Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Congratulations

April 6, 2017

 

Congratulations Burner!

Hello Carmen,

You’ve been awarded a Low Income Ticket to Burning Man 2017: Radical Ritual. 

Here’s what you need to know about your Low Income Ticket:

Holy toledo

The best news ever.

Well, maybe not ever, but.

LOOK MA!  I’M GOING TO BURNING MAN!

Woot.

Heh.

Not excited.

Not even a little bit.

Not even.

Fuck.

Who the hell am I kidding.

Over the motherfucking moon.

I’m going.

11th year in a row.

It’s a special year for me too.

It’s Shadrach’s tenth anniversary of his passing.

He’s the reason why I went to my first burn.

“You really should go to Burning Man, you are such a burner,” he told me at my first Decompression party.

He had a loft in the Dog Patch neighborhood, close to Esprit Park where the Decompression Party is held annually, the after Burning Man party, which until I went to Burning Man was super exciting until I went to Burning Man and then it’s a little anti-climatic.

One of the best San Francisco street parties.

But.

It cannot hold a candle to the actual event.

I mean.

What the hell can?

There is nothing like it on Earth and every year that I get to go I am excited and nervous and I don’t know if I’m going to e able to swing it this year and then.

Well.

Heh.

I do.

Even when I was only able to go for four days last year.

I still went.

I have been out as long as 23 days.

That’s when it starts to get weird, FYI.

My burn this year will be the standard event.

When I was there for long stints of time, 14 days, 18 days, 19 days, two years in a row of 21 days, the infamous year of 23 days that was one of the worst dust storm years ever and long, slow, painful hours stuck in a trailer, I was working.

This year.

Well.

This year, this lady is not working.

No “Working Man” for me.

I mean.

It’s always a lot of work, no matter how you slice it, I spend a lot of time getting prepared, but I won’t be tied to any job this year, I won’t be nannying, I won’t be doing a thing but enjoying the event.

I even pulled a few shifts last year, though they felt pretty negligible, I helped where I could and I’m not the person who shirks from work, I’ll help out where I can when I go this year too, but I won’t be working scheduled shifts.

I’m going to Burning Man.

Pinch me.

I need supplies!

I need a new bike.

Sigh.

Although resigned to the loss of my playa bike, I am still sad to be without her and I will be sourcing a new bicycle.

Fuck.

I will also be sourcing a ride there and back.

I do have a parking pass.

So.

That’s a nice thing, I can exchange that or give that to anyone who can give me a ride.

The ride will come together.

My gear will come together.

I really have the majority of it anyway.

I have my own tent, I have an air mattress, a cooler, clothes, boots, bandanas, hats, camp chair, flowers for my hair.

I will need to get a bicycle.

A new air pump for my air mattress.

And possibly a second cooler.

I did well with one cooler last year, but I was just up there four days, I may need a second one, nothing to be super concerned about.

The bicycle will be the first acquired thing, the rest will follow.

I already have a coffee date with a lovely Siren from Siren’s Cove, the camp that flew me home last year, that was one hell of a gift let me tell you, when I posted up on social media that I had scored a low-income ticket she immediately requested girl time coffee date at Center Camp Cafe.

I was like.

Yes.

Yes, please.

Oh my God.

This is going to be some kind of crazy new experience for me.

Not having to be tied to anything, being able to hang out, not having responsibilities, I mean, other than keeping myself alive and hydrated.

Heh.

I am going to have all the adventures.

ALL.

Of them.

Yes.

A friend of mine laughed when I posted the announcement as well, gently giving me shit about how I am always surprised that I am going.

But.

I always am!

It seems like such a big deal, how will I make it work, how will it happen when I’m in Paris, when I’m between jobs, when I don’t have money, or it’s conflicting with school.

Or.

All the crazy stuff that my brain manufactures.

And I don’t have that so much this go around, once I found out that school didn’t conflict and that I got the balls to ask off from work, well it only seemed to follow that I was going to have to go.

It would just be a matter of getting the ticket and the ride.

I always say, if you want to go, you’ll go, and once you have the ticket, it’s pretty much guaranteed.

At least for me.

And granted, like I’ve said, I’ve gone and I’ve gotten rides and tickets and I have worked my ass off out there.

Some years more so than others.

But, really, every year, even my first year, when I was “just” going to take my best friend’s ashes to the Temple, I ended up working.

That was 2007 and the Man was vandalized and burnt early and the organization rebuilt it for the burn night.

I ended up being in the cafe when a worker for the Man Crew came in and told the cafe manager I had just spoken to about signing up to volunteer and they didn’t have any shifts, I was literally walking away, and she grabbed me, “you’ve got shifts now!”

Boy did I ever.

I ended up pulling three or four ten-hour cafe shifts.

And that started something for me, being a part of, being involved, and though I am a little scared, let me be honest, to be untethered, I am also excited, I am so excited to get to go and just be a participant.

No.

I won’t roll in the fucking dust when the Greeters greet me, there’s enough dust in my bins in the garage to carry me through that experience, I will be seeing the event with a new set of eyes.

Fuck.

I need to celebrate.

I’m going to Burning Man!

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Advertisements

Unboxing

July 22, 2016

I hear it’s this thing.

This weird little things, where people post videos of themselves unboxing packages, iphones, laptops, Disney tchotchkes, etc.

Although, I think it’s meant specifically for technology gadgets.

I had an official unboxing moment just now.

Except.

Perhaps I should call it an “unenveloping.”

I GOT MY BURNING MAN TICKET!

I AM NOT EXCITED AT ALL.

AT ALL!

OH MY FUCKING GOD!

I’M GOING TO BURNING MAN!

Heh.

Sorry.

Couldn’t help myself.

I knew that the ticket had arrived as I got a message via e-mail that it had been delivered earlier this afternoon while I was at work.

That put a big old smile on my face.

Great big smile.

And there it was, just outside my door, sitting patiently waiting for me, in a brown envelope from UPS in the shared hallway of my spot.

I got it.

I put it on my table.

I hung up my coat.

I returned a few texts.

I lit some candles.

I mean.

Hello.

Ambiance.

Burning Man is sexy, no?

Then.

