Posts Tagged ‘Camp Stella’

This Is Actually Happening

February 25, 2016

Holy shit.

Sometimes things do really just fall the hell into place.

I got a job offer for playa nanny this morning.

Granted, there are things to work out, logistics, meeting the family, etc.


After a half hour conversation we’re pretty much in agreement.

I’m going to Burning Man.






You can tell I’m freaking excited.

Plus, despite always wanting a little more time for myself to go and play, I really do feel connected when I am being of service.

Nannying on playa is definitely being of service.

The negotiating that I really need to do is going to be with the family I am currently employed with.

I would be taking it as unpaid time off as when I head off to my school retreat for a week I will be using the last of my vacation time with them.

They were really amenable with me about it last year.

I think perhaps because the mom has gone a number of times and also, I do a damn good job with their boys and I didn’t have a single sick day last year, nor have I had one ever, since I have started working for them.

I did take sick time to go see my father when he was in a coma up in Anchorage.


My family flew me there on their dime.

And I had only been working for them for a few months at that point.

I am not too worried that they will be able to be flexible with me.

I certainly am with them.

For instance.

Tomorrow I’m staying a half hour late so they can handle some neighborhood duties.

Then Friday, the boys don’t have school, so I agreed to come in 10a.m.-6p.m. versus the 1p.m.-8p.m. the rest of my week normally is.


I am over the moon.

I’ll get the ticket, the early arrival pass, looks like they want 8-9 days on playa, a great location–on the Esplanade! Where I have never camped before.  The camp is big and has it’s own set up–kitchen, shower trailer, I’d be put up in A/C and not have to worry about a trailer or RV or, god forbid, a tent aka a dust coffin, plus a ride there and back.

And compensation for my time.

I told them what I make as a nanny for my current family and I believe we are going to negotiate a flat rate, they need steady flexibility more than they need an eight hour straight shift, I said I can be their on call person, and I will have time off to go do the deal.

I was very upfront with that need.

I have to do some regular check ins either at Stella, Run Free, or Anonymous Village.

Because that’s how I roll.

And I’m a better nanny for it.

Believe me.

Pinch me.

It’s the last week in February and I’ve got my playa happening.

I’ve been writing about it now, as I mentioned previously, for a few weeks now.

I think I got a Jack Rabbit Speaks and there was something in it about a tax or thing that the BLM wanted to charge the event and I recalled thinking, damn, it’s time to get my ducks in a row regarding the event and figure out how I’m going.

I mean.

There was never really a question that I was going to go.

I knew I was.

Just not sure how.

I remember with great fondness one of my dear friends hugging me fiercely at the going away party I had in Dolores Park before I moved to Paris saying to me, “I’ll see you at Burning Man.”

I was like.

Of course you will!

I don’t know how, since I’m moving to France, but yes, of course, I’ll be there.



I was.

In fact, the person who referred me to the family that needs help this upcoming event, was the family I worked for when I got back.

Funny enough, I had already met the mom and dad and the oldest sibling and the grandmother at Lightening in a Bottle a few years ago and had gotten introduced to them in regards to hey, this is a person you should chat with about bringing kids to Burning Man.

And voila.

A few years later.

Here I am getting approached by them.

I love Burning Man.

You might have figured this out.

I am a Burner.


One of those people.

And in my own small, rather sweet, if I may say so, way I am a contributor.


I don’t built the art or make the music.

But once in a while you may see me dancing in camp to my own private song and feel for a moment that you too can dance.

Or maybe you’ll see me on the street and I’ll point the way forward.

Or best of all.

I will get to look after the littlest ones, the babies and toddlers, the young shining faces, brush away the dust, you will see the shine, so the mom’s and dad’s can go do their work.

I support the people that bring you the event.

And I am damn proud of that.

I’m not one of a kind, there are more playa nannies than one would imagine.

It takes a village, a huge village, to plan that thing out in the desert.

I get to go home again.

I am so thrilled.

Shameless with delight.

One day I will get married out there and my family, my friends, my children, all the soft, trusting hands in my hand, all the strolls through Center Camp Cafe, all the braids and flowers in the hair, all the joy, will accompany me out to the base of the Calico Mountains and sing me forward.

I know exactly how hokey that sounds.

And I don’t give a flying fuck.

It’s all about the love and the giving back.

I get to do both and get taken care of.


This life of mine.





June 8, 2015

No I’m not watching a Street Car Named Desire.


I’m not camping with Camp Stella at Burning Man.

Although I was definitely thinking about Stella and my adventures and misadventures with them my first year at Burning Man.


I am thinking scooter.

That is a new Stella Scooter.

They have a few down at Scooter Centre and my friend who helped me deal with the paper work to recycle the “Vespa” has suggested I check them out.

I will say, my eye was caught by the Stella when I was in the Scooter Centre, but I was too busy feeling sorry for myself and crying in my motor oil to really appreciate the beauties in the corner of the shop.

One red.

One cream.

One electric blue.

I’m leaning toward the electric blue.

I’ve never been one for red cars, it seems to obvious, red, and I felt the same looking at the red scooter, but the electric blue, that was a color I could get behind.

Although I am taken with the regular Stella in avocado or in slate blue and cream, the shop does not have any of the original Stella’s left–the ones that shift.

The ones in the shop are automatic.

Brand new.

Luscious looking really.

The manufacturer, Genuine Scooters, is also offering a $500 rebate to celebrate the birthday of the scooter through the month of June.  Scooter Centre has them for $3499.  This, of course, doesn’t include, tax, registration, license fees, etc.

However, with the $500 off for the manufacturer, that would be covered.

My friend also suggested that I talk with his mechanic and another mechanic at the shop and discuss the Vespa PX 150 they have in the shop that needs an engine rebuild.

It would be slightly less and would be a real Vespa.

Italian like, instead of the Vietnam Bodega bike I had mistakenly purchased.

He said, “think about what you want, and don’t let me persuade you.”

Tough to do that, though, I’m a people pleaser and the Vespa 150 Px is hella cute.


I am learning to really trust my gut and so, instead of saying yes or no, I just said, let me check them out.

I’m meeting my friend at The Scooter Centre next Saturday and I will go for a test ride on the Stella and I will also check out the Vespa Px 150.

I have a suspicion that I will be going with the Stella.

I wrote a little note this morning and stuck in my God box and said, please show me the way and help me make the decision, and most of all, since I didn’t trust my gut last time (or better yet, I chose to ignore it, I remember too distinctly how uncomfortable I was when my friend went and deposited the check for $300 immediately to the Wells Fargo atm on Haight Street), please help me listen to it this time.

I went about my morning.

I had my breakfast, I did some laundry, I had some nice coffee, I started doing my morning pages, and when I was finishing them up I wrote a list of affirmations, ones that I always do and a few that get added in until they happen and I can take them off my list.


Go see my grandmother in Chula Vista.


I am a world traveler, I am going to Atlanta for the Worlds Convention.


I am going to Burning Man.

Check, check, and check.

Some of the writing I do is pretty basic, “I am sober and abstinent,” “I am lovable, and worthy of love,” and how is it that I didn’t see myself becoming a therapist sooner?!

Some of them are a little more complicated.

“I am financially successful and solvent.”

Then I wrote, without thought, completely unbidden, “I own a brand new Stella Scooter.”

I almost laughed out loud.

There’s your answer lady.

Which I think I knew the minute I saw the bright shiny scooters in the shop–sparkling, NEW, warrantied, shiny–not persnickety and demanding consistent upkeep and maintenance.

I am already high maintenance enough, I really don’t have time for the things I own to be so, I mean, I don’t even have any clothes that are dry clean only, I’m all about the quick and the basic.

When my friend told me that the Stella Automatic came with a two-year warranty, anything that goes wrong would be fixed at no extra charge, I felt my gut and my gut said, that’s what you want, that’s the deal.

Then, he added, but there’s this really pretty white Vespa px 150 that you could get the engine rebuilt and…


I can see when someone wants something for me, he’s got great experience and fondness, nay, down right love for the Vespa and he wants me to have the same experience riding that he has enjoyed.

I get that.

What I also get, is that I’m not about to be a slow down girl, school’s going to start in three months and I am going to be busy.

I won’t want to spend extra time on maintenance.

I’m going to want something that is a push button.


Push the button and it starts.

Turn the throttle and it rolls.

I want something new.

In fact.

Just writing that really cemented it for me.

Aside from my bicycle, I have never bought a new vehicle.

No new cars ever.

I have always had used and the idea of having something new and completely unused by anyone, all mine, to love and to have, to ride around on, really puts a smile on my face.

A scooter is cheaper than a car and I can finance it through the Scooter Centre.

Apparently they don’t typically do that, but because of my circumstances and the respect I garnered by recycling the “Vespa” rather than trying to fix it up and sell it to another sucker, I have some folks willing to go the extra mile for me.

I’m sure that I will go new.

Stella has an awful lot of good meaning for me.

And when things feel right, I can usually tell.

This feels right.

I will still wait the week, no decisions need be made today.

I will go down, take a test ride, and confirm what the gut says.

I just realized too that fear of financial insecurity has been removed around this, I had constant fear about what repairs would be on the “Vespa” that fear is nowhere when I search myself.

That is clue enough.


Do I Stay

March 17, 2015

Or do I go?

That is the question.

The next question is where do I stay if I go?

I know that’s convoluted already, isn’t it?

And how do I go and with whom do I go?

Also, I need a ticket.


You caught my drift, I’m talking going to Burning Man.

The person I reached out to is already staffed up.

My services, though appreciated, are not needed.


Moving on.

Now what do I do next?

Do I register in the Secure Ticket Exchange Program?

That way I won’t run the risk of buying a scalped ticket.

This is actually a conundrum for me, I have gone and worked the last seven burns, meaning I haven’t bought a ticket in seven years.

I don’t even know what they cost anymore.

I suspect more than I want to shell out.

But if I go as a tourist, which man, that just seems weird, but might be the change I need, I will have to shell it out.

No getting around it.

So, I do the buying of the ticket, which is sold out, which means I do the get in line with thousands of others and hope that I get one, fingers crossed and all that, which I can do, then.

Where the hell do I camp?

And with what.


I realized that as well, though I was in a gilded cage, and it was just that my last two burns, it was a trailer, on the grid, with electricity, natch, and access to staff potties, and I also knew where I was camping.

With my employers.

Down town looks out for me if Media Mecca is full up.

I know folks in other parts of that area, First Camp, Capitol Hill, etc, however, I don’t know any of them well enough to feel comfortable saying hey, want to let me camp with you.

Unless I was working for one of them.

Which could be an option.

But not having nannied for any Burning Man families since the event ended last year–with a vomit explosion from the poor bunny as we hit sea level coming in toward Carquinez Bridge–I am really out of the loop.

I am not interested in being a Ranger.

That’s never done it for me.

I’m good at admin stuff, nanny stuff, cafe, I did some cafe shifts my first year.

But again, I don’t really have any direct links to the borg any more.

Round about ones, friends and acquaintances, but not sure how comfortable I am reaching it out.

It feels like asking for a hand out.

I don’t want to beg to go to Burning Man.

I just want to go.


The right thing to do is to forget about that.

That’s what I think, although that does scare me a little, what will I do when I get to Burning Man if I don’t have a schedule and a place to be and meals, that’s another thing, I’d have to bring in all my food, I’ve been fed and fed well the last seven years.

Maybe it’s time for me to pull my weight there.

Not that I didn’t bust my ass working.

Oh I did.

You may think a nanny is a glorified baby sitter, but there’s a lot to it and it’s easy in the default world, well not easy, but easier.

I do have my uncle on Gate.

But I’m not sure I want to run with Gate.

I am a bit too sparkle pony for Gate.

I am a good fluffer–which was what I asked if I could help with at Media Mecca–but again, I don’t even know where to start with that.

I missed being at Mecca the last two years, but maybe it’s just time to move on.

I was told there’s no space, so mind, get used to it, that’s not where you’re going to be staying.

I know there are lots of options.

I know it.

I could, of course, I’m sure stay with Camp Stella.

I camped with them my first year out.

I know I could probably get myself into Anonymous Village as well.

And I know a good few folks at Run Free.

I have options.


Now that I think about it.

I could camp with my uncle too.

I bet his camp has space.

I’ll be tenting it of course, no more trailer for me, unless something strange and spectacular happens, which one does never know, the strange and spectacular are common place events at Burning Man.

I went so far as to research tents and got lost in a pie hole of glamping sites.

Oh my gosh.

I do so want a Lotus Belle tent.

It is so beautiful.

And over a months rent for me.

The tents are around 1,090 pounds and upwards.

What the hell does that even convert too?

Approximately $1600 American dollars.

A yeah.


I looked at tipi’s.

There are some cute ones out there.

Yes, see, sparkle pony, I’m looking at cute, not thinking stable or secure.

I’m all like Arabian Nights and rugs and throw pillows and lanterns and shit.

I will probably get a blow up mattress.

I loaned mine out to a lady some years ago and I think it got trashed.

Ditto my camp shower.

There won’t be any drama over me taking shower this year, that’s for sure.

I did find some canvas bell tents that do seem more in my price range, though.

Here is the one I am thinking about from SoulPad.

It’s only 230 pounds.

Much more in my price range and still uber cute.

Though, if I had the dough I would get this one instead.

Stupid cute.

Because who doesn’t want to camp in a circus tent?

Especially when the theme this year is Carnival of Mirrors.

I might need to get a top hat too.

Lots of stuff to think about.

That’s the other great thing about Burning Man.

All the obsessive thinking I get to do around planning on it, going to it, negotiating work, navigating to and from, food, clothes, being self-sufficient, radically so, being of service to my community, gifting.

Loads of things to think about.

Like maybe not a blow up bed, but a hammock instead.

Don’t get me started.

Let me first focus on getting a ticket.

I am going to go.

Just in case you were wondering.

Now how does that happen?

That is the question.


I Only Pick People Who Are

August 1, 2013

Having fun with their life.

“That’s not to say that they’ve all had great shares, but that was my requirement when I took this commitment, only pick folks who are having fun, there’s too much misery out there,” he concluded.

I just got back from the doing some late show action in Oakland.

I talked about my life, where it was, what happened, what’s going on now and how much I am thankful, grateful, and awed.

I am still uncomfortable, but as the days have been passing and the constant out reach to my friends continues, I feel better and better.

I have also gotten some more work in the last day for this week, so I may actually break even on the week instead of taking it as a loss and I was able to sock a few more dollars into the account towards the deposit on the studio.

“What are you going to write about when you live in the Sunset,” he asked me as we were driving along International Avenue, “some thing vaguely morose and damp?”

“Something foggy and sad?”

“Stop it,” I said with a laugh.


I don’t know.

But I do know that it will be ok, there, here, elsewhere.

I do know as well that life is not a vale of tears, even when it feels that way, it does pass and as I have stated the seeing of friends, even if it’s just to quietly walk through a museum, has been such a help it has made it very clear to me that I have to continue to reach out as much as possible to my friends.

Tomorrow I have a lunch date with Calvin, to be followed shortly thereafter by some coffee somewhere in the city and some smack talk over dominoes.

I was going to go to the Academy of Sciences on Saturday with Beth, but that got changed, I was asked to work longer on Saturday and I was asked to pick up a shift Friday night.

I will actually overnight it in Cole Valley so that I can be there Saturday morning to nanny, mom and dad both have a big meeting at BMHQ.

That’s Burning Man Head Quarters to you.

That’s part of the reason my friend asked me to help out tonight.

I go to Burning Man.

I go and I have a good time.

Oh, I go and I work and I need to be of service or I will get it in my thick head that it is all about what can I take from the event rather than what can I give, or I won’t have a good time.

That is abundantly clear to me, always has been.

I go, I get glittered up, I wear crazy tights, I ride my bicycle, I sing, I dance, I cry, I laugh.

Man, I laugh a lot.

I smile until my face feels tight and my muscles sore and I have it out with my self and my abnegation of self every year.


There is enough misery in life, let’s have some fun.

That’s my friends philosophy.

I like it.

He started a new camp at the event last year and I did not realize it, I originally camped with him at Camp Stella (for queers, crackpots, and fallen women) when I was first on playa, that is located fairly close to where I will be camped.

Again, being taken care of.

In more ways than one, it would seem.

The camp will be a sober environment and I will have yet another place I can go to, close to me that I can get support if I gets the crazies in the head bits, and I will, I always do, but knowing how and where to go get help with that is a big part of my experience out there.

And an amazing one too.

To radically self-express without the aid of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, that’s, well, that’s pretty fucking punk rock if you ask me.

I shared tonight about how I am colorful and how I wear makeup and how I have fun with it, flowers in the hair and all that.

“You look the best I have ever seen you,” my darling friend said to me tonight, right before he dropped me off at the gates of Graceland.

“You really do, and you have come so far.  I remember you when I first met you, you were a fright, dramatic, always, always, always crying, girl you were not this amazing, calm, beautiful woman I see in front of me.”

I was really blown away.

I remember my friend coming into my life my first year at Burning Man.

He’s one of the few people who know my secret playa name, Ophelia, and still uses it.

One of like a dozen people.

And with those people I am special and I will always be taken care of when I go to that camp or that tribe, for they are my people.

And I shall and will take care of them.

That is the gift of my life.

I am a care taker and I get to nurture and be kind and be sweet and colorful too.

I get to show you it’s not all a vale of tears, even when it is, that I still can be as glitterbombed as the next sparkle pony and as relevant.

I am alive.

This life is short.

I have had enough misery.

Bring on the people with light in their eyes.

Bring on the fun.

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