Archive for August, 2010

Burning Man Quickie

August 26, 2010

I am currently ensconced at the Black Rock Saloon.  A “members” only establishment that provides services to those who are out on the playa early working and helping to set up the city for the event.

I got a shower with hot running water.  Oh, so delicious, so divine.  I am playa free for the moment.  Granted, it won’t last long, there’s a reported late afternoon of high winds about to happen, which usually equals dust storms, but for now, I feel divine.

I also have clean laundry folded and dry in my bag.  My employers stuff is currently tumbling in the dryer and I got to eat a bacon cheese burger with a big unsweetened glass of ice tea.  Life is fucking grand.

Just take away some of the amenities I am so used to and watch how they, in just days, become awesome luxuries.

I don’t have a job when I come back from Burning Man and that has kept me very much in the present.  Very much.  I am clean and fed.  I have a place to stay, and my rent’s paid for when I do get home.  I have plenty of food and water and my shelter, which would be considered the lowest, meanest of trailer trash, is a veritable haven from the elements that I could not be more grateful for.

Tonight is the infamous Ladies Night for the staff.  I am looking forward to dressing up and doing make up for a number of the burly guys on the DPW.  Last year I did make up for Steel Toe, the man responsible for building the Man himself.  Of course I had no idea who he was and stepped all over my feet when I found out.  Everyone brings something unique to the event, I happen to bring a Kaboodle full of make up and skin products.

I may feel out of place at times, but, the word gets out fast that I have nice cosmetics.  Ha!  And a talent to give hand and foot massage.  These things do not go unnoticed.

Well, will keep y’all posted, the laundry is done and there are four people waiting to use the facilities, time to go back to the playa and get dusty.

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Burning Man, 2010, Day Two

August 22, 2010

J. is currently napping.  Had a full morning.  We did a parade around the camp and said “howdy” to the neighbors.  We blew up the pool and went “fishing”.  Her mama set up her play house and we went pretend shopping to fill up the shelves.

Lunch was busy at the commissary.  A lot of people, including myself, missed breakfast.  Last year after Early Man, the commissary made a big brunch since they figured most folks would be sleeping in.  Thanks to the pallet of PBR that was on site for the Early Man burn.  But this year, commissary did not do that and many people missed breakfast.

Lunch was crammed.  But to give credit where it is due, the food here is so much better than it has been the last two times I have come up with J’s family.  They work for the Burning Man organization and as such get those perks.  And since I’m their nanny, I too get perks.  It is such a relief to not have to worry about bringing food or water out to the playa.

I still had to do my fair share of preparing, but I travel pretty light and I know how to pack.  I had everything ready to go and packed up waiting on the curb with plenty of time to enjoy a snack curb side and drink a cup of tea while waiting for J’s mom to pick me up.

The tourists on the cable cars got quite an eye full.  I’m already a colorful San Francisco presence in Nob Hill as it is with my tattoos and my bike (not many people bike commute in Nob Hill).  Add to that my travel get up for heading out to Burning Man, and I say the tourist got a nice taste of San Francisco flavor.

The trip to Reno was hot, as per usual.  But instead of pushing through to the playa on the first day, we stopped and spent the night in a friend of the families home in Reno.  Fell asleep to the sound of crickets.  Was rather a delight to fall asleep beneath a thin sheet with the window wide open, not something I’ve done in San Fran in some time.

Yesterday morning we headed up to the playa after a quick breakfast and a side trip to the radio station where J’s mom had a radio interview on the morning show.  The ride from Reno was the best ever.  Intermittent cloud cover kept us cool in the car and J. was an amazing little traveler.

We got on playa around 3:30 pm.  Right before the big dust storm white out hit.  Rumor had it that Larry brought it with him.  I cannot confirm or deny that fact.  But I will say that we ran into him in both Nixon and Gerlach and the timing was a little eery.

The storm lasted until about 10pm last night.  But we made do.  Goggles were donned, bandanas wrapped around faces, and a good liberal coating of dust. I am beyond fortunate this year to have been provided with a trailer.  It is certainly not the Hyatt of trailers, but it is four walls and a roof and A/C.  Made for such a much softer landing then I have ever had out here.

And fortunately for me, I missed the dreaded playa head ache that just about attacks everyone on the first day.  I had already had it in Reno.  Altitude change does me in every time.

After dinner, which I was really happy to have after road food for one and a half days, camp really came together.  Hung some Christmas lights I found in a cabinet of the trailer and as I brought my Ipod cube, music was jamming.  Had impromptu dance party with J. and friends from Black Rock Solar.

