Better Late to Blog

September 1, 2014

Then never.

Monday, September 1st, approximate time 1:20p.m.

I hear it’s a holiday out there, but I am still here.

Here in the dusty remnants of Burning Man, which is no longer Burning Man, fyi, mister high as a kite spinning poi on the Esplanade.

The event is over.

Go home.

Meh.

Here at camp, the breaking down continues, without me being broke down.

I am so far, so proud, so good, so on point with the self-care I have never actually felt this ok at this juncture in my previous journeys on playa.

Typically I have been pretty beat up and burnt out and done, done, done.

Not to say that I’m not done.

I am.

I am packed.

I am ready to go.

I have my bins sorted and stacked outside the door to the trailer and my exodus outfit ready to be put on, speaking of, exodus has been really mellow, longest wait I’ve heard of today was about an hour.

Most folks seem to be getting out within thirty minutes.

Peak population happened early a.m. Friday morning, hitting around 65,000.

Then the people, well, they started to leave.

The fear of the great wait in line is intense and I see many folks packing it up and hauling out before Man Burn or Temple Burn.

I understand completely, sometimes you just got to get out.

For right now, for me, it’s just the sit tight and wait.

The bug is asleep, mama and papa are wrapping up what they need to do for their jobs and I am in a holding pattern.

It’s a little like waiting in the gate to the airport for the plane to be cleaned off from the previous flight.

I can see the copilot and pilot cross checking their perspective duties, I can see the land crew doing their job, my job is to wait.

I am ok at that.

It does make me a tiny bit anxious.

I have places to go.

Things to see.

New York, New York.

But there is not much to be done except quietly take in each moment as it comes and accept that I am here for another twenty-four hours.

The plan is to drive two vehicles to Reno, one I will drive and the other mom will drive.

The vehicles are both rentals.

One will be returned to Reno and then the other will take us back to San Francisco.

The mom has one more meeting she has to attend at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning.

I will be ready at the time she needs to go to her meeting.

All my bins, four total–three medium, one small–will be in the mini van that will drive us back to SF. Then I will hop in the other mini-van and drive to her meeting with her.

My charge and I shall hang out while she wraps it up and then once the meeting adjourns, we’ll hit the road for Reno.  The first rental will get dropped off and then I’ll climb aboard the second and hit it to SF.

We should land sometime late in the evening.

I am hoping for a quick pit stop at Whole Foods to grab road food–all things fresh, my god, I am grateful to the Commissary, but the food is getting me down–apples, fresh water, an iced coffee, a big salad for the road, and then on to the City by the Bay.

I am missing her.

I see that the majority of my friends have made it out and back to SF and I am a teeny tiny bit jealous.

However, I am grateful that I won’t be staying as long as I did last year.

Tomorrow will mark 19 days.

Last year it was 22 days.

I was not exactly broken last year, but the ten-hour dust storm white out the day we were supposed to leave did not help, I definitely felt cracked by the time we got off playa.

Fingers crossed all will go smoothly and we shall enjoy a pleasant and non-eventful trip back.

Not everyone is so lucky.

One of the team members came by today with a broken thumb.

There was a camp mate who broke his heel early last week and had to leave.

Then there’s all the folks who get dehydrated or sick or lost or broken in other odd and uncomfortable ways–today a gentleman confused a bottle of kerosene with a bottle of water.

Last night someone drank a bottle of water that was not water but GHB.

Ack.

I am pretty damn lucky, dusty, yes, dirty yes, I can’t wait for my shower, but my health has held.

Lots of fluids.

Lots of naps.

I probably took more naps this event then I have done in my prior seven outings.

I also have been meditating.

That does not hurt in the least.

And going to bed early.

I haven’t gone out dancing.

Unless you count the ten minute shake my booty at Distrikt that I did last Thursday for a hot second.

I have, however, ridden my bicycle a lot out here.

And I am happy to say, the ankle is holding up.

A twinge now and again and the ride up was pretty uncomfortable, but I don’t think that will be an issue the way back, but good for the most part.

Stable.

I can tell it’s still not 100% but it’s so much better.

I should be able to ride my regular bike when I get back to the city.

I am certainly going to give it a go.

I slowed down a lot with this event and really kept the focus on the job and the duties that I needed to do.

It means that my event was quite a bit different then the last seven, but it also means that I won’t be returning to my regularly scheduled life needing a week and a half to recuperate.

I suspect that there will still be tiredness and some dusting off of self to do, but so far, so good.

I’ve got about 23 hours left on playa.

Fingers crossed they are uneventful, restful, easy.

See you soon.

So There’s Like This Thing Happening

August 30, 2014

I can hear it.

I can smell it.

Smells like burning wood and fireworks ember and bacon.

Pretty tasty smell that.

I can see it, sort of, if I lean myself out the open door of my trailer.

But I am not much participating with this thing called Burning Man.

Yet.

I am a part of.

And I am not exactly upset that I am missing all the “fun” and fire and boom and bang and the flashy, flashy, that can get all little overwhelming.

But I am feeling a teeny tiny bit FOMO.

Fear of missing out.

I believe that’s because I spent a lot of the day, a lot, inside a trailer, with the charge.

It was a horrendously dusty day.

I mean awful bad.

There was no going out all day, it started up pretty early and just barely seems to be ending now with the some of the bigger burns happening and the fireworks and the Friday night of it all.

I was yawning when I was checking in with the mom and knew that although I had drunk two cups of coffee at dinner, I wanted to be awake and ready to rumble, that the best thing I could do was call it an “early” night.

Early for me is midnight.

Which is already past my bedtime when I am in the default world, but it’s the earliest I can get myself to bed out here.