I delayed gratification.

I ate a sweet, ripe, black plum.

Which, though you may not know is very apropos.

“My favorite fruit is a black plum,” Shadrach told me, biting into a luscious black plum he’d gotten at the Civic Center Farmer’s Market.

Then he told me a story about this little girl in kindergarten who had a very sad lunch and he shared what he had all the while thinking, she can have anything she wants, just not the plum, plums are my favorite.

“Oh!  I just love plums,” she said and smiled.

I can see it.

I can see the sweet inner turmoil of six year old Shadrach.

Then.

He smiles and hands it to her.

I love plums.

Mostly because of that story.

And though it was not meant to be a serendipitous thing, it was, I now realize, the absolutely right thing to do, to stop and eat a plum before I opened my Burning Man tickets.

Shadrach died years ago.

His death is the reason I went to Burning Man in the first place.

He used to host Decompression parties at his loft in the Dogpatch.

“You are so Burning Man!” He would tell me. “You so need to go!”

He was right, he usually was.

But I never quite got it together.

I always was a little behind the ball.

Shadrach was in a coma for a week in the ICU at General Hospital, the details don’t bear repeating, suffice to say, it was an excruciating week and also one filled with so much love and tenderness and family and fellowship and community.

I still feel the ripple affects of that week in my life and in my heart.

He officially died the 30th of July.

One month later I was at Burning Man with a packet of his ashes.

“Do you think it’s too late to go?” I asked a friend at the hospital, “Burning Man, that is, I should go, I should take his ashes there, do you think that would be appropriate?”

The response was a resounding yes, a quiet yes, but a yes nonetheless that allowed the seed that Shadrach had planted years before in my heart to finally crack open.

“Sometimes God breaks your heart open so that you can know more love,” she said to me, quietly in passing as I bawled in a church somewhere in the Mission.

And out of that broken wide open heart grew this wilding wilderness of flowers and fire and magic and danger and excitement and glory and friends and more friends and extraordinary, beyond belief experiences.

This year marks number 10 for me.

Ten burns.

In a row.

Not bad.

Not bad at all.

Each its own challenge.

Each its own experience.

Each having its own heartbreaks, awakenings, striped raw emotional catharsis.

Always the same.

And yet.

Always different.

Dusty.

Hot.

Cold.

Windy.

Extreme fluctuations in weather, rainbows, rain storms, fucking hail one year, double rainbows, warm nights, freezing cold oh my god I’m going to die of exposure nights.

The year that I had a severe allergic reaction to wood smoke from a forest fire that was so big the smoke was drifting in from hundreds of miles away and I ended up in the med tents getting my nasal cavity washed out and crying like a helpless baby.

All the dancing.

Every year.

On top of cars, art cars, ships broke down in the sea of playa, on my bicycle, in the dust, at the trash fence, at the burn, riding around in sailing sloops, getting a hold of golf carts and riding out into deep playa on art tours.

Going out and taking photographs.

Sunsets.

Sunrises.

Home.

Oh, it’s home.

And I know I sound like a kid, a happy, crazy, woo-woo kid, but I sort of don’t care.

Especially since I went through the heart break of thinking I wasn’t going to get to go.

And now.

Well.

Over the moon might actually be a bit of an understatement.

I was thinking about things today as well, prep and all the stuff and things.

And I realized that I am going to have to really just let it all happen exactly how it’s suppose to happen, to not force things, manipulate things, to go light and bright, easy breezy carefree.

Maybe I don’t co-ordinate with my OG playa family and get my bike back up and running.

Maybe I walk like I did my first event.

Maybe I stop worrying about a tent and just go with the two man that was offered to me.

It’s not like I’m going to be there very long.

The ride, again, will happen, there and back.

I know it.

Things just work out the way they are supposed to.

My heart is wide open and the flower planted there so long ago continues to bloom and unfurl.

The love has not faded.

Only grown deeper, stronger, more entrenched in me.

Grateful beyond words for this experience.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I’ll see you in the dust.

 

 

Just Got The Message

September 30, 2015

My new mattress arrives tomorrow!

Last night on this cruddy one I have had for the last two years.

I am not complaining, it’s done it’s job and I have slept on worse.

The fold out futon shenanigans that I slept on in Paris for six months was by far the worst thing I have slept on.

Well.

Not true!

I just realized.

I have slept on worse, and really, when I compare and contrast, even on a shitty mattress, it was a shitty mattress in Paris.

I had a friend once who said it didn’t matter how bad things were, if you just tacked on the end of the sentence, “in Paris.”

I was caught in a sudden rainstorm, “in Paris.”

I got lost, “in Paris.”

I overslept, “in Paris.”

I have to do my laundry, “in Paris.”

So.

Yeah.

That futon mattress, in Paris, sucked, but it was in Paris.

I have slept on far worse in Homestead, Florida.

Yes.

There.

On a piece of cardboard box that was slid underneath the thin tent floor of the two-man tent I was sharing with a friend, the cardboard scant protection from the sharp coral rock that our tent was set up on.

Even with the cardboard and a sleeping bag, I could still feel that rock underneath my back.

Imagine, I am imagining now, that for months I slept on cardboard boxes.

I have slept on plywood set up on top of milk crates.

I have slept in cars.

I have slept in the back of Grey Hound buses.

I have slept, on the ground.

I have slept on other people’s lumpy couches.

I have slept on the thin, worn out cushions in my ex-brother in-laws fathers’ camper truck bed.

That sucked.

I have slept in far worse places and on many a baggy couch with broken springs.

I have slept in dangerous neighborhoods were gunshots woke me up in the middle of the night.

I have slept on beaches.

I have slept in the woods, “camping” aka “homeless” in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I have slept in the moldering basement of a duplex on a mattress on the floor.

I have slept cramped against my sister’s small body on a mattress on a floor.

I have slept in the bottom well of an old beater Dodge with a thin pillow braced against the door.

I have slept in far worse places on far worse beds, some which really had no right to be called a bed at all.

I am so grateful.

I have so much.

Do you see how much I have?

I have a full plate.

I have a job.

I have a bicycle.

I have this laptop.

I have graduate school.

