Archive for September, 2013

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September 10, 2013

Home.

I am home.

In my new home.

My wee little space with its scents of varnish and fresh paint.

With its bare walls and possibilities.

The blow up mattress covered in borrowed linens, the ceiling fan quiet, spinning above my head, chuckling the air about my arms as I type.

I am sitting on said blow up mattress pretty tuckered out.

I was up at 8:30 a.m. and off to the races.

I did a quick breakfast at the family home in Cole Valley, checking in with them in regards to tomorrow’s needs–8:45 a.m. to 5:45p.m. three baby juggling festival.

That’s a bit to chew off for my first day back, but after the Burning Man nanny fest, I feel fine dipping right back into it.  Besides, the babies are staggered and I usually have a moment or a minute, rare if I get five, but sometimes three minutes is all I need, to get organized and be just a step and a half ahead of the fray.

Besides I miss my other two little monkeys.

Especially the girl.

She turns two tomorrow!

I have a little present for her and I may spoil her just a teeny, tiny, HUGE, amount.

I have missed her and am still a little uncertain how I will not have her more in my life, though, certain that I cannot do a commute to North Oakland to be with her.

It’s too much travel.

I digress.

I confirmed the nanny for the morrow and I headed out the door to the N-Judah, with a quick pit stop at Peet’s for the biggest iced coffee I could get my hands on, then onto the train.

Off at Market and Van Ness to grab a few dollars from the bank, the bank which I am planning on leaving this month, I am sick of their over the top fees, for either the San Francisco Fire Credit Union or the SF Police Credit Union.

After that I hopped a bus down to Ross.

I was thinking I was going to get some stuffs for the household and then maybe go to Target.  I don’t know that I was thinking, I think I was delaying the envitable, the getting to East Oakland and taking care of the business.

I made a phone call to John Ater and talked about some things that have been on my mind and we made a plan to meet at Cafe Flore on Wednesday.

I will be sure to wear the waterproof mascara.

Then I fled Ross, hit the BART and took it out to FruitVale.

Off and into a cab and over to Graceland.

Where I promptly noticed that the fig tree was in full on flagrant display of abundance and fruit.  I pulled down a sweet dark violet fruit streaked with faint green, broke off the stem, which oozed a sticky white syrup, then bit into the most luscious dark glamorous fig I have ever eaten.

I staggered, startled by the intense lusciousness.

Then up the stairs, into the house, and low, the kittens!

Oh, we had us a reunion.

Damn, I am going to miss those cats.

They just broke my heart with goodness.

I picked through the kitchen grabbing the few household things I had, a mug from Paris, a Tupperware from Japan Town, some laundry detergent, a couple of dish towels, a few Mason jars, and a canister of oatmeal.

I hopped upstairs and realized I had even fewer possessions in the room than I had recalled.

I really had, once again, brought the majority of my life and my belongings out to Burning Man.

“You do travel light,” he said as we sat in the window seat of Peets, the same one I had started my day with, “I have your whole life in my car.”

“Please don’t drive off,” I said with a laugh, and thought, my God, once again my life in his car.

The last time it was taking me to the airport to climb into a plane bound for Paris.

This time it was loaded with my things bound for the Sunset.

As I ascertained the packing of my things at Graceland I did think of him and how this journey, this past year, is now being closed, a perfect loop, a closing of the circle, a finishing of a cycle.

He was there at the beginning and now, here he was again at the end.

I had not thought to have his help to move, my friend whose in-law I moved into this late afternoon, early evening, was supposed to help; however, she had been unable to and at the last-minute I called him.

“Please let me know if I can help,” he said to me on the phone just days before.

“Ask him for help,” my friend said, “it’s ok to ask for help.”

And ask I did.

I had been bereft when my friend said her schedule had changed and I felt abandoned and stupid and how am I going to do this, then I heard his voice in my head, and the offer, I thought, this is how it goes.

This is how it happens.

This is the way through.

He ushered me to Paris and helped me move the last time I was leaving Graceland, who better than to close the chapter and help me start another.

“I look forward to walking on the beach with you,” he said as he left me at the house, the little stack of boxes and bins not doing a thing to dwarf the small space.

“I do too,” I said as I hugged him good-bye.

“Thank you,” I finished.

Thanking him not just for the help but for the warm envelope of his smell.

A smell that leaves me weak in the knees and sends my heart crashing about in my chest.

My, it hurts, this odd aching feeling in my breast-plate, what is that?

But the recollection of leaning into the car to pull out a bin of my things and the scent of him bamboozled me, smashed into me and I almost swooned in the waft of ginger and lemon, spicy bergamot and vertiver, a soft musk and buttery shortbread cookie sweetness, causing that pang, just there.

And I swear to God, that is what I smell on him, I have never been overcome with the smell of someone like I am with him.

I die in recollection.

“Let me know if you need anymore help,” he said in closing.

Oh I will.

It scares me to not ask for that help.

However, it is not help moving my belongings I want.

I am done moving.

I am home.

It is a moving of another kind.

The move of the heart.

 

A Different Kind Of White Out

September 9, 2013

I got the keys!

I got the keys!

I got the keys!

Well, not to the new place, that is still to happen.

But I got the keys to the garage and the garage leads to the door that leads to my in-law.

Yay!

I move in tomorrow, I will also get the real keys tomorrow, but I am more than happy to have access at all.

Tomorrow, for the first time in over a year I will be sleeping in my own space.

No room mates.

Just me.

No bed yet, either, or other house hold thingamabobs.  But whatever, that all will come.  They usually do, and always much faster than I expect them to.

Although if you have any spare pieces parts or bits, let me know, ‘kay.

I ain’t got nothing.

Not even a carrot peeler.

Note to self, add that to the list.

I really am starting from complete scratch having gotten rid of all the things I had household wise when I moved to Paris.  I told my friend when I wrote out the check for September rent, pro-rated to not include the first week when I was busy being in the dusty dust, that it meant I was getting better stuff.

