monogamous dating. I AM married and can only offer so much to someone else. Our relationship can only progress to a certain point. A certain point I am happy to live in forever, by the way. But I cannot go on vacation with you. I cannot move in. I cannot come for Thanksgiving dinner, and I do not want to meet your kids, your friends, your colleagues.

I also have wondered if I attract a certain type of older man who is in transition in his life – just looking for a fun attraction to ride while on vacation from figuring out the rest of his life.

I’d like to recount some of the more notable, or I suppose painful, ways I’ve been killed in the morning.

In the first year, I was mostly ghosted. That sucks, but I learned to choose slightly more mature, sophisticated and reliable men.

With that has come more sophisticated ways to die.

I dated one man for nearly 10 months. We met just a few months before COVID began and we maintained our own little love pod, seeing each other several times a month at his house. We would enjoy walks through his vegetable garden, birthday suit dips in the hot tub followed by birthday suit dinner making complete with lovely old wines. Often dinner had to wait as naked cooking became naked groping and then pushing the beautifully set tableware aside and fucking on the dining room table.

It turns out he had been seeing someone abroad for over a year and decided to move her across the world and into his house.

I unknowingly was invited over for one last romp and then to take home all the lingerie he had bought me. I got killed.

I dated another man for only about four months. I was hesitant when he told me in the beginning that he had a fiancee in Europe and they would be married. But it wouldn’t be for two or more years because she wouldn’t move to the US until her precious, old horse that she loved so dearly passed away.

He would come to my town several times per month either finding a location with a kitchen so he could show off his Italian cooking skills or take me out to a nice dinner before enthusiastically hitting the sheets. He was generous, communicative, caring.

Until she decided she didn’t want to wait and wanted to get married within several months. She set a date and had bought a wedding dress in Europe. I got killed.

I found a kind, mid-Western man who lived in my town – amazing! He was single – amazing! He spent a lot of time traveling for work so would want to see me a bunch when he was here and then we’d have weeks go by while he was out of town – also amazing!

While not so sophisticated about food and drink, he actually introduced me to a new gin made in New England from botanicals that included honey. I still enjoy this gin and have shared it with friends.

We enjoyed watching porn together and talked about a threesome with a trans woman (on my bucket list – getting fucked with tits in my face? YES PLEASE!). My favorite session of ours was in his living room. Porn on the jumbotron above the fireplace. Me riding his cock reverse cowgirl so we both could watch. It was so fun to be in control and grind on him. Quite a thigh workout too! Hear him moan. Hear the TV moan. Feel the grip of his hands on my hips pulling me back and forth. Rising and rising until everyone exploded.

He was generous too. Then told me he started seeing someone new and felt it was wrong to be also seeing me on the side. I understand, but I got killed.

Then I thought I had found the prefect man with the perfect scenario. He was married, but they lived apart. He in the city and she in the country about two hours away. They would see each other on the weekend. He enjoyed cooking, mezcal, baseball and long conversations. He was painfully shy, but I thought with time we would become comfortable with each other. We were both very excited about this match.

After about 4-5 dates, he mentioned he was taking a 6-week unpaid sabbatical from work and planned to travel to various retreats and camps across the country. He wasn’t sure if he would go back to work or retire. He wanted to explore what the third chapter in his life might look like.

Perhaps I had no right to ask at such an early stage of our relationship, but I inquired where he thought I might fit in to this scenario. We had both been excited by this stable duo-marriage pairing. He didn’t have an answer very much as if he didn’t even consider it. I was killed yet again.

There are many other stories of fits and starts eventually falling apart for one reason or another.

Today, I have several new men in my life. One I have been dating for a few months – England is from near Oxford. He is divorced with two teenage children. He has told me he absolutely believes he was a woman in a previous life – he feels his sensitive nature is very feminine. He has been quite enthusiastic about me recently making a joke about celebrating our three months together, a three-month anniversary or something to that effect. I asked has it been three months? He quickly laughed and said he didn’t know. I checked back and our first date was three months ago.