(I have a lot to still read, but I’m getting caught up!)

I have stories.

(“Writers would kill to have some of the life material you have, Carmen,” Alan Kauffman said to me with an incredulous shake of his head, “you have had so many experiences!”)

I have love.

My God.

Do I have love.

I found myself pulled up 18th street tonight after work, my feet just knew the way and despite my brain saying, “go home, go read, go study,” I knew that I needed to be somewhere else tonight before I could do just that, go home, go read, go study.

And I found myself at Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro.

And I found myself at home.

I shared my piece.

I don’t remember what I said.

I got my God on.

I got on my bicycle and I got on the way back to the Outer Sunset.

And mysterious coincidence?

Is it odd?

Or.

Is it God?

I ran into a very dear, most welcome, super amazing and loving person on my way home.

“That’s H____________!”

I almost shouted his name.

I could see he was working with someone.

I almost kept riding.

But when you see your person, or I should say, when I see my person, I had to stop, flip a bitch on my whip, and pedal back to where he was sitting with one of my mates.

Oh.

Was it good to see him!

I got the best damn hug.

From him and from my contemporary and we just had us a great big love fest right there on the corner of Sanchez and Noe.

Thank you God for always knowing when I need to see my people.

We made plans to see each other soon and I got a brief, intense, full of love check in.

Then.

Merrily on my way.

Through the autumn turning Pan Handle, through the quiet dark of the park lit only with speculative sodium lamps and the bright white flare of tents being erected in the meadows.

There must be a concert happening this weekend.

I am out of touch.

I have been so busy in my own little world of school and work that I am not paying a lot of attention to other things.

Outside Lands has already happened, so it must be Hardly, Strictly, Bluegrass.

Translation.

Hardly, strictly, ain’t gonna be anywhere near it.

I’ll be in school this weekend.

I made good for the family already, getting them prepped by making not one but two homemade chicken pot pies for them–one to freeze and one to eat Friday when I am not there to make dinner.  Plus I made ginger chicken with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, onions, and water chestnuts to wrap up in lettuce for dinner this evening.

I’ll do more prep for them too.

And.

A little for me too.

Although, I am pretty set as far as groceries go since my dear friend helped me out with the pick up and lift back to my place last weekend from SafeWay when I was having my near panic attack.

I do have to do a little more reading.

(A lot, but who’s counting)

But I’m kicking through it.

Every morning before I leave for work I have been reading.

Every evening when I get home I have been reading.

Add to that I have managed, don’t ask me how, to continue with my morning writing routine and my evening blog.

I don’t have to know how it works.

I just know that it does.

And it’s going to work even better.

Even sooner.

I’ll be sleeping on a brand new bed as of tomorrow night.

My life.

It rocks.

And it’s not because I’m sleeping on any.

Rocks that is.

Get Out of Dodge!

August 1, 2015

Or at least San Francisco.

It’s actually happening.

I am, in fact, going to go to Yosemite tomorrow.

Like early.

Way early.

I’ve just finished packing, I’m only going for tomorrow and half of Sunday, so it wasn’t a hard trip to pack for, just a quick down and dirty, and fortunately for me, I have a bunch of Burning Man food staples in my cupboard, so I just raided that guy.

I’ll need to replenish a little when I get back, but I got time.

Not much time, granted, but some.

Time.

I spent some of that precious coin today.

I read for five hours.

Five.

Well, maybe more like four, I took a couple of breaks for the bathroom and to have lunch, but I really kicked it out.

I have, in fact, completed the reading for one of my classes for the retreat, that will also go beyond the retreat.

One of the classes, I realized after looking over the syllabi, is only during the retreat–a sort of seminar on Yoga and the practice of meditation–for which there is only one book.

It’s still a book that has to be read by the end of next weekend, but I can do it.

The really big reading, I got out-of-the-way today.

Things to think about as I go forward, and I”m just ruminating here, I need to find a more comfortable reading position.

Although I do find it hella funny that I am studying psychology texts from a chaise lounge.

I’m already set up with my “office” furniture.

Freud would approve, I’m certain of it.

The other is a realization that I have don’t have the same coping mechanisms as I did when I was in undergrad.

Namely blowing off steam by going out and drinking with a bunch of my co-workers from the Angelic Brewing Company.

I didn’t rely on drinking to get me through undergrad.

Or did I?

I know that I was a maintenance drinker and I daily drank, I ran a brewing company, it was inevitable that I would be drinking the beer, but I kept it to a “dull roar” I never had more than five pints per shift, and the majority of that drinking was in the late hours of the evening, I didn’t really drink on the job, once in a while a shot.

I drank when I was done counting out the money.

And the king was in the counting house counting out the money/while the queen was in her chamber eating bread and honey.

I didn’t want there to be any question as to the reliability and the integrity of my word while I was securing the tills and the check outs from the various bartenders, waiters and waitresses, the cocktail staff, even the door money which I had to count and distribute to the band that was playing that night, or to the promoter or dj.

I was responsible to a fault.

But I did drink and I had that valve to release steam.

And I often procrastinated to the nth hour.

I am extraordinarily efficient and could manage to write a fifteen page paper on King Henry the V and do it in one night and get an “A” on the paper.

I don’t, obviously, want to employ those kind of tactics to my graduate degree.

I figure, as I have so well learned over the last ten and a half years, that the slow daily progress, the sustained, continual effort, is what is going to work the best for me.

Small chunks, small steps, always moving forward.

Always doing a little something.

And some of the work is going to be easier than others.

The reading I completed today was super dense and had a new theory or concept every other paragraph.

Fortunately I am not finding anything beyond my comprehension.

A few concepts I can see I will need to go back and review them to remember and recall with efficiency and adequate understanding before heading into the first class dynamic, but I’m getting the material.

I’m also very glad that I didn’t put off the reading.

It was up in the air whether my friends and I were going to be heading out, hinged on a couple of factors, and so instead of thinking, oh, well, I’m probably going to be here in town, I can wait until tomorrow or Sunday to do the reading, I saw my spot today was clear, no work (at least not the kind where I draw a paycheck) and I sat myself down on that chaise and got to it.

I’m so grateful that I get to do this.

I remind myself that this is an astounding gift, if life were fair, I would not be in graduate school.

If life were fair.

Well.

I’d be dead.

Circumstances being what they are in my life, I have been graced and given another (umpteen it would seem) chance to do it right.

Doing it right is also taking the calculated risk, the jump, the leap, the sure, I’m ready, let’s do it, last-minute drive to Yosemite, I’ve never been, what a way to say goodbye to July and hello to August.

Because August is its own monster of a month and well, let’s see it come in like a lion.

It will go out like a Burning Man.

I already know that.

Or perhaps I should say, let it come in like a bear, I hear there are some bears out in Yosemite.

The month of August will hold my “normal” work week, next week, then an eight-day retreat for school in Petaluma, then a five-day work week in Glen Ellen (I haven’t figured out exactly how that’s going to transpire, I may not even come back to the city to only turn right back around to go work in Glen Ellen while the family takes its last summer vacation before the boys start school), after Glen Ellen, I come back, work another week in the city, then end that by leaving for Burning Man.

Oh.

And I have papers due by August 23rd from the work at the retreat and from the reading I just wrapped up today.

Yeah.

Busy month.

So.

The pleasure is all mine to say.

Adios! Good bye! Farewell! See ya!

I’m going off the grid for the next 36 hours, I’ll be back Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

Your Assignment

July 30, 2015

Should you so accept.

Is to.

Have fun.

Aw.

Man.

Really?

I’m sorry, didn’t you see that gigantic stack of reading I have to do on the table in my little kitchen area–which is also now my study area/work desk/cry in my coffee and stress area.

No.

Fun is out of the question.

“I think you shouldn’t do any reading the weekend,” he said to me at the Church Street Café this evening as lay my head down on the table and the tears seeped out of my eyes.

I sat back up.

“That’s not an option,” I said.

In fact, as I was leaving my domicile this evening to take the N-Judah to Church and Duboce I walked out the door as the mail man was delivering another textbook to my house.

Five down.

Two to go.

And this sucker was a big one.

I spent about an hour and a half reading this afternoon after running some errands and grocery shopping.

Yes, people, I did sleep in.

And yes it was glorious, but at some point the call of the bed faded to the call of breakfast and I got up and went on my merry way.

I was supposed to be harkening to the call of fun, but I did not answer the door when it called.

Instead it took me 90 minutes to read 30 pages in the text-book for Human Development.

I had looked at the syllabus and thought, oh hey, only three chapters to read in this one, no biggie, I can totally knock that out before I go meet my person at Church at Market at 6:30p.m. in fact, I may even have time to sneak up to Whole Foods and grab a couple of things that I couldn’t get between Outer Avenues, my food co-op up on 44th and Judah, and Safeway.

But no.

That’s not what happened.

I was barely able to finish one chapter, truth be told, I did not actually finish the chapter.

The chapter was 50 pages.

The three chapters are composed of 150 pages, slightly longer than I had first surmised.

And I’m still thinking in novel size books, not text books, this tome I was reading, is just that, a tome.

It is a big hefty ass book.

If it were an ass it would be callipygian.

I digress.

The book is a text-book, the language is scholarly, and again, I am finding that the concepts are not beyond my grasp, but that I have to read with a different kind of eye, that I have to slow down and make sure that I am absorbing the ideas.

There are a lot of ideas going on.

And there are a lot of words on the page.

I would say double what a novel is and so, yeah, it’s taking me longer.

I have to remind myself, too, that I am not in the reader mode yet, I am discovering what I need to do, how I  need to sit, where I need to sit for that matter.

How I read.

I mean, yes, I do have an undergraduate degree, but it was in English Literature and well, people I’m a fiction reader, so the reading for that was not so difficult, nor arduous.

I’m reading literal ideas and thoughts, it’s not so much a narrative, but a fact gathering, complying, and understanding.

I’m also getting a very holistic, as in whole picture, view of what my field is going to be covering.

Ultimately I will be a therapist and I am certain that the skills really necessary to have are not going to all come out of a text-book; however, they are going to be based there and the knowledge needs to be firmly implanted in my brain.

I made the decision while reading the text-book for my Human Development course that I was going to need to go back and actively read the text with a notebook and answer the questions that were coming up in the material–it’s summarized at the end of each section with some tidy little bits of what you’ll need to know, and although I got the gist of the material, I couldn’t spit it right back out.

I’m going to either read all the chapters and then re-read them with a notebook or start from the beginning and re-read using a notebook.

Fortunately, I have some.

Notebooks that is.

I picked up some today while I was out doing my grocery shopping.

Four glitter notebooks.

I’m not sure what that says about me.

But I feel that Freud would approve.

And if not Freud, that anal motherfucker, perhaps Erickson.

I feel a plethora of new knowledge getting slid into my brain and despite not knowing how to accommodate it all and how that it’s all going to get in there, I do enjoy learning and I am grateful that I am going to continue to grow in my knowledge base and to continue to be teachable.

So that, ultimately, I can be of service.

That’s where it’s at.

Irony?

I have to enjoy my life a little too.

I need to strike a balance.

I need to have some fun in there.

I may play hooky, for real tomorrow and figure out what that is going to look like and how I will be flexible enough to let it in, the fun that is.

I have been given this suggestion before and I absolutely do need to implement it.

I may not go off camping, although there is a narrow percentage of possibility on my plate, so if I don’t, I need to do something here in town–go to the DeYoung, see the Turner Exhibit; go to Free Gold Watch and play pinball; go to  a matinée–when I was the last time I went to a movie in the middle of the day?

Or take the ferry out to Sausalito and play tourist.

That is always something I enjoy doing.

Fun will be had.

Damn it.

Let it begin now.

The Student Life

July 27, 2015

It officially began today.

I sat down with my course readers and syllabi.

I outlined the reading that needed to be done before I head to the retreat in Petaluma–two weeks from today.

TWO!

Holy Mother of God.

Not to take this all so god damn seriously, but wow, how did the time go by so fast?

Don’t I have any summer vacation left?

I do, I think.

But I don’t believe it’s going to be the going out-of-town camping trip that I had discussed with my friend.

Where for art thou, friend?

I forget that people need space and that no response, well, it is a response, so keep the focus tight, like on me, and what can I do today, just today for self-care.

What indeed.

Well.

As it turns out, and I had forgotten, it’s been a few years since I’ve been in school, oh, like um, 13 I think, that having something to do in regards to my academic career has a direct and distinct correlation to how clean my space is.

Like hey.

Look at that.

My place is sparkling.

I striped the bed, laundered the sheets, did a load of laundry, scrubbed the toilet and bathroom sink, scrubbed the stove top, fuck, I even wiped out the fridge, dusted the bookshelves, swept, vacuumed, and swiffer’ed the floors (yeah, I know Swiffer is not a verb, but what else do you call that thing?).

My place is shiny and bright.

I mean, let’s be frank, it’s not like it was a disaster zone, but you know, dusty and in need of a sweep, but once I got going I knew I was in it and might as well do the whole shebang.

It’s a  way to distract myself from what is in front of me.

Stacks.

And stacks.

And.

Stacks of reading.

I also hopped in the shower, ate nice meals, two of which were outside on the back porch, the fog blew off and the sun made an appearance today.

Which was both heartening and upsetting as I really wanted to be outside doing something other than reading my graduate school readers, but, hey, I ate outside and my stewed chicken in tomato sauce with garlic and onions and yellow peppers over turmeric spiced brown rice and perfect ripe avocado, well, it was a delight to eat al fresco and sit in the sun.

Contemplating the reading to come.

But.

Before that.

Two ladies came through to do the deal and then a phone call check in with my person who suggested that I focus on my self-care and having fun rather than worry about my friend.

Although I got to have my sad feelings I didn’t let the day slip by being morose, I kept turning the focus back on what was in front of me.

And when there was nothing else to clean and lunch had been had and I even snuck in a half hour of sitting in the sun with a W magazine and a quick flip through the latest Vanity Fair, I came to the conclusion.

It was time.

I don’t foresee doing a lot of pleasure reading for a while, so I’m glad I gave myself to do so yesterday and really enjoy the hell out of the books I read and the excerpt of the book I read from a friend who has been working on a collection of shorts that is really going to be a fantastic novel and I’m going to say, “I knew him when,” and “I read that before you did,” and “I always knew he was a great writer, you should read his holiday letters.”

Which you should.

They are marvels of Midwestern Americana with a kind of wry wit that is at time dark, but always lovingly painted and I find myself transported to the scene at their home when ever I get them.

Which is the point of good writing–being transported to the picture that the writer wants you to see.

He does it.

Really good.

Anyway.

I’m not going to get that kind of reading for a while.

I may give myself a set half hour or so once in a while to have that pleasure reading, but I can see that I have a lot of work ahead of me.

It is going to be a long, arduous, committed and continual moving through material, processing it, understanding it, writing about it.

Fuck.

I mean.

I have papers due before I go to Burning Man.

BEFORE!

I just about peed my pants when I saw that on one of the syllabi.

And not just a paper, multiply papers.

I mean, I will have submitted work on readings I have done before actually going through the orientation at the school.

Good gravy man.

As much as I wish I was camping along the North Rim of The Grand Canyon, I am actually grateful that my employers changed up their vacation plans and I ended up having to work tomorrow and Tuesday.

It meant cancelling  a trip I was very much looking forward to, but it got my ass down to the Copy Central shop to pick up my readers and get going on the work.

I read 50 pages today for my Human Development class.

It took me three hours.

Fuck.

Three hours.

I can read more than a page a minute, that means 60 pages in an hour.

Then I realized a couple of things–one, this ain’t no pleasure reading, this is serious reading and though the concepts are not completely foreign, they are dense; next, I’m reading to retain, not to enjoy, which meant going back over a few things and re-reading them to make sure I understood what I was reading, plus underlining, highlighting, and taking pertinent notes in the margins of the reader.

Lastly, and not to be taken lightly, I realized the 50 pages were actually closer to 100 pages.

The reader is larger than a book, thus the pages often had two pages of a text or article printed on each page.

Reading one page was in essence reading two.

So that makes my speed of reading a little better, 100 pages in three hours is a much better ratio and caused me to feel some relief.

And.

I finished the assigned reading for the retreat, in the reader (I still have the first three chapters of an accompanying text-book to read as well, but it hasn’t been delivered to the house yet) for my class on Human Development.

I have time.

In fact, I think I may be able to actually read all the required reading twice.

I’ve got some highlighters to invest in and some time to set aside, but I can see it happening.

I also knew to take some care and take a break, to eat dinner while not reading, to sit out in the late afternoon sun and enjoy my meal.

Then I finished that last hour of reading and went for a walk down on the beach to catch the sunset before coming back here to blog.

I will strike a balance, the work will get done.

And how grateful am I to know so well.

Easy does it.

One day at a time.

First things, first.

And breathe.

Don’t forget to breathe.

It’s all going to be alright.

It already is.

Lucky Motherfuckers

July 15, 2015

That’s my camp.

Bahahahaha.

Oh.

I love it.

And I love that I am on this thread which updates me as to all the other “lucky motherfuckers” that I am camping with.

I received another missive from the Jack Rabbit Speaks, this time in regards to Burning Man with children and the infrastructure thereof and how to do it and how not to do it.

My favorite part was where it was suggested that Kidsville was not a baby sitting camp.

That one doesn’t arrive in Kidsville, drop the rugrats at the door and go off into the playa sunset to play.

I have had that experience.

“Oh you’re the Burning Man nanny?” She said, as her wild toddler boy feral with sugar and popsicle trails of juice dripping from his little dusty maw, swooped and swung around the camp while I was nannying my charge.

“No,” I said, “I nanny for people who work for the organization, I don’t work for the org, I’m not the,” inserting hands making quotation marks, “the Burning Man nanny, I’m just the nanny.”

I could see the crestfallen look that surfaced on her face.

Really lady?

You’re going to dump your kid on a complete stranger so you can go fall down a k-hole?

I don’t think so.

It’s not the first time I have been asked or had it alluded to that I could or should help out.

And the funny thing?

I will totally help out.

I have always been that person, you need it, I can see the legitimate need, I will offer my services.