I’ll be up at 7 a.m. to do my deal and get ready to be ready to work at 8 a.m.

And that’s cool.

My choice.

I could also choose to be cracked the fuck back and not sleep and hope that maybe I’ll get a nap or a bit of down time, but I so know better and despite a bit of longing to go out and throw myself into the fray, the fray is doing just fine without my pink fuzzy self out in it.

I sat down tonight in the Commissary with my boss, a Ranger manager, in a sea of rangers.

I had to laugh.

I stood out like a Fruit Loop in a bowl of khaki Cream of Wheat.

There were easily twenty Rangers at the table, men and women, all in various shades of khaki (not even sure that is possible, I should say arrayed in various styles of khaki), and then there was me.

Teal mini dress.

Hot pink bra.

Hair up with pink and teal and yellow roses in it.

Rainbow fishnet tights.

Hello Kitty striped hot pink socks.

Bahahaha.

I mean.

Please.

It was hysterical.

I said it out loud, “one of these things is not like the other.”

“We’ll recruit you yet kid,” an older Ranger said smiling at me.

No I don’t think you will.

Not that I don’t think they fulfill an important feature at the event, I just wouldn’t be able to handle the drab dress code.

“They’re just so, cliquey,” the DPW guy said to me last night in line at the Commissary for dinner, he nodded to a couple of tables loaded with khaki counterparts.

I had to laugh to myself.

Pot calling the kettle black, my friend.

DPW’s traditional colors are dusty black.

It doesn’t matter where I go in the Commissary, I tend to stand out.

Maybe if I was hanging with the Greeters, but they’re few and far between.

This was my first day really rocking some bright colors, truth be told, I feel like I am growing up a little bit with my attire and my choices have been pretty utilitarian out here when I reflect back on previous Burns.

That’s not to say I am anything pedestrian in my dress, just a touch more restrained.

And perhaps there is a tiny bit more black in my wardrobe.

“You look like you have a Gate shift today,” the mom said one day earlier this week.

I had to chuckle at that too.

Y’all can try to categorize me.

But no matter what way it’s sliced I am going to be fabulous.

It’s just in my blood.

And so be it.

So, too, is Burning Man.

And as I told not one, not two, not three, but four friends, dear friends, close friends, like I want to spend a lot of time with these friends and here they are, some virgin Burners, some long in coming, that I was going back to camp to have a cup of tea and wind it down at 10p.m. and go to bed early, it hit me.

Hey.

I want to have some Burning Man.

So.

Since I have decided to pursue some graduate school action next fall I think this is where the nannying on playa stops.

I want to make an affirmation that next year I go to Burning Man as a tourist.

Yeah.

I know.

CRAZY.

I’ll still work.

I mean I can’t not.

But just not as fucking much.

Not so much that I can’t go play with my friends.

It’s probably all for the best, my ankle is still healing and I would have to be chill anyhow, but still, I can hear it, there, just outside my door, the thrum of life and stuff just happening hard, and it’s not the party that I want to keep missing.

There’s plenty of magic still to be had for me this burn, I know that, and plenty of experience to grow through and from.

This too is spiritual for me.

This learning and growing and expanding.

My friend sharpied my arm a couple of days ago.

It read.

“Carmen 1st.”

I am self-centered and often self-deluded, but it is not often that I put myself first.

It’s time I did.

I am good enough.

I am allowed.

Here.

Back at home.

I made my nanny bed for this Burning Man and I am grateful, so grateful, without the experience and the painful growth of the job I would not have reached out to the degree I did and I would not have had the enlightenment I have gotten.

And I am beyond grateful for that.

Hell.

I emailed the admissions department at CIIS today.

I mean, if I was going to be stuck in a trailer in a dust storm all day.

I was going to make it fucking count.

But I am done putting Baby in a corner.

I am too fabulous to be stuck there.

Time to let me out.

I am ready.

 

Keeping The Home Fires Burning

August 28, 2014

I mean that rather literally.

I am at camp on a night shift so the parents can actually go out and see the creation that they helped put together over the last year and more specifically over the last, uh, um, thirteen days.

I really have no idea how many days I have been out here.

I could try to figure it out, but the fact that I even have the mental capacity to be writing anything like a coherent sentence is rather amazing.

The amount of stimulus out here for the senses, without ANYTHING mind altering, unless you count a lot of ice tea as getting crackin’ with it, is beyond the pale.

There is just so much constantly going on and sometimes I can get some fierce FOMO.

Fear of missing out.

But I also agreed to work a night shift and in return I have tomorrow off.

I am tired and I am ready for bed and I would love to turn in once the blog is done, but who knows how long I will be keeping an eye on things at camp.

It’s not a challenging shift, the little guy is sound asleep, it’s just a matter of staying put and not falling asleep.

I will make a few more trips to the port-a-potties and have another cup of tea or three and eat an apple and write and edit some photographs and then it will be just chilling.

I suppose I could watch a movie, but I don’t have the mental capacity to watch a gnat at this point.

The same goes for reading.

So when I found myself starting to do some internet research I shut it the hell down.

I mean, just downloading a few photos to my facecrack page was more than my little brain seemed capable of having.

But I will say I am excited by the prospect of what I was researching.

I have come to the decision to try, yet again, exploring another career.

And you thought I was done with that.

Ha.

This time may not be different from any other of the various multitudes of careers I have researched and explored, but I will say it feels different and the amount of positive feedback that I have had from friends out here on playa who I have told of it has been absolutely enormous.

I mean.

Not a single one of them said that sounds idiotic.

I have had ideas about careers and have had them prove pretty damn silly as soon as it came out of my mouth when I told a friend.

So to get the affirmation I received felt very positive and I keep getting goosebumps when I think about it.

I want to go to graduate school and get my PhD in child psychology.

There.

I said it.

I want to do something completely outside the box of my writing and creative life, which I adore and love and cannot imagine not doing, but I feel like those things are only more helpful for what I endeavor to do.

Besides.

Dr. Martines has one hell of a sexy ring to it.

Does it not?

And as my dear friend from LA, Daddy Don (his playa name) said quite succinctly when I came to his camp and unloaded about a very uncomfortable situation, “you already have seven years of field work, you’re probably overqualified, research it when you get home, and you’ll know if it’s right when you get into school.”

Well.

Holy fuck me.

I mean, yeah, I won’t lie, I have consider psychology before, in fact it was one of the majors I looked at before I settled on English Literature, which was really settling when it came down to it.

English Literature, I love you, I always will, but mama needs a career and I don’t want to teach in academia and that’s really what I would have to focus on.

Plus, how many times have I looked at Creative Writing MFA programs?

Iowa Writers MFA program.

Check.

Columbia, NYU, UCLA, San Francisco State, the Stegnor Fellowship at Stanford.

Check and double fucking quadruple check.

I also applied to and was turned away from UCSF.

I was so certain at the time that I applied to that program that not only would I get in, that they were also going to give me a full ride.

I believe that’s called hubris.

I have been blocked at all turns.

I have also researched accounting–going so far as to pick up a class at City College of San Francisco to get a taste of it.

I dropped it after twenty minutes into class.

I went to the orientation at SF State to find out about teaching elementary school.

I left the orientation knowing I had no desire to invest anything in the program to only get out and make less money than I did at that time as a nanny.

I went to San Francisco Massage School.

How many times I have had someone say, “you should be a massage therapist! You’re amazing.”

I made it through one class and knew it was not for me.

Though I still love to gift massage and have a number of times on playa this Burning Man.

One could say that I have had quite a few ideas about what or who I should be and it could change, I may find that I don’t want to.

But.

It feels real.

It feels of service.

It feels like a career I could go to school for and still nanny until I was able to set up my own practice.

It feels like something I could actually make a living at and not worry about when pre-school or elementary school starts and then I am ass out having to hustle to find a new family or families.

Which.

Aside.

When I return to San Francisco I will be looking for a full-time gig, if I am going to go to grad school I will be applying for next fall semester and I need to sock some money away.

Working three days a week is not going to cut it.

So, you know someone who has full time needs peep me privately.

Peas.

Tanks.

And I have a sweet friend out here, the same said friend who saved my ass when I forgot my coffee drip cone in the dish rack and brought me her spare so I could make coffee in camp, who raved about the program she is in.

And.

Got the goosebumps too when I told her what I was considering.

“You would be amazing! Yes! Yes! Yes!”

So.

I have some research to do.

But not tonight.

I am tired and I still have hours to go before my sleep.

I cannot make any headway like that.

Besides there’s a fire or two to sit by while the camp is out playing on the playa.

Happy Wednesday.

Or Tuesday.

Or, fuck, Thursday?

From Burning Man.

Mary Fucking Poppins out.

Window in the Heart

August 27, 2014

I’m going to Graceland.

Er.

I mean Burning Man.

Yeah, that thing.

I actually went to it yesterday.

After the epic down pour, shower of hail, lighting and thunder, lighting strikes (three people were hit that I am aware of, one of them I met today he was across the street from my camp–it exited through his foot and blew a toenail off!) and being trapped in the Commissary for five hours, it was a great day.

Sort of.

I mean, in my head it was a crazy day, a day of trepidation a day of serious consideration about my work, what I do, what my part in my community is, what I can do to be of service, how to act from a place of love and how to let the fuck go.

I got up in the morning and did what I do.

Except it was with a certain kind of foreboding of what the day would bring, confrontation was on my mind and I was unnerved by the previous day and I the gift of an unexpected day off.

Sometimes unexpected time can throw me the fuck off.

What the hell was I going to do?

Well, you know, there’s that Burning Man thing happening.

The rain had started in the morning around 6:30 a.m.

I woke up to the pounding on the roof of the trailer and I went back to sleep, thinking it would pass and it was far too early for me to be getting up on a day off.

Despite knowing that I was not going to be up late anyway–I had to be up to go to the Commissary which is closed by 8:30 a.m.–if I wanted to have breakfast.  Especially since I would be riding cross town on my bicycle, not riding with the family since it was a day off.

I made my bed.

I said my things and read my stuff.

And I started to get dressed and that intuitive voice spoke up loud.

“GO!”

I was debating what to where, it was cool, should I layer, do I want this dress, those tights, “GO!” rang in my head again.

Ok.

Geeze.

Chill.

How about…

“Go!”

I looked at my watch, yeah, I guess I should go, I am going to be cutting it close with the hours and I don’t want to miss breakfast, so I slid into a black slip dress, threw on a sweatshirt and pulled on my boots, no makeup, no flowers in my hair, nothing glittery.

I mean, I figured I would just get all dressed up after breakfast.

I hopped on my chopper and hit to the Commissary.

I made it about half way from the 9 o’clock keyhole across the playa when it started to rain, not a down pour, but definitely a serious kind of rain, not a light mist, not a “I’ll just be passing through” sort of shower, but some serious water.

It was like taking a cold shower and I hustled up to the Esplanade and turned down 5:30 toward the spot and I got there, wet, but not soaked and happy to have made breakfast hours.

Little did I know how lucky I was to make it when I made it.

By the time my breakfast was done it was a downpour.

I had popped out to use the john and by the time I had gotten back it was falling hard.

There were about fifteen, twenty of us in the Commissary and we just sat it out, and the sky open and the deluge began.

It’s still wet playa around the tent today, despite having a full day of sun to dry it out, there are still spots of wet that are slick and slippery and stick like glue to anything with a tread.

I struck up a conversation with a  woman and we spent the next two hours talking children, she’d left her 20 month home with hubby to come out to the event (or soon to be hubby, he sent her as a wedding gift, they’ll be married in October), that’s the kind of hubby I like, and we just had a rapport.

And of course, hours to talk.

There were plenty of worse places to be.

I was tremendously grateful to have gotten out of camp–nary a thing to eat in my trailer except apples, and I would have been pretty isolated and by myself.

Not that I am horrible company, but it was far preferable to be where there were people and hot coffee and music.

We all sang along to “Singing in the Rain,” and giggled at the silliness of it.

The city shut down and a snow day was declared.

All vehicles held at the Gate.

Traffic turned back and Wadsworth and Fernley back to Reno.

I heard of 22 hour waits to get in.

Thank God I was at the Commissary.

And eventually, the lighting passed, spectacular to see a bolt shimmer down in a gap between the white tarp and all the lights above me flicker out.

The storm knocked out the power grid in the center of the city, the internet, and communications were reduced down to the radios and word of mouth.

After lunch I walked over to my friends camp which was nearby, the sun had been drying things out, but not enough for me to use my bike, and I spent time with them.

I went walking with a good girlfriend and had lovely talks and we wandered the playa with others on foot.

It was sweet and spacious and open.

No art cars, no vehicles, a scattered few bicycles, and folks walking, converging, conversing, getting to know their neighbors.

It was an amazing experience.

I went back to her camp, met with some fellows for an hour, then back to the Commissary for dinner.

By that time I was ok riding my bicycle and the event had re-opened the gates.

And now it’s Burning Man out there.

I had a few other things happen.

I’ll tell you later about all the magic of last night.

Now it’s time to wrap up and sleep.

I only got three hours last night and I worked a full day and I have a full day tomorrow.

But.

I found out that despite having yesterday off, I am still going to be given Thursday off, an unexpected gift.

When more magic shall be had.

My Love Tank Filled Up

August 24, 2014

Full to overflowing.

I mean wow.

I wasn’t expecting it to happen and it just did.

I had a nice day with my little guy, some bumps here and there, it’s hard for a little boy to adjust to the heat and the things and the excitement and all the people.

It becomes overwhelming really fast.

And pop.

He will have to reset and refuel and nap and ease back.

Otherwise tantrums.

And that’s cool.

It’s just an expression of feelings that he cannot articulate, and there’s nothing wrong with having feelings, good or bad.

They pass.

Sometimes I feel like they never will, my feelings, but they do and just as I can have a challenging day out here on the playa, I can also have a number of random encounters that blow wide the doors of my heart.

And things are getting to be a challenge—but not in the way of the heat or the dust or the work—just the number of people here at Burning Man.

I mean.

It’s the Saturday night BEFORE the event happens and there’s a wait at the gate hours long, there’s more than 25,000 people already here.

That estimate was given to me by my boss late afternoon today and I bet there’s more than that now.

The gate for regular attendees will open tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

The Bureau of Land Management has allowed the event to open its gates early to help with the egress of vehicles on the road heading in.

FYI.

The event doesn’t even start until Monday–but it feels like it’s happening all around me.

Right now, it’s all theme camps and workers coming in, artists, musicians, builders, art cars, volunteers, EMS, rangers, fire performers, the folks that do the work to delight all the senses and stop the heart.

Then there’s just the things that are heart stopping for me in particular.

I ran into my first bunny rabbit at the Artery on the Esplanade.

I was heading into town to hit a meet up with some folks at 8p.m. and there she was—Action Girl!

I saw the beautiful read hair and just about rolled over her on my bicycle.

I knew that the Junebug could not be far behind and I was correct.

Oh good gravy.

My heart is just booming now, remembering.

She tackled me with love and I just swept her up in my arms and carried her across the road way and sat down on a bicycle rack and I don’t know what I said, I mean it was just a babble of hugs and love and so good to see you’s and incoherent mumbles into her hair and neck and she still smells like Junebug and she’s still my Bug and oh.

 

Oh.

My heart.

Such damn fine goodness.

Winning.

I am winning.

She remembers me.

That, I cannot say how important that is to me or why exactly that the thought plagues me once in a while, they will forget, the charges, the babies grown, the children off to school, pre-school, other adventures, and though I know I did not lavish the love on the in vain, should they forget I would still have loved just has hard just as much, just as fierce.

But.

To have her know and remember and hug me back and tell me how much she loved me and how she giggled and wrapped her arms and legs and whole self around me, gracious, I felt so verklempt.

Ugh.

The words they do fail.

It’s love and it’s love and it’s more love and I just had my cup so filled and then overfilled and I have to say I may have gotten a little leaky, but I was able to contain myself enough to say hi to mama and papa and let them know EXACTLY where I am camped.

8:45 & C

Camp Equilibrium.

Look for the red and yellow flags.

The Bambi Airstream.

The blue chopper bicycle with the vanity plate “Carmen” on it and the purple pennant, that’s where I will be.

And there’s a dome with couches and hammocks and another little girl here—Sassafrass—and well, me, I’m here.

Let’s hang out and do makeup and talk silly talk and bounce on the jumping balls and travel to the Campoline Camp down the road.

And let’s hug.

A LOT.

Because what I have discovered, again, always more this learning, is that my heart can continue to be broke open to hold more love.

You broke me open little girl.

You made my heart bigger and now I have more capacity for love.

And the love has to be given away, because it’s best shared.

That’s the thing about sharing—there’s more for everyone.

I was not able to stay as long as I wanted.

