When this blog is done.
Ten days people.
So get it now.
See you later alligator.
Good god damn, I’m good.
Or I’m on fire.
Or I’m just hella fast at typing.
Perhaps a little of all of the above.
I just finished my third of four papers that need to be done before I head out to that thing in the desert.
I wrote a ten page, 3,226 page document in, wait for it, 2.25 hours.
How do I know it was that fast?
The professor asked that we e-mail her an empty message at some point after the retreat ended so that she had our e-mail address in her address book.
I did e-maile her this evening.
I got a response to said e-mail while I was writing the reaction paper and when I sent off my paper it was approximately two hours and fifteen minutes later according to the time date stamp on the first e-mail message she sent.
The paper just flew out of my fingers, in fact, I was about to become one of those people whom she had warned about, the person who has so much to say that they write more than the required amount.
There was a firm limit of ten pages on the paper and I wrote ten.
I could have written more.
There was so much ground to cover that I only got to a few things, the things most important to me, the things that I learned the most from, the conflict wherein i had the most difficulties navigating and all the lessons therein.
I learned a lot.
In the group, not so much in the paper, writing the paper just allowed me to flesh it out, to put the words to the feelings, to tell the story of my experience.
I don’t doubt that every single person in my group has a story to tell and a riveting experience of learning.
Maybe I was the only one, though I am self-centered, I am not that self-centered.
I learned a lot because I put myself out there a lot, I was in the hot seat a lot, I initiated and I got into the mix.
It wasn’t always what I thought and I wasn’t always graceful, I fell on my face a lot, I made a lot of assumptions–you know those things that make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” Man, did I make a lot of those and I had no idea that I was making them until my fellow group members started pointing them out.
I made mistakes, but I learned from them.
I fell down, but I got back up and I got back in the dance and it was with much gratitude that I wrote the paper.
I feel really good about getting it done as well as it is one less thing on my plate before I go to Burning Man.
I am really excited.
The count down is beginning.
My bins are pretty much packed, I’m getting picked up early Thursday morning, 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m.
Hell I would be wiling to get picked up earlier than that, I am ready to get out of dodge.
I do have one last paper to write and I will do that tomorrow.
I almost attempted to sneak it in tonight, but my head is no longer in that space and I would need to readjust my brain to get into another paper.
I’m not worried about it either, it’s a short guy and will clock in at two pages, max three.
It’s actually a two-part paper, the first part is 1-2 pages in length, the second is a proposal and is no more than one page in length. So, en toto, three pages.
I can have that done in less than an hour and while it would have felt great to get another one knocked off, my juice for the paper writing is not there and I wanted to have a little candy left over for my blog.
Speaking of blog I am having serious considerations of not bringing my laptop to the event.
This would be the first time in many, many, many years, that I would not bring it out.
First, I am uncertain that I want to risk it being out there, I just bought this baby, my Macbook Air, and I want to have it for the entirety of my graduate school career. I have no idea what the dust could do to it, but I know that it can frizzle electronics pretty bad.
Second, I may not have internet access.
I have worked the last six years in areas where I was able to get onto the internet via those I was working for.
I told myself yesterday that I would not take my laptop.
I told myself today that I would.
I am in a quandary.
Then I think, maybe I need to have a different experience, maybe the blog needs a break, I mean, maybe I need a break from the blog, really unplug myself and go out there and experience the magic sans internet and facecrack and social media.
I mean really get off the grid and be in the moment.
I don’t know yet, but I suspect my heart does and I may allow myself to put down this sweet baby to allow myself a new and different adventure at Burning Man.
I realized too that I am better prepared than I have been in, well, ever.
Despite having a posh ass place to stay the last two years, I really felt so compelled to work and make things happen that I did not allow myself a lot of leeway with what I brought and what I bought.
Plus, I have accumulated the stuffs now, I have the things that I are nice to have, but not necessary to the experience, but still really nice to have–a shoulder harness, a utility belt, a furry blanket (I need to bring a pillow and I am wondering if I will sacrifice one of my bed pillows to the cause), lots of socks–I mean lots, I have more socks than there are days on playa, but it’s always nice to have extra socks and if I decide I need an outfit change I will have the matching stripes, polka dots, hearts, flowers, argyle, checks, or solids, to do the outfit due justice.
And most important.
My tea kettle and favorite tea are packed as well as two bags of really good coffee.
I’m almost done with the paper writing and having knocked the big gun out-of-the-way tonight I feel I can breathe a little easier and enjoy the rest of the time here in Glen Ellen with the family.
I’m coming for you.
I’m ready to get dusty.
And it was lovely.
I received a cute text message from my ex-boyfriend this morning while I was making breakfast and plotting my moves for the day–what to pack, laundry to do, marketing that I needed to do before leaving to come back up here to Glen Ellen–I’m just in, 27 minutes ago I landed–and I had no emotional reaction.
I saw the text.
I recognized the number.
I saw the photo.
I laughed out loud.
It was a photo of an inside joke we had and that joke might have been one of the sweetest things about our relationship that I can feel now a warmth and fondness for.
It was so nice to realize that.
I cut up an apple and tossed it with cinnamon and nutmeg, and some sea salt, threw it in with the oatmeal on the stove, turned to the electric tea-pot, took the kettle, poured boiling water over the fresh ground coffee and felt my inner emotions.
That is so nice.
Just a quiet gratitude for the man, for the message, and for the sweet memory that he sent me, a funny little inside joke that had been a place of resting laughter for both of us even when the break up was sad and hard to do.
It felt nice.
We exchanged a few more texts then he went his way and I went mine and I forgot about it until I was working with a lady bug at the house and we were going over some instructions on how to write inventory.
I pulled my notebook out of the stack and flipped open to the pertinent inventory and laughed as I saw my ex-boyfriends name at the top of the list.
I shared my experience with quiet gratitude and showed how I was able to get from that place of resentment to where I am now and that it works, it really works when I do the work.
Live and let live.
Easy does it.
First things first.
There again, an hour later with another lady bug, the same gentle reminder that the solution and the problem have nothing to do with each other and that really I can practice spiritual principles, stay in gratitude, and do the next action in front of me and I will be abundantly taken care of.
In fact, that’s what this whole weekend was about.
What the last few weekends have been about.
Yesterday I got a text from a friend in regards to our busy ass schedules and how we had been trying to make plans to see each other before Burning Man and how it was obviously not going to happen, she was till packing and I hadn’t located my bins nor even gotten to the point in my day when I knew where or how I was going to buy said bins, and nope, not going to see you before the burn.
I mean, we live in the same town.
There was no way to make it work so we made a date to go dancing on the playa–she and I and another friend had gone to the NIMBY Steampunk Masquerade Ball that the Airpusher Collective played at where the Flaming Lotus Girls Serpent Mother was fired up (yeah, I know, you haven’t been to Burning Man and have no idea what I just wrote) and the same group is doing a repeat of the ball on playa.
I will be going to that.
And when we commiserated about work, and doing the deal, and all the stuff, when I texted her what I had to get accomplished before I leave for Burning Man, it left me breathless.
How the hell am I going to get all this done and not lose my mind?
But then I read, again, “first things first,” and knew I would get it done by focusing exactly on the task in front of me and not living in the next hour or the evening or tomorrow.
I just stayed focused on what exactly was in front of me.
Then I wrote three pages long hand, did my laundry, made my bed, did the deal, knelt down asked for some stuff, said some thanks, pulled out the bins, started packing them up, slow and methodical.
I went to the grocery store and picked up a few things to just get me through the day and a birthday card and gift for one of the ladies who was coming over to the house.
Back to back to back.
I met with three ladies, did some reading, shared some experience strength and hope, asked in return that they do some things while I was away at work, confirmed our calendars for September–I won’t be able to meet with any of the ladies until after my first week on campus on school.
I texted my ride to Glen Ellen.
Confirmed a pick up time 20 minutes from the text.
I packed my bags up for Glen Ellen–a coupled days worth of clothes, my laptop, the books and readers and notebooks pertinent for the week and what I have to do for school before I leave.
I then proceeded to finish folding the laundry, take out the trash, and organize my bins.
I packed them more than 3/4s full and was on the last leg of packing when my ride pinged me.
I have perhaps fifteen minutes of packing left to do when I get back to SF on Wednesday.
I got my stuff for Glen Ellen, locked up the house, hopped in my friend’s car and we headed over the bridge.
A pit stop in Mill Valley for an hour of doing the deal, then a drive through the rolling golden lit hills of Sonoma to Glen Ellen.
We grabbed a bite to eat and figured out gas costs that I need to reimburse him for–he’s basically done the trip there and back and there and back and there and back for me, since I didn’t rent a car this time.
Then a dash up the road and I am here at 9:30 p.m.
It’s 10:15 p.m.
I am almost done with my blog, I’ll make a cup of tea, chill for the rest of the evening and get a good night’s sleep before work in the morning.
I couldn’t see how the day would play out when I was awoke with the bang and thump of my housemates little girl and her friend playing, I couldn’t have imagined such a smooth and seamless transition from here to there.
Nor that I would have such moments and pockets of grace and gratitude for the experience of just living my life to its fullest.
One day at a time.
One hour at a time.
One moment at a time.
Easy does it and there it is.
All the things are happening.
And I got done everything that I needed to do this weekend to be prepared for my trip to the playa.
Tomorrow and Tuesday I will write my two papers.
Then I am good to go.
I get to show up for work tomorrow happy and rested for the boys.
I get to continue to live this full, happy, joyous, free life.
I am the luckiest girl in the world.
Have you seen my hair?
My hair is pink.
Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink.
And it’s a bout to get hotter in here.
I am currently sitting here with another dose of the hair dye on my head under a turned inside out plastic storage bag.
How can you stand not being here with me and my pink bag of hair?
Everything is coming up roses.
The literal translation of La Vie En Rose is “Life in Pink.”
But it means more than that, “life in rosy hues” is a nice translation; so too, “life through rose-colored glasses.”
I don’t always think of Edith Piaf, the French singer who sang the famous song, although I have some of her music, I think of Grace Jones on the cover of Island Life, an album that my Aunt Marybeth had and one that I envied to the point of buying it when I had the capacity to do so.
I also envied my aunt’s voice, and her softball throwing arm, playing catch with her in the back yard in Windsor I was amazed at the strength in that arm.
I loved listening to her sing the Grace Jones album and had no idea that it was a cover.
I did not know it for many years.
It stayed with me though, the life of the exotic, the hint of something more beyond the back yard of the house in Windsor, a small square of color and light out of the world of Wisconsin that I lived in.
I like to think that I live that life now, the life through rose-colored glasses and yes, I do think I have an idea for my next tattoo.
La vie en rose in script across my collar bones with pink roses.
It’s a thought anyway.
For today it will suffice that I was able to get done a great deal of things that will allow me to transition from work to the playa with greater ease than I believe I have ever had.
Of course I have had the help of many friends to do this.
My playa family, dad and junior, came and picked up my playa bike, freshly pumped tires and a readjusted bicycle basket with zip ties securing it to the handle bars and zip ties reinforcing the new purple pennant I will be flying across the violet indigo twilight.
I am so very excited to go.
I am going to miss my friend that I have gotten to hang out with a bit today and last night–he’s been giving me rides and helping me secure things and I cannot express how grateful I am for his help.
It takes a village to get me to Burning Man.
But the going is happening and in very short order too.
I will be leaving early Thursday morning.
How early depends on when I get picked up.
My friend offered to drive me over to Berkeley when we were originally discussing it, but he’s got to be in Stockton at 7:30 a.m. and that is not going to happen. I will need the family to scoop me. Either on the way out-of-town or grab and go to Berkeley.
I can’t possibly take all my stuff on BART.
I don’t have that much stuff, but I have too much stuff for that.
I, of course, have the most important stuff already packed and much to my chagrin, I was not able to have it ready for the dad when he came to grab my playa bike.
The back yard has been getting some major work done and there were three working guys coming in and out and I could not find my bins in the re-arranging of things in the garage.
I also had a vague memory of one of my bins finally combusting upon re-entry last year from the burn and thought, well, perhaps I had thrown out all my bins with that one.
It turns out, that they were underneath a lot of stuff and I just missed them in the looking, but I got it packed after my bike had left to get situated in Berkeley, and it contains some of the fun stuff: a leopard print shrug coat with a hot pink satin lining (which, why, yes, does match my hair), a soft fuzzy sky blue blanket, a long vintage hot pink sweater jacket that is circa 1962 and a fucking fabulous find at Establish on Noriega and 46th for $12, my goggles, my utility belt, a shoulder harness for days/nights when I don’t want to wear a holster, a small Caboodle box (yes, I have a Caboodle, shut up) of nail polishes, and my playa boots.
What more does a girl need?
Hair flowers, ribbons, fedoras (4 total) a fascinator–that I wore to the Steampunk Masquerade Ball at Nimby a few months back that will be making a return to another masquerade ball on playa, baby wipes, sun block, and a box full of makeup.
I will be bringing food too.
But, that won’t get packed until the last-minute and I will also be doing a hit and run on the Whole Foods in Reno for fresh stuff–apples, carrots, any other fruit that can last a few days out there–nothing perishable like peaches or berries though, it will die upon hitting the playa.
I do have frozen fruit though and yes, a bag full of frozen coffee ice cubes that I let myself have a treat with earlier today in between getting back from running errands down town and running up to Target in the early evening for storage bins.
I do not like Target.
But I had no other options.
I get panicky in big box stores.
I could feel that I was getting a bit weirded out and when my friend asked me if I needed anything else I could tell all I wanted was to get the hell out and even if I had anything else, it didn’t matter, getting out was what mattered.
I did however, get everything on my list and for all intents and purposes, I’m done with procuring the supplies.
Now all I have to do is pack the rest of the stuff up, which just means transferring my closet to the bins and then, away I go.
It’s been a lot, but as I have walked through my day with my head full of pink curls I have felt buoyant and light, happy and joyful and excited.
There have been pockets of sad and some feels have come up.
Guess who got their period a week early?
I was dreading the idea of dealing with it on playa and yes, I know I just wrote about that and I had enough sense to masturbate before it hit, oh did I write that too?
Not like I am going to do it at work, hello.
And it’s been a stressful month, I realized that I needed to well, um, de-stress, and so I did and then I got the news from my body and well, it’s all good.
I’ll be on playa by the time it ends and my hair will look fabulous, and I’ll be ready to actually enjoy that thing in the desert.
I am really looking forward to it.
I think I may be able to unwind out there better than I have here.
And I’m wide awake.
I drank coffee too late this evening.
I knew I was courting a disaster, but I could not help myself.
My ride pulled into a strip mall somewhere outside of San Francisco before the Golden Gate Bridge crossing to use the loo and I hit the Starfucks.
Yes, please, a tall cup of crazy.
I needed it and I am ultimately not too bad off.
Yes, I am up late and I feel a touch wired, but I also would have been up late any how getting myself rearranged as I just got back to the city.
I’ve been gone since the 9th or 8th, I forget which, and it’s been a long time from my cozy home and my steady routine.
It’s nice to be in my house.
And it’s also so nice to be playing music.
I did not have much music time while I was at the grad school retreat and I have not had much, none really, at work while being in Glen Ellen.
I just looked up from the screen and wow, I’ll say it again, I love l my little house.
It is so sweet and clean and just me, just mine, just a little bungalow down by the sea.
The smell of the ocean as I crossed the bridge, ah, home, I rolled down the window and hung my head out and sucked in the cool fog and salt air and was grateful to once again be rolling over a bridge heading into San Francisco.
I am not here for very long, tonight, tomorrow, half the day on Sunday.
I am going to be cramming a lot of stuff in the next few days, although, yes, that’s right, no homework.
As I have gotten the two biggest papers out-of-the-way I can breathe a tiny bit and give myself the next day and a half to prep for the playa.
I am prepping now as I type.
It’s that time.
I whipped out the last jar of Manic Panic in the medicine cabinet that I have been saving for just such a moment and went to town.
I actually think I may have to get another jar, my hair is more blonde than the last time I did it, lots of swimming in the pool, lots of sunlight on my hair over the last few weeks, and although I have successfully dyed it pink before with a jar or less of Manic Panic, it sucked it up so much that I don’t know if the color is going to be true.
One of my errands to do tomorrow is to hit the nail salon and get the digits done and the face waxed.
I so need it.
Partially because I miss the pampering of it and partially since it’s been more than a few weeks since i have been anywhere close to a nail salon.
My nail and waxing spot also happens to carry Manic Panic, so if it doesn’t take tonight, I’ll pick up another jar and go at it again.
This will be the last time though for a while.
It’s a luxury and I am going to be keeping things to a tight budget for my spending while I am in school.
I don’t really have a lot of other Burning Man errands to run, although I have prep to do.
My Burning Man family will be coming over tomorrow in the morning to get my playa bike and anything that I have packed and ready to go.
Which right now is basically nothing.
As I explained to my friend I don’t have to pack a bunch of costumes and I don’t have bins of stuff.
I just open my closet and put the clothes that I have in my closet in a container or three and that’s my costumes.
I don’t have a “Burniform” I just go as I am.
Granted, with pink hair.
But I just go as me.
Sans a few layers of clothing so that you can see I am wearing frilly underwear, but that’s about it.
Although if I had the time I would be inclined to get something extra and fun for the playa.
I have been invited out to cotillion and also to a beauty pageant.
I have no gown.
I have no tiara.
Neither does my friend who told me of the pageant, so I’m not overly concerned.
I am excited.
I haven’t made plans like this to do stuff at Burning Man in years and years and years.
I am always working and while I will be working this burn as well, it won’t be the same as it has been in the past and I’ll have a lot more free time to actually go to Burning Man.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself, but I am excited to have the opportunity to go and play in a way I haven’t in the last 8 years.
This will make burn number 9.
Kind of amazing.
I am one of “those” people.
I fucking love it.
I love my pink hair and flowers and glitter and dressing up and makeup and smiling and being me times 150.
I love participating and seeing people who I only see at Burning Man–even when they and I live in the Bay Area–and having a big old dusty love reunion.
I love dancing and riding my bicycle and singing off-key and telling stories.
And I would love to be kissed.
I miss kissing.
I miss making out.
I feel like this is my last chance before graduate school swallows me whole.
I want romance and love and kissing and flirting and fanning about and silliness and sweetness and magic.
Me and my pink hair and my great big open heart.
I can’t wait.
I am so excited and I am so grateful that I get to make this mad dash back to San Francisco, then back to Glen Ellen for work for three days, then back to San Francisco and then off to Black Rock City.
I am grateful I had a cup of coffee and that I got to dye my hair.
I am grateful I get to do my nails tomorrow and buy a lip gloss or 18.
I am happy to get to see my Burning Man family and hug them and make sure the zip ties on my bike basket will hold.
I am grateful, over the moon, and utterly graced that I get to go.
Big deep breath.
All the things are falling into place.
The stars are aligning.
And every thing is coming up.
How grateful am I for this blog?
So fucking grateful, so grateful I can’t say it without a depth of profanity to back up the word gratitude because it sounds sort of pussy and woo woo to say grateful.
Grateful out my ass.
If only from the stand point of the amount of practice I have had over the last five and a half years of constantly typing.
I am hella fast on the key board.
Grateful too for a forum to sort my thoughts, get my head together and aligned with my heart and to see the places and spaces I need to go and sometimes the things that I need to let go.
I just finished writing my second paper for my cohort for this semester of school, the ICPW weekend intensive for CIIS.
That is Integral Counseling Psychology, when I write about getting a Masters in Psychology, it is within the realm of this program.
Said program, lest you haven’t been paying attention, or have just come to start reading my little blog here, is held on the weekends, except for the week-long retreat that heralded the beginning of the semester.
Retreat my ass,
Boot camp it was and boot camp it remains.
Although, it probably had much better food than boot camps do.
And I was able to get my ass into the hot tub twice over the span of the eight days I was there.
I find it hilarious that though school has not officially begun, it has begun and begun with a roar.
I mean, I had a paper due before the start of the retreat and so much reading that I am still getting caught up. Part of that was my bad, I did buy the wrong readers for half my classes.
My sweet friend who tried to go to Copy Central and pick up the Dubitzky reader for me, I love, love, love you, and am horrified that you spent all of lunch time waiting in line at the counter only to find out that the reader is STILL not in.
Copyright laws my ass.
Get my reader printed bitches I got reading to do.
I really wanted to have it in my sights before I headed out to that thing in the desert, but it seems that is not to happen.
My friend did say he would hop back there while I was at Burning Man and try to retrieve it again, Copy Central said give it another week. Of course, I don’t have another week, I leave for Burning Man a week from today.
In fact, this time next week, I will be in the dusty dust.
Work, lots and lots and lots of school work, and yes, I know, this is a graduate program, but it is new for me, and I realize that I am going to have to make a continued, sustained effort at getting things done every day.
I also have to say, I have felt a feeling of dread and anticipatory fear both times that I sat down in front of my laptop to start writing my papers.
Tonight’s paper was on my Integral Yoga and Philosophy class.
“Oh! How’s the retreat going? The yoga sounds really lovely,” a friend texted.
Are you reading my blog?
Or are you just projecting your desires to do yoga under some nice spreading oak trees in the grass?
Because there was no yoga being done where I was.
There may have been, but it wasn’t by me.
The Integral Yoga class was a history class on yoga as a spiritual path and the philosophy of said integrated system as informed by the studies of Sri Aurobindo.
I didn’t know who the guy was either.
I took really good notes.
Thank you self for being such an avid note taker.
Also, note to self, need to buy a shit ton of new pens, I must have gone through five or six in the course of the week at the retreat and another two here at work. I will be continually investing in pens.
However, the notes helped.
And that I paid attention in class.
And although I had no coherent thought about how I was going to attack the paper, attack I was.
My blog and the habit of writing it assists me.
Despite my brief noodling around on facecrack and okstupid, I got down to brass tacks pretty fast.
I opened up a Word document and I typed my name and student id on the top of the page, followed by the name of the class and the name of my professor.
Then I titled it with something that had caught my eye when I was skimming through the main text of the class.
I typed it down.
I underline it.
Another thought, a paragraph, a quote, a look at my notes, another idea, another, and I’m off to the races.
Two hours later, 9 pages, 2,775 words long.
And granted, they, the two papers I have written, are not done in APA style.
If they were, I would still be writing them.
They were both well written and I sent both of my papers off tonight to the two professors.
I was glad I sat on my Human Development paper for a day, it did need a tiny bit of polishing, but tonight, after I had re-read, out loud, my Integral Yoga paper, there was nothing there but lightness and bliss and yes.
My arms are tired and my head is a little foggy.
But I was not remiss in my body today either, I had a whole, forgive me, I can’t help it, mind/body/heart kind of day at work.
The family went to Train Town and I cleaned and did laundry, made food, and organized, tidied up the pool area and folded swim suits and basically got the space tidy and when the boys got back and had lunch we went for a long walk and picked black berries again and then dinner was made and I had a great abstinent meal and a great swim.
I got back in the water again and the boys cheered me on and asked me to do dolphin kicks and swim butterfly, I almost threw up my dinner, and my arms are going to ache tomorrow.
Swimming butterfly is much different at 42 than it was at 18.
Hot shower, cup of tea and sitting down.
Letting the words come out.
I am always surprised.
It’s not the writing that is the hard part.
It’s sitting down to do the writing.
I showed up.
I got it out.
And I’m half way there.
Not through school, I mean, fuck, the semester still hasn’t “officially” started.
But I’m half way through my assignments for the retreat.
I won’t be writing tomorrow as I will be wrapping up my week here at work and heading back to the city to do the deal and then pack as much as I can for Burning Man and yes, dye my hair pink.
I’ve got a hair geographic itching to happen.
It is good
That was my spiritual principle today.
I picked a good one to practice.
Not like there’s really a bad spiritual principle to practice.
But I did good.
I did it.
I wrote my first paper stemming from the classes at the retreat I was at for my graduate school program–the ICPW Intensive program at CIIS last week.
I wrote my first graduate school paper!
I sited lectures, articles, and excerpts from the text-book.
I interweaved experience from the class and my own personal histories.
My first paper is done!
Not just a sense of accomplishment, but fuck, a sense of relief too.
The damn thing is due the 23rd of this month, today is the 19th, and as I looked over the various syllabi for my courses, I realized two things, first that I did not want at all to write this particular paper and second, fuck me, it was the first one that was due.
Due before I leave for Burning Man, which is basically in a week.
Due like really fucking soon, and I did not want to write it, it was the most challenging of the papers I felt. The paper that I thought was going to be the hardest, the one that freaked me out the most when I was given the parameters to be held to and what I had to discuss therein.
The feeling of relief is huge and also that I did do it, and that it did not take me as long as I thought it would.
I write that every day.
Granted, not in the format I used and when I went back and re-read it out loud after I had finished spell checking it, I was pretty impressed if I do say so myself.
It reads like graduate school work.
There’s some smart stuff in there.
Of course, I may get back a poor grade and change my mind, but I believe I wrote a really thoughtful, cohesive, intelligent paper.
And now I have three left to go before I hit the dust.
My aim is to have all the papers I need to have written before I go to Burning Man.
It’s a tall order, but if experience plays out the way it has tonight, I can extrapolate forward that I will be able to get them all in.
I have to write, like have no option not to, it’s due the 26th, one other paper before I go out to the playa on the 27th.
That paper is probably the second hardest to write and I will attack it tomorrow.
I am also pleased that I resisted the impulse to willy nilly send out my paper to my Human Development professor tonight.
Go back and re-edit, make sure it makes sense, that it reads well, that I don’t have any glaring, silly mistakes or misquotes. I don’t want to send it off just to have it sent off and out of my head. So tomorrow, I will take another look at it with fresh eyes, probably in the late morning or early afternoon on my break and if it stands, I will then send it out into the ether.
I have found a little routine that is helpful with my pattern of working with the family.
Up two hours before I need to start with the boys, read, pray, write, eat breakfast, check some e-mails, make my bed, dress, put on my face, gather myself and then off into the wild wooly world of the three-year old and the five-year old.
Today was a day of much imagination and love and I felt really blessed to get to work with them, which so often was playing with them or sometimes sitting with them and talking about what they are seeing.
One of the things we did today that just made my heart sing, was sitting on the front patio overlooking the valley and watching the birds fly by.
Both boys had pretend cameras–some sort of peg board for an old-fashioned lawn game–that they used to capture the birds as they flew across our line of sight.
A bird would fly by, they would take a photograph of it and I would tell them what kind of bird it was–vulture, red tail hawk, humming-bird, nut hatch, raven, gold finch, blue jay–and then the oldest would tell me a story about the bird and where it was going.
Who needs to watch videos?
Then lunch–homemade quesadillas with jack and cheddar cheese and the leftover bacon from breakfast, fresh avocado, carrot sticks with humus, grapes, and milk. Afterwards the boys went for a hike with their parents and the dog and I prepped for dinner–spaghetti and meatballs, pan roasted vegetables, tossed salad, with hand-picked tomatoes from the garden–and I finished my own lunch and made some tea and then got on the phone with a few folks.
It’s been a little challenging, not being in my home, being isolated, but I have tried to keep up the good fight and keep my sense of humor and grace.
It was a little wanting this afternoon and I found myself slipping into fear about money, school, making ends meet, would my job have enough hours for me, would I have to look for more work before going to Burning Man?
I felt overwhelmed, sad, and afraid.
I started making phone calls.
Then I prayed.
Then I set a timer and I flipped through a reader which I have already read, to outline some ideas for a paper.
I took a phone call and realized that the best thing I could do was to sit.
Get the fuck into the present moment.
I set the timer on my phone for fifteen minutes and got right with God.
With my body, with my self.
I got back to the present and did the boys laundry.
And when they got back from the hike and eschewed a swim in the pool, we went for a walk to pick blackberries instead.
Despite the many pricks on my fingers and the stains on my pants, including a gnarly scratch I got from a bramble that bled like crazy for a few minutes, I had a blast with the boys.
“Put it in my mouth!” The three-year old demanded, pointing at the container of black berries.
I popped a fat blackberry in his purple stained mouth and watch his little eyes close in bliss.
“Me too! Me too!” His older brother exhorted me.
“You guys, we’re not going to be able to make blackberry crumble if we eat them all!”
We ate them all anyway.
We found a huge patch that were not decimated by the deer and managed to collect enough to bring back to the house where the mom was waiting with swim suits and goggles, fins, and snorkels.
The boys striped into their birthday suits, hopped into their swim suits, and on into the pool.
While the family swam I organized the dinner and made the blackberry crumble.
I also made my own dinner and ate with the family, knowing, in the back of my mind that I had to do the deal.
I had to at least start on one of the papers.
And not the smallest or the easiest, or the one that I wanted to write the most.
Get the big bad one out-of-the-way.
And I did!
I still am a little in awe that I sat down and did it.
Demonstrating to me, once again, that the most important thing I can do is show up.
I sat down, I opened my books, I re-read my notes on the class and I dug in.
When I looked up it was only two and a half hours later.
I still have time to blog!
Life is good.
I know this is just the beginning, and I know that I can’t rest on my laurels.
It feels good to have this finished.
Story of my life.
You haven’t gotten into the pool yet?
Go for a swim!
When your person, the person that I check in with almost daily, meet with weekly (except when I am out-of-town with work or Burning Man), and trust implicitly says get into the pool.
I thought about it.
Then a dear friend and I chatted this early evening and when I told him the same thing I could hear it too in his voice, what the hell am I am waiting for.
You see, I have a lot of reading to do and some papers to write, like four, I think, could be five, but let’s not talk about that quite yet, and I have things to think about and worry about and why, I’m quite the person for self-abnegation, why the hell would I do something I like to do.
I could feel the disinclination to want to do it.
I was balking.
I don’t know why, perhaps some sense of I just don’t have time to enjoy that stuff.
I must always be doing the working and the things and the figuring it out.
And oh what the fuck.
I got into the pool.
It was preceded by a pretty honest and open communication with the family I currently nanny for in regards to the discussion that was had about my not getting paid vacation pay for going to Burning Man and I re-iterated to the mom that I understood her viewpoint, I was taken aback, that I had gone back over the contract and that I saw she was right.
I can be happy or I can be right.
I am not right.
Nor was I very happy when the initial conversation happened.
That being said, I saw my part so fast it was sort of spooky.
I saw where I assume, I saw what happens when I make assumptions, I saw what happens when I act out of fear and don’t have clear communication.
I saw it all and again, the mom was right.
Was I still a little pissed at myself this morning when I woke up?
I wrote, I prayed, I ate a healthy abstinent breakfast, I took the time to make some phone calls and I did another spot check inventory then called my person.
Who was perfect and clear and blunt, but not mean.
She knows how the fuck to communicate.
I hear her so well and it was good to have the talk and get grounded and get my principle for today, which was “just for today” and it was soothing to hear her and be on track with my life and job and recovery.
The recovery piece has been a little bumpy since I haven’t had my normal menu of places to be and church basements to sit in, since I have not been around a metal folding chair and some over cooked coffee in a few days.
I have been a touch self-reliant with my program, doing the deal on my own, but also checking in with my friends and fellows and making myself available to be checked in with by my lady bugs, confirming with them that I will be in San Francisco this weekend.
Which reminds me I have one more phone call to return, I just remembered there’s one I haven’t slotted into the schedule.
It was good to touch base and be held accountable and see how my perceptions are skewed and what I can do to rectify that.
Get into the pool
You mean, get out of my head and into my body!
I haven’t ridden my bicycle in a week and a half.
I haven’t done much exercise, not nearly enough.
I have been sitting a lot and reading a lot and processing a fuck load when I was in school and the only exercise I got was a few dance exercises (which thank fucking God that happened when it happened or I might not have made it through that last day of T-Group) and walking to and from the dining hall.
I knew when I had a cup of tea after dinner and was on the phone with a friend that I needed to out myself.
I wasn’t really in the mood at the time of the phone call either having just finished dinner and sitting on the porch swing looking out towards the rolling hills of Sonoma county and the grape vines tiled along the hillocks, the glint of sun on the underbelly of a red-tailed hawk soaring high in the dusky blue sky, the oak trees bending into the twilight and the rising song of crickets in the grass serenading me.
I don’t feel like changing up and putting on my swimsuit.
One little three-year old came out to snuggle in my lap, then the five-year old, the mom came out and dad and the next thing you know we are having an open conversation about what we can do moving forward and if I felt that it was unfair not to be given some sort of compensation for the week I’ll be missing work (I’m not even talking about getting paid for the two days extra, well, extra in my calculations, not in theirs) while I am at Burning Man.
The funny thing?
I had pretty much forgot the whole thing by the end of the day.
I was enjoying being in the moment with the boys, we went black berry picking and had a really nice walk and lots of snuggling and being silly with each other and time on the porch swing too.
I had legitimately let it go and had moved on.
The mom and dad and I talked about moving forward, when my contract was ending, what they wanted to try, not signing another year-long contract, but giving all parties a two month trial as I enter into graduate school and see what works for them and what works for them.
I just re-read that in my editing. “What works for them and what works for them.” How amazing, I am still, unconsciously deciding my life on what works for them.
End aside. And I’m keeping that piece in un-edited to remind myself that this is not about what works for them, but what works for me.
Now aside ending.
That maybe I would work extra household stuff, marketing and cooking and organizing while the boys were in school, to look at what I wanted for hours and that they would guarantee I got them and if I worked less, as they didn’t need me, or I had to take more time for school, that during those two months, my pay would stay the same.
And it felt right.
I said my gut wanted thirty hours a week.
My head wants 35 hours.
But I think I want a guarantee of 30 hours and if I need to supplement I can say so.
I can also work outside the family and do cash jobs, baby sitting gigs for families I used to work for.
Maybe just put it out there in my circles.
I don’t also have to stay with the family, I am aware too, though I did not say that to them, that I have options and if it seemed that I would do better financially to find different situation that plays better, that I go with it.
I am the only person who is going to care for me.
Though I have been assured by some lovely friends that I will be taken care of no matter what.
I believe that too.
I always have been, why the hell would it change now?
I also asked for a raise come my year.
The mom balked.
She replied that it was not standard to give a raise to someone who was going down in hours.
In fact, she intimated that when that happens the person involved makes less money.
I was taken a bit aback, but I reiterated that it was a year, that it felt right to ask for a raise, and that despite my hours lessening, and not exactly by my choice (they’re children are going into school), that my level of care and the quality of my work was not going to decrease.
We left it at that.
I also found this good information to know moving forward.
I’m not going to cut off my nose to spite my face, but I do deserve a raise and I felt it appropriate to bring it up.
They want me to continue working for them, I adore and love the boys, it could be the best of both worlds, I am just not going to not look at all my options, as again, I’m the one paying my rent in San Francisco.
I don’t see cost of living going down any time soon.
I felt good.
We will have another discussion.
And I went back to my room and put on my swim suit and got into the pool.
Into my body, out of my head, and my heart swelled and the old familiar comfort of swimming assuaged me and I felt connected with my body and limbs again and resolved that I would swim again every night while I am here.
Then I took a bath with French sea salts I found in the cabinet and soaked in super hot water.
I almost fell asleep in the tub!
I did good.
And I read for an hour after getting out of the bath–putting me at two hours of reading today–finishing up the reading that I needed to do for a class so that I could move into writing the paper for it.
Not too shabby for a Tuesday.
It’s nice to be reminded to take care of myself.
It’s nicer when I actually do.
And I am the solution.
I am also not nearly as mad as I was when I had the conversation tonight at the dinner table with the family I work for regarding my time off for Burning Man.
I got the extra two days off and they are unpaid and that is just cool.
I am really excited to get to go up earlier than I was expecting and the excitement for going is palbable.
I’m not getting paid.
I was taken aback and had to take a moment before asking what the mom was talking about. I said I was confused I had asked off the time way in advance, I thought that last week with the retreat and then the week of Burning Man were my holiday requested vacation paid time off and huh?
What do you mean I’m not getting paid?
Oh. I see. You and I weren’t in agreement about my sick days.
I thought that days I had taken off for some travel, to see my Grandmother in San Diego, for some appointments, interview at the graduate school program, etc. I had thought I was taking sick days.
Apparently the contract was not in regards to PTO, paid time off, but strictly negated to sick time, like you’re sick, you call in and you get paid.
Oh, so you mean, the time I was sick and came into work and fucking slogged through it because I was banking those sick days toward my Burning Man and graduate school retreat, I should have just fucking called in sick?
God damn it.
I have wondered more than once about calling in sick the entire time I’m at Burning Man.
Hey. Sorry, I’m sick. Yeah, it’s uh, been really dusty in my house and I’m experiencing some altitude sickness and mild euphoria, mind if I take the day off?
I mean fuck.
And I created this. I did this. I did it and I can see it and I am in a forgiveness place with myself that I was not in a few hours ago.
But it still sucks.
I don’t give a fuck.
I’m still going.
I took an honest look at wanting to do the experience and doing it in the way that I am doing it with the people who I am doing it with and how I want to be with this group, I love them, they mean the world to me, they are a community and family I don’t have elsewhere and the fact that I am getting a ticket (in exchange for services rendered) and the transportation to and from and the camp infrastructure is set up and I don’t have to think about it, plus early arrival pass, well, fuck I’m suppose to go and be there.
I am so tired of living in a self-imposed model of I can’t have the experience unless I am getting paid and working my ass off to be there.
It obviously stopped working for me last year.
That was a shit show.
I was supposed to have the experience, I really was, I see that now, I see that it gave me the impetus to get out of a job that wasn’t working for me, to a job that has worked pretty well for me most of the time.
As I said, I’m not mad at the mom for what she said, it feels uncomfortable, but she was clear and direct and had obviously a opinon about it and it was said and I am so glad I didn’t react. I paused, I responded, I sought clarification.
The god damn T-Group model worked!
Too fucking funny.
I also hereby acknowledge, which I did this morning in my morning pages, that my current family may not be the best situation for me to stay in while in graduate school.
It may well work for me to go back to getting paid under the table, I’ll make more and work less, and also, go back to working with babies, who nap. So that I can accomplish more reading in my work environment. I did manage to read for 45 minutes of my break today and I was hella happy about that, but there won’t be breaks moving forward with my current family.
I’m going down to part-time and wouldn’t start work until 2:30p.m. when the boys get done with school
Yes, I would have time to read before work, but working fewer hours to support myself is not going to work unless I get paid a lot more.
I do deserve a raise from the family, it is time, it’s been almost a year and being the best they’ve ever had out of five previous nannies means something. It means, you want to keep me on your employ you pay my worth.
And that was also lovely for me to see.
I know what my worth is.
So moving forward I will probably toss a soft ball out to the Universe–find another job?
Stick with the current one?
Make more money has to happen no matter what.
My goal is to work and sustain my standard of living while in graduate school, that means making more money and working less.
It doesn’t have to be a lot less, but it will have to be a little less.
I know the solution, I know how to communicate, I know my needs, I have a lot of data.
So, moving forward.
Perhaps with a little less money than I thought I would have for this month, but whatever.
I am supposed to be there, I know it in my bones and I am supposed to be at CIIS for graduate school and I am supposed to be a strong recovered woman in my community and I am supposed to be in San Francisco.
What does it take to be those things?
I have the solution, it’s spiritual, and I can apply it to the problem.
There is a spiritual axiom that whenever I am disturbed with a person, place, or thing, I am the one with the problem.
And I believe that.
My job is not the problem.
How I communicated my needs in my job is the problem.
I can choose to harbor a needless, selfish, self-seeking resentment, or I can communicate what I need.
And if the job can’t fulfill those needs.
I have seen it demonstrated over and over and over these last 10 1/2 years, I am completely taken care of and I am alright.
I always have been.
I always will.
As long as I maintain a few simple things.
I’m going to Burning Man!
I might be available for a new job and a new experience.