Posts Tagged ‘playa bike’

All The Pretty Bicycles

August 5, 2017

I got another donation today for the ALC!

Aids LifeCycle that is.

I’m registered to do the ride next June, just scant weeks after I graduate with my Masters degree in Psychology.

That’s going to be one hell of a month, let me tell you.

I suspect though, that the riding and training are going to be just exactly what I need to not be too focused on school, graduation, my internship, all of that.

The exercise will be good for me.

Aside from fine tuning my legs and ass.

I miss by bicycle commuter legs and derrier, let me tell you.

Yoga is nice and I’m totally loving my increased flexibility, but my bicycle behind has gone the way of my one speed parked in my garage since I started doing all my commuting on my scooter.


It fucking rained this morning!

I heard it and registered it while I was sitting and wrapping up my morning writing.

I remember thinking, “that’s weird, it sounds like it’s raining.”

But I didn’t really think it was raining.

It was raining.

I got to ride my scooter to work in the wet and I was not anticipating that this morning.

It ended up being fine and the rain ceased a bit when I got to the Inner Sunset and Laguna Honda was dry, it did rain a little bit in Glen Park, but it passed by the time I was done with work.

Thank God.

I don’t like riding when it’s wet.

I didn’t like it on my bicycle.

I don’t like it on my scooter.

I can do it on either, although I have not tried riding my one speed to my job in Glen Park.

I could.

But man.

It would be a haul.

I would have to avoid the hills, I couldn’t make it up the big hills.

I would have to go around.

Making the 6.6 mile commute to work about 8.5 miles.

This means heading all the way up Lincoln, cut through the Pan Handle, take the Wiggle, hit 17th to Valencia, Valencia to 30th and Church and I would still have to climb Chenery to Fairmount.

It would likely take me 50 minutes on my bicycle.

On my once speed, on a road bike I bet I could winnow it down to 45 minutes.

I can scooter it in 20 minutes and I am not sweaty when I get to work.

If I had a geared road bicycle, which is what I will have soon, I thought I was going to buy one while I was on break from the family, but stuff just kept coming up and the press for the bike was never very heavy on me.

Now that I have two donations under my belt and I am starting to get emails from my ALC representative I’m starting to feel itchy for a road bike.

It’s been seven years since I had my road bike.

It was a Felt 45, 56 cm.

I got it for $500 from a rider on the tour who had upgraded to a nicer ride, he totally gave it to me for such a deal.  Here is the most recent version of the bike that I had on the ride in 2010. Only about $2900. No sweat.


The Felt was great, sturdy, I was able to do all my training rides on it, but it didn’t have the top granny gear, which I want this go around my knees are ten years older, and there were a couple of hills on the ride when I did it in 2010 that I had to stop on and rest.

I didn’t walk a single foot.

I didn’t push my bike.

I never took the sweep vehicle for a ride to the next rest stop.

Although one time the van passed me and the driver told me that she almost pulled me out, I was in an active bonk.

A bonk is what happens when you’re on a long ride and you haven’t eaten enough to fuel the ride, it generally happens on long rides.

I remember well that it was a long training ride that day, I was some where out past the Nicasio Reservoir on my way to Pt. Reyes, it was a century ride I’m pretty sure (100 mile ride) I think, I don’t recall exactly and I was very much looking forward to stopping and eating and my brain was loopy and I was slow and I couldn’t figure out why it was taking me such a long time to climb the hill I was on.

I was totally bonked.

I got off my bike and just about fell over.

My friend saw me and ran inside the deli and got me a loaded baked potato.

I literally was sitting on a parking lot cement curb marker in the middle of some supermarket parking lot in Point Reyes with sweat and tears running down my face eating a hot potato so fast I can still feel what it felt like falling down into my tummy and when the food hit I got high.

I am not joking.

I bonked once on the ride to L.A.


Thank God for my mentor and riding partner, he saw it happening.

I had agreed to run a meeting on the beach and instead of going to dinner had hustled down to do the hour on the beach at sunset and I am super glad I did, it was glorious, but then standing in line for dinner I began to faint, like weaving on my feet as I stood there waiting for my turn to queue up to the steam tables.

And the line was long.

My friend saw another friend and hustled me over to her and told me to stick my head between my knees he’d be right back.

He came back with two pints of milk.

“Drink this now!”

I didn’t argue, just sucked down the milk, the effect was electric.

I almost threw up, then the milk sugars roared through my blood.

While I was getting re-calibrated my friend hopped back into the dinner line and brought me back a tray which was basically a pile of mashed potatoes.

“I can’t eat this for dinner!” I exclaimed.

“You will eat all of that and then you can have some protein, you have zero blood sugar, you got to get it back up or you’re going to the med tent.”

He was quite right.


I had a lot of adventures and misadventures.

The four flat tires and getting stung by a wasp on a training ride to Petaluma and back.

Now that’s a story.

For another blog.

The point is.

It’s time for me to get the road bike.

I might wait until after Burning Man.

I might not.

If I end up having to do the rental car, which is what it’s looking like, I may eschew the cost of getting a playa bike, as I’ll have to get a bike rack and that’s another couple hundred and I don’t know, I’m thinking maybe I just fucking walk the event like I did my first year.

The road bike has to be and I will invest in a good one.

I have done a little research and I’m getting it narrowed down.



It’s time.

I can feel it in my bones.

Time I got my bicycle on again.

Thank you so much to my two donors!

You rock.

And if you want to donate.

Just click here.

I’ll update you as things move along.

Be assured.

You’ll probably get hella tired of reading about my bicycle adventures.


They’ll be fun.

I promise.



July 21, 2017

I have started gathering the things.

All the things.

All the things that will get dusty.


I was once again reminded by a friend yesterday that Burning Man is coming.

Holy shit Batman.

I have had a lot of other things on my mind.

None of them dusty.

My friend asked me over an iced coffee at Java Beach yesterday in the early evening whether I was done packing for Burning Man.



I haven’t even started.

Then again.

It’s a no brainer at this point.

This being my 11th burn in a row.


Where does the time go?


It goes though, it really does, and knowing that I realized I did sort of have to get on the stick and get some things ordered.

Love me a little Amazon for that.

I got a new camp shower.

I left mine on playa last year.

It was brand new and full of water and ready and waiting for me to use it in the camps communal shower.




Major white out dust storm totally negated doing that.

And by the time it was over.

Well, it was nightfall and no fucking way do I ever want to take a shower in the desert at night.

Way too cold, I mean, no.


I left the bag thinking, I’ll grab it tomorrow, and I didn’t, it just hung out by the showers, and I totally forgot it.  It was a short trip for me, my shortest to date at 4 days, and I actually, yes, for the first time in my history of going to the event, did not shower once the entire time I was there.

I made up for that a lot when I got home.



So I ordered a new camping solar shower bag.

I also got some more solar lights, I have some, but it’s always nice to have a few more and I feel like I was a little too dim at times last year.

I will be in a tent again.

Unless some fairy godmother has a trailer hiding up their sleeve.

I don’t mind the tent, it’s a big guy, four-man, and it’s one of the ones that you can completely set up yourself, it took me ten minutes to do it my first time opening it out of the package.

Super freaking easy.

It also fit, quite well, my queen size blow up mattress.

I’m a whore for a nice comfy sleep space.

I have sheets for the mattress, a quilt, pillows, fuzzy throw blankets.

Aside from the fact that sleep is super important out there, the temperature at night can drop drastically and I have been in some super serious cold sleeping conditions.  I prefer to be over prepared with a nice cozy bed than not.

I decided it was time to upgrade my bins and splurged and bought a new four box set.

My bins are ok, but they’re super old and they don’t seal as well as they used to.

I just said fuck it and added them into the Amazon cart.

I am sure I will be quite happy I did so.

I also ordered a new rug.


I will be taking a rug to the event.

But not the one I ordered.

I’ll be taking the rug in my kitchen.

It’s gotten a bit thread bare and I wanted to replace it, so I ordered one-off Amazon and I will use the old one at the event.

It’s super nice to keep the dust down inside the tent if you have a little bit of flooring material.  So instead of throwing out the old rug, I’ll use it for my tent and be quite happy I have it.

I also ordered a new cooler.

I have one, but it only stores about four days worth of food.

I will be there this year for a full week.

A cooler never used to be a big deal since I was always working with some team or other or being a nanny, my food and water and ice were always taken care of.

Last year was the first year I had a cooler with me.


I upgraded to a bigger one and one that has a long handle and wheels.


What else did I get?

My mind is drawing a blank.



A couple of 24oz Mason jar drinking mugs with handles and screw top lids.

Super nice for having my iced cold brew coffee.

I ordered so much cold brew coffee concentrate last year, yes, that’s how I roll, fuck the bullshit, just get the concentrate, I might as well have shot it up, a couple of times I wasn’t really thinking about it being concentrate and just poured it out like it was, well, not water, but regular coffee.

I was a little zipped up.



I like the mugs, the screw lid keeps the dust out and they travel nice and I keep one for my coffee, iced, always, and the other for various forms of fizzy water.

I do love me some bubbly water.

I think that was about it.

I still have to source a bicycle, so I didn’t get bike lights, having lost my faithful steed last year, I also lost all the lights I had on it, wheel lights, basket lights, etc, etc.

But until I know the kind of bike I’m getting I will hold off on getting all the bright and blinky.

Although, not for too long.

The days they do fly by.

I still haven’t gotten a ride there and back yet, although I have updated my post on the ride share board, nothing so far, a couple of nibbles but nothing that was a good fit for my situation.

Keep your ears peeled.

This is when I wish my blog wasn’t dark, that I still was putting it up on social media, I usually get all sorts of offers in regards to Burning Man stuff when folks read my blog.

Ah well.

So it goes.

My clients don’t seem to know that I am out here blogging away.

I also took the time off officially from my internship just a little bit ago when I got home from seeing my clients.

It’s official.

Off from work.

Off from internship.

Supplies slowly coming together.

It will come together it always does.

Usually in some odd ball, goofy, yes, totally Burning Man way.

“Man I love Burning Man!” My friend said last night as we were wrapping up coffee and heading out to do the deal.

“You don’t even go!” I exclaimed.

“Nope, never been, don’t want to go, but fuck, I love it when the city empties out, it’s so nice to have parking in the Mission for a week!” He said with a chuckle.

Fingers crossed one of those cars will have me in it heading to the event.

Fingers crossed people.



July 15, 2017

Having a Friday off.

It didn’t feel like a Friday.

My mind was confused and wobbly.

My phone has been working oddly, text not ringing through, missed phone calls.

Sleeping in.

I mean.

For me.

Really sleeping in.

Although I awoke, as per usual in the early morning the sun light muffled and opalescent in the fog which reflects back this brightness that is at once soft and dull and too bright to sleep.

I got up and used the bathroom and crawled back into bed.

I looked at my phone.

Too early.

I have hours, literally hours before I need to be awake.

I lay for a while running through my day.


Stop it brain.

Let it go.

Don’t make all your plans right now.

You don’t need to be anywhere but back asleep.

There was a moment when I almost just got up.


Miraculous miracle.

I feel back asleep.

And I slept for another hour and 45 minutes!

I was shocked.

I hopped out of bed and took a super hot shower.

I pulled up my hair.

No need to wash it when I am going to be getting it done, I mean, that would be ridiculous.

And I did get it done.

I am very happy with it, even though the blow out doesn’t suit my true self, it’s just a little too polished, a little too sleek and slippery, not my real curly textured hair.


I always get the blow out.

It feels so luxurious to have someone spend that much time on my hair, the gentle heat and the round brush and I just close my eyes and drift off.

My colorist did a beautiful job on my hair and no more blond highlights, all back to a nice dark chocolate-brown.

Of course my natural color is not quite as dark as she took it, but the color fades after a wash or two and then my softer highlights begin to show through.



The grays too.

They are there, springing up at my temples, in the part on my head, streaks of silver.

At lest they are silver and not grey.

They are pretty little glints in my hair, and really, I have nothing to complain about.

I mean.

I am 44 after all.

It is pretty standard for women to be greying far earlier than 44.

I have good genetics but nature does march on and I have noticed them more in my hair and I am not upset by them, just curious to see how they come in.

Almost as I am with the fine web of lines around my eyes that I see more and more when I smile.

“You are such a friendly person,” the mom I work for said to me yesterday.

We were talking about how security is at airports and how she’s been stopped and what it was like and how I have been stopped and what that was like and that it will tend to happen more for me if I am showing a lot of tattoos.

I told her I forget often times that I have tattoos, even when I am currently thinking of getting another on my right forearm and having the one on my left forearm, the one I got in Paris, touched up (as it will be difficult to take time out of my schedule and hop a plane and go back to Paris to get it touched up), that I will not realize until someone says something or stares.

“You have such a big smile,” she continued, “no one notices the tattoos so much as the smile.”

Such a nice thing to hear.

And from an employer.

I am grateful, so grateful for my employer.

I am also grateful to have some time off.

I’ll be doing a few more yoga classes during the week days.

I will find my playa bike for Burning Man.

I won’t be mail ordering it, haha, not after the last one got stolen.

I will probably also source my Aids LifeCycle bicycle, I have a couple of leads and am going to be pursuing checking them out.

I will be hitting the Imperial Day Spa with a girlfriend tomorrow after my internship, she’s been sick and asked for some hang out time and suggested the spa for an afternoon of detoxing with a good hard sweat and some cold plunge action.

Of course I said yes.

I’ll be going to my internship tomorrow, as per usual and doing laundry at the laundry mat, the washer hasn’t been replaced yet here at the house.

And I’ll go to my 7p.m. commitment on Divisadero.

It’s a good day.

Sunday will be similar to most of my Sundays–yoga, self-care, grocery shopping, meeting with a lady and doing the deal, going to a church somewhere and sitting in a folding chair, cooking some food for the week, writing.

And it will be chill.

As I still have my supervisor meeting at 9a.m. at Fell and Gough on Monday morning.


Instead of going to work afterward like I typically do on a Monday.

I will be going to the MOMA with an old friend who I don’t get to see very often.

I ran into her a couple of weeks ago and we discussed getting together and we both love museums and I have a MOMA membership.

I love that  membership.

It is such a nice thing to do, go wander around and look at art, and to do it with a friend is so nice.

Especially one whom I used to see on a weekly basis and now don’t see for months at a time.

I’ve suggested a MOMA date to a lot of my friends as I slowly start mapping out the time that I have off.

I don’t know what the middle of the afternoon will look like as I still have my internship in the evening at 6:30p.m.

I am sure I will find something to do.

It is odd having the time off from work, like I said, being downtown today on a Friday, getting my hair done, I was all confused and distracted by the amount of business people out and the rushing here and there and the traffic, but it was so nice to sit still and be taken care of for a little while.

I’m going to leave it there.

It was such a lovely day off.

Divine really.

I am excited for more of such days.

And grateful for every moment of this one.

Every single moment.


June 23, 2017

And wide awake all at the same time.

There was a moment today when I just thought to myself, I am not going to make it through the day.

Not enough sleep.

Too many hours at work.

Client that needs to be seen after work.

Party for a friends studio opening.

And I was asked to come in earlier tomorrow to work.

I thought I was just going to pass out.

The little lady was close to taking a nap and I hazarded a distinct longing to put her down for a nap and cuddle with her and sneak in a nap myself.


No such luck.

I also didn’t want to super caffeinate.

Although I came daringly close I did not succumb to the temptation and powered through the day.

My thoughts kept me company and I kept myself moving around the house a lot and kept telling myself that it was almost Friday.

It still was a long day.

But I made it through work and I got to my internship and I had a really good second session with a new client.

Two clients this week and I’ll be adding another client next week.

Slowly it builds.

I felt really good doing the session and decided that I could rally afterward and go sneak over to my friend’s open house studio opening.

I really wanted to have a grown up moment that was a social, even if it was just for a little snick of time.

I hadn’t any dinner so I knew that it would be short-lived and watching the fog roll in over Twin Peaks I was pretty assured that it would be a quick visit.

But it was good and I got to see an amazing work space and reconnect with Burning Man friends and talk a little about the event and when folks are going.

I haven’t found a ride yet and there was a moment when I thought, fuck it, wouldn’t it be nice to not stress and give up the ticket and spend the time here in the city with people I love and then I was like.

Um, no.


Sure, there are people who I want to see here, but the fact is if I don’t go to Burning Man I’d just be working anyhow, it’s not like vacation, although it completely is, but it’s outside of my time frame of paid vacation and I wouldn’t just take the week off without going.


It’s the ten-year anniversary of my best friend’s death and he’s the reason why I went in the first place.

My heart, tender, feeling that loss, but not so achy as it’s been in the past, just tender, just there and I know there will be feelings that come up.