I had places to go and people to check in with and I rode off on my bicycle into the twilight dusk of Black Rock City so glad, so grateful, so blown open, I must have glowed in the dark with the love.

I was also hoping to run into my friend who were coming into the city tonight, but I suspect that they must have had one hell of a wait at the gate and I did not want to spend my entire evening twiddling my thumbs.

I asked the woman in charge of placement at the Village they are staying at to show me where they would be located in the camp and I will pop in tomorrow.

That’s what a Poppins does.

She pops into places.

Or nanny’s, you, know, semantics.

Then the cherry, really I might be in love and I sure hope I get to meet you again, Johnny from Robot Heart, on my nanny Sundae.

I rolled up to the DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles–all art cars that venture out on playa have to be registered and checked to make sure they are not a danger to anyone out at the event) thinking that I was seeing Heart Deco, where a friend of mine is camped.

I asked after her to the group of gentleman standing by their vehicle waiting for inspection.

One of them came up to me and asked if he hadn’t just seen me at a meeting.

“Weren’t you just with Feed The Artists?”

Nope.

“I was at a meeting elsewhere,” I said and smiled.

“What’s your name?”

“Johnny.”

“Poppins, as in Mary Fucking Poppins, Not Your Nanny, at your services,” I curtseyed over my bicycle handles, if one could be said to curtsey astride a bicycle.

“Mary Poppins?”

“Or the Poppins, I am a nanny on playa.”

Then.

The most amazing thing.

I mean, I still have goosebumps thinking about it.

He sang me “A Tuppence” from Mary Poppins.

The kissed my hand.

Swoon.

Full.

Full and then some.

I like lot’s of things.

Love, love, and love.

So good.

So blessed.

So, well, loved.

Thank you Burning Man.

So very pleased to be here.

 

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul’s
The little old bird woman comes.
In her own special way to the people she calls,
“Come, buy my bags full of crumbs.

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry,
Their nests are so bare;
All it takes is tuppence from you.”

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
“Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares.

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

 

Nothing Like A Nap

August 22, 2014

And a shower to bring a nanny back to life.

Whew.

Wow.

Just like that and I like my job again.

Baha.

It’s funny, I can spend a lot of time advocating for self-care for others then blithely go my own way and completely ignore that advice.

But after last night it was really obvious that what I needed was some sleep and a shower.

I went to bed at midnight, which is not much different from what it’s been for the last few days, but it was an extra fifteen minutes that I was able to give myself.

I also slept solid until my alarm went off, well, with the exception of getting up in the dark, wee hours of the night when the golden cusp of the crescent moon was low on the horizon to visit the port-a-potties.

I love my night-cap of Bengal Spice tea, but it does make a gal have to pop out of bed at odd hours of the night to relieve the bladder.

But I went straight back to bed, I didn’t try to capture any sunrise photographs or do anything but get right back into the sack.

And it was good.

Just that extra fifteen minutes, astounding.

I also asked that I be allowed a trip to the showers.

Six days with no shower and this lady was ready for some scrubbing.

I was informed that I had a shower pass icon on my laminate the entire time!

D’oh!

Well.

Heh.

I will try to get out there a little more often knowing that.

I did arrange to be allowed access to a vehicle and it was granted to me this evening after dinner.  I got a shower, I got to comb out the rat’s nest of my hair, which though photogenic, the playa is great for texturizing your locks, was a snarling thing with a life all its own, I got to shave.  I got to layer up on the lotion and wash off the dust from every nook and cranny.

Oh sweet jesus.

What a shower can do.

And the nap.

Let’s not forget that either.

I got a nap today.

It could not have been more than twenty minutes, maybe fifteen, but I also had a lie down and I meditated before I drifted off.  I didn’t think I would be able to sleep having had a whopping seven hours of sleep last night, but I knew that it was important to lie down and rest.

And what do you know, I did drift off after a bit.

So, the lie down of thirty minutes segued into a little nap snack and I was able to get through the day.

Sleep and a shower and I am a new woman.

And though the playa calls, so many new things out there, so many photographs to be had, I am not going out tonight.

In fact, I think I am going to go to bed just a tiny bit earlier if I can than I have been, make it 11:30 p.m. say, because I do want to go out tomorrow and take some photographs.

I have seen the art being built up and I would love to do an afternoon ride out to check out the progress of some of it and I would also like to just get in a bike ride.

My ankle is a little tender today, I suspect from the bike riding, but if I go slow and coddle it and avoid deep playa–which is not so nicely packed down–I should be able to go for a nice cruise.

I want to get some shots of the Calico Mountains and one of the installations pieces is up that I want to get a few photographs of before the swarms come in.

I am already hearing of waits at the gate, which is just plain crazy to me, but there it is.

The bell has started to ring and the Greeters are out welcoming fresh Burners to a new experience that will change them forever.

When I left the Depot after my shower I was stunned to see the string of car lights snaking along Gate Road as the cars and transporters and trucks, campers, vans, and various other vehicles were heading in.

It’s exciting.

It’s happening.

What else is exciting?

I got a coffee drip cone!

Yes.

Thank you Polkie Dot!

You saved my life lady.

Nothing like discovering that I had forgotten my drip cone in my dish rack at home.

I didn’t scream out in agony, I can still get coffee at the Commissary, but it’s so much nicer to have it here at my little home.  Besides, it’s Stumptown Holler Mountain, that hands down beats the Commissary’s coffee.

Things are coming together nicely and it’s such a good feeling to be centered again.

It really does amaze me how much my mood can be altered just by not having quite enough sleep.  I can get by a few days, but the third or fourth I start getting wonky, and yesterday was the fifth day with short sleep.

No wonder I was a cranky sad little teary mess.

Oh well.

It really was nowhere near the worst playa melt down I have had and fingers crossed, it will be the only one.

Ha.

I know better than to expect that, the emotional weather out here is intense, I will sob again, but I believe out of love and finding that deep spiritual connection to the sky and the mountains and the sunset that just blows up my heart every time.

My life is pretty grand when I think about what I get to experience and the manner in which I get to be a part of the event.

It doesn’t hurt that I ran into Heady, she’s been with the event for a while you could say, either and just got the sweetest hug and connect from her–she assured me that though I had lost the little guy back in San Francisco that there were loads of opportunities just waiting for me.

If you nanny.

They will come.

If you nap too.

That doesn’t hurt either.

Playa Melt Downs

August 21, 2014

I am just starting to have them.

Already?

I thought to myself, why am I already having this much emotional resonance?

Well, let’s see lady.

You spent the entire week working before you left for the event.

You rode up in cramped quarters and that wasn’t restful.

You stayed over night in Reno and started to freak out about expenses that you weren’t expecting.

You have been on playa five days and haven’t had a shower yet.

That seems reasonable to be a little teary.

Plus, seeing people that I rarely ever see, except out here, supercharges those emotions.

Add to that not quite getting seven hours of sleep, more like six and a half every day and not getting a nap yesterday and though I was given a break today, it wasn’t long enough to nap.

I lay down and I got the knock within a half hour/twenty minutes of excusing myself.

The monkey has been having a hard time as more folks come in and it gets overwhelming.

It’s cute and sweet and amazing to see him engage with so many people, he’s very social, but every once in a while he gets overstimutlated and watch out.

Screaming.

I got an ear full today and it just wore me down.

I was pretty done in.

Pretty done with being a nanny.

Not with being a nanny out here, I am not going to quit, I would never do that, I am a woman of her word and I commited and though I may need to be commited when it is all said and done I am in it for the duration.

I just realized again that it’s so hard to do the nanny job out here not because of the conditions, those are hard, but because of the proximity to the parents and the friends and the folks in camp and beginning to feel like I am on a stage and everyone is watching.

I know exactly how self centered this is, the world is not about me, my petty designs, my schemes, my directions, but I am also, I forget, not used to being around so many people when I work.

I work by myself.

Yeah, the mom or the dad or a grandparent may be around, but I go for walks, to the park, in the neighborhood, I have down time, and then you know what I do?

I go home.

There is not a separate space for me here.

I forget that I have basically become a live in nanny.

Oops.

That.

I want to simultaneously retreat into my space and I get lonely and isolated and I then want to be out in the world and engage, but it can be too much.

Finding that balance.

Trying to figure it out.

Which makes me nuts.

And I need to get myself centered.

It’s Wednesday, pre-event, the damn thing hasn’t even started yet.

So.

I must up my self care a little and that means a shower tomorrow and I don’t care how it happens, but I have to get washed.

That will bring a huge uptick in my quality of well being and I can start with that.

The other is to get to bed a tiny bit earlier tonight.

Which means I am ending my blog early.

It’s a short night for me.

I have to rest more.

I don’t want to be a bucket of tears.

That’s the thing too.

I feel the emotions are overblown a bit, but there’s a lot of truth there too, and I have experienced what I am experiencing before and I have had friends counsel me and I have had epiphanies and spiritual awakenings galore out here, but then.

Well.

I fucking forget.

And I have to relive the experience.

I know that I have lots of amazing things to witness and art to see and friends coming home for the first time and I don’t want to not be present for that.

This is supposed to be fun too.

I know I will get in there and my perspective will change and it will all be good.

And I will have the experience I am supposed to have and I don’t have to judge it.

I just have to have it.

So.

Here’s to a little bit more sleep tonight.

A shower tomorrow.

And finding that still, soft, sweet, serene space in me.

I don’t have to search for it outside of myself.

It is there.

Deep within.

There’s A Storm Coming

August 20, 2014

Fortunate for you, fellow Burning Man friends heading out to the playa, it has passed.

It was a strong one.

It was on and off weather all day long.

Dust storms.

White Outs.

Rain.

High, high, high winds.

So high they knocked over numerous banks of port-a-potties.

I may come back to this thread at another time and add some of the photographs I took of the toppled johns, but for the moment the internet is so spotty I just want to focus on getting as much of my blog in before it conks out completely.

The city continued to be built though.

There is nothing so heartwarming to see, at least to me, as seeing the building up of the city despite the weather, the hard ass perseverance that so many folks have no idea of before they come out to playlandia.

I watched from inside the safety of the trailer with my little guy snuggling on my lap, three men on top of a container strapping down scaffolding that would have otherwise blown off in the  high winds, I worried that they might just get blown off.

A sudden gust of wind ripped the shade structure off the front of the trailer and drew my attention to the front where the papa was busy securing as much of it as he could, then back to the view out the back window.

The men had stopped working and spread themselves flat hands locked, faces down on the top of the container, still, silent, a picture of resilience in the face of it all.

When the wind died down a bit, they just got right back up and went right back to work.

And that’s how it’s done.

At least in my circles.

I do hear rumors now and again of folks that can’t hack the weather and sometimes you just have to hunker the fuck down, you can’t do certain kinds of work.

Like, oh, putting the bike lights on my bicycle wheel rim.

God only knows where the 25 zip ties would have blown to had I attempted that.

No thank you.

I did eventually get out.

There were breaks in the storm.

Unlike my day, I had no break.

Although there was a little down time here and there where my charge slept, but I never did get away for my own little catnap.

The napping for him was disturbed by the trailer getting rocked in the high wind.

He was not upset about it, but the banging woke him up.

And when the two-year old has been woke up, he’s up.

