Posts Tagged ‘outdoors’

Sunday Slow Down

September 23, 2013

I might as well call it “Sunday Full on Stop.”

What the hell has happened to me?

Where has all my get up and go gone to?

I think it took a nap.

Well, I took a nap anyhow.

Sunday in the Sunset.

A walk on the beach as the fog was clearing.

Clearing Fog

Fog Clearing

fog filter

Fog Filter

 

 

 

 

 

I will say that the walks have been lovely and a great excuse to get my camera out and for me to get out and see what there is to be seen in my new neighborhood.

The beach was quite pretty with the lifting fog pushing up and inland.  I walked a path toward the middle where the sunshine was beaming through and the water sparkled with it.

Froth

Froth

I could not restrain myself and I walked again in the tide.

The water is cold but for whatever reason when I am down there I am drawn toward the surf and I want to have my feet in it.

I am not sure I can imagine the rest of my body in it, it is startlingly cold.

When I was on swim team in high school we kept it, the temperature of the pool, around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Occasionally it was warmer around 72 degrees.

And never less than 68 degrees.

You could, or I could anyhow, really tell the difference in the temperature.

To this day I do not enjoy swimming in pools that are warmer than 72 degrees.

It feels off-putting and sweaty.

Yes, you do sweat when you swim hard.

And if the pool is warm, its gross.

Yet, I have not done cold water swimming and I would guess that the water I was wading through this afternoon was around 55 degrees.

That is considerably colder than I have swum in before.

I could do it with a wet suit, I think.

All to come I am sure.

I don’t see living down by the beach without getting into the waves at some point.

I have heard a lot of disparaging things about surfing at Ocean Beach.

That water is too cold.

There are sharks.

The undertow is fierce.

But I see people doing it.

Not a lot of people, granted, but they are out there doing it.

I am sure I will want to find out how to do it as well.

For the time being I am, however, more than happy to just get my toes wet in the surf and inhale sharply with exquisite surprise when the cold water slaps at my feet and the suck of the tide going out pools at my ankles.

It is an intense moment.

One smack dab in the present and no escaping it.

I walked the shore line for a while, then popped up to Lincoln Avenue and Great Highway and took in the windmill from the beach.

It, the windmill, is an institution.

A landmark.

A distinct way to mark the city parameters and a tool that I have used for direction on more than one occasion.

Yet, I have never seen it up close.

Never.

I moved to San Francisco in 2002, Labor Day weekend, and there are still things and places that I have not seen in this lovely city.

I was not going to go.

I thought, whatever, I live here now, I will surely see it at some point.

But then I thought, wait, I am here, I have nothing else planned for the day and why not, it’s just across the road.

Go.

Go I did.

It was not an overwhelming piece of architecture.

But it was cool to see it up close and to walk around it and to wonder what was it there for and was it ever open to be explored inside.  The grounds led me to no distinct conclusions, no signs, except the cement stencilled with Samuel Murphy Windmill est. 1905 over the door leading into the base of the mill.

Windmill

Windmill

You can check out more photographs of the windmill on my other blog devoted to photography: http://www.whereintheworldisauntiebubba.wordpress.com

I thought, as I was taking the photographs there are lots of places that I have not been to or seen in San Francisco.

Perhaps I should treat this great city like I treated going to Paris, going to as many of the sights and museums and parks as I can.

I am close to Sutro Baths, never checked them out, certainly something I could do in the next weekend or two.

I think I will be doing lots of exploring of the beach.

I am sinking into the relaxed way of being out here.

The afternoon lazed away after my walk into a late lunch on the patio in the sunshine with my library book.

Day two of sitting and reading a book!

In fact, I was so relaxed and warm and zoned out from sitting in the sun I actually came into the studio, and like a cat, curled up in the sunny spot at the base of my bed and fell into a light nap in the late afternoon sunshine.

One of my favorite things to do, sleep in a patch of sunshine.

Not something I have done in a while.

I fell asleep with his kiss on my mouth in memory and a smile on my face and a wish for a quick week, he’s busy working and I have a full nanny schedule, until I will get to see him again.

Waking up after a quick snooze I had another luscious meal on the patio.

Then a bike ride through the neighborhood at dusk and some time to get more invested in the community of my fellows out here in the Sunset.

I am quite liking this slow down, despite my protestations to the different, this new way of moving quietly through the world.

I like that I wore flip-flops almost all day long and got sand in my toes and sun on my face.

Sundays are supposed to be a day for rest anyhow.

Grateful to be in a place where I will allow myself to do just that.

 

 

 

The Rainbow Connection

August 22, 2013

I should just start calling these the day after blogs.

The weather was big time again yesterday.

Dust storm white out.

Lighting.

Thunder.

Three different systems that moved in and out and flew across the playa, kicking up high winds, hail, rain, and yes, of course, dust.

The squalls blew in quickly, winds up to 42 miles an hour and then blew back out.

I was fortunate to have gotten in a quick shower before the last of the storms blew in.

Just as I was leaving the shower area another started.

I tell you, it’s nice to work for people who have a direct line on what the weather is going to be like.  It is unpredictable, but there are, oops!

Interject, someone’s shade structure just blew over and smacked into the trailer.

Damn, Gina, stake that shit down.

This wind is not fucking around.

Thursday is supposedly the last of the “bad” weather.

Although, again, it can turn on a dime and I have seen it do just that.

I was able to duck out from the trailer in between the storm systems and grab a few shots of the double rainbow that appeared right at sunset as the setting red-gold orb sank below the mountains, a few God rays peeped through and sprayed a beautiful rainbow across the desert.

The hooting was heard all across the playa.

Rainbow

Rainbow

The photograph does no justice to the beauty of the sky, but it was the best one I was able to cull from the bunch I took.

I have been taking on average about 75-100 photos a day.

I have been editing them down and I get about 10-15 that I like and of all the photographs I have taken, I have gotten about five really good shots.

That is not bad.

I used to think those were horrid odds.

However, I feel grateful to get any.

And grateful that my camera still works.

One trip to Paris five years ago for ten days sparked buying the camera and it was the best purchase.  Thank God, too, for digital photography.  I don’t think I could afford the film I would be going through if I didn’t have the camera I have now.

I have not had much of a chance to get out and about during the day, morning or afternoons, I have been with the baby.

He’s doing fairly well, but there are times when the melt down happens, and he’s cutting molars.

Ah.

Teething.

NO fun at all.

Again, grateful that the parents work for the Borg (Burning Man Organization).

They have a trailer with air conditioning and a fridge with a freezer that actually works.

I have been cutting up fruit for the peanut every day and sticking it in the freezer for him to gnaw on when the molars get bad, he’s had his little paws in his mouth a lot the last few days.

Working on keeping those clean too.

Lots of baby spa time.

Lots.

He’s the envy of the playa, is what I think.

A buxom woman taking care of his every need, hauling him around in a snugly or in the covered wagon, standing in front the swamp cooler at the commissary (it is the largest one I have ever seen, the fan is easily five foot by six-foot), drinking cold bubbly water from fancy sippy cups, eating frozen fruit, getting foot rubs with vitamin e oil, and lots and lots and lots of cooling cream on the bum.

Not a bad way to spend your Burning Man.

Plus, everyone wants to say hi to him and pinch his little cheeks and coo at him.

The family has taken to eating on the less populated side of the commissary, away from the entrance and the main aisle that leads to the food line, as the constant attention–male and female–is distracting to the bunny at meal times.

We go “en famille” every day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It is nice to feel part of a unit and I really like the parents more and more and more.

Not only for the unstinting way they take care of their child, but also in the way that have accommodated me into their family.

I do feel like I am family.

That is how I like to roll.

Plus, I get to see more of my extended family every day.

Mostly in the commissary, where the meals are sit down and every one chatters about their day and what they are doing, where they are camped, what art project they are working on, what jackassery is in the making, and who is batting eyes at whom.

Speaking of art, I got the Where/What/When map today and I am excited for a day to go out and start seeing more of it.

Not Thursday, though.

It is mom and dad’s ten-year anniversary!

They met ten years ago on a Ranger shift.

So romantic.

I think there may be a moon lit golf cart ride out to deep playa with a bottle of champagne.

I am going to be staying back at the camp to keep an eye on the baby.

I will make a cup of tea and write down what I did during the day and fingers crossed, there won’t be anymore storm systems.

The weather clears after Thursday.

It should be hot and clear for the event.

I am sure there will even be a moment when I miss the rain.

The sound of it on the roof of the trailer and the feel of it on my face, the cool ozone smell that drifts across the playa is delicious.

Tonigh the storm brought the first chilly evening I have experienced out here.

And the smells of the first burn barrels being lit up.

Wood smoke.

My favorite smell.

So good.

So happy to be here.

Home is where the heart is.

And mine, albeit normally on my sleeve, is right here.

Right now.

 

Acclimating

August 19, 2013

I have a slight headache tonight, which is not unusual, getting adjusted to the altitude change, the dust, the heat.