I have felt myself being pulled in emotionally with England as in previous new relationships. Opening my heart blindly without a thought to the future on my radar screen. Just skipping down the path that we create.

He is fun, sexually exploratory, patient, generous, genuinely loving, genuinely caring.

I want to try not to be killed.

During our most recent date, he made a quick, under the breath comment about one day there being pain when we stopped seeing each other. That pulled me to attention and the future possibilities started making bleeps and bloops on the screen.

Rather than wait to be killed I thought A-HA! This is the opportunity to practice emotional restraint. But could I do that? Could I halt my feelings for him right there where they were, care about him but not let myself grow to love him and still enjoy my time with him? Could I be slightly colder and less emotionally enthusiastic?

The Dread Pirate Roberts did tell Wesley every night that he would most likely kill him in the morning. Wesley didn’t know when it may come, and in the end it never came. I’m not sure I believe the end never coming is a possibility anymore – I once did.

So rather than be blind-sided when I do get killed in the morning, could I simply believe that I will be killed at anytime, enjoy the moment, protect my heart and not be so upset when death comes knocking?

I know this may sound completely antithetical to my recent post Let Relationships Be Where They Are. It’s probably accurate that it is. I never claimed to not contradict myself. This is a journey with very few maps to rely on for guidance. So I am just out in the world trying to create a successful pathway, and not to get killed.

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The Gent: Birth of a Panther

As my relationship with PhD was imploding, I decided that after I graduated culinary school I would go by myself to my family’s beach house in NC. I hadn’t been there in more than five years. The ocean was calling me as a place of peace amidst the turmoil of PhD, being fresh out of school with no job and the acceptance that most of my culinary school friends were going back from whence they came. I needed to sit for hours on the porch rocking, watching the waves and hearing them crash just like I did as a little girl. I needed wet sand between my toes and to feel the last push of a wave grasping at the shore rush over my feet. I needed to close my eyes and feel my skin suck the sun’s warmth in as I turn a healthy golden brown. I needed crab cakes served in a crab shell, fried flounder, sweet hush puppies and watery mayo coleslaw, buttery biscuits and fennel-laden sausage patties. But what I needed most, what I craved, what I could practically smell the moment that salt air hit my nose after I arrived and parked under the house was one pound of beer and Old Bay-steamed whole shrimp served on a styrofoam plate, lots of napkins and a cold shitty beer in a can.

And that’s the first thing I did.

I dropped my bags, took a deep breath of the inside of the house, said a fond hello to the ocean and headed right over to the restaurant on the mainland side of the bridge. It sat right on the intercostal waterway. A two story rickety white and red painted wood structure with outdoor picnic table seating. I went through the line, ordered my pile of shrimp and a beer and waited on a bar stool.

It was better than I remembered. By the end of that pound, I had a thick layer of Old Bay under my nails and shrimp legs stuck to my fingers. It was divine.

I didn’t want to go home, but I didn’t want to drink any more since I had driven. I took the car back to the house and walked two blocks to a neighborhood bar and restaurant. They had a live band playing and I slid right into a bar seat on the corner. It was mid-September and so sparsely filled by locals who live on the island year-round.

Before I got the bartenders attention, The Gent, who was sitting two stools down, asked me where I was from. He quickly moved next to me and we talked easily for over an hour. He lived two doors down from my family’s house.

The Gent was about 5’8″, 59, owned a construction company in town that built three-story monstrosities all over the island plowing down dunes, native grasses and animals in the process of covering every inch with beach houses.

Hairy, beer chubby, thin gray spikey hair, naturally spent too much time making out with the sun over the years, a footlong band of white skin wrapping around his nether regions.

But damn am I a sucker for a southern accent, smile and charm.

He was funny, always cracking jokes and laughing at them. Smiling with a can of cold beer in his hand living in swim trunks.

When I announced I was turning in to a pumpkin, he walked me home. It was on his way.