But.

It’s on my time, it’s my decision.

And I bristle when the assumption is made that I’m going to babysit so you can play.

Unless, of course, I’m in your employ.

Then go get your play on.

Besides, I know this is going to be a much different experience for me nannying on playa than at any other time I have gone.

I won’t be working the hours that I worked before.

That being said, I won’t be getting paid for said work either.

It’s rather a swap of services for services.

I get a ticket, a place to camp, a ride there and back, all the infrastructure of camp, plus gear so that I don’t have to drop a dime on outfitting myself, and the company of some of my absolute favorite people.

I got all excited when a flurry of messages went out and I found out that so and so and so and so and he’s coming and they’re camping with us too.

And.

Well.

I am a lucky motherfucker.

Literally and figuratively.

I also sat down tonight and got in a cup of tea with my housemate and a catch up.

It has been a hot minute since we’ve sat and talked and caught up and it was really nice.

I forget sometimes that I have a friend who lives right over my head.

She’s not just my landlady, she’s a friend.

And so it was nice to get that catch up to get that friend feeling and to have some tea and talk.

I let her know all the travel that I will be doing, and also the possibility of travel that I may be doing as well.

Aside.

I need to talk to my friend about that possibility if the camping, The Grand Canyon trip, or maybe a road trip up the coast to the Avenue of the Giants is still on the table.

I have a possible vacation coming up at the end of July.

My employers are going to be in Tahoe and they are not taking me.

Granted the mom did allude to having some household projects for me, but I can’t imagine what they could be nor any project that would colluded to have me being in the city the entire week that they are in Tahoe.

Anyway.

I let my house mate know when and where I would be going.

Petaluma for a week.

Sonoma for a week.

Burning Man for a little over a week, 8-9 days depending on who I want to ride back with, how my burn is going will be the choice.

The small quiet voice in me says leave a little early and get yourself acclimated and back into the default world and set up so that you can go to graduate school proper that next weekend, because that is what is happening.

My first official weekend of graduate school happens that week that I get back from the burn.

Then again.

I think.

Heh.

Well, burn that candle to the ground, get as much as you can, get all the experience, come back dirty and dusty and burnt and start afresh and yeah, like that.

I may see how I feel around that depending on how much reading I can get done before that weekend, plus, I know I will have papers due after I do the retreat, which I will likely write while I am working in Sonoma.

Yeah.

That’s right.

When I looked at my schedule to tell my house mate the dates I would be gone I freaking realized that I would be going from Petaluma right to Sonoma.

Do I stay there and just go from Petaluma to Glen Ellen?

Do I even bother to do the drive back to the city to turn around and go right back to Sonoma?

I mean.

That doesn’t make any sense.

So I may actually be completely out of San Francisco for two solid weeks in August, back one week, then out to Burning Man.

Whew.

That’s a lot.

And I realize.

This weekend.

No emotional sabotage thank you very much, I will be too busy living my life.

And I will get my books and my papers and my readers and whatever else I need to get and get the fuck on it.

I set myself that goal.

Retrieval of said materials and the accumulation of the stuffs to do the things.

My Burning stuff started to arrive today and I now have solar lights to string up on my bike frame.

Makes sense that I prioritize getting my course work for graduate school too.

I only get to be a lucky motherfucker if I keep doing the work.

That makes me.

A lucky motherfucker.

Very lucky.

The Poppins

July 11, 2015

Has placed her order.

And I am just about done with my Burning Man prep.

See lady, it wasn’t so bad.

Of course, its vastly helpful that the folks I’m camping with are pretty much providing my shelter, that’s a load off my mind and so much wrangling that does not have to be done.

Over the moon grateful.

Although I did have a friend offer me full access to his camping gear, I was loath to take him up on the offer.

Unless a person has been to Burning Man and seen what the wreckage of the playa can do to their things, I would not want to take someone’s nice camping gear and get it all dusty.

That being said, I would love to do some more camping outside of just Burning Man.

Yosemite.

The Grand Canyon.

Bryce Canyon.

Some Avenue of the Giants.

Joshua Tree.

There are lots of places.

Crater Lake.

I can go on.

For the now.

For the present.

For the just for today.

I am wrapping up some Burning Man supplies and making sure they get here before I leave for that great dust bowl in the Black Rock Desert.

It wasn’t much, but I got what I needed.

Zip ties.

They are magical and everyone should have a plethora.

A new purple flag pennant to replace my old one, it’s pretty beat up, on my bicycle.

And also for my bicycle some more lights.

I have wheel lights on the front wheel, but I also got some solar-powered lights I’m going to string up along the frame for night-time illumination and riding.  I don’t particularly care about seeing with my lights, so much as being seen.

And yes, one pair of tights.

Just because I like the tights.

My Burning Man uniform routinely consists of tights, boots, tank tops, and boy shorts with a holster, a bunch of fabric flowers in my hair, bright makeup, and a parasol.

And last, but certainly not least, that’s right, I made sure to order a new parasol.

Since I left the one I bought in Atlanta on the plane and well, haha, the one I ordered online will match my bicycle and well, that’s how I like to roll.

Glittery, purple, flowered, bedazzled up.

Sparkly.

The Poppins is ready to ride.

And in other news.

Yes.

It’s Friday.

I thought I had some plans this evening with a friend and I haven’t heard back from him, so I might be staying in for the evening, but what a lovely evening it is.

We had talked about doing a bonfire in my back yard again and it is most definitely the night for it, the air was lovely riding home through the park and though not warm, it’s not chilly out there like it normally is this time of year–you know, July.

In fact, when the sun came out today and lit up the Mission like diamonds I was happily surprised by the warmth and the blue skies.

July being notorious in San Francisco for cool, foggy, grey weather.

Speaking of bicycle.

Man, she is riding like a dream.

I don’t think I realized how desperate she was for some love and attention.

I have a tendency to do that with my things, beat on them, ride them hard, not take care of them as well as I should.

But.

I gradually get better and I recognize that proper care of my property ends up being better for me and I get to keep having nice things.

I ran into my friend who helped me through the scooter fiasco and the getting it recycled at Scooter Centre et al, and he asked when I was going back to buy the Buddy Italia in Avocado with racing stripes.

I shrugged.

I don’t know.

I am on the fence to tell you the truth.

The ride home through the park is so glorious, it’s luscious when the air is like it is tonight and I felt that I would miss the riding if I had the scooter.

Plus, I don’t want to outlay any money right now.

I am going to be going down to part-time in September with work and yes, I did get a lot of money awarded me to go to graduate school–but that’s just going to be paying for tuition, not so much living expenses.

I am currently weighing whether or not I should pre-pay a bunch of rent so I don’t have to be concerned with it or if I should sock it all away in my savings account and collect some interest on it before paying a lot of rent upfront.

Neither here nor there, I suppose.

I’m currently not sitting on that money.

The awards letter still has not arrived.

And.

The reader I e-mailed about to start getting my materials together is not in stock at the store I e-mailed.

I have vowed that over the weekend I will sit down, look at all my files and information regarding the syllabus and make a list of what I need to get and where to get it.

I want to have that taken care of by the end of the weekend.

Not so I can start the reading by Sunday, but just to have the ball rolling along.

It’s much easier to pick up momentum if I’m already into action.

And that’s it.

That’s all that’s on my plate.

Well.

There’s other stuff there.

But I won’t be writing about it right now.

I’m waiting to see what develops and to continue to keep the focus on what’s right in front of me.

Like.

Taking a shower.

That’s the next indicated action tonight.

Despite my desire to know more.

That’s all I need to know.

That and I have a band new lavender, pagoda style parasol.

(And some zip ties)

Coming to my mail box soon.

Mary Fucking Poppins needs her parasol.

I mean.

Really.

It wouldn’t be Burning Man.

For me.

Without one.

Packed

May 23, 2014

Or the closest proximity to being packed as I can be.

I have to put together my toiletries and a few more clothes.

I can’t pack them yet, though, toiletries needed for tomorrow’s work day and the clothes are in the laundry.

Although, should I need to, should the laundry not get taken care of tonight for some strange reason, I’m ready on that front.

I am actually bringing more clothes than I probably need, although less than I had originally packed up.

I got a text from my friend regarding the weather being in the 90s.

Ok then.

I will need my sunblock and that sweatshirt can go back in the closet.

The only other thing I need is the tent, which is in the garage, but not packed yet.

It’s my housemates and she wants to pack it up to make sure nothing’s missing.

Ok.

She knows I leave tomorrow by 4:30p.m. and although I offered to do it, she insisted.

I am covered.

I was offered, very sweetly, some extra gear from one of the families that I work for, but the logistics of trying to get it and co-ordinate with my friend who is driving were too much for me.

And not worth the struggle.

Which is what I realized when I stopped to really access my need for the things that were being offered.

Do I really need a cook stove?

Yeah, I suppose, it’s nice to have it, but all the food I bought for the weekend can be eaten without cooking.

Ditto for the cooler, which maybe I could have used, but the thought of getting up earlier than I already am, to go to work on the MUNI so that I could then either Uber/taxi/MUNI over to another location to pick up a cooler that I don’t really need seemed just too much.

Then my friend would be making two stops, one to pick me up in the NOPA and another to go out to my place here by Ocean Beach.

Keep it simple.

I don’t need the cooler either.

Should I change my mind I’ll just buy one.

Everybody needs a cooler anyhow.

I did take the offered sleeping mat and a blanket that can be used for roughing it and picnics and laying about on.  I folded the blanket tightly and wrangled the sleeping pad in my messenger bag.  Pair that with the sleeping bag I bought years ago for when I did the AidsLifeCycle Ride, and I am set sleep wise.

I will probably also bring a pillow, but that won’t get packed until tomorrow.

I have everything else stacked by the door.

One plastic bin and one large recycled bag with the pad, blanket, a towel, my food supplies, and some eating utensils.

I will rough it just fine.

It’s only three nights anyway.

I am looking forward to being out of the city.

It will still be a jam for me tomorrow.

I will ride my bike to work, get in seven hours, leave an hour early, by 4 p.m. and ride like the wind, to get back to my place at 4:30p.m. to be picked up.

I feel quite competent that it will all work out and I am ready for some dancing, some art, some hanging out with my friend, some making new friends, some seeing old friends who let me know they are there, and just chilling.

I am bringing my laptop and my phone and my camera and I don’t know if any of them will be supported.

Well, that’s not true.

My camera will be fine.

It has re-chargeable batteries that are fully charged and I have packed an extra back up.

The laptop and the phone I am curious about.

I don’t know if I will have access to electricity where we will be camping.

We are not going to be RV camping with hook ups.

We will be car camping.

I may not be blogging.

I don’t know.

I am going to do my best to send my daily posts out, but fore warned, there may not be another blog coming.

That being said, I will take a lot of photographs and I will document the experience in my notebook, I will continue to write my three pages long hand, that’s a habit I can take anywhere with me.

Funny, I was thinking I actually have access to more amenities when I go to Burning Man, but I won’t be dusty here.

I had that thought earlier, oh, don’t forget to pick up some baby wipes.

Then I laughed.

I am not going to be camping in the dust bowl of the Black Rock Desert.

I don’t know what to expect and the not knowing gnaws at me a bit, but there’s only so much preparations a person can do and I am as prepped as I am going to get.

I am not investing a lot of money into going, I just don’t have it to invest, the ticket is bought and paid for and I have a sleeping bag and some Tasty Bites, a summer dress or two, something to sleep on, some flowers to pin in my hair and the attitude of let’s go have fun.

That’s all I really need.

Oh.

And my water bottle.

I expect I will be drinking a lot of water if I am going to be dancing in 90 degree heat.

Memorial Day weekend.

The opening salvo of summer.

I am ready.

All I need to do is get up in the morning, shower, and stick to my normal routine, swap out the laundry, get dressed, ride to work.

Then ride home and wait to be picked up.

I will pack up my little mobile office with my MacBook and chargers and my Iphone and camera and if I have the time, whip up a little dinner to take on the road with me.

That’s it.

Summer time fun.

Road trip.

Lighting in a Bottle.

Here I come.

Burning Man Dry Run

May 22, 2014

Yeah, yeah.

I know.

It’s not Burning Man yet.

But, it’s always Burning Man.

Oh.

Look at that, insert, thingy here–dress, tutu, pot of lip balm, string of lights, Hello Kitty duct tape, alligator clip, Sigg Bottle, sticker, necklace, boy–all year round, I look about and see things I should have, take, get, to bring with me to Burning Man.

That being said.

I still travel really light.

All things considered.

I don’t have a lot of needs.

Although, I do have wants.

Lots of those.

Want more socks, tights, hair clips, elastics, glittery makeup, coconut body lotion, lip balm in various flavors (strawberry currently rocking my world, Rose Lip Balm, and Philosophy Berry Jam lip gloss), bandanas.

Those are my wants.

All of my needs–water, food, shelter, showers, ticket, transportation to and from the event, early arrival pass–are met.

Since I will be working the event I am taken care of by the family I nanny for.

Yes, if you haven’t followed my blog too closely.

I am a nanny at Burning Man.

I am a nanny in San Francisco who happens to have gotten to work for five different families that work for the Burning Man Organization.

I have nannied for two board members on a part time basis.

I have been a temporary fill in nanny for one of the main art curators and the manager of the art placement team, which includes, the building of the man.

I have nannied for the head of Black Rock Solar and his wife, who was the Communications Manager and wore so many other hats I was never quite sure what her title was, aside from the most amazing multi-tasker I may have ever met.

Currently I nanny for the head of the Human Resources department, the head of the Rangers, and the Placement Team Manager.

That makes it sound like I am juggling a lot of babies.

Truth be told I have three families I currently am employed with, one of whom I only work one day a week with, but yes, I was referred to them by the head of the ticketing team.

So, all things Burning Man.

All the time.

Which is part of the draw for working as a nanny with these families.

They don’t really look twice when I wear full on make up to work or glitter, or got a new pink phone.

Total aside!

I got my new Iphone yesterday, yes, it’s the 5C, so it’s got a colored back panel and yes, it is pink.

If they had it in glitter I would be buying it.

I will still probably get a case, and you betcha, it may glitter yet.

The families are artistic, creative, colorful, musical people.

ARTISTS.

As I write I just looked up to think a moment of what I wanted to write further and the first thing I see is an aerial photograph taken last year by Will Rogers that was gifted to me by one family, the next thing I see is me and the JuneBug rocking it out in sunglasses and tutus in her dad’s El Camino (the dusty blue one without a front windshield or doors), I look to my right and see a Burning Man Evolution poster from 2009 on my fridge as well as my favorite sticker from last year’s event: “Fuck You It’s Magic”.

I am surrounded.

This will be year number eight in a row.

I have a dear friend who wants me to go and not work it as a nanny and she’s right, at some point I should probably just go to go, but as things unfolded this year, I am working the event again as a nanny.

And I am pleased as punch to be going.

There’s always a moment when I think, how the hell am I going to go next year?

I mean, I’m going, but how’s it possibly going to work out?

Before last year’s event I was in Paris and had no clue how it would work out, that I would be moving back from Paris and yes, working as a nanny again for people who run the event.

I just knew.

I would be going.

The how and the why of it, beyond me.

Always is.

I was informed of my leave date today for the event.

My Thursday girl, who I get to hug and squeeze and squish tomorrow, is going to be heading off to pre-school this fall and as such her parents requested my leave date to Burning Man so they could schedule her care when I leave.

They asked me three weeks ago for the dates.

See, I am not the only one looking ahead.

I had a quick check in with my Burning Man mom this morning before she left for the office about dates.

And it was pretty much what I expected.

I will leave San Francisco the morning of the 16th of August.

That Friday, the 15th, I will finish out my work week at their house in Cole Valley, nanny the evening shift for them so that they may have a diner with friends and do last-minute prep.

Then, in the morning, we will drive out.

We will overnight in Reno and get anything that couldn’t be got in San Francisco, including, a trip to Whole Foods.

Aside.

The Whole Foods in Reno may be the best and biggest and most amazing Whole Foods I have ever seen in my life.  It is really huge and of course, at that time of year, fully stocked with all things Burning Man.

We have a loose date as the return.

Me, the mom, and my charge will leave a little earlier this year, the dad, Head of Rangers, will stay longer and tend to things the week after the event.

I will be there the week before the event, the week of, and half the week after.

Rather than the full week after like we did last year.

I have not negotiated my ask yet.

And I will need to ask for more than I received last year.

My cost of living expenses are high–last year I wasn’t paying rent when I went to the event, my friend in Oakland was letting me stay at his place free until I was back on my feet.

This year.

Well, there’s a lot more costs–I pay my own health insurance, a monthly scooter payment and I also have scooter insurance now, rent, utilities, my student loan (which was just coming out of forbearance last year) phone.

Ie a lot more going on.

I also have not had a raise in my rate since I first went as a nanny.

Time for a cost of living raise.

I am nervous to ask, but I have to, so I will.

Fear you will not wrangle away my life.

I can’t have it.

I have the weekend to think about it and approach the family and see what can be done.

I also need to know about after Burning Man, I may be looking for employment, I am assuming my eldest charge will be heading off to pre-school soon, he’s of age.

That is a worry I don’t feel like thinking about.

Rather.

I will contemplate my dry run on the Burning Man event by negotiating my camping for Lighting In a Bottle.

I leave for the festival on Friday at 4:30p.m.

I get done with work at 4p.m.

I will scoot back to my house as quick as possible and have all my things ready to go for pick up–borrowing my housemate’s four man tent, grabbed my sleeping bag, a plastic bin with some clothes, and whatever food I am taking.

I went to Whole Foods and got things that will work, thinking just like Burning Man–Tasty Bites anyone?

I got 3/4s of what I believe I will need to go to the festival packed and ready.

Tomorrow night I will put the last stuff together and be ready to leave come Friday when work is done.

Four day weekend here I come.

Burning Man dry run.

Music, art, friends, camping, dancing under the moon, making out, fingers crossed, socializing, living.

My good, good, good life.

It is awesome.

It is so Burning Man.

 


%d bloggers like this: