Posts Tagged ‘Lighting in a Bottle’

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.





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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Don’t Panic

May 17, 2014

She said over the phone and laughed at me.

I laughed at myself.

I am still panicked a tiny bit.

I have nothing to do tomorrow.


That’s about it, that’s the sum of my problems.

I have no plans.

Picture me running off into the sunset screaming.

I exaggerate a little.

Unexpected time is still a challenge for me.

I know I will fill the day, groceries, do some cooking, do some laundry, see about getting the scooter started, but I don’t have a thing to really do until 7p.m. in Noe Valley.

The same goes for Sunday as well.

I had the opportunity to get out-of-town, maybe head out to Santa Cruz on Sunday, but I have a commitment smack in the middle of the time that I couldn’t for the life of me get covered.

I am over this Sunday commitment, I also was invited over to Alameda this Sunday too, so much to do and can’t go do it.


I know I am not supposed to over book myself and I know there are things to do.

There’s a writing project I want to flesh out and I could sit out side on the back porch and do some work on that, or go down to Java Beach and work on it.

Sometimes getting out of my house is a good idea, it helps me actually focus on what I am doing, rather than get wound up in my head about what I am not doing enough of.

Everything is fine.


But I was consumed a few times with this feeling of loneliness that can get me down.

I know it’s not real, I know I have friends and people in my life, but when I can’t get it together to co-ordinate time with anyone and yet still have a lot of time to spare, it feels untenable.

Then again, I did confirm my timing with my friend for next weekend.

By this time next Friday I will be at Lighting in a Bottle with my friend.

I will be dancing somewhere, I promise you that.

We are both going to get done with work by 4 p.m.

I shall ride my bicycle home, get my stuff, and she’s going to come and get me here at 4:30p.m.  after which, a three-hour drive to Bradley, we should get there by sundown.

There may be getting out-of-town traffic since it is Memorial Day weekend, but yeah, I should be there at this time next week rocking out a three-day weekend with one of my favorite girl friends in the bay.

It will make up for her not being able to go to Burning Man this year, which I know she was planning on making and was really bummed out when her work schedule wouldn’t allow for it.

So, I can get over the self-pity.

I think I just had a wonky week.

It was a week ago tonight that I smashed the Vespa into a street lamp in the parking lot of Whole Foods and bashed my leg so well.

It still hurts, in fact, today it was pretty awful.

There are a few positions that I can’t do.

Sitting cross-legged is one of them and when I try, having forgotten that my leg was injured, I yelp out loud.

I can walk.

I can ride my bicycle, but no, I cannot sit cross-legged.

Not yesterday in the Music Together class, which is half on the floor sitting and half standing up and dancing around.

Not today at my gig in the Castro.

It is uncomfortable.

But I shall take it as a sign to slow down, smell the roses, jasmine, honeysuckle, and every other flower that is blooming profusely with the last bit of heat that was suckling itself in the pockets of the city.

It’s cooled off drastically.

And the wind’s kicked up again.

It’s not bad though, still got up to 70 degrees today and the sun was out.

Heck, any day that it’s not raining and I can get out side with my charges is a good weather day.

I also took care of some maintenance stuff with my bicycle–dropped into Mission Bicycle Company and caught up with the kids there–got a new chain and had them install it there, much smoother ride home.


I also hopped over to Nordestrom’s Off the Rack and did some bra shopping.

I do not like bra shopping.

Then again, I don’t know a woman who does.

But when the underwire breaks, it’s time for a new bra.

I got the exact same one I have on.

I was hoping for something a little sassier, but the pickings were slim.

I did not have it in me to actually go to Nordestrom’s proper or the mall to Victoria Secrets and do the real deal.  I figured I could pop in and out of The Rack and do what I had to do and pillage the make up counter–success there for sure–and be back out and on the road to Church and Market by 7p.m.

And that’s exactly what happened.

That’s what I need to do this weekend.

Aside from work on the writing project, that is a must.

I need to prep for the camping next weekend.

I won’t be able to much on my days during the week–I’ll be working.

Also got to check in with the housemate and let her know I’m out-of-town for the weekend.

And maybe I will do something fun for myself, an Artist Date, a dear friend of mine suggested, go to the museum, invite someone to go for a walk on the beach with me, there are lots of things to do here in San Francisco, I hear.

I won’t be doing Bay To Breakers though.

No way.

No thank you.

I will be staying the hell out of that mix of drunken, stoned, high, keg standing joggers as possible.

I actually have never seen it, gone to it, or wanted to have anything to do with it.

Jogging, not my cup of tea, and drinking, no longer my cup of tea and drinking and jogging in costume?


So, there’s that.

I know what I won’t be doing this weekend.

The rest is up to the Universe.

I’m along for the ride anyway.

Just because I think I am steering does not mean that I am in control.


I haven’t the helm at all.

Just rowing the boat.

That’s all I am doing.

Rowing the boat.

Some one else is in charge of where it goes.

Which is good.

Since I am directionally challenged.

Perhaps that’s what I will do.

The opposite of everything my head tells me to do.

That could be interesting.



Soft, Sweet, Wet Kisses

May 9, 2014

For me.

All for me.

Drenched with them.

Saturated with them.

Slowed down with lush.

Face full of mist, warm, enveloping, deft, dewy, succulent.


I felt cocooned in the rain and mist and fog as I cycled, slowly, through the park.

I knew about one-third through the Wiggle (San Francisco’s bicycle route to get around all those hills from the Church and Market area to the Haight and all points West) that I was not going to ride my bicycle in the weather down Lincoln Avenue.

Nor was I going to take Irving with the train running and the parking and the commuters who suddenly get weird when the weather changes on a dime, like it can here.

I was not suspecting rain at all today, no fender on my bicycle, no thought in my head of wet weather.

After the nap time extravaganza of two hours that my little girl Thursday took, however, I began to suspect something was up.

It got humid in the afternoon.

And heavy overcast, thick, dark clouds, the smell of rain just wafting through Alamo Square park presaging the mist and fog and light Spring rain that was to marshal me home.

So, yes to the park, yes to light to none existent for blocks, traffic.

Just me, the bicycle, the wet, which was not the kind of wet that drenches you quickly, but soaks you in a quiet, seductive way.

It was not overpowering or cold.

It sprinkled down about me in the way that reminded me of soft warm rain in the late Spring in Wisconsin or even early summer, the rich smells not being the heavy drowsy perfume of lilacs, but rather the pungent spice of eucalyptus, searing sweet jasmine, and succulent honeysuckle, wet grass, and then, as I turned down Chain of Lakes, the seminal smell of the ocean.

It is the kind of weather that I wished, for a moment, that I did have a lover to walk through the park with, hold hands with, and yes, find a canopy of mimosa to shelter under and kiss wet and dark and long.

Spring has indeed sprung.

And summer is coming.


I am going to experience it.

I am.

Not just the fog in the city.

But summer in California, in Bradley California, in just two weeks.

I am going to Lighting in a Bottle!

I got asked to go a couple of weeks ago but after just purchasing a ticket to fly back to Wisconsin I didn’t think I could swing it.

My friend shot me a text today, she’d gotten the weekend off, let me help subsidize your trip, will you please come?

How in the world can I say no to that?

A weekend with one of my best girlfriends, camping, a road trip–small one, Bradley’s only about three hours away from San Francisco–music, dancing under the stars, an opening salvo to the summer.

Oh my.

I had to say yes.

She bought the tickets and I am going.

My friend said I’ll sport you $100 off the ticket, take care of all the food, and get you there and back.

How could I say no?

I didn’t of course.

And of course, pride, ego, lack of humility, wanted to say, no really, that’s too much, but  I also know better than to look a gift in the mouth.

I said yes.

I am still going to give her $180 for my ticket (the ticket is $280–just a basic general admission ticket and we will be tent camping by the car) but that is a steal to see the line up, which is kookoo crazy good.


Beats Antique.

Amon Tobin.

Kraak and Smaak.

Claude Von Stroke.

And a whole lot more.

Plus, camping, yoga, art, pretty festival people, DANCING, dancing, dancing, and yes, more dancing.

I have not gotten my butt to Coachella yet, maybe next year, but I am going to this.

It’s a nice, sweet, unexpected surprise.

I feel that there is more of that to come.

Scooter riding as a part of that surprise.

Glad again to not be on my scooter today, riding in the rain is one thing on my bicycle, I have 8 plus years of riding around this city in the rain on my bike and zero days of being on the scooter in the wet, I have no idea how it will respond and am not yet prepared to ride it and find out.

That being said, fingers crossed, I will be able to venture forth tomorrow to work at 19th and Noe, ie all places hilly, as I got it started, the scooter, last night.

My friend came over and I wheeled it out, showed him what I was doing, then stepped back while he asked, “have you been priming it before starting it?”





Turns out, I probably was, accidentally, but not with real intent, that is giving the throttle a little gas to go through the system and get some fuel to the engine.


Well, now I know.

My friend stepped up, gave the throttle a little twist, stepped on the kickstart, and kicked it over on the first try.


I knew it was me and not the scooter.


I will give myself a little time to make sure I can replicate it all tomorrow, although, I feel quite certain I will be able to start it, I still want to make sure.

Because I don’t want to repeat the manic bicycle ride that I endured on Monday tomorrow.

I would rather go, sweet, soft, slow, and mellow, zooming up and over the hills on the Vespa.

I shall see what the morrow brings.

Nothing to worry myself with tonight.

Just the enjoyment of knowing that in two weeks from tomorrow I will be heading out and having a new adventure, seeing something new, having new experiences, and hanging out with one of my best girls.


I think this may be my best one yet.

I am ready for it.

The warm soft rainy mist bestowing its kisses upon me has primed my engine.

I am ready to kick it off.



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