And the heat was powerful today.

I mean baking hot.

I don’t know if it was just that it was my first full day on playa, but man, it was a scorcher.

The playa is not as empty as a person would think one week before the event is up and going.  There are art installations going in, the man base is being built–it reminds me of a space ship landing, or a UFO, something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind–I am excited to see the finished project, it is going to be something else.

The Temple is pretty far along and the artist that did Bliss Dance a few years back has a new piece of playa that is stunning and I was able to go take a few photo after sunset.

I wanted to catch the sunset sky, but I just wasn’t able to get going fast enough to do it.

I did go out on my inaugural bike ride this evening after sunset and it was glorious.

 

Still quite warm out there, surprisingly so.

There was rain off in the distance this evening and lightning, but there does not appear to be any more threat of rain for the rest of the week.

Of course, this is the playa, and it could change on a dime, so don’t quote me, ok, when it down pours on your first day out and you didn’t bring the ‘brolly because I said so.

Bring a ‘brolly anyhow, the sun is brutal.

Heck, I used mine today just to walk over to the port-a-potties, and that was less than five hundred yards.

Shit, I even took a nap today.

I was not planning on it, I just got walloped by the heat.

So I did what you’re supposed to do when it is untenable outside, I laid down in the shade and closed my eyes.

I did not drift off right away, but I did eventually.

The Bambi does not have A/C, just the swamp cooler, which did eventually cool down the space a little, but not until after I had had my nap, it could stand to still cool down, the night is still really warm out there, and lots of wind, but fortunately, no dust.

There aren’t enough folks out here yet to create much of a stir, but they are coming, oh yes they are.

I noticed a distinct change in the up tick in people here just from last night.

I have gotten to see more friends, and tonight I was aboard the Narwhal with my friend Megawatt, it was her birthday, and I gifted her a hand massage and we caught up.

Last I saw her I was on my way to Paris for the rest of my life, forever, and ever, amen.

And now, well, now I am not.

Today’s first day of nannying went well.

My little charge is getting used to being out here, and all the girl attention he is getting, he is such a little flirt!  My gosh, I have had ladies of all ages come over and coo and pinch his cheeks, I am not kidding, he has had his little cheeks pinched a great deal.

We went on a morning constitutional after breakfast and met some of the folks in the neighborhood.

We swung through where the Rangers were hanging and met some friendly folks at medical.

One of whom happened to also be a nanny and she was absolutely astounded that I was out here working as one.

“Girl, you are amazing me, I come out here to get away from my job, you do it out here?” The look of incredulity on her face.

Yup, I do it out here.

We did pretty well, I think.

He is tired faster and hotter quicker, but he loves the little spray mister bottle and make the most soul satisfying “ahhhhh” sound when he gets misted down.

We also had baby spa time after the second nap of the day.

And, yup, it happened.

Frogs.

I fell in love.

I mean, damn it.

I mean, yippee.

I mean.

Sigh.

It happened at his first nap and probably has a lot to do with the fact that I have spent a great deal of time with him these last few days, the scent of him has been flamed into my heart.

We came back after breakfast and he was already pretty punked out, getting to playa, getting settled, sleeping in a new space, he was ready for his first nap of the day far earlier than normal.

I picked him up and read him Where the Wild Things Are and then he laid his head down on my shoulder and I sang him my little lullaby that I sing all my babies when they are going down and I inhaled and it just hit me, I love him!

Like, in love.

Oof.

It whomped me.

It was like the brick in a velvet glove.

Very unexpected.

I held him and he spread his fingers over the butterflies on my left clavicle and he sighed deep and fell asleep.  I slid him down into the pack and play and he woke up and stood up and look at me with the deepest, wettest, bluest eyes, rimmed with these huge dark lashes and I thought I was going to keel over.

I repeated the whole process, taking him out, rocking him back to sleep and settling him back down.  But once in the bed, I just kept my hand on his back humming my little song and he stayed down.

I sat down and wrote my three morning pages and marvelled that I was here, at the event, doing the nanny.

And now, the jazz is on my player, a little Coleman Hawkins, and I am going to have a slug of sparkling water and sit on the front “lawn” with the mom and one of her team and watch the stars float over the heavens.

 

Getting Settled In*

August 19, 2013

I am here at the burning thing.

In that place, where the people they come to experience the immediate moment.

Right now.

The right now of right now.

And to see family.

Friends,  people who you have a connection with that you never see in the “real world.”

Or as we like to say, the default world.

It’s like catching up with friends on the front porch, but the porch is the playa and your friends are all dancing around in their underwear and furry hats.

It’s like the best sleep over party ever.

And it lasts a week.

I saw lots of faces I love already, and I have only been here about seven hours.

I have made one trip to the commissary for dinner, which is where much of the reunion happened.

“Honey, sit down and eat your food,” Marcy, scolded me.

She and her partner Richard work with the water trucks that sprinkle the playa roads with water (non-potable water people, do not do that nasty ass thing of running behind the water truck using it for a shower, it is NOT clean, go find a sparkle pony to wipe you down with baby wipes, or better yet, hit the Cabelas on the way into Reno and buy a solar shower bag).

I laughed, “I know, it’s just that I haven’t seen so many of these people in so long,.”

Like a year.

Time folds when you are out here and all burns become this burn and you have a kind of shared history, a shared learning curve.

“Oh God, what else do I need to bring, I don’t have any outfits,” my dear friend from Paris said to me over the phone.  “What do I wear?

“Honey, you were what makes you happy,” I said laughing into the phone.  “What that looks like for me is pink tights and crinolines, makeup and push up bras and flowers in my hair and glitter.”

“I don’t have any glitter,” he said, “or sequins, or costumes.”

Neither did I my first year, I just came with what I had in my closet.

Hell, I still basically do that same thing, I just bring what’s in the closet and more socks—polka dot socks, argyle socks, lace socks, socks with hearts, striped socks.

“Boo, you wear whatever makes you feel good,” I added,  “if soft fuzzy things feel good, wear them, if nothing feels good, go naked, if you like to have tons of pockets, get a utility kilt,” I concluded with the important stuff though.

“All you really need is water, food, sunblock, and I like to have sunglasses and a hat,”  I said and smiled thinking of the hats I have this year.

Eventually what happens, even if you just get one or two little things each year, is that you build up a stock of things that make you happy and you discover what it is that you need to bring to the burn.

Or who you bring to the burn.

I wish to bring my best self, to bring my happiest self, to gift and to say thank you for the art, for the joy, for the story telling.  I find a lot of story telling happens at Burning. Man.

“You should have seen it,” he said, “it was awesome, we are way out deep playa and I have nothing to wear and she just pulls this Hello Kitty shirt out of nowhere and I put it on, it’s too small, it’s like a half shirt, and I’m in tidy whities, and I don’t know how it suddenly is the next day and I’m supposed to be in Reno picking up someone’s mom at the airport and I’m meeting her at the gate in my Hello Kitty half t-shirt with my big belly and my underpants and some slip on loafers.”

That is a story worth repeating.

And I could imagine the look on Gladys’s face when she met her ride back to the event, but I bet once she was here, she got it.

I can write about Burning Man all night long and I don’t know that I will capture the ethos of it completely.

And of course I write from my own perspective and experience.

Of which I am having a surreal and different one.

One in which I find myself working a great deal more than I thought I would be, one in which I had to take a really deep breath and do some writing about this morning in my room at the Grand Sierra (who’s gift shop lured me in with its fuzzy dice.  I had to pick up a pair for my playa cruiser) and say, please, Universe, help me ask for what I need.

And half the time I don’t know what I need, so this was going to be a big step for me.

But I did it.

We made a pit stop at the Whole Foods in Reno, which FYI, might be the best Whole Foods ever, to get the last of the supplies necessary for the event, and I renegotiated my ask walking through the parking lot.

And they said yes.

And my day went from being a bit anxiety filled to bright and sunny and over the top.

I just had to ask for what I needed.

Granted, I will be working a great deal more than I expected, that being said, I also am going to get breaks and both the parents made it very clear that they do not want to burn me out.

I am grateful to that, grateful for them, this new experience as a nanny on playa.

“Oh!” He said to me, “you’re Carmen, the nanny, I’ve heard all about you.”

Nice to know my name is synonymous with being a good playa nanny.

I can get behind that.

And so, I must to wrap up this piece, as I must be up in seven hours to start the real work of the job.

I am going to do my absolute best to post every night,  who knows what may happen out here, though, the magic of it all is unfolding and I want to be as present as possible to it.

Night all.

See you at sunrise.

Black Rock City.

Home.

*Written 8/17/2013  today’s blog soon to follow, just hold on.

 

Bambino!

August 10, 2013

I got my first look at my three-week residency today–the Bambi Airstream!  Beneath whose roof I shall shelter for the duration of Burning Man.

Oh my she is cute.

Or he, I guess, Bambi was a boy wasn’t he?

And the licence plate on the Bambi says, “And Bean.”

Which also sounds like a boy, the mom and dad have a cute sense of humour and their car is called Franks.

Franks and Bean.

Yup.

Oh my god she is cute.

Yup.

Back to that.

Bambi

Bambi

Bambi

Bambi Airstream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interior was quite delightful too.

However, I did not really get any good snapshots of it.

I will say this much, it is perfect.

There’s a little tiny kitchenette with a fridge!  My goodness, I had not even thought about that, having a fridge.  I will be able to stock it with some sparkly bubble water.

That is my luxury.

That and glitter and tights.

And hair flowers.

Ok, I digress.

I got a fridge!

And despite there not being an A/C, who needs A/C when I have walls? There is what is called a “swamp cooler” which will circulate moist air throughout the cabin.

Nice.

I remember my step-father setting one up in the house in Windsor when I was fifteen or sixteen, it was a really bad hot summer and the man was too cheap to get air conditioning for the house.

It worked, though, if I recall correctly.

Having that will be a boon in the trailer.

There’s a tiny water closet, which I will not use, I don’t want to pay for truck service to the trailer, there’s no need for it, I can be quite content to use the port-a-potties at the event, I already have a stash of toilet paper in my bins.

Speaking of bins, I believe I have my stuffs issues worked out.

I texted my mom in Tahoe, the family comes back this weekend, to see what hours she needs for next week and I got a full week!  And she iterated that I may use their car to “schlepp” my stuff.

This is fantastic.

REALLY fantastic.

I mean, yeah, I will be busy, but I have so much done (don’t have a lot to take!) that I don’t mind working a full week.  I will have one charge on Monday, three on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and Thursday, and then off to the city to take care of the playa monkey Friday so his folks can pack it all up and off we go.

Yeah, that’s one week from today.

Seeing that trailer sitting out in front of the house, I nanny’ed in Cole Valley today so the family could do some prep work, really brought it home that I was going.  And it really accentuated how well I am being taken care of.

I feel totes spoiled.

I will bust my ass, no doubt, and being able to pop in and out of the Bambi will make it so much easier.

Mom and dad and baby will stay in a work trailer and we will all be camped out next to each other.  What with being able to shut the door, pull the shades, and pop out the awning, I should be fine for privacy.

The Bambi also has a little kitchen nook with a table and two blue and white striped upholstery benches and then in the back there is a little sleeping nook, not big, but cozy and perfect for me, and maybe a very quiet guest.

Ahem.

I will probably keep shenanigans out of camp.

If there be shenanigans to be had.

It is just so perfect I wanted to pinch myself.

Is this really happening?

A small insider thought for you.

Last year I said I would be back, I did not know how, I mean I was planning on staying the rest of my life in Paris, or something like that, but I said to myself, have been saying to myself, next year I really want to go to Burning Man and stay in a Bambi Airstream.

And voila!

The Universe heard.

Of course, the answer was not quite what I expected, I did not know the parents had a Bambi, I also had hoped when I had the thought that I would be the owner of said Bambi and not just its occupant.

But who cares!?

Right?

I mean, I get to go.

I get to go and be of service.

I get to go and have a bike and a Bambi to sleep in and write in, a table to pen my morning pages at, a place to write my blog in the evening, a place to hang my clothes.

The Bambi has a closet too!

I feel so lucky.

To have work today, tomorrow.

A day off on Sunday to gird my loins, then off into the fray.

Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday in North Oakland.

Tuesday and Friday in Cole Valley.

Friday night in Reno.

Saturday in Black Rock City.

Home.

Ah.

Gave myself goosebumps.

“Do you even like it?” She said when I told her about the event and how I got to be a nanny out there what that entails, the work needed, the prep, the balancing act of self-care to nanny duties.

“Oh yeah, I totally do, I mean, yes, it’s hard, and difficult, and fucking dusty and (oh holy hell, it might be raining, there have been rainstorms up there and standing water–my boss today asked if I had rubber rain boots. Nope) and sometimes I wonder what am I doing here and why did I come….”

She raises an eyebrow.

“Then the magic hour happens, the golden hour at sunset, or the moon rises over the Calicoes, and the art, oh the art!  And the fire, jesus, the fire art is beyond belief. Or some drift of music snags at your heart and you find yourself dancing with no one to watch you but the high sky and the clouds and you are so in the moment it hurts in that awful way that you don’t want to ever stop.”

“Yeah, I like it,” I said and smiled.

I lied.

I love it.

But you already knew that, didn’t you?

 


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