Over the next ten days, we spent a lot of time together. I would get up, go to the little local gym in town, make eggs, sausage and a biscuit for breakfast while I stared at the ocean from the kitchen table. Then I’d spend a few hours working on the house. I recall many days sitting on the cement carpark floor under the house, listening to music, repainting the rocking chairs, crying over my conclusion that when I returned to CA I was going to break up with PhD. I drank hard sodas at 11AM. Then when it was time for the paint to dry, I would suit up and head across the street to the beach to get my daily two hours of sun.

The Gent came by often wherever I was. Sat with me on the beach talking until he starting snoring.

I went over to his house for dinner nearly every night, except on the ones I needed to stay in and have a pity party.

On one of these nights, after dinner, we sat on his front porch listening to the ocean, to music, drank and talked until it was AM. I got up to say goodnight and head home. I walked to the end of the porch and turned at the top of the stairs to hug him. It lasted just a moment longer than usual and when I pulled away I saw it in his eyes.

I walked home past the house in between ours and had the first thought that he wanted me. I was naive and obviously off in my own world consumed by thoughts of what was going on with PhD that I had completely missed it.

The next few days hanging out with The Gent I was a little freaked. He was twenty years older than me. I had never done anything with a man so much older. The idea of it was no where on my radar screen until literally just then.

He took me out on the waterway in his boat. He stopped at a few docks to say hello to his local friends. He didn’t introduce me, but seemed quite pleased to show me off in my yellow string bikini, tatted golden skin. He caught a young, sexy thang.

After awhile he stopped the boat so we could drink and fish. I was so nervous that he was going to make a move. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if he did. But I was curious to know what kissing an older man would be like. Maybe I should make the move first to find out.

Nothing happened.

We went back. I went home to clean up and we planned on dinner at his again.

We did the usual routine. Bad wine, a selection of Costco cheeses while he grilled something – mostly whatever was caught that day at the fish market within walking distance.

Instead of going outside after dinner, we settled in on the couch. I sat, he moved in closer. He’s absolutely going to kiss me. I was so nervous.

When it happened, I was shocked. I don’t know what I was thinking it was going to be like – as if older men kissed like aliens or something. But it was normal and quite nice. His lips were thin, but soft. His hands on me were big and strong. He moved with purpose and confidence.

It was getting heated. I had never felt an older man’s body. His biceps were thick and strong. His chest hair was full and soft. He had a round belly and love handles. Wide shoulders and fuzzy hair. Pecs that were slightly boobs.

I was enjoying it all.

It was exciting. A new adventure. I loved it. I wanted to fuck.

I pulled away for a moment and said…

“Do you think you are ready to see my birthday suit?”

A wide grin took over his face as I stood up and pulled my sundress over my head revealing a tight light pink bra that even made my small tits heaving and full. Matching thong.

“You’re beautiful. Lordy so sexy.”

We had a magical evening. He took charge and I liked it – a lot.

He didn’t let me sit down, but grabbed my hand and walked me to his bed. I laid down on my back and he climbed right on top. He was heavy on me. I could feel his chest hair rubbing on my tits and his hard cock pushing up against my pubic bone. The head was teasing my lips.

His hands were wild grabbing my tits, rubbing my thighs, cupping the outside of my pussy with a finger pushing in between my lips to check my wetness. I was soaking.

He kissed my neck, my ear lobes. He was hungry. It must have been awhile for him. His energy was winding me up into a frenzy.

He slid himself down, bent my legs and spread my thighs apart. He ate my pussy with confidence and I could feel how pleasurable it was for him as well. He moaned nearly as much as I did.

It didn’t take me long to finish, but he wasn’t at my first orgasm. I had to ask him to slow down as I recovered a bit. My clit was swollen and very sensitive. He was patient and I came thrice more.

I was sopping wet. I could feel it under my ass and all over my inner thighs. In one fluid motion, he came up for air, wiped his mouth and plunged his long hard cock inside me.

My lips felt pursed so when he entered it was extraordinary. Sliding in and out fast. I looked down and caught a glimpse of his rhythmically disappearing cock. His moans quickly crescendoed and he collapsed on top of me. That heavy feeling I liked again.

I toweled off my vagina, light-headed and smiling all over. Wow, what the fuck just happened?!?

The next day I decided to extend my stay by a week. I didn’t want to leave the ocean nor his mouth on my pussy.

We played like we were newlyweds on honeymoon except I slept in my own bed at home. We took more boat rides, fished, spent hours laying on the beach together, made dinner, drank and listened to the ocean at night and fucked a lot.

As the third week was coming to a close, I had thoughts of staying. I had no job, few friends and a relationship on the way out the door back home. I could rent the house from my siblings and live a cheap ass beach life for some time. But CA called me home.

The very last morning he came over to say goodbye. It was a little teary for me. I did not want to go home and face the awful task of breaking up with PhD and the terrible, painful fall out that would follow. I wanted to eat shrimp and live at the beach and fuck The Gent.

Looking back seven years later, I am more than glad I came back to CA and faced the pain. Life did get well worse before it got better, but The Gent opened the door over those three weeks and a baby panther slinked slowly out of the darkness.

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My Trips to Cougar Town

Since 2015 I knew I liked older men, but a year later I was still just at the beginning of my personal sexual revolution. The dating app world was my oyster and I wanted at least a dozen to try with mignonette, lemon and all the fixin’s! My previous sexual experiences up until then were pretty plain, not all vanilla, but age appropriate, monogamous-focused, it takes two-kind of stuff. So as I embarked on my exploration, I felt a few trips to Cougar Town was imperative.

I first rode in to Cougar Town while I was in culinary school – this was 2014. I fancied this tall, troubled gent from New Orleans. I’m at absolute sucker for a Southern accent. He had been stationed in Iraq as an 18 YO fresh out of high school. He was in the cool crowd at culinary school and we barely talked except when necessary during class. When everyone would hang out in the evenings, he definitely got the shittiest. Lots and lots of Jameson. I admired and was empathetic from afar.

One night deep into the drinking evening with the class, I was talking to his best friend. He and I had not been seeing eye to eye in class – that’s the polite way of putting it anyway. After our little tiff where I’m pretty sure I told him he was a fucking dick, I can’t actually recall how or why I mentioned I had a wee little crush on his friend. The next thing I recall is New Orleans sitting on a bar stool, me standing next to him and him with his arm wrapped around my waist.

After the bar closed at 2AM, I went back to his – a room he was renting in a house where the owner was asleep. We were both clearly inebriated, but then he started smoking weed.

When we came back in to his room, I was talking off my boots when, standing in front of me, he threw a pillow on the floor and without a word, starting taking of his pants. I obliged, I mean what a gentleman – so thoughtful of him to put a pillow on the floor to comfort my knees why I swallow his dick!

After that night, we went back to not talking to each other.

I took a two-year hiatus from cougaring. Until Darling Nicky – see Part I and Part II.

Left disappointed again, I moved on to the next town with hopes of better sites…AND pleasure.

Then when a 29 YO (I am nearly 41 YO at the time) messaged me about a year later on whatever dating app I was on then, I said WTF, maybe third time will lead to an orgasm??

Cougler was first generation Jordanian, short, light-skinned, broad chested and thick with muscles and dark hair. His parents owned a casual restaurant in a town about 30 minutes away and as a traditional family, they all lived together in the apartment upstairs. He helped them out on the busy weekends, but M-F drove about an hour away to work at a big Bay Area company HQ.

A drop of young drama commenced.

“I’m here, but I’ll be waiting outside. I just noticed by ex bf brother is working the bar. Rather not see him.”

We chose another bar and I actually had a great time. As we drank margaritas, he taught me about tequilas and his family history from Jordan. I was intellectually stimulated! Amazing and so fucking hot! But one rule I still have not broken is no sex or coming home with or inviting home on a first date (well…see Prison Dyke – Part I and Part II). I walked to the bar, so I let him drive me home (also kind of a no-no).

But with all that brain activity going on in my head, I know my pussy was not far behind. We parked outside my apartment for a make-out sesh. His lips were big, soft, wet and he kept his tongue in check. Leaning over the console, he put his hand on my thigh over my jeans and inched closer, gripping firmer.

Torturous!

I was able to pull myself away and end the evening.

Later…

“You are an extremely beautiful and sexy woman. I’m looking forward to exploring your body. As you got up out of the car, I got a small glimpse of your tattoos. It was a bit of a tease.”

“I like to be a bit of a tease. Your hand on my thigh almost did me in though…”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold back next time.”

The next day he sent me a 3 minute unsolicited video of him stroking himself. Hot, but ugh.

We continued the sexually tense chatting as I headed on a birthday trip with Nerdie to Reno.

“Happy Birthday! Maybe later next week you can unwrap your bday gift. <winking emoji>

“Thanks for remembering…so sweet! Let me guess…this gift is in your pants??”

“LOL yes maybe I can send you some more teasers in the meantime.”

Just ugh.

This round included a full nude in the mirror – face, cock and all!

“I want to lick you all up and down. I’m dying to get a taste. The anticipation is driving me crazy!”

I was losing slight interest – not that I didn’t find him attractive and nice – but the youthful, lack of nuanced approach was softening my dick. Still, I wanted to try him to hopefully erase my previous lackluster cougaring experiences.

“You know I’ve been thinking about you plenty over the past couple of days. I would love to see you tonight.”

Yup.

“Why don’t you just come over? I’ll have some snacks and drinks handy, but I’ll warn you since I’m moving soon, my apt is pretty sparse…”

“No worries. There’s really only one thing that I’m looking forward to eating tonight. <winking emoji>”

<Eye roll emoji> with hint of cautious optimism??

Yes, we didn’t do much eating and drinking before he pounced. I was into it. I was routing for him.

When the make-out and dry heavy petting became overwhelming, he just stood up, literally threw me over his shoulder and carried me to the bed. Ok, hot.

I was looking forward to a good tongue lashing and that’s exactly where he went first – hooray!

He got going, I was getting comfortable. Closed my eyes to cut off visual sensory so I could appreciate the touch. He worked his way down from my breasts to my inner thighs, kissing, rubbing, licking. The anticipation was now driving me crazy.

He finally settled in between my thighs and roped his arms around my legs for leverage. The first touch of his tongue on my clit sent shivers running through me. Oh the spell will be broken tonight – Cougler is it!

Before I could enjoy my excitement at the upcoming orgasm or even concentrate on getting myself there, it was over. Could I even have counted to 10?

The rest of the evening was fun, way more than New Orleans but my disappointment was on par with Darling Nicky – what a let down. After he ceased focus on me, it was all about him. I did enjoy his hard, hairy bod! I even said so the next day.

“I loved every inch of your hard hairy bod! 😉 So you mentioned there was a girl who really helped you up your kissing game, interested in addl lessons??”

“I’m good with constructive criticism.”

“I just find guys in their 20s rush, and that’s why I’m not interested in second rounds as much as I like to touch and admire. If you are open, I’d like to alter that scenario. If nothing else in my life right now, I’m open and honest…”

“I appreciate your honesty and much rather you tell me the truth than have me keep going about it the wrong way. I promise to be more patient and attentive to you the next time we meet.”

Well, ok, Cougler.

So we picked back up with our sexually charged texts. I got excited again. It would be fun to teach a young buck better tricks. That’s part of what you read about why young men go after older women, right? To get a lesson or two?

But unfortunately life got in the way. He kept trying – would text me when he was in my town, but my interest fizzled. Do I really want to spend the time, patience and energy being a teacher or get some instant gratification in my typical form – not as a Cougar, but rather a sexy Panther!

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