The weather makes for new friendships though, I was having an awesome conversation with Slim in line to the Commissary.

Slim is somewhat of an iconic figure at Burning Man and I have never had the opportunity to really talk with him and we had a great talk about the weather and the power it has to connect people who may never have been connected to before.

When it hits and you have to grab cover, you sometimes grab cover with complete strangers and new friendships suddenly bloom.

Or you watch a neighbors tent blow away and you go help them set it back up after ward.

Or perhaps you find out that a friends space has been destroyed and you let them crash over at your place.

It brings people together in unlikely ways.

Extremes can often bring out the worst in people, but I find it more true that it brings out the best in others, and it really can be a matter of pure, basic survival.

You can’t let your fellow lapse in the dust.

And then you get up and start re-building it all again and no one knows better that there was crazy wind and rain and bluster and shaking trailers, ripped awning, toppled port-a-potties, dust soaked bodies.

It all gets tidied up and prettied and made neat-o before the “world” lands on playa and the fun begins.

The fun for a lot of people is pre-event, the camaraderie of people building the city makes my heart just swell.

For instance, it is nearly midnight and the entire camp, sans one or two of us who have no mechanical ability, ie me, are out side repairing the awning over the parents trailer so that tomorrow there will be shade for the monkey.

I mean, flashlights, and men and tarps and rope and god only knows what, I am not the best person for that sort of stuff, but they are.

I bring my services elsewhere.

I take care of the baby.

The little boy, I should say.

I maintain his homeostasis to the best of my ability and help him through the hard spots.

In the regular world, or the default world as it is called, he will give me plenty of clues that he is hungry or tired or needs some extra love and attention.

Out here it can happen really fast and if I’m not attuned to the minutiae of his moods it can get out of hand fast.

Little tempers flare under duress.

So my job is to be on top of it.

And on top of it means I am ending my blog just a tiny bit short of my normal word count and getting my ass offline so that I can clean myself of all the dusty dust and shake out my hair and wash up.

So I can get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Fortunate for me, the weather for the rest of the week is going to be dreamy.

Thank God.

MF Poppins out.

 

Virgin Bicycle Run

August 19, 2014

That is my news today.

For the first time since my ankle injury on June 5th I rode a bicycle.

My playa bicycle.

And it was a little rusty and a little scary, but I did it!

Yay.

The ride was short.

I was looking for friends and either I got the address wrong or they weren’t around the spot there were supposed to be at 8 p.m. this evening.

I suppose it’s the thought that counts and it also speaks to the general chaos that happens out here when you are trying to locate a person, place, or thing, you often get lost, waylaid, bump into someone else, fall into a rabbit hole and you’re suddenly across the playa at a twerking party at HEAT.

Huh?

Yeah.

That’s happening any minute now.

I was invited, even though I can’t really twerk nor would I if the occasion rose, not my style so much.

I can shake my ass, I just can’t drop it like it’s hot any more.

I might drop it and not be able to pick it back up.

I may dress like a twelve-year-old on a shopping spree at Hot Topic, but my body is that of a 41-year-old woman and there are some things it just doesn’t do so well anymore.

I would go and observe, I really am tempted to see it.

There’s something about the idea of watching a bunch of drunken guys off DPW and Gate crew twerking that arouses every single bone of curiosity in my body, but it’s across the playa and I don’t have bicycle lights on my stead.

I do have lights.

I thought once the sun set and I couldn’t locate the village I was looking for that I would just ride back to camp, hook up my bike lights and head out and take some photographs and see the art as it’s being built up then swing by HEAT and see the boys twerk it out.

I got back and took the lights out of the package and realized that the guy at the store was not joking when he said that it would take about a half hour or so to hook them up.

I got wheel rim lights that roll a pattern and I am quite excited to see how they look–purple and pink hearts spinning around my front wheel, but there’s just not enough light to try to hook up a bicycle light contraption that also has 25 BLACK zip ties.

No way.

I pulled it out look at the instructions and read all sixteen of them and put it away.

I may pull a damsel in distress and find a boy to help me put the lights on my bike.

I am not so mechanically inclined.

I am, however, inclined to have them set up, so that is a must do for tomorrow.

It was a long day, 8a.m. until about 7:30 p.m. with the family.

I did get a break around lunch time, the alternating parents, nanny, and nap time with visits to the Commissary worked well enough today that I was actually able to get in a nap snack.

I didn’t think I would be able to fall asleep, I wasn’t really tired, but when the papa said I could take a little longer as he had a bit of down time before he had to head out to the 2p.m. meeting, I went to the Bambi and looked around my space.

I could read a book.

I could do some writing.

I could lie down and take a nap.

Even if I didn’t sleep it would be rest.

And.

It was too hot to go out and wander playa.

Especially since I discovered that my parasol was broken in transit.

Sad face.

What is a Poppins without a parasol?

I posted a message about having someone bring me one in and got a sweet note from a dear friend that she’ll bring me one, but I may have to scavenge up something before she gets here–this upcoming Saturday–I am going to need one and I know how disoriented I was when I was a virgin getting around, it may take my friend a day or two to find me.

Shit.

I know the city and I couldn’t find the people I went looking for tonight–despite having visited the camp every single year for the last seven burns–so to expect a virgin burner to locate me in a crowded city for a parasol drop off might be challenging.

Then again, I could get to her where she’s at.

Ack.

Anyway.

That’s a massive ways a way in the future.

Anything that is outside what I am doing tomorrow is a long ways off and not worth my bother to think about.

The focus for me is to get my bicycle lights on my rig so that I can leave camp and have a vehicle to mosey about in.

I have camped before where I had some limited access to golf carts but despite being right next to a string of them I won’t be getting access for evening joy rides.

I asked last year and got the thumbs down.

I won’t bother to ask this year.

It’s the bike or nothing.

If I go to bed on the early side of town tonight and skip napping during my break, should I get another break, I will take the time to set up the bike lights then.

That way when I get done with my shift I can go out and cruise.

I  will also locate where my people are at and arrange to see them for real tomorrow night.

Then a playa bicycle cruise under the stars with a spinning wheel of hearts to lead the way.

Sounds like a date with Destiny.

I like it.

Anyone care to join me I should be available around 9 p.m. tomorrow evening for a bike ride to deep playa to watch the stars fall down the sky.

I will be lit up and ready to roll.

First Full Day

August 18, 2014

In.

And it was a full day.

Ten and a half hour shift and this is the easy part.

The days, they are going to get longer, the mama and the papa are only getting busier.

Fortunate for me, I do happen to work with an incredible, smart, whimsical, and wonderful little boy.

Playa Boy

Playa baby

He makes my heart just melt.

Today he told me out of the blue, with no prompting, “I love Poppins.”

My goodness.

Then, the topper, he leaned in and gave me a kiss.

Again, unprompted.

Sometimes I have to ask for a hug or a kiss or say, “I love you,” to get the “I love you too” back.

Not today.

This bodes quite well for the rest of our days out here.

He also is an extraordinary reader.

I mean, the kid loves books.

Thank you God.

I couldn’t be luckier to have a little one who is more than content to sit in my lap and snuggle and read books.

Of course, by the end of the event I may be more than a little tired of reading Richard Scarry’s Busy Town; Busy, Busy Town; What Do People Do All Day; Busy Town Airport; Busy Town Firestation; Cars, and Trucks, and Things That Go.

Fortunate for me, he has other books.

We just have not unpacked them yet.

There are still kinks to be worked out, but the camp is coming together.

I don’t have electricity in my trailer yet, it’s currently running on battery power, which means that when my computer dies, my blog will be done for the night.

Which is what happened last night.

The main trailer the family is in has A/C and electric so I can charge up my laptop and my phone during the day.

My day started at 6 a.m.

I did not want my day to start at 6 a.m.

However, the bladder called and I realized from lying in bed and just noting the color of the sky, that the sun was soon to come up and I would be remiss to not shoot some sunrise photographs before the space started to fill in with camps and people and you know, stuff.

So, I grabbed my camera and headed to the port-a-potty bank closest to the trailer and did my business, then out to the playa, empty, spacious, wide open.

A few cargo containers dotting the landscape and the spires heading out of the 9 o’clock keyhole.

Not another human in site.

Not a noise to be heard.

Just the sun coming up over the playa.

Blew my heart wide open just like that.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Oh ho!

The generator just kicked in.

Yay!

I have power.

I have music on my box.

I have a laptop that is charging.

Woot.

I shall actually be able to post my blog tonight instead of tomorrow in the early afternoon when the monkey is taking his nap.

He woke up pretty happy after his nap.

Two hours and fifteen minutes.

Who wouldn’t be happy after that kind of nap?

I could have used that kind of nap myself.

However, there was no napping in Who Ville today for me.

There may be tomorrow, we are figuring out a system that allows everyone to get access to the A/C during the day and sneak in nap time.

We all need it.

The parents are both out and about and busy and they are only going to get busier as the days to the event count down.

The catch is that the bunny rabbit happens to take his nap around 11a.m. or 11:30 a.m. and when he is down for two to three hours that means lunch time.

The time for lunch is noon to two p.m. with the other event staff that are here working at the Commissary, and it keeps very strict hours, you come three minutes past closing and you do not get in.

The worry was that one of us was going to miss lunch and/or napping ourselves, but it seems that we are going to be able to tag team it.

Today he went down at 11:15 a.m.

I sat with him for the first 45 minutes.

Then the papa and I headed to the Commissary while mama worked from her “office” on the couch, we headed back after a quick bite, I brought the monkey’s lunch containers with me and brought back a to go box.

Mom then went next and hit her lunch and her two p.m. meeting.

Upon returning the bunny and I headed over to my trailer–the Bambi–and worked on an “I Spy Sticker” book while he had a cup of milk and mom got a 45 minute nap snack with the papa.

milk

Milk break

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It worked really well.

I, however, didn’t get a nap, tried to get the little guy to go down for a second nap, but he was not having it.

We went en famille to dinner and discussed the plan of attack for tomorrow, with some slight tweaking, we should all be able to eat lunch and catch a nap while he’s doing his nap.

That’s the hope anyway.

After dinner some friends dropped by and we went for a ride out to the playa to catch up and breathe and hug and sit under the twilight dusk and ramble at each other for a bit.

It was just the refresher I needed.

I headed back to my trailer with much joy and love in my heart and downloaded the photographs I took today.

I got some decent ones and I am happy to have technology that works.

I know it’s somewhat atypical of the event to have internet and such, but really, I would be remiss if I had to skip writing my blog and connecting with my peeps off playa.

Though I will say there will come a night when I don’t post or a day when I nap instead of write.

I have to do that too.

Rest.

And with that.

I am going to make a cup of tea.

The electric kettle is getting pulled out!

I am going to eat an apple in a camp chair and enjoy the stars and the deep quiet that is pre-event before there is no more pre-event to enjoy.

I am looking forward to seeing all my friends that are headed in, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit that these first few quiet nights are my favorite time to be here.

It’s not often that I am getting to ride out to the playa before it’s full of all things that burn.

Happy I got my chance tonight.

Much love to you from the 9 o’clock keyhole.

Mary Fucking Poppins out.

Out on the playa

Poppins on the playa


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,305 other followers

%d bloggers like this: