Posts Tagged ‘Burning Man nanny’

The Last Family

March 4, 2017

My friend said this to me tonight.

And he’s right.

My current family is probably going to be my last family.

It is with some disbelief that I said it, but really, I knew it when I started, that they could very well be the last family I nanny for.

They want me for four years.

That will get me all the way through grad school.

Masters and Doctorate.

Doctor Carmen.

I like how that sounds.

Actually.

I fucking love how that sounds.

And I love that this is my last family.

I also love this family.

I really do.

They are fierce, funny, smart, good-hearted and generous, and that’s just the kids.

I got my first baby smile today from the new-born, who, I suppose is not quite so new, being three months today, but still, such a smile.

Made my heart melt.

Plus.

I had just a total scrumptuous day with the little lady.

We went down town, which I might have nixed had I known that there was a conference happening at the Moscone Center, and had a day at the Children’s Creativity Museum that is just behind Yerba Buena Gardens.

We took the J-Church train downtown and got to stroll around and enjoy the weather.

Sunny today.

Rain tomorrow.

Focused on the sun.

So nice to be out in the day and have a fun time at the museum.

And the carousel.

The LeRoy King carousel.

Such a treat.

In fact.

We rode it five times.

The joy on that child’s face was and is indescribable.

I took so many pictures.

None of which I will post here, no pictures of my charges, but safe to say, it was joy, unadulterated sunshiny joy.

We had so much fun.

We ran around the museum.

We went to the Play Circle Park, where the giant slides are.

If you have not been to the Play Circle Park you definitely need to check it out, giant slides, need I say more?

We actually left the museum and park for lunch, normally we would have just eaten at the museum cafe, but because of the conference, it was packed.

Thankfully I know the downtown a little bit and steered us just a tiny bit off the beaten path of the Moscone Center and we hit a nice little cafe for a big grilled cheese for her and a chopped salad for me.

Then.

Yes.

My charge convinced me, and hey, it is Friday, so, fuck it, one more spin on the carousel.

We negotiated one more trip through the museum, mostly to use the bathrooms and she wanted more entry/exit stamps, but skipped the giant slides at the park to take the carousel one last time before heading back.

It was the best time to catch the carousel too.

There was a group of people from the conference on the carousel and they had bought so many rides that we got to take a double long ride.

She was over the moon.

“This is so much fun!” She exclaimed.

She rode three different horses.

A camel.

A giraffe.

And was just a tiny bit disappointed that there were no unicorns.

I mean.

I can understand that.

Or dogs.

“Why no dogs, Carmen?” She asked me, searching through the ranks of animals on the poles ready to have a leg swung over and hopped onto.

“Good question love, I don’t know, but there’s a lion, want to try that?”

And she did.

And it was good.

God.

It was good.

It was good to ride the train back to her house, to push the stroller up the hill, exercise, yah, and to punch in the code to the garage, to fold down the stroller (now that I finally know the trick to collapsing it) and put on a kettle to boil for tea.

I took in the view from the back, it’s an entire wall of glass with a view of the downtown and to smile at my happiness at my job.

I really feel pretty fucking lucky.

I do.

So when my friend mentioned that tonight, “the last family,” it really hit me how far I have come and all the work I have done to be where I am.

Ten years or so ago a friend reached to me and said, “hey you need some extra cash?  I need help at the Burning Man offices on Wednesday nights, there’s a board meeting and I have class, can you come down and take care of J_________ for an hour and a half, two hours tops?”

I said yes.

And though I did not realize it then.

I never looked back.

I relieved my friend her nanny shift every Wednesday for months, occasionally helping the mom and dad she worked for too with a date night.

Then.

I nannied the regional event at the office and then the Christmas party.

And that’s where I met her.

My first love.

She was just six weeks old and I remember how my heart was smote and the thought came where there certainly had not been thought before, “I want to be her nanny.”

As luck would have it.

Fate.

God.

What have you.

I was asked to be that little baby girl’s temporary nanny.

Then.

Eventually I got to nanny for her and another family.

I had a key to the office and would often be there first before any one else got there.

I would lock up my bike in the bottom of the building, climb the stairs, turn on the lights in the kitchen and make a pot of coffee.

I would wander around and look at the art on the walls and the sculptures.

I would tidy up.

I would receive my charges and my day would start.

I could not fathom then the ten years that would follow.

I could not express to myself how amazing the job, and hard, so horrendously hard (when I made it so), but so fulfilling too, yes, to get paid for loving a child is such a gift.

Oh.

Sure.

Teething, tantrums, poopy diapers, potty training, running out of milk, late parents with car trouble, not getting paid enough, being treated like the help (most of my families did not do this, but I had a few that did, grateful I learned how to leave jobs that weren’t a good fit for ones that were), long ass hours.

And then.

The hugs.

The snuggles.

The dance parties.

Oh.

My.

The dance parties.

So many.

The warm soft, sweet bread baked smell of sleeping children.

I remember being in the nursery at the Burning Man offices and I was sitting in the dark with the door open.

I had two babies sleeping on me, one on my right shoulder, one in the lap against my right side, and the office dog, a little three-legged guy, Ralph, that would occasionally herd the toddlers around the office zocalo, nestled next to me, all curled up and asleep.

One of the office managers walked by and did a double take.

“Do you just ooze maternal?” He asked incredulous.

Maybe.

I don’t know what it is, but I am grateful for it and all the tender, sweet moments that I have had.

They are not done yet, but I see a change coming and it is with much gratitude that I reflected on my career, the unexpected career, never ever said to myself I want to be a nanny when I grow up, and all the joy it has brought me.

I am a very, very lucky girl.

I mean.

Really.

Who gets paid to ride carousels?

I do.

That’s who.

I do.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

Advertisements

Round One

May 7, 2016

Fight!

But.

Actually.

It wasn’t so bad.

Yeah.

I was tired today.

The first day back to the weekend of classes is always a little fraught with lack of sleep.

I went to bed at 11p.m.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m.

However.

Did I toss and turn and have to tell my brain, “hey, thanks for sharing, but can we just go to sleep now?”

So.

Maybe six hours?

Which is often what happens the night before my first day back, thoughts ranging from what am I going to wear, yeah, I know, shut up, I think about that, to who I am going to see–who I want to see, who I don’t want to see–what I am going to share or not share about in my therapy dyad.

Now.

That was different.

Maybe it’s because I am just in a nice place in my head, my heart, my body–doesn’t hurt to have the stars on one’s neck kissed in recent memory, and um, huh, heh, other things–perhaps it’s because I was ready and prepared for the weekend, the work, or what have you, the therapy dyad with my classmate went really quite well.

Relief.

We talked about my scooter, the childcare parking permit, not wanting to victimize myself or be woe is me about it, be an adult, also, that there is residual child hood lingering thought that since I lost it I should be punished, even though I had absolutely nothing to do with the thing falling off my bumper or that, heck, it could have been peeled off my scooter too, who knows.

Which led to talk about my bicycle.

Which, huh, led to tears.

And then we talked about Burning Man.

And though there weren’t tears, there was sadness  there for the not going, for missing what would have been my tenth year there, in a row, at that.

How I get a certain, this is my own wording, ego satisfaction out of being that girl.

You know.

The one speed riding, fixed gear owning (not that I have ridden my bicycle in fixed for the last two and a half years since my knees really started to get blown out), tattooed, bad ass on a bicycle wheeling through the mean streets of San Francisco.

I mean.

Hella sexy, right, I’m over 40, 43 to be exact, 44 this year in December, and still riding a one speed, with my crazy hair flying out behind me.

“Oh, I totally knew it was you,” he said, pedaling quickly to catch up to me.

“How?” I asked, a little incredulous, I mean I shouted “on your left,” when I whipped past and it was dark, after 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night riding through a stretch of Golden Gate Park with little light.

“Come on, Carmen, the bike, the hair, the tattoos, there’s only one you,” he chuckled and caught his breath.

Hmmm.

Yeah.

So, I have this “bad ass” identity in my mind.

That coupled with the “I nanny at Burning Man,” and the picture, well, forgive me, it’s compelling, interesting, vivid.

Now.

Who am I?

Just some chick in a psychology program in grad school on a scooter.

Or so one might think.

I am so much more than that and it’s nice to let things, parts of me go, relinquish the idea that I am this one thing here or that one thing there.

I am so very much.

And as I was retelling the story and the tears arose, I also realized that I have used my bicycle as a means of escape.

Ever since I was a little girl on my tricycle.

I have this awesome photograph of me that my mom gave me years and years ago, right as I was leaving for San Francisco, in fact, I think she gave it to me as a going away present, although I may be mistaken about that.

Anyway.

I’m two.

Sitting on my trike.

Hands gripping the handlebars, little wide leg cord flares on, brown I think, a lamb skin brown coat with the little shearling collar, my hair in a little messy bun up on my head and well, this smile.

This smile that said, you can’t stop me and here I go and come on world, let me at you.

I was just raring to go.

And that is not to say that I’m not still raring to go.

But, it’s changing.

I’m changing.

“The only thing that will always be the same is that change will happen.”

Change happens whether or not I give it, my body permission to be something other than it is and well, my body is tender and sore and I could use a fucking back rub and a leg rub, and my knees don’t hurt today, but they ache, and yeah, you know what, fuck, it’s going to rain tomorrow.

No scooter tomorrow.

I already threw my cover over it.

I did ride in today, just barely making the window before it started to get wet out there.

And happily it was dry and the rain had stopped by the time I got out of class.

But it does not look like that for tomorrow.

MUNI or taking a car.

Just depends on whether they’re still doing work on the Cole Valley Tunnel, if they are, there will be buses running and it will take too long to ride the train, but if the city is not doing work I’ll catch the N-Judah in and take a car home.

There’s a little party for the cohort to celebrate finishing up our first year together after class tomorrow.

I am not super interested in going, I joked with a fellow student, I really would like to sleep, but I also know that despite having old knees, this lady likes to cut a rug.

So.

I’ll make an appearance and be grateful for that.

That is a change too.

Granted one I never saw coming.

She was bent over a crack pipe in the alley on Minna Street between 11th and 10th, I could smell the crack cooking and shuddered.

Thank God for change.

Thank God I got to change.

Thank God I’m not sitting on a piece of cardboard on Minna Street smoking crack.

Been there.

Done that.

My luxury problems are a gift.

My body a gift.

My home, this life, my experiences, my family, my friends, my job, all the things I get to do.

All the love I get to give.

And receive.

I do not regret this new change in my life, though I am allowed a moment to mourn it, I am not definable by those things–bicycle rider, tattooed dragon girl, Burning Man nanny–I am just discovering another layer or myself, my identity, my person.

As long as I love as hard as I can.

Show up to the best of my ability.

And.

Am my complete and honest self in the moment.

I will be ok.

No matter what change comes.

Good or bad.

It’s all God.

It’s all good.

It’s all.

Really.

Just.

Love.

Love.

 

Go Be A Gay Man

February 24, 2016

For awhile.

Go have fun, don’t focus on anyone person, meet face to face.

All the good suggestions.

Lighten up.

Have fun.

Don’t get into any one person.

Ok then.

I can do that.

I am allowed to have fun, be sexy, be flirtatious, have a good time, get it.

Get it girl.

I did have some fun last week.

And no, it was not the horrendous Tinder date I went on.

No.

Someone else.

However, it seems it was a one time deal, haven’t heard much from the gentleman since the date.

But it was fun.

And I have to say, I needed the kissing.

I could use some more.

And the best thing?

I did not meet him online.

Nope.

Ha.

Met him at the grocery store.

That’s where it’s at.

Not necessarily the produce aisle, although every time I’ve gone back to Other Avenues this past week I have looked over the avocados with great fondness.

It’s in the face to face, not the screen to screen.

I have no skills online.

Not that I always have great skills in person either, but then again, I know whether or not I am attracted to the person.

I was attracted to Mister Avocado.

It was pretty obvious.

He was attracted to me, and we flirted, made friends, made a cafe date, and had a sexy little walk down and back to the beach.

It was good.

I will not soon forget being told by a man how beautiful and sexy I am.

“You are decimating me with sexiness.”

Love it.

I’ll decimate you again baby, give me half a chance.

However.

I was told to not focus on anyone person, go have fun, continue meeting people, again, like I said, face to face, no online silly shit, and well, be a gay man for a little while.

Flirt.

Be sassy.

Dance.

Be daring.

Be darling.

I can be all these things.

I look forward to more fun, more lightness and definitely more sexy.

I get to keep putting myself out there and letting myself be seen and also engaging when I am flirted with.

“I really like your glasses, where did you get them,” Mister Outer Avenues asked bottle of eco friendly laundry detergent in hand.

I was fondling the avocados as I mentioned before.

I didn’t even look up.

“Optical Underground,” I said, not curt, but a bit blunt.

He said something else, then I looked up.

Whoa.

Nice eyes.

Really nice eyes, great smile, engaging, pleasant, present.

And then I realized, oh shit, he’s flirting with me, um, flirt back?

Yes!

Flirt back.

I did, it worked, as you probably already figured, and we met later that night at Java Beach for tea and getting to know you fun.

It was fun.

Indeed.

I haven’t, however, had follow up.

So.

I need to keep connecting and letting myself connect.

I need to also look up and not always so much inside, and I don’t mean not focusing on what my heart sees, but that constant internal conversation my brain will have with me.

“Hey, are you thinking about me, I’m thinking about me, you should spend some more time thinking about me, hey, are you listening, I’m talking here!”

That inner crap will keep me so wrapped up in my own little world I will miss the avocado men in the grocery aisle admiring my frames.

How many men have I missed out on wandering about the world in my own small bubble of egocentricity?

God only knows.

Too many, I am sure.

Then again, it’s all God’s time anyhow, nothing is ever on my schedule.

Although, sometimes when things are on your mind, like, um, say Burning Man, the Universe seems to read me well, loud and fucking clear.

Yes.

That’s right.

Mary Fucking Poppins may be riding again.

Or at least opening her parasol once more on the dusty plains of the playa.

I started writing affirmations about going to Burning Man a few weeks ago.

Yeah.

I know.

It’s February.

But.

It takes planning, and negotiating, and work.

It doesn’t just poof happen.

Then again, ha, it sort of does for me, now that I think about it.

Poof.

Text message from a mom I used to nanny for, “Hey are you still looking to playa nanny this year?”

Um.

Hell yes!

This would mean ten years in a row.

A decade of Burning Man.

It would mean 8 years of being a Burning Man nanny.

First year I was just a participant, although I volunteered enough for the Cafe that they asked me to come back with them the following year–of course the following year I was on playa with my first, most specialist, most delicious, Junebug–and one year, the year I moved to Paris for six months, I was a fluffer for Media Mecca–which was like being a nanny for adults in a weird kind of way.

The mom said she thought of me immediately and wanted to connect me with the family and it would be two kids, which I have never done, but the ages are such that I probably could swing it, which means, they are young and still nap.

I don’t know the family that I would be nanny’ing for, but the mom said they were personal friends and I totally trust the referral.

I am pretty fucking lucky.

I have been given permission, suggested strongly, to get out there and get my sexy on and I have an offer for employment at Burning Man?

Fuck yeah.

Also.

I filled up my gas tank tonight on my scooter for $1.50.

Bwahahahaha.

Got to love it.

Gas for a week for a dollar less than a ride on the MUNI.

Weather in the 70s for the next ten days.

Yoga.

Sunshine.

Love.

Burning Man.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Come and get it.

You know you want to.

At 51:55 You’re Giving Me A Hand

October 22, 2015

Massage.

Jesus, people, what do you think I was doing?

Ha.

I got the cutest message today from a friend I made at Burning Man, on top of all things–the Mayan Warrior.

An enormous art car with the most furious sound system ever.

It really is mind-blowing how much this art car rocks.

The stacks of speakers defy description.

I remember the first year it came out, must have been 2013, and it turned on its sound system while still in the city proper and the little boy I was nannying woke up from sleep screaming.

The power of the bass rattled the entire trailer, I am uncertain if it was the bass shaking me that woke me up or the screaming child or a combo of the two.

The Mayan was wrangled quickly, it was fortunately also pre-event, so the city wasn’t too built up yet, and they were told firmly to lower the volume while they were in the city proper.

And they did.

But.

When the car goes deep playa, it goes deep playa loud.

It also faces its stacks of speakers out toward the deeper desert, out past the trash fence where there is nothing but emptiness and black skies full of the swaths of starlight that you can only get that far out.

Swirls of brilliance on black velvet.

Not that I was looking at the stars that night.

I was deep into the music.

I wish I knew who was the dj prior that had been spinning, I loved Jennifer Cardini’s set, it was amazing, but the set before had absolutely blown my mind.

And.

The circumstances too, now that I think about it, I recall Wednesday night the reason why I was on the Mayan Warrior in the first place–I had just come from a wedding at Dream Land.

A wedding that I randomly got caught in the ceremony and helped to literally sing the service to the bride and groom.

And yes.

I caught the bridal bouquet.

I wonder if that means I will get married at Burning Man next year.

It would be year number 10.

That would be something fun to do.

So many fun things to do.

So much life to live.

So much soup to make.

My God.

The soup I made today.

I have to say it.

I am a pro.

I made a soup I have never made before, pureed cream of broccoli soup, and I slayed it.

I am so grateful I can cook.

And I am grateful that I get to for the family, it’s fun, I feel a sense of accomplishment with it and there is nothing like having a five-year old ask for more broccoli, now please!

Fuck yeah kid, let me feed you some more broccoli.

I am grateful for the gifts and abilities I have.

“She cooks for you too?” The mom from yesterday’s play date said in a hushed voice while I was putting together another plate for her daughter.

Yup.

I do.

Yesterday I made my home-made chili, ground chicken with black beans and red and yellow peppers, onions, garlic, mild chilis, I am cooking for kids, mind you.

I had a moment today when I was plating the boys dinner and I thought, I should take photos and do a nanny cook book.

All the ideas.

All the stuff.

All the things.

Poetry.

Cooking.

Writing.

I could say I am a Renaissance woman.

If anyone knew what that meant any longer.

“I didn’t know that!” The mom exclaimed yesterday when I was being questioned by the playdates mom about my back ground and how I came to be a nanny.

I had been working as a legal secretary in a small criminal law firm.

All the jobs that I have done in this city.

Waitress–Hawthorne Lane

Waitress–Absinthe

I also almost waited tables at Zuni, but the owner, the day I had my first day of training, put a hiring freeze on the restaurant and I was “let go” before I had really started.

Mortgage Broker associate.

Yeah.

Me.

I did that too.

Hahahahaha.

I was not good at it.

But I sold myself so well in the interview that I got the job and yup, hit my rock bottom there.

“Where did you come from!?” My boss asked with surprise, literally jumping back startled as I slipped out of the conference room.

I had been taking a nap.

Underneath the conference table.

On the carpet.

In the dark.

All day.

I quick before I got fired.

But that was a few weeks later.

I left the office that day with carpet imprint on my face and I probably left a small pool of drool underneath the table.

AH.

The good old days.

I have also house sat, dog sat, baby sat.

I did event managing for the first, and the only Mission Bicycle Festival, there would have been more, but the residents on Lapidge really balked at having a street festival there.  I also helped manage an investor party for a restaurant that was trying to open in the Mission.

I did costumer service in the Bayview produce markets.

I was a customer service representative for a specialty veterinary hospital here in the city, in the Mission–SFVS–for two years.

I almost worked at the SPCA for a while, but after a few months of volunteering doing kitten socializing I realized that the majority of the staff needed to do some human socializing and didn’t take a job there.

I worked as an assistant to a sex educator film director.

I got him coffee and ran errands while he directed the actress who taught people how to properly do BDSM bondage.

That was an interesting shoot.

I never knew there was so much involved with making the sheets look good for the shot.

I have been an English tutor in Paris.

I have been a nanny in Paris.

I have been a nanny here in San Francisco.

And of course.

“She nannied at Burning Man too!” My boss told her friend over dinner conversation while I watched bemused by the three-year old shoveling roasted cauliflower in his mouth.

Yes.

That’s right.

The three-year old likes roasted cauliflower.

I am that good.

I also think it’s like cauliflower chips, really, roasted cauliflower is stupid good, all crispy and crunchy and garlic salty.

“You nanny at Burning Man,” the second mom said incredulous.

Yup.

I have.

And I danced a little to.

A LOT.

Just check me out here.

21:53 and yes again at 51:55.

I’m the girl with the giant smile.

And.

The polka dot dress.

And.

Yes.

Of course.

The goggles on my head, it was a dusty year out there.

And.

Always.

The flower in my hair.

Hello.

It’s Burning Man people.

You can take the girl out of Burning Man.

But.

You can’t take the Burning Man out of her hair.

Or the love.

I definitely got my love on that night.

Grateful that I don’t mind looking silly on video.

Because I do.

And grateful that I have such a big full life.

I am a very lucky girl.

I am.

Take A Moment

March 21, 2015

And bask in this.

“Have you done that yet,” she asked me over the phone, “when did this conversation happen?”

“About a half hour ago,” I replied, under the partial sunny skies, blue streaking out behind the lengths of clouds.

I was on the basketball court at Mission Pool and Playground with the boys kicking around a soccer ball and corralling them, to the best of my abilities, in a fenced in spot while I made the phone call.

“I hear the boys,” she said, “they sound like they are having a good time.”

They were.

And so was I.

I had just had my “review,” a process that was really quite short and very, very sweet.

The mom had actually said, “can we do this next week? There’s just so much happening today for me.”

I acquiesced, “of course, there’s really no hurry, I just really wanted to talk about dates proceeding forward, I don’t have any thing other than that to bring up.”

“Let’s do it next week, then,” she said, as the dad came into the kitchen.

“Really, we don’t need to, unless there’s something wrong, is there something wrong?” The mom and dad stopped in their tracks.

“No, no, not at all, I, well, I just was offered a ticket to Burning Man and I really want to go and it doesn’t coincide with the holiday time that you are taking,” I said.

I might have blushed.

And may I just say, how nice it is to nanny in San Francisco, where for the most part, the population knows what Burning Man is.

Of course, most of that comes down to a profound relief to be able to find a parking spot during Labor Day weekend in San Francisco, but you know.

“You have absolutely earned that vacation time,” the mom said as she was gathering up the snacks I had prepped for pre-school pick up and grabbing the milk container in the fridge, tossing it all into a cloth Mission Farmer’s Market maroon bag.

“Well, the other thing is that I got my graduate school schedule and I will need to take a week off for the retreat that is a part of the program, adding that to the two days off I’m heading to Chula Vista to see my grandmother, I will have gone over my vacation time.”  I said, “I just wanted to make sure that…”

The mom cut me off, “you have nothing to worry about, we can take the time out of your personal days off for your grandmother, I’m sure you need to talk things through about your dad and we want you to be able to do that.”

I think I might have felt my heart swell two sizes bigger with gratitude.

“I wanted to let you know I can make up the hours, or help out a little more in Sonoma,” I replied.

The family will be going to Sonoma for two weeks in July and another week in August.

Serendipitously, neither Burning Man or my graduate school retreat happen to coincide with the week in August that the family will take in Sonoma before school starts up for the boys.

The youngest will be starting pre-school and the oldest, kindergarten.

“You don’t have to worry about that, we can play that by ear, we will have extra help in Sonoma,” the mom said, adjusting her purse and digging out her car keys, “besides, we don’t want to burn you out, we really like how you are when you are at full energy with the boys.”

“We’ve had four nannies,” the dad interjected, “and you are by far, the best nanny we have ever had.”

“Hands down.”

“Oh, thank you,” I said, “I adore the boys, I really do, I just wanted to make sure that all the scheduling was ok with you.”

“It’s great, we can talk more next week,” the mom rushed out to grab the eldest from school.

“Do you have your dates for school,” the dad asked.

“I do, I can e-mail you the full set of dates, Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 just went up on the site,” I explained the timing.

Three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

About every three weeks I’ll be in class.

Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Sundays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Woof.

The retreat is August 9th through 16th in Petaluma.

The first weekend of school is September 11th-13th.

I’ll have two weekends in October, one in November, one in December, one weekend each in January, February, March, April, and May.

There is no school June and July.

I’ll have “summer vacation.”

Which means I’ll work a lot, but let me to not jump too far ahead.

Pull back.

Bask.

“You’re HP is really working for you, graduate school, Burning Man, the job review, really, take a minute and appreciate what they told you.” She admonished me on the phone.

I am not good at recognizing or accepting this, but as I stay at the work of taking suggestions I have gotten better and it would not be in the spirit of humility to not acknowledge the compliments.

I do a good job.

I do a really good job.

I do.

And as the boys chased a red soccer ball around the court at the playground, stopping once in a while to run up and grab me and tug my hand and engage, I could feel the sun on my face and accept that I am a good nanny.

Doing a good job.

Being of service.

How many nannies pray to be of service before going into work?

Not sure that there are a lot.

Not sure that there aren’t others who don’t, but I really do wish to be of service when I go to work and the pay off is great.

I am loved and I get to love.

I mean I sat under the table in the kitchen today with the littlest guy after his nap before mom got back with his big brother and had a total conversation about his stuffed cat Meow Meow and we sang songs and cuddled and had snacks, well, he had snacks, I wiped snacks off his face, and to have such a tender (though wildly rambunctious at times) little boy crawl into my lap and kiss my face with his cat makes me tear the fuck up.

To not put to fine a point on it.

I get paid to love.

How lucky am I?

And I get to go to Burning Man?

Shut the front door.

 

You Look Like The Promises

March 15, 2015

He said to me tonight and handed me a pink piece of laminated paper.

That might be the best compliment I have gotten.

It made me reflect on how amazing my life is.

I can encapsulate it in just today and the simplest of pleasures.

Eating a wonderful breakfast, I cooked myself, with all organic ingredients, drinking a coffee pour over with Four Barrel espresso, writing in my pink glitter notebook, doing laundry with lavender soap, my sheets always smell so good, speaking of, having fresh sheets on the bed.

There was a time when I didn’t even own sheets.

Wearing a sundress in March.

Putting on sunblock, since it was sunny and warm, almost humid, and I was traveling to the East Bay, North Berkeley to be exact, and it’s usually sunnier there then here.

Spending time with dear friends, baby shower, celebrating life, discussing family, goals, dreams, Burning Man, graduate school.

The smell of jasmine, wild and prolific on the fence.

My feet bare, fresh pedicure sparkling in the sun, the grass warm.

Getting an unexpected lift back to the city with a friend and catching up on life, dating, recovery, more talk of Burning Man.

Lots of thoughts about that thing in the desert.

In fact!

I just checked the curriculum page on CIIS for the Integral Counseling Psychology Masters Weekend intensive, and yes, drum roll please, I can go!

I may not have it paid off from work, but I don’t care.

My biggest concern was that I not miss my first weekend of classes.

The retreat for the graduate program is August 9th-16th.

The first weekend of classes is September 11th-13th.

I can go to Burning Man!

Oh my god.

I just got teary eyes.

Ha.

I am a sap.

It would be my 9th year going and it would me an awful lot to me to go and see the gentleman who said to me, “you’re a child psychologist getting paid baby sitter’s wages.  What are you going to do about it?  Do you have an undergraduate degree?  Go to graduate school.”

That conversation changed my life.

Changed it in a big way.

I was ready for the change and didn’t even know it until I was sitting with tears rolling down my face in a little dome on the playa at Camp Run Free talking with Daddy Don from L.A.

It would be something else to go up to him and say, I did it.  I applied, I got in, I’m going to graduate school.

Thank you for holding my hand during such a challenging time and thank you for not coddling me either, telling me like it is and helping me see a way out.

That would be such a gift, to give him a HUGE hug.

Burning Man dates?

August 30th through September 7th (Labor Day).

I can go!

The event falls perfectly between the retreat and the first weekend of classes.

What else?

My class schedule in August also happens to coincide beautifully with the week that the family I am employed with wants me to come up to Sonoma with them–August 17th-21st–and stay with them in Glen Ellen.

I mean.

How perfect is that?

And the best part is that I didn’t have to manipulate a single thing.

Once I realized that I could go I got on the horn, the e-mail horn, and shot off a message to someone in the organization at Burning Man whose team I volunteered on the one year I didn’t nanny on playa.

I have gone 8 times.

My first year I volunteered with Cafe.

My second, third, fourth, and fifth years I was a nanny for Junebug.

My sixth year I was a fluffer (get your mind out of the gutter) for Media Mecca.

My seventh and eighth burns I was a nanny again for a different family, also with the organization.

I would love to fluff again.

Basically, in Burning Man parlance, a fluffer is support staff to the people building the city or running the infrastructure thereof.  Fluffers get ice and water and bring them back to camp for the team they are supporting, or they go out to art camps and bring them water and ice, or the crew that does the fence before there is any city out there to service.

It’s basically hauling ice and water, but I got into it when I was there and really felt a part of by doing the small tasks that help the camp run.

Sometimes the smallest things are the biggest things.

Why folding a chair up at the end of the night and stacking it in the corner helps me to not pick up or drink, I have no idea, it’s the paradox I never want to figure out.

Figure it out is not a slogan after all.

I am just feeling such joy right now.

I get to go to Burning Man.

Even if I can’t help out on the team, and there’s a good chance I might not, I know how they must be inundated with offers to help since the event has become a sell out event, but I know I will go.

It’s just in my stars.

My screen saver on my laptop is actively cycling through Burning Man photos as I write.

From the same year that I was a fluffer at Media Mecca.

I will take that as an auspicious sign.

I have friends that want me to go to Burning Man and not work.

I am not certain I can, I really feel that I have to put something back for all that I am given.

However, I can certainly work less than I have the last two years.

I am so grateful right now.

Yes!

Yes!

I don’t have a ticket.

I don’t have a place to camp.

I don’t have a tent.

But I do have a dream and it is where my heart lives.

At Burning Man.

When I am out on the playa, by myself, beneath that domed sky, so high, so cerulean blue, the light filtered through a haze of dust, the sunset blending into the indigo sky, and I am home.

My heart soars.

I have my chat with God, one of many, many, many I usually have, and I get overwhelmed with the gratitude I have for my family and friends, that little dusty reunion of my Burning Man family that I get to make a pilgrimage to every year for the last eight.

I’m going to Burning Man.

I just know it.

Why?

This is my year.

For all the things.

All The Things

All The Things

 

You Are The Poppins

August 5, 2014

So it was spoken.

So it is.

Out of the mouths of babes.

Today my charge looked at me and said that, “you are the Poppins.”

My eldest charge knows what my playa name is–Poppins.

That’s the G rated version.

My playa name is actually Mary Fucking Poppins, thanks to PQ’s wife who named me that last year about this time as I was planning the return to playa nanny land.

He also knows his playa name, his papa’s and his mama’s and many of the participants that are going or working or camping there.

The little guy has been saying, “we’re going to Burning Man,” quite a bit lately.

He’s again, entirely correct.

We are going to Burning Man.

In 11 days.

Eek.

He was dressed, partially for it today, showing off a pair of grey furry monster slippers with three toes and orange claws.  Way too cute.  He has a bear hat and a raccoon hat, a dragon suit, I saw some face paint at Flax on Saturday, and I am thinking I might have to go get some of that for dressing up on playa–little fox face, little bunny rabbit, or a cat–oh the cute.

He’s also got goggles, a back pack, his own camelbak, and plenty of other gear I haven’t seen yet, but I know is accumulating in neat, tidy piles in the garage.

Which makes me realize, Jesus God, that I am going to unearth my Burning Man boxes this weekend, because, um, when else am I going to pack.  I will have just this last weekend to organize, though I know it’s all going to come together quickly as it usually does.

The trick of it will be working the full week, saying goodbye to my little guy, I am holding off on saying goodbye to my little girl Thursday for a few more days, I got a message from the mom that they could use a little help the week following my return, so I will be seeing her two more times before our end is up, and then getting all my gear over to my family’s home next Thursday.

Or possibly next Wednesday.

I’m not quite sure how I am going to work it.

The mom did offer me use of her vehicle, so I could probably do it all on Wednesday night and live out of my messenger bag for a day or two until we get settled on playa the afternoon of the 16th.

It seems like a lot.

But it will just unfold and unroll and next thing you know I will be taking photographs and watching the sunset kiss the Calico Mountains.

And I got two more things out-of-the-way today, not having planned for either.

First, I got my ticket and early arrival pass.

“Don’t lose it,” the mom said as she handed over the envelope.

Nope.

That would suck.

To get all the way there and suddenly be like, oh, snap, I left my ticket on my table at home in San Francisco.

I did hear of an acquaintance who had to have a friend break into her place in New York and FedEx her ticket to Reno where she drove back to pick it up after having landed at the event and realized just that, she’d left the ticket on her desk at home.

Ack.

No thank you.

I put my ticket, after taking a photograph of it of course, and early arrival pass in the same safe place I put them in last year.  I did not to have taken them out once after they were put into their secret special sauce spot last year and I did not even bother to look until we got to the gate and then I took them out, having just a moment of panic that I had not looked in said secret spot until that moment.

It’s a safe place.

The second thing I got.

My bike!

My playa chopper is ready to roll once again thanks to Tyson at American Cyclery, thanks man, you freaking rock!

He fixed it and it works and hopefully my ankle will work and I will have ready wheels when I arrive.

I had some trepidation to even get on the bike when I picked it up from the shop, I couldn’t bring myself to get on it or even put myself in the saddle.

I had started to limp again about mid afternoon.

The time is getting a little longer, imperceptibly, every day, the time of day when I notice my ankle start to ache is getting just a tiny bit further out into the day.

Tomorrow marks two months from the injury.

Two months not on my bicycle.

Two freaking months.

It’s hard to believe that.

That first month was horror, and I don’t even know how I got through it, well, yes I do, all my amazing friends and family who took care of me, but looking back, it’s a dark blotch on the calendar.

“Are you ready to dance yet?” My friend asked me tonight as I settled into my spot at 7th and Irving.

“Nope,” I sighed, “and I got invited to go dancing twice this past week!”

I am ready to dance, but I am cautious to do much more than tap a foot.

I was listening to some Paul Simon and I wanted to dance around with my boys and I could muster it for a moment or two, but eventually I just sat down and held them alternatively in my lap and bounced a bit to the music.

I miss dancing and exercise, and walking without pain, and my bicycle, but I know I will be back on the dance floor, back out into the world, back in the saddle soon.

The saddle I get on first will most likely be the gigantic white sparkling banana seat on my chopper.  I don’t think I am going to pull out my one speed until after Burning Man.

I don’t want to risk irritating the ankle, I want to be there for my family and on top of my game.  My little guy is more active and it’s going to be an entirely new experience out there with him being so mobile and engaged.

There will be lots of playing and cavorting and hanging out and rides in the red Radio Flyer wagon, and perhaps some bicycle rides, I wouldn’t mind rigging something up so that my bike had a carrier and maybe an umbrella.

Or a parasol.

I am “the POPPINS” after all.

I have a name to uphold.

 

Boy, You Sure Are Serious

July 30, 2014

About this Burning Man thing.

My friend leaned into my last night, gently joshing me about my apparent obsession with the event.

His words floated back to me as I re-arranged and sorted my sock drawer.

No, I am not on methamphetamines.

I dusted my book shelves when that happened.

Ahem.

Anyway, I bought two more pairs of socks today to round out my collection, I sorted them into various colors and striations–hearts (like polka dots, but hearts), polka dots (black and white, green, yellow, orange, on a white field, yellow and pink on a pink field, orange, pink, and yellow on white field), argyle, stripes (grape and lilac, Neapolitan pink, chocolate and vanilla, pink and brown Hello Kitty, forest green and light green, purple and navy, navy and black, black and white), “plain” colored socks, all either knee-high or thigh high.

Twenty two pairs all total.

I am out there 19 days.

You need a few extra pairs, because sometimes you want a fresh pair after a shower.

There may be nothing grosser than putting on old dirty playa socks after a shower.

I have done it once I never want to repeat the experiment.

So, socks are set.

And since I was in the bureau I did a quick inventory on my tights and leggings, which I found to be a little lacking, but not completely bereft of hope: two pairs basic black leggings, 1 pair red velvet leggings, 1 pair navy blue with tiny white polka dots, 1 pair pink argyle, 1 pair solid hot pink with lace ankles, one pair nude with black lace flowers, one pair nude with black hearts up the back seam, one pair sheer black thighs highs with pink ribbon laces up the back and thick black lace tops, one pair hot pink fishnets, one pair rainbow fishnets, one pair neon green leggings, one pair black leggings with silver glitter, one pair purple tights with glitter.

Total tights and leggings: 15.

I could use a few more pairs of tights/leggings.

I like to pair the leggings with a crazy set of socks or thigh highs and then wear hipster underwear (no none of my underpants have tiny mustaches on them or ironic coffee pour over references or Nietzsche quotations or Beach House lyrics) and a tank top.

These wild combinations with my boots and my utility belt and I am ready to rock the playa nanny gig.

I also inventoried my under ware.

When was the last time you hears anyone say that?

When was the last time I have ever said that.

“What did you do last night?”

“I inventoried my panty drawer, you?”

Baha.

The panty inventory too a little shy of my goal number: 15 pairs, ranging from solid black to plaid in neon purple and pink, hip hugger, lacy stripes, neon pinks, polka dots, tiny ribbons.

My boss has the best underwear ever–days of the week.

She literally has three sets and just uses a fresh pair each day of the week she’s there.

Well, she’s covered.

I, however, find myself a few short.

Plus, again, like the socks, there will be a time when I shower and I won’t want to put on the same pair of panties, blech!

I will want a fresh pair.

So, 19 days on playa,  I will shoot for 25 pairs of panties.

I am 6 pairs short.

That might be overdoing it a little bit, but better an extra pair of underwear than not enough.

True that.

I have plenty of tank tops and slip dresses and I am going to bring my bibs and my tutu, because why not.

I have one small box completely packed–a hat box, with a couple of hats, some fascinators, my goggles, and my utility belt with the pink Super Girl button on it.

Every good nanny needs a utility belt.

I ran across an old photo from John Curley that he took of the Junebug and I at camp and it is an awesome juxtaposition of charge and nanny.