After J. went to bed me and Amani headed back over to the commissary where a wedding was being held at 8:30.  We walked slowly through the dust storm, a total white out, getting slightly turned around by heavy machinery.  It only took us about twenty minutes to walk the usual five minute walk.

On the way we stumbled across one semi-stranded woman.  She was completely nude, no shoes, no water bottle, and no clue where the fuck she was.  She did have goggles on, but no dust mask either.  I had many a judgement, I can tell you.  I know there’s lots of nakedness out here, but put shoes on.  And always carry a dust mask and a water bottle! Always.

The wedding was brilliant and dusty and tear inducing.  Had several cups of hot tea and shot the breeze with Amani.  Ran into my favorite photog, Curley and his lovely lady Erica.  And Shawn, aka Ranger Delux.  Apparently the ranger name, “Sir Lix A lot” had gotten shot down, this was his second attempt at a name for himself.

Was awesome to see him and he and I, Amani, and Eric from Tech, rode out in his truck, hereby named the “Pepper Mill” for all the color full light effects it had going on, to the Early Man burn site.  We hung out and caught up until about ten when finally the dust storm abated and they lit the Early Man art pieces up.

The theme this year is Metropolis and the pieces reflected that.  My favorite was a miniature replica of the Empire State Building with King Kong attached to it.  It was done in scale and just adorable.  It never ceases to amaze me the attention to detail that artists put into their work only to shortly there after burn them to the ground.

I called it a night at 11 pm and headed back to camp.  My trailer was a dusty mess, but it was my trailer and I zippered myself into my sleeping bag and was out like a light.  I actually over slept this morning.  I am used to the sun shining hot and bright through my tent to guarantee a wake up in time for work.  Not so today, the A/C coupled with the shade of the trailer had me sleeping past my normal wake up.

Thus the late arrival at breakfast.  Where I got to watch the DPW guys stumble in from their late night PBR and assorted other party tricks.

It has been a really nice landing so far.  And I am excited to see where the event goes this year.  There are some amazing art pieces going up around me.  The Temple is outstandingly beautiful.  Can’t wait to go for a scooter ride with Curley and check out the art a little more close up.  And tonight, off to the hot springs in Traego.

And hell, it’s Burning Man, who knows what’s going to happen today.  Already ran into a waitress I used to employ at the Angelic Brewing Company ten years ago who is working on the neon for the Man sculpture in the line at the commissary for lunch.  Many, many adventures yet to be had.

Will keep you posted.

Good Bye Charlie

August 13, 2010

Today is my last day with Charlie.  Monday he starts pre-school.  I cannot  believe that our time together has come to a close so fast.

Last night I cried to sleep.  I feel like I’m losing him.  But the truth is, I have gained so much.  Unconditional love that has been bottomless from the get go.  Today the first thing he said to me was, “I love you.”

Not all days start out this bright, but all days have been wonderful.  Even the ones where I thought I was going to absolutely rip my hair out.  The day we went to the park and  he just kept running off.  I kept having these heart attacks.  J. was the one who often times made and still makes, “run for its’.  It is a sort of game with her.  Charlie has always been a stick around type of guy.

But that day he ran, and ran, and ran.  Technically there was no where for him to run to, except into the bay.  So sorry mom and dad, I let your little boy cruise out in front of me expecting him to come back and he just did not have his listening ears on.  Oops.

It was the first time I actually felt the desire to shake a child.  The “do you know how bad you just scared me,” shake.  It was awful.  It also gave me a modicum of mercy for the memory of how my mom raised my sister and I.  If I was all alone with myself without the help of another parent or a nanny, I’d probably want to shake myself to death too.

But for the most part, Reno has always been a peach.  Even teething.  It was excruciating, he cried all the time.  But I can still feel the weight of him in my arms as I walked him around the darkened board room of the Burning Man office.  Hoping that no one would need the conference space until he fell asleep.

Sometime I would put him back down in his pack and play and the moment my arms with drew, he awoke and screamed.  Only to be placated back to sleep when I held him.  There were many an afternoon that I just ended up holding him the entire nap time.  Sometimes just letting him lay on my chest while I slowly, carefully, and very, very, very quietly would ease myself down on the broken down love seat in the nursery.

The warm smell of little boy suffused my heart.  Reno smells like salt and rising bread.  I could just smell him for hours.

Here come the tears.  I have been holding them at bay all day.  My heart feels very guarded and I can feel the defenses crumbling.  I still have a few weeks left with the Junebug, and that sadness is pretty present too.

I don’t know that I am going to say good bye.  I don’t think that I can.  And I know that I will see him and her again.  That is inevitable, like fog in July in San Francisco, I will see them again.  But I won’t have that daily give and take of being with them and I already miss it.

Horribly.


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