And there will be a conversation with him, somewhere in deep playa, out past the Temple where I am sure between the Temple and the mountain range my friend still resides, just a little part of him, I didn’t take all his ashes, but enough, enough to know he’s there and there are many places that I connect with the memory of him and also with the aliveness of him, the way I live my life a reflection of the gusto he went after life with.

I am sure he would be proud of me.



There are the tears.

I knew you were around.

I watched the fog roll in over the top of Twin Peaks from the deck of my friends studio in the Mission and it was the same height and approximate distance from the hospital ICU, General, where my friend spent a week in a coma before the family pulled the plug and harvested his organs for donation.

There is always one strong memory for me, pressing my face against that window, my fevered brow, the hotness of my heart, the tears always on and off, more so off when I was at the hospital–it was only in the privacy of my own room in the dark as I prayed to God on my knees to get me through the experience that I would allow myself to cry–the coolness of the window and the dark, heaviness of the fog rolling in over Twin Peaks.

A blanket of sorrow and felted love thrown over the entirety of the city as though we all grieved the loss of my friend.



I might be a little tired, but I’m not bailing on Burning Man.



I haven’t gotten a ride together yet, but that will happen and hopefully it won’t be as crazy as the ride up was last time.

I have gotten a couple of nibbles from my post on the ride share board, but nothing solid, it always comes together, I’m not too worried.

It’s more a matter, at this point, of getting a playa bike and finding time in between the comings and goings of my life to do some preparation.

I have people I am responsible to, my own recovery to attend to, and God damn it would be nice to get in a yoga class this weekend, but yeah,  a new playa bike and some sourcing of other items that are always nice to have and I’ll make some time, find some time, create some time, and do a little shopping when I can.

Side bar.

The mom just sent me a message about my work performance and told me that I really was “Mary Poppins sister!”

I’ll take it.

Anyway, this Mary Fucking Poppins, will be riding again under her parasol out on playa again this year and enjoying the hell out of not being a therapist in training, a student, or a nanny.

Just a girl.

Out on her bike.

Riding towards the painted calico mountains with secrets and love to share with an old friend.

“I finally was the ball, Shadrach, you’d be so fucking proud of me.”

The Man Burns

June 5, 2017

In 90 days!

Throwing up in my mouth.


Wait, I’ve been so super involved in my internship saga and supervision and training and ending my blog, and summer work schedule and shit, I just about peed my pants when I saw that posted on a facecrack group I belong to and really I was like, whatttttt?


It’s time to get my stuff together.

Yeah, yeah.

I know.

It’s three months away, but that’s the burn, the event starts a week before that and considering that I am in school the weekend that I will need to leave for the playa, I’m going to have to get my ducks together faster as I won’t have much prep time for the event the weekend that I leave.

I am going to have to start stockpiling beverages, and start food prepping, well, ok, maybe not quite yet, but it’s a good idea to start getting a few things together.


I have a tent, new last year, a nice 4-man that I did really well in.

I have a blow up mattress, a cooler, a chair, my bins.

Although I might invest in some new bins, the ones I have are easily seven or eight years old, I could stand a slight upgrade.

I may also pick up another cooler, not working event means not getting fed and means bringing all my food, I did pretty well last year, but the one cooler was only for four days of the event.

I’ll want basically double what I brought.


That’s not too big a deal.

It’s small stuff really.

I have all the outfits I could possibly want, a decade of going to Burning Man has supplied me with plenty of playa clothes.

I may splurge on a pair of tights, but I don’t need socks, or bandanas, I don’t need goggles or a utility belt, I also have a thick cloth and lace back harness with a little saddle bag that was super handy last year when I didn’t want to wear my utility belt.

I have great boots.

I have my Mary Fucking Poppins umbrella.

I have almost all the things.

And I have Amazon.

For all the other things I need.

I went online this afternoon after having a really nice, slowed down, mellow day.

Slept until 8:15a.m. got up and stripped the bed down and washed all my linens, yes, I’ll be sliding into fresh crisp sheets, such a pleasure, tonight, plus a big load of laundry.  I went to yoga, even though it was an instructor who I don’t like, went anyway (you are going anyway, I told myself this morning when I saw there was an instructor change on the studio’s schedule), took a hot shower, washed the hair up good, ate a nice breakfast, drank a coconut milk latte, put my availability on the calendar for my internship and wrote.

And wrote.

Such a luxury to not have much to do today.

I had a mini panic attack, not really, sort of, yesterday when I realized that for the first time in weeks I didn’t have anything scheduled today.

I called my person and confessed my nerves, I like to be busy, makes it easier to not listen to the radio KFuck in my head,  on AM Station ‘Thinking All About Myself All The Time,’ and told on myself.

I got a cute text this morning telling me what I should do, I don’t think should was part of the message, it was more just a quick list of things to do today.





Navel gaze.


I did all the things.


After my writing this morning I headed up to the Inner Sunset and hit my nail spot, I had to wait a little, got a cafe au lait at Tart to Tart and read a trashy magazine in the salon.

Mani/pedi, waxing.

Yes, the eyebrows needed some tending.

Then hopped back on my scooter and headed to the grocery store to pick up some stuff to cook and food prep for the week.

From here on out all my weeks are six days weeks.

And I need to stay on top of my food prep.

I got back from the grocery store, had a very late lunch, al fresco on the back porch.

It was intermittently amazing and horribly chilly, depending on whether or not the wind was blowing.

It was sunny though, so I really didn’t care, when it got too chilly I retreated back to my little studio and just sat in the sun coming in through the back glass door, I got my sunshine fill in for sure.

I made dinner.

Very simple.

Roasted chicken, pot of brown rice.

I got the stuff to make soup out of the chicken when I finish it up.

A chicken can go a long fucking way for me.

It was while I was cooking dinner that it hit me.

Oh yeah.


That thing in the desert.

I better get on taking care of the things I need or the damn thing is going to be here and I’ll be caught with my dusty pants down.

I made a list in my head of the things I needed and the things I wanted.


The things I need: new air mattress battery operated pump, mine broke last year; batteries to run pump; a playa bike and a bike basket.

My bike died last year, it’s a long story, better told elsewhere, but suffice to say I wasn’t expecting to have to replace my faithful stead and I have had some resistance to doing it and I realized, just do it.



I got my playa bike too.

One speed beach cruiser.


I also got the other stuff too, the pump, batteries, and the bike basket.

I have photo evidence that some of the things that were on my old bike are still out there for me, my bike pennant, and the vanity plate that had my name on it, that I got at the LA airport when I did the AidsLifeCycle ride, as well as a pair of fuzzy velvet dice I got in Reno many years back.

Every one needs a pair of fuzzy dice.

I mean, really.

I’m super psyched to have it out-of-the-way.

The thing that I didn’t get, out of my budget right now, but I may still throw down for it, is a pop up car port for shade over my tent.

I am not sure if I will get it or not.


I got my stuff and I posted up to a group I belong to that I am also looking for a ride to and from the event.

So, it’s all out there in the Universe.

I’m pretty excited.

It will be here before you know it.



This is great.

To wrap up my day, after, catching some last sunshiny rays on the back porch for dinner, chilly, but so pretty, and the wind had died down a little, I scootered up to a place up on Quintara and 20th and did the deal.

Always a good way to wrap up a day.

I went up to a woman and thanked her for what she had to share and she paused and looked at me, “I know you,” she said.

I looked at her and I realized, yeah, I had seen here somewhere else before, “you do look super familiar,” I replied.

She smiled.

“I wasn’t sure until I saw you up close, you were at Burning Man in 2015.”



As a matter of fact I was.


We caught up and it was funny, my God has such a sense of humor, you know, the afternoon that it hits me that Burning Man is just around the corner so I do my big playa order.



I run into someone I met at Burning Man.

I love my life.


Though I am by far not ready for the event.

I am much further ahead then I was this morning.


The Man burns in 90 days!




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.




Not excited.

Not even a little bit.

Not even.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


I will also be sourcing a ride there and back.

I do have a parking pass.


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, 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.


I am going to have all the adventures.


Of them.


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.


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.


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.


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.


I need to celebrate.

I’m going to Burning Man!

Luckiest girl in the world.


Yes! This Works

February 17, 2017

Best e-mail response ever.

I spoke with my boss yesterday about taking time off to go to Burning Man this year.


I am aware that Burning Man isn’t until the last week of August.

I am one of those people who plan pretty far out in advance and it came down to needing to ask sooner rather than later as the family I nanny for is going to be in Europe for three weeks.

Without me.

In July.


To take off a week of time in August was actually a great big request and I was shy to ask for it

I mean.

It’s Burning Man.

Folks have an idea of what that means.

Especially if they have never been.

And most folks might not be inclined to let go of their full time nanny so she could go romp around in the desert for a week when the kids are gearing up for their school semester and they have a baby and full-time work and um, yeah.


She told me, the mom, that it could probably work, to e-mail her the dates and she would get back to me.

I did so last night.

And I actually sort of forgot that I had e-mailed her and then.

This morning.


I got the best answer.

I got the “Yes! This works!” Response.

I just about fell out of my chair.

I haven’t gotten my ticket, I won’t know for eight weeks whether I have gotten the low-income ticket, but really, the biggest hurdles have been cleared.


That I don’t have any school conflict with going to the event.


That my job is willing to let me go.

Huge hurdles.

The ticket will come.

I know too many people and should I get denied the low-income ticket, I do feel like I will be able to negotiate getting one at the full price.

Fingers crossed that won’t happen, I could use the cash for other things, but I will if I have to.

Have to is should be re-phrased, get to, if I need to I can.

The gift of the time off is the big deal.

“You need to have fun,” my employer said, “it can’t just be work and school, we want you to be able to go and play.”

My god.

What a gift this job is.

I am so grateful to have it.

Today was super chill.

Almost too chill.

I could have fallen asleep.

In fact, had my charge dropped off, I would have.

She never quite did though.

I had one little monkey home sick from school today and the mom and the baby and the grandma, who is visiting, were out and about.

I stayed back.

Tidied up the kitchen.

Drew pictures and colored with my charge.

Lots and lots and lots of music, reading stories, and snuggling.

“Carmen, scratch my back more please,” she said and collapsed over a big throw pillow on the couch.

Happy to oblige, I sat and rubbed her back and snuggled with her.

We had picnic on the floor, played foxes, rescue fire fighters, cops and robbers, and veterinarian.

We ran away from scary robots and ghosts.

My little girl charge is a fierce lady and it’s really quite fun to be with her high-spirited energy, even when she’s sick, we had just a sweet day, no getting out to the park, no riding the train to grab my other charge, my first shift there since I started where I didn’t go outside at all.

I did feel a little sleepy from the lack of outside stimulation, but I got through it and it was really just nice to have a day playing with my charge.

And tomorrow is Friday.


Glorious weekend.

How I do love thee.

Let me count the ways.


Doing the deal.

Meeting with my person.

Getting my tattoo touched up.


Who knows what else.


Most likely there will be homework and reading and stuff and things, meal prep and grocery and what have you.


I do want to let myself have fun, to relax a little to not be too serious or overcommitment to making all the things happen.

The weather today, no rain when it had been forecasted, was a boon, I was able to ride my scooter to and from work and I got to do a little speaking engagement and get some grocery shopping done.

The rain comes back tomorrow.

Which always changes my plans a little.

The not riding my scooter sort of deal.

I suspect that whatever happens it will be fine.

I’m so happy to have a couple of days off.

One more day of work.

One more.


Hella grateful for that.



Burning Man.

I am so very thrilled.

I am.

I am.

I have time to do some bicycle research.


My playa steed did not make it back from the event last year.

I was upset when I found out, but then, grateful after I had time to do some work around it and yes, some grieving too, that bike meant a lot to me, but now I get to have a new experience out there.

A new bike.

A new camp.

Not working.

Just going to participate and have fun.



I hope I can handle not doing any work for a week.


As if going isn’t a hell of a lot of work.

I always have work to do to get to go.


It’s a labor of love.

Dusty love, but love nevertheless.


It’s been a good week.

Grateful it’s almost done.

I need a break.


You know that already.

And some fun.

I don’t have to wait for Burning Man before I have fun.

Hell no.


Bring on the fun.

I am ready.

Primed, in fact.


Bring it.


July 23, 2016

Good information to have.

No judgements on myself or others, it’s all just information.


Second swing through date with guy from Tinder and no, there’s not chemistry, but, nice guy, and I’m glad the he was in town with friends, he’s an Oakland guy, and at a club near the surprise birthday party that I was at and he came by for a little while.

We cut a rug.

But I was pretty tuckered out.

And that was a clear sign to me.

When the allure of coming home was more than the allure of staying on the dance floor shaking it to a good dj with a guy who wants to dance with me.

Fact is.

My knees were sore and my feet were in agony.

I have fallen arches.

I were arch supports in my shoes.

It sucks.

It is what it is.


The party I was at, the hosts asked that we all remove our shoes, which is great, hey, sure, no problem, except, that I realized I was standing and talking and dancing and walking around and exploring the house, it was awesome and cool and made me have hope of there still being bastions of interesting things in the Mission versus the white washing of condos that seems to be in heavy proliferation there.


My feet hurt.

Like awful.

I go to the party at 9:15p.m.

I left at 1:30 a.m.

That’s four hours of being on my bare feet.

Of course there wasn’t chemistry.

I was in pain.

I’m in pain right now, but it’s not as bad.

That being said, no yoga tomorrow.

At least not the early morning classes.

I am going to let myself get a few hours of sleep, get up shower, meet my person at noon, do the podcast at one thirty, have coffee with a friend in the Castro then run over to Scooter Centre and have them show me how to inflate my scooter tires.

They are low and I noticed it last night.

My scooter seems real bouncy on the road.

I am sure that I could figure it out, but there’s a weird little bit of fear in me the first time I go to do something and I have never done it before, I just want to be shown how to do it and I figure I should also make an appointment for a tune up.

I haven’t done so since I go it in November and I have already put on 1,900 miles on it.

That’s what happens when you live 6.5 miles from work.

No wonder my knees are crappy.

Ten years of riding a bicycle in and around the city and the last five of it on a once speed that I had in fixed gear for three years before I flipped over my hub and went to free.

My knees are shot.

Let me not think about the years and years of being in the service industry and all that wear and tear and just the general bad way I took care of myself for so long.

It takes time to heal from some of that and some of that damage may be too far gone.

I’m ok with that.

I am an old lady.

Yeah, I know, I don’t act like that, although I am very old school about certain things, I am wearing bifocals, call them progressives all you want, I’m wearing bifocals and bitching about my fallen arches and sore knees.


My brain’s wide awake though and here I sit, decompressing from the day, the night, the drive by date.

I do think I’ll be canceling our coffee date on Sunday.

He’s nice, but I was just not feeling it and my time is precious.

I’ll sleep on it, but yeah, I think there’s not much there.

Friend though, I can tell that, definitely a nice guy and we discovered that we do in fact have a few friends in common.


That leads to an interesting conversation I had with a gentleman tonight at the party, the who do you know game, the six degrees of separation from the birthday girl, and we ended up having quite the fun chat before the date showed up.

I even confided that indeed, a date was on the way.

We had fun chit chatting and flirting, there was definitely flirting and though I separated myself off to meet with the other guy who came by, I did happen to bump back into the gentleman who I had conversed with more.

He was in line waiting for the bathroom, which I had just used.

I told him I was going and he asked about finding me on facecrack.

I said, yes, absolutely find me on all things social media.


There is an easier way.

“Do you have your phone on you?” I asked.

He pulled it out.

He handed it to me.

I put my phone number in it, called my phone, and then plugged my name into the contact field.

“Now you’ll know how to find me,” I said.


I have never done that before.

And it was real easy.

Good information to know.

I think there was a quick hug, then I was gathering up all my things and scooting out the door.

To scoot on down the road.

To get home to my sweet, humble, cozy little abode.

I am so lucky to have such a full life.

Even if I miss yoga in the morning and don’t have quite the amount of sleep I’d prefer.


And I may have procured a ride up to Burning Man.

Not back, which is what I figured would happen, one person up and another back, but hey, that’s half the battle, we’re going to talk next week and iron out details.

And my bike has a ride up.

Things are starting to fall into place.

They always do.

“Have you figured out Burning Man yet?” A friend asked me this evening on the sidewalk outside of Our Lady of SafeWay.

“Nope, but it’ll all fall together, it usually does,” I said and smiled, completely in faith that what I was saying was true, because, well it is.

“That’s what I like about you Carmen, you buy a ticket and you just go!” He smiled in wonder.

That’s called faith.

And I do have that.

I do.

And that is probably why I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I don’t need to figure it out.

I just need to have faith.

And I have it in spades.



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.


Perhaps I should call it an “unenveloping.”








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.



Burning Man is sexy, no?


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.


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.





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.




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.


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.


I’ll see you in the dust.



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