I cleared out what does not work for me and will be replacing it with better things.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

The stuffs will happen.

In the mean time, my friend is lending me a great big blow up mattress and some bedding, a small dresser, a chaise lounge, and a small table.

It’s enough to get me started.

I have started with less before.

And I am going to have fun putting together my new space.  I am going to enjoy the hell out of it.  I am getting some plants, I like greenery, and well, I am getting all the things to make it my home.

Plus, although I have yet to touch base with her since my return, I do have some things in storage at a friend’s house out on San Jose Ave.  I don’t recall there being any furniture like things, but I will have all my photographs and postcards and paintings and pictures.  And my grandfather’s spice rack, which is going to look really good in my kitchen.

The kitchen looks great, brand new cabinets, a full size gas stove, a three-quarters size fridge with freezer.  Oh, add ice-cube trays to the list.

Shit, hang on, I really do need to get out the list and write this stuff down or I will forget it.  Not that I think I need to make ice any time soon, but you know, it’s nice to have when the city is experiencing an Indian Summer.

Not that I could tell as I rode my bicycle out to the 46th Avenue.

Where I am now to be found–46th between Irving and Judah–in the fog bank.

My glasses were misted over by the time I got to the house and I will be pocketing them for future foggy rides, better to be slightly blurry from not wearing the glasses than blind for riding in white out conditions.

At least this white out doesn’t taste bad and leave a coating of alkaline on your skin.

It did frizz the hell out of my hair though.

Ah, curly hair, how I love to hate to love you.

But as I stood waiting for the N-Judah to swoop me up and take me back to Cole Valley, I left the bike in the garage at the house, I don’t need to worry about moving that as well, I thought, I could really get used to this.

I like the smell.

It feels cozy.

I like wearing cozy clothes.

I sleep better in cooler weather and I like to sleep under blankets.

Ack.

Add to list.

Anyway.

I liked the shroud of fog.

I like the fuzzy lights of the train pulling through the dense cushion of mist.

It was pretty.

I like the pretty.

Oh snap.

I can go for a walk on the beach tomorrow at sunset.

How freaking cool is that?

And I got my first mail there.

I sent myself a post card from Burning Man.  I did not read it yet, but I propped it up in my bathroom.

Sigh.

My bathroom.

Nobody I have to share it with.

I can get up in the middle of the night and use it and not put on my pajamas.

Nothing says good times like a naked potty run.

Seriously.

There will be runs to the coffee shop, Trouble Coffee is a block away and Java Beach is two blocks away.  There will be meanders to Mollusk Surf Shop, I will eventually learn how to surf, damn it.  There will be dining at Thai Cottage.  Holy shit, that was the bomb tonight.

Surprise take out dinner around my friends kitchen table with her boyfriend and daughter.  Best Thai food I have had in ages.  Super awesome brown rice with yellow curry and tofu for me and they had the red pumpkin curry with tofu, plus an amazing mango salad.

Yum.

And cheap.

New favorite and I have only had it once.

But I foresee many a visit in my future.

Oh, yeah, a Thai Cottage picnic on the beach at sunset with iced coffee from Java Beach.

I remember about 8 and a half years ago I got this urge to go out to the beach a lot.

I was discovering a connection to a power greater than myself.

Stand in the ocean and try to make the waves stop.

See how immense the world is.

How small I am, insignificant, really.

I went every day for a week, over and over and over.

I walked in the surf barefoot and the cuffs of my jeans were soaked and salty and I was loath to wash away the smell.  I organized a beach bonfire one weekend and all my new friends came out to show their support, we stood next to each other smelling the clean sweet scent of the sea and the warm crackle of burning wood singed with marshmallows and dropped cinnamon graham crackers.

It seems that all along the siren song of the ocean has been calling me back.

Your wayward daughter returns, my love.

I shall see you soon.

And like mermaids we shall call each to each, I shall wear my trousers rolled, and eat a peach (well, probably a nectarine, I like them better) as I walk upon the shore.

I do believe, however, that they, the mermaids will sing to me.

I can hear them even now.

And that I will not drown.

Rather I shall rise from the surf a kind of Venus.

With punk rock hair and the laughing mouth of a glad hearted girl.

 

 

All The Old Familiar Places

September 8, 2013

The streets of San Francisco were all a bustle today.

No fog.

No chill.

Just sunshine and ice cream cones.

And lines at the ice cream shops.

Bi-Rite, it still amazes me that anyone will wait that long for an ice cream cone.

The last time I was there, years ago, was on my birthday.

As my birthday is in December, there was no line.

I rode the 33 bus to the Mission today after a very slow start to my day.

I am staying at the family’s home for the weekend.  The thought of getting myself to East Oakland brought tears to my eyes this afternoon when I was trying to figure out what and where I was going to go and when I was going to do it.

I decided to take the family up on their invitation to let me stay as long as I need.

I need until tomorrow night.

I spoke with my friend on the phone earlier and the in-law is looking great, but it is not quite done.  A few more touches here and there, another coat of primer on the cabinets in the kitchen and another of paint.

Unless I want to sleep in some fumes, she recommended that I wait to move in until Monday.  I can do that.  I don’t want to huff paint fumes my first night in the new place.

She’s going to loan me some furniture until I get myself set up, so I won’t be moving into a barren room.  And she is, schedule depending, probably going to help me move my stuff from East Oakland out to the in-law on Monday as well.

This will be great as I can also catch up with her.

I missed my friends.

That was very evident to me as I made some phone calls and caught up with some fellows and made plans to meet up with some ladies in Noe Valley today.

Thus the being on the 33 bus and the sight line on Bi-Rite ice creamery.

I decided after a bit of out and about–one trip to the phone place to fix the phone–$50 later, but so much better than buying a new one completely–and one trip to Whole Foods to get a few groceries for the next couple of days, that I did not have it in me to navigate the city on my bicycle.  I wanted to take it slow.

I had breakfast at Crepes on Cole while the phone was getting repaired and wrote my morning pages in the middle of their bustling brunch crowd.

It was not as surreal as I thought to be returning, but my brain does not yet seem to be firing on all pistons.

And I found myself getting mad at a hippie caravan of dust bowl campers.

“Motherfuckers, you’ve been back over a week, clean that shit up, you asshats,” I thought to myself as I walked into the parking lot of Whole Foods at the end of Haight Street.

I mean, I got in two loads of laundry last night and another two this morning–one more of mine mixed with some of the baby’s things–I wanted to make sure that he got his little Pedro Bunny clean and his Kitty Cat for nap times.

Plus, I, oh there I am getting all indignant and I know better than you how to burn.

I don’t, but the hippies did rub my fur the wrong way or maybe it was the tourists who were taking photos of the dusty hippie camper.

“What’s the difference between a burner and a hippie?”

“A ticket.”

There, all out of my system.

Part of it is just being in the Haight neighborhood, the little Hippie Hill in Golden Gate park, the number of dirty trustafarians hustling “dank nugs” on the street, and “sweet smoke” and the grime of it all.

Trust me, I am not into grime, dirt, or dust right now.

I was more than happy to wash the playa out of my clothes, and hair.

Speaking of hair, say bye-bye to it.

I am going short again.

And I am going crazy color again.

I was asked to be the hair model for my friend’s salon who is being featured in a 7×7 shoot on upcoming fall hair trends.

What?!

I got the message and of course my response was that I would happily be their model.

Are you kidding me?

I know the cut is going to be edgy and modern and forward and their will be bright colors and probably weird crazy makeup.

Come on, I just got back from Burning Man, bring on the funky crazy cool cut.

I am down.

Plus I get to be in a photo shoot.

Hello.

My ego got all puffed up and excited.

Yes please.

Now I can say that I have been published in Paris–The Bastille, I have the song writing credits as well as lyrics for an album–Belle Ame Electronique, I am in a movie–Spark, A Burning Man story, and I get to be featured as a hair model in 7×7 magazine.

Awesome.

I am sort of famous you know, mostly in my own mind, but maybe just a tiny bit out there too.

I am excited.

Although, I have to say, the long hair has been lovely and it feels pretty right now and I talked with the Mister today, he who left me a message, and we are going to see each other next week, and I like being pretty and feminine, I do.

But, come September 18th, the hair will be radical.

That’s ok though, if I recall, he’s seen me with some far out there hair.

I mean when we were dating before I moved to Paris, it was blue.

I think he can handle it.

It was good to talk to him and I stated pretty much up front that I wanted to see more of him.  This getting together every other month or so is nuts.

As it turns out he just moved to the Richmond and I being on my way to the Sunset, will be putting us in much closer approximation.  I foresee more of him in my future.

Foreseeing some beach walking action I am.

Oh gush.

Hand holding on the beach?

Really?

Sure, I might have a mohawk for it though.

Inside, however, will still beat the drum of an old school romantic.

You can tattoo the girl, you can dye her hair magenta, but you can’t scrub that heart off her sleeve.

You can even cover it up with a fine layer of dust.

But wipe gently and you will see it, just there.

Just so.

Just so ready to love.

And be loved.

I left my heart in San Francisco.

And I am here to pick it back up.

The Long Way Home

September 7, 2013

The excruciating wait for the dust storm to end.

It was six plus hours of solid white out yesterday.

The triple time it took to get to Reno.

The family car has been having some issues and for a while it was not moving more than twelve miles an hour.

The long start to get out of Reno tonight.

And last but not least, putting the baby down to bed.

Who is not used to the feel of his real bed, the cats mewling at the door for attention, the hustle and bustle to unload the truck, the car stayed in Reno and a truck pulled the trailer and us back to San Francisco.

I was not going to write my blog tonight.

I am tired.

But I am also wide awake, surged up with adrenalin and what’s next?!

There is another reason too, I am doing a load of laundry.

I have nothing clean left, I wore my last serviceable outfits today in Reno.

I am at the family’s home in Cole Valley and the extra-large, bulky load is going to take an hour to wash.  I want to be awake, even if that means that I am up until 2 a.m. to swap over the load so that I may have clean underpants to put on myself in the morning.

The family kindly is letting me stay tonight and as long as I need tomorrow.

I am accepting the offer with much gratitude.

I cannot do much else.

On one hand I have no home to go home to.

On the other, I have plenty, but the logistics of figuring it all out are so escaping my playafied brain that I cannot put it all together.

The focus, as far as I can see, is to catch up on my e-mails, write this blog, change over the laundry, sleep, and in the morning first thing, go to the phone repair place down the street and have them fix my phone.

If they can’t then I need to get a new one on the ASAP.

I can not not have a phone.

No bueno.

“Oh, are you going to be one of those people,” an old friend from pre-highschool days said to me with some disdain when I asked for her number to put into my new cell phone.

I am absolutely one of those people, I wasn’t at first, but I became so quickly, my schedule has always been jam-packed and I am not a person who is wont to go home and check her messages.

And I have messages.

The Mister left me a message, back on the 20th of August, he’s finally coming up for air.

I liked the sound of that and I would like to see him, if only to finally air out my own feelings.

Something to the extent of, are we actually going to kiss each other again, because I want to, quite bad.  And I know he is a damn busy man, but maybe we can try to make some time to meet up more than once every other month.

I need to get a hold of my friend whose in-law I am moving into, I need to get the keys and oh, you know, move in.

How, when, with what vehicle, fuck if I know, but it will happen.

I just need to place the phone call.

I will most likely leave my playa stuffs here in Cole Valley and go gather my things in East Oakland and then collect them all and bring them out to the Sunset.

I am, fingers crossed, thinking maybe I can do that on Sunday?

Then I can take Monday to get household stuff, of which I don’t have any, but I won’t need much, at least to get me started.

My friend said she had a blow up mattress, so that will suffice until I find a bed.

I also have to contact the family in the East Bay and see what is going on with them.

I am not prepared to do any nannying until I feel like Tuesday, and I don’t want to commute over there.  Then again, Tuesdays I have always worked here, in Cole Valley, maybe that’s what has to happen.

Too much logistics, can’t go that far out.

Just keeping it to the right here right now.

And the gratitude.

That we fucking made it out of the hellish white out storm.

I really thought at one point that there was not going to be a break in the weather and we were going to be trapped for another night on playa.  We would not have died, but I think we were all quite ready to leave.

Really ready.

The dad braved the winds and the dust, after being stranded on the way to the depot and not being able to find his way for over an hour, on a Cushman while he was making a trash run.  Then the storm got worse and we stayed sequestered in the trailer for lunch.

I had fortunately gotten up early and taken photographs of the last sunrise I am going to see in Black Rock City for some time.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Last Sunrise

Last Sunrise

Sunrise, Black Rock High Desert

Black Rock High Desert

Fortunate as I made my coffee, drank two big mugs, wrote my morning pages, and finished my packing up of the Airstream Bambi.  I was done and ready to leave by 8:30 a.m.

But first there was a trip to make to the Commissary for one more breakfast and to sit with the family and discuss how camp was going to get broke down and how to manage the baby’s nap and sleep schedule while this was happening.

A plan was laid, but like all best laid plans, it was for naught.

An act of God intervened.

Here is camp before the storm hit, lit in the soft glow of the sunrise.

Camp

Camp

On the left the family vehicle that was to provide such trouble getting us to Reno.

On the right, the Soccer Mom, which had to be dropped off to the mom’s assistant who was going to drive it to San Francisco.

Behind the family vehicle, their container, which was packed full and scheduled for pick up.

Then the Cushman which would be dropped off to Ranger HQ.

There was the Frontier Trailer to empty, clean, and transference of all family stuffs to the Bambi, which fingers crossed would be hitched to the BMW and then just in case, there was the Ford F-150, not pictured, that was on playa being used over at Heavy Machinery, but cleared for the family use if needed.

Boy was it needed.

That’s a lot of stuff to take care of, without a dust storm.

Home Base

Home Base

It was however, quite doable.

Everything was pretty much packed, sorted, and organized.

It was just a matter of logistics.

Imagine the entire family’s dismay, then, when the white out hit.

The baby was just getting up from his morning nap and the papa had been outside sorting and breaking down the camp.

Mama was having a last-minute sit down with her assistant to clarify some last issues and needs.

I was inside the Frontier organizing baby gear.

Then we got walloped.

Mom got back to camp, dad got stuck in the Cushman less than a 1/4 mile away, but as there was no visibility, it took him an hour to make it back to camp.

The awning on the trailer was ripped to shreds and spent the next six hours flapping and banging into the trailer which shook and was soon stuffed with the dust that was screaming through the air.

We holed up inside, ate a lunch, held our breaths, each thinking, this will pass soon, but as the hours dragged on and the conditions stayed the same, morale quickly sunk.

A nap was taken by the family, I plugged in my head phones to my lap top and watched a video, with an eye constantly pulled to the front, white and occasionally to the back, white out, window.

Around four hours in, the papa decided to get out there.

I have never seen a more determined person.

He sliced down the awning, rolled up the canvas and stashed it in the container, when the metal frame fell on him, I hopped up and braved the weather to help him secure it to the trailer.

Look at the two white poles supporting the awning in the above picture.

Now imagine that you cannot see a person standing across from you.

Complete white out.

The dust stung and slapped and within seconds I was coated.

I felt like I was hanging on for dear life.

Papa secured the metal frame on one side, we slowly swapped places, then he got the other side.

He shooed me back indoors, where I got one look at myself and saw what I will look like with gray hair.

I don’t know how it all got done, but it did, and the stuff was all transferred, the trailers packed, it was frantic and scary and frustrating and for a good part of it I just stood to the side holding the baby.

Then, the three vehicle caravan, the Bambi connected to the BMW, the Soccer Mom mini van leading the way, and me just behind, in the Ford truck, slowly making our way through the white out.

Took over an hour to get off playa.

Complete white out.

We all stayed connected via radio, in fact, because the BMW was acting up, we kept in radio contact the entire way to Reno.  I followed behind the Bambi, which at times was able to go the speed limit, but then for no particular reason, other than the dust having fucked up the electrical system of the car, it would slow to 20 mph, then 15, then 12.

Then the dad would pull over, let the system rest, and re-start the car.

A trip that typically takes under two hours, took more than four and a half.

You can surmise how tired we were pulling into the Pepper Mill after midnight.

It was a long day.

And I forgot my laptop in the truck after we had checked in.

I could barely get myself in and out of the shower, let alone write this blog.

In fact, I am going to wrap it up now.

It is late, the laundry, while not nearly done, there are three weeks worth of clothes to do, this load is almost ready for the dryer.

And this lady is ready for the bed.

It is way past my bedtime.

And there is much to do on the morrow.

So much.

 

 

 

 

 

One More Night

September 5, 2013

I almost don’t believe that to be true, but it does appear that this is my last night on playa for 2013.

I am ready to be done.

And not a bit shamed by that fact, although I felt that perhaps I should be when I gave a lady friend a ride back from the shower depot to the Heavy Machinery yard.

“How long have you been up?” I asked.  Not at all expecting the response that I was given, especially as it is her second year camped with them and her first year working the yard.

“Since July 31st,” she said, and then paused.

“I am about over it, but I have about another week and a half I think,” I could see her mentally counting on her fingers.

“Damn.” I said in quiet awe, “that’s close to two months.”

And I have been whingeing about three weeks.

We all have our limits though, and I know some folks that can’t do the week, let alone two or three, or a month.

Two months?

That’s a kind of devotion I am not sure I have in me.

I miss my fellows too much to stay that long.

I said a brief good-bye to one at lunch today, realizing I was about it of that specific crew and how I am looking forward to re-seeing and re-connecting with my people.

A lot of whom have been posting amazing photographs and I am envious of the fun they had, despite the fun I had.

I did have fun, I can admit that.

Even with the tears rolling down my face in the back of the Soccer Mom van while it was parked at Ranger HQ, I could admit I had fun, I was just momentarily overwhelmed and sad.

The emotions tend to roil out here, and there was a minute when I thought I am never getting off playa, there is no end in sight, the car is broke down and there’s no way home.

The car actually, my employers car, has had some problems, which seem resolved, we will certainly find out more tomorrow as we hitch up the trailer and pack things to move.  Dad has acquired another truck with a flat-bed and a tow hitch just in case.

If the car does break down it will get towed to Reno, taken to the shop, and taken care of.  Which means I may be in Reno two nights instead of one.

I don’t care.

As long as it’s not another night out here.

I really am done.

Despite wanting to have the cojones of the girl from the Heavy Machinery camp, the first to arrive and the last to leave, I just don’t.

I know my limits and my limits have been met, and then some.

Mom actually offered me an escape hatch with her assistant going back to San Francisco tomorrow afternoon.

I said no immediately.

I have absolutely no abilities to make small talk or interact with a stranger at this moment.

None.

I can sit and be quiet with the family, but I just don’t have it in me to make new friends with a stranger on the seven hour ride back to San Francisco.

Besides, a nice hot shower, followed by a nice hot bath, followed by a nice hot shower, at the Pepper Mill in Reno is really where I am at.

That also breaks up the drive time and gives me a moment to get uncrusty and uncrispy before heading into the city.

I am certain I will still need a day or two of laundry and letting my brain, body, and soul get used to the clamour of the big city again.

But I just could not fathom riding back with a stranger.

Besides, I know it would put a lot of unnecessary strain on the family to get everything together and deal with the baby.

I am going to finish my job and finish it well.

He reaches for me now, and goes to sleep without a fuss at nap time, and does the fist bump with explosion, I can’t quite give him up yet.

I may change my mind tomorrow, but I want my time to finish well with the family.

And I want my pay, all that I can get, all the days that we contracted for.

My time will go short when we get back to the city.

Mom is only contracted with the Burning Man Organization for another month.

I won’t have the nanny gig in North Oakland.

And I don’t know what my hours are going to be.

I am going to be taken care of, but I did find myself doing a quick troll in craigslist.

This usually gives me the hee bee jee bees, but I managed for five minutes, and if push comes to shove, it looks like there is work out there for me.

Besides, I have not come this far to be dropped on my ass.

Nope.

One more morning to wake up to, hoping I may actually catch a sunrise, I have missed the majority of them, coming to right after the sun has come up.

I had my last sunset tonight and did a walk about to the nearest large burn barrels and back to camp after dinner, God I am done with the commissary, grateful, oh, don’t get me wrong, but I am done with it, to settle my tummy.

The sky was gorgeous, the mountains majestic, the burn barrels resounding with the crackle that I have come to associate with Burning Man.

I pulled out my camera, it is my last sunset after all, and took a load of photographs.

Burn Barrels

Fire

Sunset

Sunset

Burn Barrels

Burn Barrels

I took a last walk with the baby before handing him over to mama for bath time, pajama time, snuggle time, and bed time.

We walked the camp perimeter and watched as the last red-gold dusted the sky.

The baby made the sign for “all done” with his hands as the sun sank below the clouds and dipped into the crease of the mountain range.

All done indeed.

All done.

Hands in the air, alongside the face, back and forth, slow jazz hands.

Kiss the baby.

Say good-bye to the mountains and the sky and the fire.

Wave to me on the horizon, as I pull away, a soft fade, the scratch of a fiddle bow, a loving crooning lullaby, good night my friends, sweetest dreams.

I will see you again next year.

All Gone

All Gone

Go, Have Fun

September 4, 2013

Enjoy the Donkey Show and have a Moscow Mule, I’ll stay back at camp and keep an eye on the baby.

Conversations that would only be held with employers at Burning Man.

Mama and papa are out having a bevvy with the team, a Moscow Mule, according to my sources, is a spiked Ginger beer.

Not that I have ever had one, or have heard of them before, it’s been a while since my cocktail vocabulary has been tested.

I told the parentals that I had no problem staying back at camp.

There’s not a whole lot out there for me to do.

I could get lost on playa I suppose, there’s not much for markers anymore.

No more Man, no more Temple, no more sound camps.

Just a lot of containers waiting for pick up.

Heck, there’s not even a lot of port-a-potties left, the majority of the 1600, that’s correct, on playa, were removed today.

There is still moop and a lot of bicycles.

I understand that folks can get overwhelmed with the work it takes to be out here, but I really am surprised at how many abandoned bikes are out there scattered around the playa.  I am sure a few were mistakenly taken to joy ride out to an art piece or a burn night rendezvous, but I feel like a lot of them just get left over.

Big old case of the fuck it’s.

Hey, the Green Bike project could use another.

Pain in the ass.

Although, having said that, I won’t have a hard time scaring up a ride if I need to get about, there are plenty around still.

And if you lost your bicycle or thought some one stole it, or for that matter, if you lost your camera, your mind (just kidding), your keys, your favorite furry coat, or any other items (except probably narcotics, those don’t usually turn up found) contact the Burning Man organization.

The lost and found is over run and it may very well be there.

The return rate is really high.

Although if you lost your camera you may get it back with the memory card full of shots of random boobs and butts.

Little playa prank that is often played on the person who lost the camera.

It has been nice to see the city empty out, but I miss my friends, and feel a little adrift out here.

I watched a video today, wrote a bit, took a walk, got off, thank god I brought my vibrator, no I was NOT working, but it was nap time and well, I wasn’t sleepy.

Mom and dad need me mostly in the morning hours and after lunch.

Then afternoon nap time descends and I am let off the hook to go do, well, whatever there is left to do.

I did my nails.

Mostly from the standpoint that I don’t want to look at them dirty.  I need a real manicure and pedicure, I can’t wait to soak my feet in some nice water and have a good scrub down.

I sat on the “front porch” and watched the clouds shift and pile up in the sky and get bathed in the glorious light that descends through the blue vault of heaven out here.

Clouds

Clouds

I continued to stay hydrated.

Last thing I want is to get sick this close to the end of my time.

Which, I over heard today may be sooner than was forecasted.

The papa told a friend at dinner that we may be leaving Thursday night instead of Friday morning.

I am so down with that.

I know I have had enough when I am excited by the prospect of going to the Grand Sierra in Reno.

They had some damn fine hot water in the shower and astounding water pressure when last I stayed there.

Especially in comparison to the shower trailer out here.

Plus, there won’t be any co-ed showering happening (I mean, sometimes it was nice, I won’t deny it, to see a pretty man in the showers or to admire an amazing tattoo, but I tell you what, I did NOT need to see the man in his sixties shaving his balls down at the communal sink.  Dude.  Do that in the privacy of your own space, for the love of God).

And I won’t have to hold onto a wobbling apart handle to keep the water on.

I can just sit and be sluiced by the goodness.

I may make one more shower out here as I feel a bit of the dirty, dusty, creepy, soaking into my hair, just to keep the snarls at bay and attempt to get some of the playa off before re-entry.

I am starting to see other folks putting up photographs and realizing how many people I did not see out here.

I did meet a wonderful new bunch of folks at the camp, but there were quite a few that I missed entirely.

Next year.

The only other thing that I tried to do today was look for a bed on craigslist.

But it was disheartening, even though I saw a couple of things that might work for my new place, I could not get up the gumption to place an e-mail and make contact.

I am ready to go, I won’t deny that, but I am not ready to be making those kinds of moves yet.

I figure the first thing that I will do, will have to do, is see if I can get my phone fixed.

Fingers crossed, there’s a place in Cole Valley right by where my family lives that does Iphone repairs.  The mom mentioned it to me and I had not even thought of having it repaired, which will probably be a lot cheaper than buying a new Iphone.

Even though I was starting to experience some lustful thoughts for a skinny white Iphone 5.

I did, however, get excited, the first time I have experienced excitement, for moving into my new place.

I have been grateful, absolutely, but excited, not so much.

Anxious is more the adjective I am searching for.

How am I going to move, where am I going to get household stuff, how will I get my Burning Man gear from here to there, or the stuff I have in my friend’s house in East Oakland?

Where will I stay that first night back?

The mom alleviated that one right away, I’m staying with them.

Thank God.

One less thing to think about.

And the playa bike is coming home.

It is going to need to be repaired off playa.

Anyway.

I still have a couple of days and nights more to go.

Can’t wait to see my city by the bay.

And all my friends.

I promise I will have showered at least three times, probably five, by the time you see me.

Bidding you adieu from Black Rock City, where the streets are gone and the world is silent, but the stars are so close you could touch them with your nose.

An Eskimo kiss from the Universe.

Broke Down

September 3, 2013

But not broken.

Tired.

But clean.

I got a shower tonight and I am all clean and shiny and ready for bed.

Wait a minute, it’s like 8p.m.

Shouldn’t I be out there doing something?

There’s not a whole lot to do out there, but you know, maybe I should wrangle something up.

Nope.

I am going to wrangle myself an episode of Breaking Bad and chill the hell out in the trailer.  There’s not much left out there, except the four-hour exodus line.

Which is shorter than the six-hour exodus line for most of the day.

The gate was shut down mid-afternoon for dust storm white outs and a brief but fierce rain shower.

I was nowhere near gate, I was busy getting upset and dirty.

My bike is broken.

Add to that my Hello Kitty cup, which bounced out of my bike basket yesterday and broke, my Iphone, which won’t hold a charge, yes that is right, my phone be broke.

Don’t bother calling me.

I won’t be answering.

There are so many things to do, but nowhere to go, no one to call, no ability to do so, no bicycle to ride.

Oh yeah, that’s what I was writing about, my broke bike.

Though the lovely Playa Bike Repair shop fixed my flat tire, the bike mechanic did not put my bicycle back together correctly, swapping out one nut for an incorrect size and also not putting my axle in place, leaving it exposed to the elements, and last but not least, instead of using the bolt on the bike flag, he just duct taped it to the frame.

My pennant fell off last night on my way back from the Temple burn and my wheel felt really wobbly, the chain kept catching and I was unable to do any back brake action, plus the seat was all janky and I vowed to fix that shit in the morning.

I did not get around to it until the afternoon, right as the weather was changing from dust storm white out to impending rainstorm.

I had the wheel off and on three times, the seat raised and lowered, the washer on the back axle re-greased and re-threaded, and the ball bearings weren’t sitting right and the whole things was just making me crazy and I am getting pelted by heavy rain and a bad case of the fuck its.

Throw the whole damn thing in the trash.

That’s what I thought.

Instead, what I got was a couple of lovely ladies from the camp to help me.

Between the three of us and a lot of bicycle grease we re-adjusted it, but once the bearings were coupled and aligned we realized that there was a part of the sprocket missing and it was not true.

Dirty, greasy, dusty and annoyed.

I love you Playa Bike Repair, but my bike is no longer serviceable and I don’t have a ride for the rest of my time out here, which sort of bums me out, but I suppose there’s not a thing to be done about that.

I am going to take a photo of the back wheel and order the missing part and bring it with me next year.  The bike is going into a container and being stored with some of the family things.

It has already been decided that I will be back next year.

Duh.

And even if I don’t nanny, which I probably will, the family has extended the camp to me and made room for me, whenever I want I have another camp to stay with.

That’s pretty lovely.

There are a number of camps that will take me in, no matter what I am doing or where I am working.  I know I will be at Burning Man next year, even though I am still here and quite ready to…

Fuck me.

Pause.

I am going to yell.

“Fucking hippies put down the god damn drum, no more vision quests you asshats, go the fuck home.”

Sigh.

Sorry.

The stragglers can now leave the neighborhood.

The event is over folks, get out.

Anyway, as you may be able to tell, I am tired.

It’s not that late, but I am tired.

And I got a pretty full night’s sleep, seven hours?

I worked a half day, but it does not seem to matter, my brain is a bit overwhelmed and my emotions are close to the surface and my body is tired and my bike is broke and my phone don’t work.

Anyone writing a Burning Man country western song yet?

Sigh.

It’s all going to be alright.

‘cuz it already is.

The baby and the mama and the papa are over at First Camp having bbq and potluck, but I said I will pass, I wanted a shower so bad I was willing to forgo the invite and besides I wanted to see my uncle before he left.

We had one last meal together with his friend Henry, aka Odin, and my friends John and Erica.  It was a lovely last meal.  Everyone of them leaves tomorrow.

I don’t know who I know that’s going to be left much past tomorrow.

It should be an interesting ride, these last couple days.

There’s some of my camp mates left, they decided with the inclement weather to just stay put and ride out tomorrow.

Smart move.

The burn barrel is getting stoked and I am foretelling a hot cup of tea and an apple fireside.

Then I don’t even know if I will make it to watch an episode of Breaking Bad.

The Breaking of Carmen being the show on tonight.

I might just fall the hell out into bed.

Start over again tomorrow.

Yawning.

Excuse me.

I am done.

I thought I was done already.

But I am truly done now.

Four more days.

Ack.

I better get some sleep on.

Night friends.

I’ll Be Here All Week

September 2, 2013

Temple Burn happened tonight.

And as the clock ticks forward another year is done.

Burning Man really does mark all sorts of anniversaries for me.

This burn, my 7th burn, has been intense, full of small revelations, and a kind of cathartic dropping away of my self.

The self that wants to be autonomous and do it my own way.

The self that wants to isolate and be by itself.

The self that will strand me at the camp, by myself, waiting for some mythical unicorn or a romantic relationship to materialize.

Instead, what has, is family.

Strong family and friend ties.

I had a wonderful dinner with my uncle this evening before the burn and we talked about the spirituality of Burning Man, which for both of us is the connection, the human connection to each other and our fellows out here.

My friend made this awesome sticker this year–Dust Cult–Family Reunion, and that is exactly what it is for me.  A place and a time where I connect and re-connect with friends, relationships becoming more than just acquaintances, but truly family.

“Hey,” he said to me, as I walked through the crowd at the burning Temple.

He smiled and held open his arms and I stepped forward into an all-embracing hug.

I had gone out to the burn, which I was loath to do at all, on my own.

I had not planned on it, I had my own plans and ideas and they got shot in the foot.

I wanted a shower so bad I rode my bike miles out to get it, only to discover that the hours had been cut short to accommodate those folks that wanted to be at Temple Burn.

I could not even muster up a resentment.

I just climbed on my dusty steed and turned around.

I thought about going to the cafe, but had no desire to fish out money from my wallet, which has been stashed in the trailer since we first got out here.

I had a night last night.

And thought, I want mellow and quiet and I don’t want crowds and I want to be alone.

Except, that well, I don’t.

I got back to camp and it was dark and empty, everyone having already left for the burn.

I thought I could stay here, make a cup of tea, I got my ya yas out last night, I went dancing, I went to Xylophage, the Flaming Lotus Girls piece,catching it as the fuel died and the art ended. I went dancing at two different art cars and at a disco party on the Esplanade.

I ferried some folks about on the golf cart.

I saw a girl struggling with a gigantic rolling suitcase walking across open playa, she was crossing from one side to the other where her ride was waiting.  I rolled up, said, get on, and took her, the suitcase and a friend carrying the rest of her gear to her camp.

I got home late and I slept “late”…9 a.m.

Woot.

I had today off, my first day off, since well, I am uncertain, but it’s been over three weeks, I think.

I still have a week of being here.

I don’t know what that is going to look like.

I don’t think my family does either, but we are all a little crispy.

Everything I tried to do today back fired, gently, in my face.

Friends who I wanted to see having already struck camp and left, friends I had not known were out here, only to discover that they were and still not being able to locate them.

The man I met and spent the most magical night with ever, never finding me again and though I know where he is camped I cannot bring myself to go and seek him out.

“I don’t like being chased,” he said to me, on that night, not so long ago under the stars.

“I am not interested in chasing,” I replied.  “I am worthy of being found, if you want to see me you will find me.”

I remain unfound.

The times for the showers and the commissary being altered to accommodate for the big burns throwing me off.

My camera suddenly going kaput and when I went to download all the photographs I had taken last night the only thing that opened was some photos I took in Paris.

In 2009!

What the fuck?

I did not realize I was going to have today off, so I did not make plans to do anything and felt like I had too much time on my hands.  Then I realized, fuck, I am tired.

I took a nap in the afternoon and felt better for it.

I don’t always out here, sometimes it feels like I am no more rested then when I laid down to begin with.

Upon awakening I reviewed my day and tried something new with the camera, and voila!  My photos magically appeared again.

Then the dinner with my uncle, which was sweet and he handed me a napkin when my eyes misted talking about what this next year will bring.

I left him to do my own thing, only to get shut down.

Only to go where I was supposed to be the entire time, with my brethren at the edge of the night in the deep dark desert.

“Please, let this be the end of isolation for me, I let go of my ideas of what I need to do with my life and who I should be with.  Please help me be present for people who want me in their life,” I whispered out to the fire.

I did go to Temple.

I did watch it burn.

I could not sit in the trailer while the world was solemn and still and holding hands and each other out under the stars in the high desert air.

The lack of music, the stillness, the quiet only broken now and again by a sob, the crackle of the wood, it was eery and magic and love and family and renewal and I found myself raising my own voice into the coyote howl of love that rose warbling and grief-stricken and brazen into the heavens.

I walked forward, into the soft crush of people and said my piece.

I thought of Shadrach and his spirit.

I thought of the dying of self that I have had materialize out here.

This crucible of agony and dust and heat and fire, baking me and cracking me open again.

To raise my tear-stained face and walk into the arms of a friend I had not thought to see or have held me.

“It’s nice to see you this way,” he said to me last year as I tried on a new service position within the Burning Man community, “you were so untouchable when you were nannying.”

I remember those words and it was he that I sat in the back pew of The Church Trap the first day of the event and told fairy tales too.

Unexpected, apropos, and graced to fall into his hug.

I lay my face against his neck, sighed and let myself go, tears slid down my cheek and onto his shoulder, he embraced me and spoke kind words into my heart.

“Thank you,” I whispered in his ear, pulled away and looked into his sweet face, he kissed my cheek and melted into the crowd.

“Please help me to not isolate, please help me to be accessible and of this world.”

Seems like my prayers were answered in that moment, an unexpected, crooning lullaby of love and joy and tears, the howl of the collective human at the burn, the quiet soft voice of my friend in my ear, the embrace, the walk back under the stars, the ringing of my bicycle bell as I climbed into the saddle and rolled back to camp.

Just as my camp mates, all twelve of them that were left, tumbled out of the soccer mom mini-van to ransack the communal snacks and build a fire.

I pulled up my rocking chair and let myself be known.

I’m here all week, 8:45 and C, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Tokyo Ranger station, off of what is left of the 9 o’clock plaza.

Come by, I’ll tell you a story, let you in, hold your hand, and make you a cup of tea.

Family.

Friends.

Lovers.

And loved ones.

Until I see you next year, I hold you close and dear, more so than you may know.

Do I Stay?

September 1, 2013

Or do I go?

I just got back from the burn, where I was live, front and center, nothing between me and the man except a fire fighter in silver suit.

I was gifted an inner circle pass today.

Mom and I bundled up the baby in a little fur bear suit and walked out the 9 o’clock keyhole to the event.  She ended up leaving early, the baby was not taking well to being out late and with the noise and the constant attention being paid him was getting frustrated.

I however, was allowed to stay out.

And stay I did.

I did have a moment when I ducked behind my friend when a gas bomb went off within the base, but I held it out to the end and for the second year in a row, I actually ran around the fire with the crowd.

I also watched three fire fighter body check a runner to the ground and the entire group standing by applauded.

This was probably my favorite burn of the seven burns I have attended.

I loved the base, despite never actually getting a chance to go explore it before they closed it off. And it went up so beautifully.  I will be hoarse tomorrow from hollering my lungs out with glee.

And the fire works were fan-fucking-tastic.

I have not ever been down to the Aquatic Park in San Francisco for Fourth of July.

I don’t need to.

I get my dose of fireworks and heat tornadoes out here.

Fourth of July, even a good one like San Fran’s, pales in comparison.

The question is now this–do I go back out there?

There are still some art pieces I have not seen.

And I have a golf cart.

That in and of itself any other year would have had me flying out the door in a hot second, there would have been no question.

However, I have another week out here to nanny.

Do I break myself tonight?

I lost my shit yesterday from lack of sleep and hungry and lonely, do I get to that point again?

Then again, how many times is the man going to burn and how many times will I have a radio, a set of keys to a cart, and a safe place to crash-land when I get back?

I am tempted to just go out for an hour, take some photos and end up at the Flaming Lotus Girls piece, Xylophage, I have been out to it three times and each time it has been magical.

And there’s nothing like getting back to camp being blissed out from the heat and the relaxation of sitting in one place.

Plus, it is really good people watching and there will be some great people watching tonight.

I did get a good nap in today and I did meet up with some fellows, so I feel pretty grounded, but I did not have the best dinner.

The commissary closed early so that folks could go out to the burn, and I did not make it on time.

Dinner tonight was a 1/2 plate of raw broccoli with sunflower seeds (only thing left on the salad bar), a handful of peanuts and two apples.

And there will be no breakfast tomorrow–brunch, yes–but no food served until 10 a.m.

Dad has off tomorrow and mom is home now with the baby asleep and from what I can recall of our conversations, she is also off.

The pros feel like they are out weighing the cons.

I am drawn to the spectacle.

I don’t want to get crazy.

I don’t really feel like dancing.

I did get my groove on earlier when the mom came back and did some work from the trailer, I got an unexpected hour and a half to myself while the baby took his first nap of the day.

I wandered out and went to an ecstatic dance scene and shook my hips for a hot half hour.

That was just about perfect.

So, this would be to go out, because I can, and see a little more art before the event closes and the playa packs up its bags and goes back to the world, leaving a lot more moop then I have ever seen before out here, and an empty space to ride my bicycle around.

I have actually never stayed as long as we are going to.

Last year I left before Temple Burn.

Same with the year before.

I am usually in San Francisco Labor Day.

Hot, tired, dusty, a bit bent back and broken, but serviceable after a few days of bathing and multiple loads of laundry.

This year?

Well, mama’s still got six days to go, and a full week before I get back to S.F.

And who knows what will happen then.

That’s actually more of a mind fuck then anything else.

I can’t focus on doing any sort of planning for the move, I can barely see into what tomorrow will be like, let alone next week, or scheduling a move.

My friend tonight said, you’ve got peeps, it will all work out.

True that.

So, there’s nothing to be concerned about.

All I need to do, is take a moment to drink this cup of tea and ask the gods that be, what do you want me to do?

Give me a sign yo.

 


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