Juni is looking wistful, forlorn, slightly tired, off into the golden hour descending dusk, and I, just shot from the waist down, am resplendent in my tights, striped orange and brown and cream, a pair of hipster underpants in black with white polka dots and a black tank top, utility belt with water bottle hanging from it, and in one hand I have J’s star wand and in the other her tiara, and I also have a pair of fairy wings that she dumped on me hanging off the back of my shoulders.

Voila!

Playa nanny.

My boss today stopped me mid conversation to ask if I was getting the time I needed to take care of all my own Burning Man preparations.

“I love having you this extra time,” in regards to me helping her out on Fridays for the last few weeks, and again this Friday, “but I realized, that maybe you need some time to get ready, how are your preparations coming?”

I smiled.

I have been whittling away at it for weeks.

A tiny bit here.

A teeny bit there.

So it would not overwhelm me, neither time wise or financially.

A lot of the stuff, socks included, I already have from previous burns, this will make number 8 for me (actually I am really impressed when I went through my tights, the black ones with glitter have been to five burns, unheard of, the same with a couple of pairs of the knee highs which I would never wear except out there)–my utility belt, my crinoline, my electric teapot, makeup, hair stuff, jewelry.

However, there are things that I have to always have.

Baby wipes.

I have bought one pack every once in a while for the past month and now have four packs ready to go.

One week it’s a lip balm.

Another week it was hand salve.

This week I got another container of sunblock.

A few days ago, it was cotton swabs and hair elastics.

“Oh, I have been getting stuff for a bit now,” I told my boss, “I am pretty much ready.”

And I am.

I could go with what I have and not break a sweat, I have gone with far less in the past and got by just fine.

There is a point to when the stuff getting has to stop and the being ready is just fine.

I pick up my bicycle this week from American Cyclery and that’s about all she wrote.

Well, aside from a few more pairs of underpants.

A girl can’t have too many of those.

Not My Day Today

July 10, 2014

But not altogether not, not my day.

If that makes sense.

It was a long day and I realize that it’s also been an emotional thing, going back to work, showing up, being present for the boys, and they are such lovely boys, that and the pain that accompanies me while at work.

And the fact that the little guy is teething.

Hard.

Really hard.

Worst teething reaction I have experienced with a charge, worst.

Poor baby is cutting molars that look like gigantic Lego pieces in his gum line.

He can’t sleep.

He doesn’t want to eat much.

He’s fractious because he can’t sleep, the pain of the teething wakes him up.

I can only give him so much Tylenol or risk him getting ill from that.

So, I wore the fuzzy pink sweater and he spent a lot of time nuzzled into that today.

My other little guy was awesome and sweet and a good little egg and helped by playing with his toys and not demanding a lot of extra attention.

It was loud and noisy at the house too as the construction continues and the door opens and shuts and the workers come and go and I am just out of my element with the whole thing.

So yeah, when I asked for a raise for working the Burning Man event this year and it did not go over so well, I felt like the last nail in the coffin of my week was hammered home.

I won’t get what I asked for but I will get a raise.

I have to.

My cost of living is just higher than it’s ever been before and not having asked for a raise ever needs to change.

Of course I am all invested in the outcome.

Of course I have already figured out I can do the event without getting a raise, should it come to that, I can eke it out for the month of September.  But why?  Work really hard, harder than I do now, and make less.

Yeah.

I know, I am at Burning Man, yay.

But the fact is I am tied to my job and I like working hard and so there’s that, and I know that there are a lot of privileges I receive from working the even the way I have, I am not inured to those things, nope.

But its work.

Hard work.

Long hours.

Hot days.

Dirty work.

Rewarding work.

But emotionally, physically, spiritually exhausting.

Sometimes I wonder if I go through with it all so that I get to have the classic playa meltdown and thereafter allow myself to indulge in some spiritual intoxication when it is all resolved.

If, perhaps, I am getting high off the anxiety and the stress of doing my job so that I can get an adrenalin fix through the drama of it.

What ever it is I have to trust that a. I will go to Burning Man and b. I will get paid what I need to make it by.

I love being a nanny at Burning Man.

There is something special and unique in the service that I give by going out there and taking care of a child.  I get some ego hits off that too, I am aware of it, I like being special and unique.

I do.

I love being Mary Fucking Poppins.

I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them what I do while I am there.

I love that I am good at what I do.

I take pride in it.

I hate, however, asking for what I need.

It is hard and I already have this idea that I am privileged by getting the experience that I get to have, staying where I stay, seeing the people I see, having a sort of all access pass to the back stage working of one of the greatest, if not the greatest show, on earth.

But this lady has to pay the rent too.

So.

Yeah.

It didn’t quite go as I wanted, but I know what I am worth, so I asked.

I thought I wasn’t attached to the results, and it turns out, shocker, that I am.

That’s ok too.

Burning Man is about art and creation and lest we all forget, hoping and wishing that the playa will provide, it is also about radical self-reliance.

I find that has to stretch past the event into my daily life, I have to be fully self-supporting to the best of my abilities, I have to take care of the home fires while sitting around the fires at the event.

I think I am now off into rambling land with this blog.

But I know I have some inventory to write, some patterns to change, some letting go of defects, and a whole lot of acceptance to work through.

Yippee.

Pause for a moment, must flip the bag of peas on my ankle.

Yup.

Still needing to rest, ice, compress, and elevate the ankle.

And this to shall pass.

Everything is alright.

I just had a day.

They happen.

I have made it half way through the week, two more days to go.

It’s all going to be just fine.

I know it.

Grateful for inventory and other people’s perspective and that I still get to learn something about myself and what an awesome way to learn.

I get to go to the best classroom on Earth.

Black Rock City.

I’ll be seeing you in the dust soon.

With or without a pay raise.

But definitely in with some glitter.


%d bloggers like this: