Posts Tagged ‘playa nanny’

Teeny, Tiny Steps

July 10, 2015

But forward movement.

Always.

That was what I promised myself when I checked in with my person yesterday and we talked about my fear around the process of getting my course work and reading materials to begin the work outlined in my syllabi for the graduate program.

Holy cats kids.

It’s happening.

It’s coming up.

I have the retreat, which is a part of my first semester of school, in one month.

It is August 9th-16th in Petaluma and I will have my reading done by then.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes I will.

I haven’t purchased any readings yet, although on a complete side note I did find a fantastic shoulder holster on Etsy that I bought for Burning Man.

I have a hip holster and I use it frequently, but there are times when I want something smaller and I have been eyeing up a shoulder holster for a while now.

I found one I like.

I have the money in my spending plan.

And voila.

One more little thing taken care of.

It wasn’t too expensive and it will come out of my clothing allowance for the month, so I don’t even feel like it was a splurge, just something nice to have for myself that I will use and re-use.

I don’t believe this will be my last Burning Man.

I also had the pleasure of being reached out from of all places the Tales from The Playa blog post I submitted a while back that was published on the Burning Man website.

A husband and wife with a two-year old daughter, artists from Paris of all places, are coming for their second burn and wanted tips and suggested for how to burn with their daughter.

It’s nice to know that I can help others with taking their kids to Burning Man and be of service by sharing my experience.

Anyway, aside from the small Burning Man prep that I did, I also investigated deferring my student loan while I am in school.

I realized that with the retreat being in a month, this would be the last month that I make a student loan payment on my undergrad loans.

Which are just slightly less than I thought they were, I just checked, they are still hefty and I have often despaired of every paying them off, but I will, I know I will, I have faith, they currently stand at $31.000 and change.

I don’t pay a whole lot on the monthly, but as my employment will drop down to part-time and I still got to figure out how to pay for my general everyday costs of living in San Francisco, I will need every single spare cent I can spare.

There’s a small part of me that actually wanted to not defer the payment and I may opt to at least continue to make small payments on the interest, but I don’t want to burden myself with extra financial worry when I can with all credibility defer due to being in school full-time.

The paperwork is a bit onerous and it looks like I am going to have to down load it, print it, fill it out by hand, then take it to a person in the financial aid office at CIIS and have them put the official stamp of approval on the request.

One tiny step.

Go to my student loan services website, log in, and look at the paperwork.

That’s all I have to do.

I don’t have to do it perfect, I don’t have to do it all today, I don’t have to figure it out.

One small action taken.

Tomorrow when I go to work I will ask if I may borrow the printer in the office, I’ll print off  the form and then I will fill it out on my lunch break.

I will then call the financial aid office and ask when I can come in and have the form signed so that I may send it out in the mails and have it all set up before August rolls around.

I have a month.

I will get the things done.

And tomorrow I can also find out about meeting with my advisor.

I can e-mail the department.

I may just do that tonight and see about killing two birds with one stone and make an appointment to meet with my advisor and go to the financial aid office and get them to fill out the paperwork.

I can also find out what’s going on with my awards package.

I have yet to receive it in the mail.

I have been watching the mail like a hawk.

I did get my postcard from Atlanta though!

That was fast.

I wasn’t expecting to already get it, postcards seem to take a while to get to me when I mail them out.  And as I had forgotten that I mailed it, I had a nice surprise when I looked in my mail box this evening.

A little reminder of what happens when I take those baby steps.

I wrote about wanting to go to Atlanta long before I took any real “actions” the writing was the first part.

Then more writing, some affirmations, some I am a world traveler writing and the destination I plugged in was Atlanta (since having done this many times before and it always seems to work out–I have written about traveling to Paris, lived there six months, going to London, to Rome, to Burning Man, travel to San Diego, I am writing now about the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Paia, Maui–where my grandmother was born) and eventually I took another action.

I registered for the conference.

Then another action.

I started looking for flights.

Then for lodging.

And eventually, without having to make a huge deal out of it, I got to Atlanta and went and now I am back.

Getting ready to do the graduate school thing and get into those books and do the fully self-supporting financial actions that I have also been writing about.

One of which is: I am financially successful and self-supporting, I have paid my student loans in full.  I have paid my graduate school tuition in full (when I started writing that I had no clue I was even going to apply for a scholarship, let alone win two.).  And this last one, which cracks me up, but is true, I own a new Casper mattress.

I want a new bed.

Sleep is going to be very important to my graduate school endeavors, I know it.

So.

One little baby step today.

And the ball starts rolling and the next thing you know I’ll be putting my name plate above the door of my own private practice.

Well.

Let me not get too far ahead of myself.

I know what I need to do next.

And I know that as long as I stay focused on the small actions in front of me, the rest will follow.

It always does.

Take A Moment

March 21, 2015

And bask in this.

“Have you done that yet,” she asked me over the phone, “when did this conversation happen?”

“About a half hour ago,” I replied, under the partial sunny skies, blue streaking out behind the lengths of clouds.

I was on the basketball court at Mission Pool and Playground with the boys kicking around a soccer ball and corralling them, to the best of my abilities, in a fenced in spot while I made the phone call.

“I hear the boys,” she said, “they sound like they are having a good time.”

They were.

And so was I.

I had just had my “review,” a process that was really quite short and very, very sweet.

The mom had actually said, “can we do this next week? There’s just so much happening today for me.”

I acquiesced, “of course, there’s really no hurry, I just really wanted to talk about dates proceeding forward, I don’t have any thing other than that to bring up.”

“Let’s do it next week, then,” she said, as the dad came into the kitchen.

“Really, we don’t need to, unless there’s something wrong, is there something wrong?” The mom and dad stopped in their tracks.

“No, no, not at all, I, well, I just was offered a ticket to Burning Man and I really want to go and it doesn’t coincide with the holiday time that you are taking,” I said.

I might have blushed.

And may I just say, how nice it is to nanny in San Francisco, where for the most part, the population knows what Burning Man is.

Of course, most of that comes down to a profound relief to be able to find a parking spot during Labor Day weekend in San Francisco, but you know.

“You have absolutely earned that vacation time,” the mom said as she was gathering up the snacks I had prepped for pre-school pick up and grabbing the milk container in the fridge, tossing it all into a cloth Mission Farmer’s Market maroon bag.

“Well, the other thing is that I got my graduate school schedule and I will need to take a week off for the retreat that is a part of the program, adding that to the two days off I’m heading to Chula Vista to see my grandmother, I will have gone over my vacation time.”  I said, “I just wanted to make sure that…”

The mom cut me off, “you have nothing to worry about, we can take the time out of your personal days off for your grandmother, I’m sure you need to talk things through about your dad and we want you to be able to do that.”

I think I might have felt my heart swell two sizes bigger with gratitude.

“I wanted to let you know I can make up the hours, or help out a little more in Sonoma,” I replied.

The family will be going to Sonoma for two weeks in July and another week in August.

Serendipitously, neither Burning Man or my graduate school retreat happen to coincide with the week in August that the family will take in Sonoma before school starts up for the boys.

The youngest will be starting pre-school and the oldest, kindergarten.

“You don’t have to worry about that, we can play that by ear, we will have extra help in Sonoma,” the mom said, adjusting her purse and digging out her car keys, “besides, we don’t want to burn you out, we really like how you are when you are at full energy with the boys.”

“We’ve had four nannies,” the dad interjected, “and you are by far, the best nanny we have ever had.”

“Hands down.”

“Oh, thank you,” I said, “I adore the boys, I really do, I just wanted to make sure that all the scheduling was ok with you.”

“It’s great, we can talk more next week,” the mom rushed out to grab the eldest from school.

“Do you have your dates for school,” the dad asked.

“I do, I can e-mail you the full set of dates, Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 just went up on the site,” I explained the timing.

Three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

About every three weeks I’ll be in class.

Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Sundays from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Woof.

The retreat is August 9th through 16th in Petaluma.

The first weekend of school is September 11th-13th.

I’ll have two weekends in October, one in November, one in December, one weekend each in January, February, March, April, and May.

There is no school June and July.

I’ll have “summer vacation.”

Which means I’ll work a lot, but let me to not jump too far ahead.

Pull back.

Bask.

“You’re HP is really working for you, graduate school, Burning Man, the job review, really, take a minute and appreciate what they told you.” She admonished me on the phone.

I am not good at recognizing or accepting this, but as I stay at the work of taking suggestions I have gotten better and it would not be in the spirit of humility to not acknowledge the compliments.

I do a good job.

I do a really good job.

I do.

And as the boys chased a red soccer ball around the court at the playground, stopping once in a while to run up and grab me and tug my hand and engage, I could feel the sun on my face and accept that I am a good nanny.

Doing a good job.

Being of service.

How many nannies pray to be of service before going into work?

Not sure that there are a lot.

Not sure that there aren’t others who don’t, but I really do wish to be of service when I go to work and the pay off is great.

I am loved and I get to love.

I mean I sat under the table in the kitchen today with the littlest guy after his nap before mom got back with his big brother and had a total conversation about his stuffed cat Meow Meow and we sang songs and cuddled and had snacks, well, he had snacks, I wiped snacks off his face, and to have such a tender (though wildly rambunctious at times) little boy crawl into my lap and kiss my face with his cat makes me tear the fuck up.

To not put to fine a point on it.

I get paid to love.

How lucky am I?

And I get to go to Burning Man?

Shut the front door.

 

Of Course You Are!

March 20, 2015

This was the response to a text I sent out this morning.

This morning delirious with joy.

“I’m going to Burning Man.”

Was the text I sent out.

Like, I’m really going to go to Burning Man.

It’s happening.

Funny thing too.

I had done a lot of writing about it this morning and this constant let go, I don’t know how to let go, idea of going this year and how it’s going to play out and what’s going to happen and the how of it.

Never the why.

There has never been a why.

I don’t think I have ever asked myself why I want to go to Burning Man, I just do, there’s not a reason for the high heat, high desert, high altitude, the dust, the odd ball weather, flash flood last year anyone?

The long hours driving there and back, the preparation, the planning, the frankly, obsessing, what boots, how many pairs of socks is the perfect amount, should I color my hair pink this year or purple or blue or just go full on blonde?

The wrangling of time off, when I have worked for other families not in the Burning Man community.

“We actually need you to work that week after,” the mom said, “do you think they could change the date on the event?”

This was a real question.

Sure, let me get back to you on that.

Why would anyone in their right mind go?

“You don’t drink, do drugs, eat sugar, or flour?”  He asked as I ticked off the list, “why the hell do you come out here?”

“I like salt and caffeine,” I replied and cackled like a mad woman.

And there’s that.

I am crazy.

Crazy like a fox and crazy in love with the Universe who listens and hears my desires and peers into my heart and goes, “ah, there, that’s what she needs, let’s see what I can do about that.”

And boom.

I’m off to the burn.

I was writing, like I do every morning, before heading out to work and being realistic about what I wanted to ask off for with the family, I’ll be sitting down with them tomorrow to discuss moving forward as it marks my 6 months with them, and I was thinking, do I bring up Burning Man or not?

I want to go.

Can I afford to go?

How do I get there?

What’s the plan, Stan?

I realized that if it was going to happen it would happen naturally and organically, without me mucking about in it, without me manipulating it, without me being dishonest.

I could tell the family that since my school dates coincide so nicely with the event that I am basically going to ask off for it and throw caution to the wind.

That the going would happen if it was supposed to happen.

I did say a prayer, write it really, for God to show me the way forward with it.

I don’t usually go back and re-read what I write in my morning pages, the point is not to write a readable book, it’s to get the gunk out of my head and clear space for my day (a day I must say that I needed to be clear and present for, it was hella busy at work), a way for me to be balanced and have perspective around the day before heading out into the world.

But.

I really did write a lot about Burning Man this morning, ending my morning pages with this: “God, please show me if you want me to go.  I want All The Things.  I do want to go.”

I’m not going to bullshit.

I want all the things this year.

I mean, it’s nice to have someone advocate that for me and my friend, who’s sticker I bear so proudly on my laptop, certainly pointed out to me years ago that I deserve them.

But sometimes it takes me a minute, or a month, or a year, to get that I really want all the things.

I do, I do.

I want to go to Burning Man and I want to go to Hawaii and I want to go to Atlanta and I want to go to graduate school, and hey, look at that, things are happening.

I want a boyfriend who wants to go to Burning Man with me.

Not a boyfriend who makes fun of me going to Burning Man.

I didn’t make fun of your motorcycle club man, don’t make fun of my dust bowl, ok?

I wanted a clear sign.

And well, ha.

I got one.

I was riding my bicycle up Lincoln Avenue, that part where the hill is the hilliest and there’s still blocks to go, but if I am in a good groove, it’s not so bad.

Ping.

I heard the messenger app on my phone go off.

I had a feeling.

But I mean, I didn’t know.

I thought briefly for a moment who it could be and then forgot and got on with my bicycle commute.

I have to pay attention to traffic and though the commute is rote for me at this point, I am still riding a bicycle in traffic and I’m in it for about 35 minutes in the morning and another 35 in the evening.

That’s over an hour, more usually as I don’t always go straight home after work.

And in that hour a lot can happen if I’m not paying attention.

I got to work, the ride was smooth, lovely, light wind, high clear, blue, blue, blue skies, I smiled at the world.

I was ten minutes early and I did my long draught of water, followed by some stretches and then I sat down on a bench across the street from work and checked the message.

It was a message from God.

Not to be dramatic or anything.

It was a message from my original playa mom.

The OPM.

Or in other words.

The Action Girl.

Oh damn.

Oh yes.

I read the message and my smile got so big and I think I made some unintelligible yelping happy noise and bounced on the bench in glee.

The family is planning on going and they wanted me to come and help out and the getting of there and back will be taken care of and the getting of a ticket will be taken care of and I can camp with them.

OMG.

Yes!

I’m going to Burning Man.

I didn’t even really think, I just replied, yes!

And yes again and yes some more.

Happy, happy.

Joy, joy.

Not sure the specifics yet, but I don’t really need to be.

I can sit down with mom and dad and the Junebug and see what needs to happen and when and how.

But never why.

I don’t need to know why I need to go.

I am just going.

I’M GOING TO BURNING MAN!

Of course you are.

Bahahahahahaha.

Thanks for the sign God.

xo

Mary Fucking Poppins.

 

 

 

 

Do I Stay

March 17, 2015

Or do I go?

That is the question.

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

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

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

Also, I need a ticket.

Yeah.

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

The person I reached out to is already staffed up.

My services, though appreciated, are not needed.

Cool.

Moving on.

Now what do I do next?

Do I register in the Secure Ticket Exchange Program?

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

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

I don’t even know what they cost anymore.

I suspect more than I want to shell out.

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

No getting around it.

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

Where the hell do I camp?

And with what.

Gah.

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

With my employers.

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

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

Unless I was working for one of them.

Which could be an option.

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

I am not interested in being a Ranger.

That’s never done it for me.

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

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

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

It feels like asking for a hand out.

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

I just want to go.

So.

The right thing to do is to forget about that.

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

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

Not that I didn’t bust my ass working.

Oh I did.

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

I do have my uncle on Gate.

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

I am a bit too sparkle pony for Gate.

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

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

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

I know there are lots of options.

I know it.

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

I camped with them my first year out.

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

And I know a good few folks at Run Free.

I have options.

Hell.

Now that I think about it.

I could camp with my uncle too.

I bet his camp has space.

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

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

Oh my gosh.

I do so want a Lotus Belle tent.

It is so beautiful.

And over a months rent for me.

The tents are around 1,090 pounds and upwards.

What the hell does that even convert too?

Approximately $1600 American dollars.

A yeah.

No.

I looked at tipi’s.

There are some cute ones out there.

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

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

I will probably get a blow up mattress.

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

Ditto my camp shower.

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

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

Here is the one I am thinking about from SoulPad.

It’s only 230 pounds.

Much more in my price range and still uber cute.

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

Stupid cute.

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

Especially when the theme this year is Carnival of Mirrors.

I might need to get a top hat too.

Lots of stuff to think about.

That’s the other great thing about Burning Man.

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

Loads of things to think about.

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

Don’t get me started.

Let me first focus on getting a ticket.

I am going to go.

Just in case you were wondering.

Now how does that happen?

That is the question.

 

My Love Tank Filled Up

August 24, 2014

Full to overflowing.

I mean wow.

I wasn’t expecting it to happen and it just did.

I had a nice day with my little guy, some bumps here and there, it’s hard for a little boy to adjust to the heat and the things and the excitement and all the people.

It becomes overwhelming really fast.

And pop.

He will have to reset and refuel and nap and ease back.

Otherwise tantrums.

And that’s cool.

It’s just an expression of feelings that he cannot articulate, and there’s nothing wrong with having feelings, good or bad.

They pass.

Sometimes I feel like they never will, my feelings, but they do and just as I can have a challenging day out here on the playa, I can also have a number of random encounters that blow wide the doors of my heart.

And things are getting to be a challenge—but not in the way of the heat or the dust or the work—just the number of people here at Burning Man.

I mean.

It’s the Saturday night BEFORE the event happens and there’s a wait at the gate hours long, there’s more than 25,000 people already here.

That estimate was given to me by my boss late afternoon today and I bet there’s more than that now.

The gate for regular attendees will open tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

The Bureau of Land Management has allowed the event to open its gates early to help with the egress of vehicles on the road heading in.

FYI.

The event doesn’t even start until Monday–but it feels like it’s happening all around me.

Right now, it’s all theme camps and workers coming in, artists, musicians, builders, art cars, volunteers, EMS, rangers, fire performers, the folks that do the work to delight all the senses and stop the heart.

Then there’s just the things that are heart stopping for me in particular.

I ran into my first bunny rabbit at the Artery on the Esplanade.

I was heading into town to hit a meet up with some folks at 8p.m. and there she was—Action Girl!

I saw the beautiful read hair and just about rolled over her on my bicycle.

I knew that the Junebug could not be far behind and I was correct.

Oh good gravy.

My heart is just booming now, remembering.

She tackled me with love and I just swept her up in my arms and carried her across the road way and sat down on a bicycle rack and I don’t know what I said, I mean it was just a babble of hugs and love and so good to see you’s and incoherent mumbles into her hair and neck and she still smells like Junebug and she’s still my Bug and oh.

 

Oh.

My heart.

Such damn fine goodness.

Winning.

I am winning.

She remembers me.

That, I cannot say how important that is to me or why exactly that the thought plagues me once in a while, they will forget, the charges, the babies grown, the children off to school, pre-school, other adventures, and though I know I did not lavish the love on the in vain, should they forget I would still have loved just has hard just as much, just as fierce.

But.

To have her know and remember and hug me back and tell me how much she loved me and how she giggled and wrapped her arms and legs and whole self around me, gracious, I felt so verklempt.

Ugh.

The words they do fail.

It’s love and it’s love and it’s more love and I just had my cup so filled and then overfilled and I have to say I may have gotten a little leaky, but I was able to contain myself enough to say hi to mama and papa and let them know EXACTLY where I am camped.

8:45 & C

Camp Equilibrium.

Look for the red and yellow flags.

The Bambi Airstream.

The blue chopper bicycle with the vanity plate “Carmen” on it and the purple pennant, that’s where I will be.

And there’s a dome with couches and hammocks and another little girl here—Sassafrass—and well, me, I’m here.

Let’s hang out and do makeup and talk silly talk and bounce on the jumping balls and travel to the Campoline Camp down the road.

And let’s hug.

A LOT.

Because what I have discovered, again, always more this learning, is that my heart can continue to be broke open to hold more love.

You broke me open little girl.

You made my heart bigger and now I have more capacity for love.

And the love has to be given away, because it’s best shared.

That’s the thing about sharing—there’s more for everyone.

I was not able to stay as long as I wanted.

I had places to go and people to check in with and I rode off on my bicycle into the twilight dusk of Black Rock City so glad, so grateful, so blown open, I must have glowed in the dark with the love.

I was also hoping to run into my friend who were coming into the city tonight, but I suspect that they must have had one hell of a wait at the gate and I did not want to spend my entire evening twiddling my thumbs.

I asked the woman in charge of placement at the Village they are staying at to show me where they would be located in the camp and I will pop in tomorrow.

That’s what a Poppins does.

She pops into places.

Or nanny’s, you, know, semantics.

Then the cherry, really I might be in love and I sure hope I get to meet you again, Johnny from Robot Heart, on my nanny Sundae.

I rolled up to the DMV (Department of Mutant Vehicles–all art cars that venture out on playa have to be registered and checked to make sure they are not a danger to anyone out at the event) thinking that I was seeing Heart Deco, where a friend of mine is camped.

I asked after her to the group of gentleman standing by their vehicle waiting for inspection.

One of them came up to me and asked if he hadn’t just seen me at a meeting.

“Weren’t you just with Feed The Artists?”

Nope.

“I was at a meeting elsewhere,” I said and smiled.

“What’s your name?”

“Johnny.”

“Poppins, as in Mary Fucking Poppins, Not Your Nanny, at your services,” I curtseyed over my bicycle handles, if one could be said to curtsey astride a bicycle.

“Mary Poppins?”

“Or the Poppins, I am a nanny on playa.”

Then.

The most amazing thing.

I mean, I still have goosebumps thinking about it.

He sang me “A Tuppence” from Mary Poppins.

The kissed my hand.

Swoon.

Full.

Full and then some.

I like lot’s of things.

Love, love, and love.

So good.

So blessed.

So, well, loved.

Thank you Burning Man.

So very pleased to be here.

 

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul’s
The little old bird woman comes.
In her own special way to the people she calls,
“Come, buy my bags full of crumbs.

Come feed the little birds, show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do.
Their young ones are hungry,
Their nests are so bare;
All it takes is tuppence from you.”

Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.
“Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries,
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.

All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares.
Although you can’t see it, you know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares.

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

Though her words are simple and few,
Listen, listen, she’s calling to you:
“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag.”

 

Nothing Like A Nap

August 22, 2014

And a shower to bring a nanny back to life.

Whew.

Wow.

Just like that and I like my job again.

Baha.

It’s funny, I can spend a lot of time advocating for self-care for others then blithely go my own way and completely ignore that advice.

But after last night it was really obvious that what I needed was some sleep and a shower.

I went to bed at midnight, which is not much different from what it’s been for the last few days, but it was an extra fifteen minutes that I was able to give myself.

I also slept solid until my alarm went off, well, with the exception of getting up in the dark, wee hours of the night when the golden cusp of the crescent moon was low on the horizon to visit the port-a-potties.

I love my night-cap of Bengal Spice tea, but it does make a gal have to pop out of bed at odd hours of the night to relieve the bladder.

But I went straight back to bed, I didn’t try to capture any sunrise photographs or do anything but get right back into the sack.

And it was good.

Just that extra fifteen minutes, astounding.

I also asked that I be allowed a trip to the showers.

Six days with no shower and this lady was ready for some scrubbing.

I was informed that I had a shower pass icon on my laminate the entire time!

D’oh!

Well.

Heh.

I will try to get out there a little more often knowing that.

I did arrange to be allowed access to a vehicle and it was granted to me this evening after dinner.  I got a shower, I got to comb out the rat’s nest of my hair, which though photogenic, the playa is great for texturizing your locks, was a snarling thing with a life all its own, I got to shave.  I got to layer up on the lotion and wash off the dust from every nook and cranny.

Oh sweet jesus.

What a shower can do.

And the nap.

Let’s not forget that either.

I got a nap today.

It could not have been more than twenty minutes, maybe fifteen, but I also had a lie down and I meditated before I drifted off.  I didn’t think I would be able to sleep having had a whopping seven hours of sleep last night, but I knew that it was important to lie down and rest.

And what do you know, I did drift off after a bit.

So, the lie down of thirty minutes segued into a little nap snack and I was able to get through the day.

Sleep and a shower and I am a new woman.

And though the playa calls, so many new things out there, so many photographs to be had, I am not going out tonight.

In fact, I think I am going to go to bed just a tiny bit earlier if I can than I have been, make it 11:30 p.m. say, because I do want to go out tomorrow and take some photographs.

I have seen the art being built up and I would love to do an afternoon ride out to check out the progress of some of it and I would also like to just get in a bike ride.

My ankle is a little tender today, I suspect from the bike riding, but if I go slow and coddle it and avoid deep playa–which is not so nicely packed down–I should be able to go for a nice cruise.

I want to get some shots of the Calico Mountains and one of the installations pieces is up that I want to get a few photographs of before the swarms come in.

I am already hearing of waits at the gate, which is just plain crazy to me, but there it is.

The bell has started to ring and the Greeters are out welcoming fresh Burners to a new experience that will change them forever.

When I left the Depot after my shower I was stunned to see the string of car lights snaking along Gate Road as the cars and transporters and trucks, campers, vans, and various other vehicles were heading in.

It’s exciting.

It’s happening.

What else is exciting?

I got a coffee drip cone!

Yes.

Thank you Polkie Dot!

You saved my life lady.

Nothing like discovering that I had forgotten my drip cone in my dish rack at home.

I didn’t scream out in agony, I can still get coffee at the Commissary, but it’s so much nicer to have it here at my little home.  Besides, it’s Stumptown Holler Mountain, that hands down beats the Commissary’s coffee.

Things are coming together nicely and it’s such a good feeling to be centered again.

It really does amaze me how much my mood can be altered just by not having quite enough sleep.  I can get by a few days, but the third or fourth I start getting wonky, and yesterday was the fifth day with short sleep.

No wonder I was a cranky sad little teary mess.

Oh well.

It really was nowhere near the worst playa melt down I have had and fingers crossed, it will be the only one.

Ha.

I know better than to expect that, the emotional weather out here is intense, I will sob again, but I believe out of love and finding that deep spiritual connection to the sky and the mountains and the sunset that just blows up my heart every time.

My life is pretty grand when I think about what I get to experience and the manner in which I get to be a part of the event.

It doesn’t hurt that I ran into Heady, she’s been with the event for a while you could say, either and just got the sweetest hug and connect from her–she assured me that though I had lost the little guy back in San Francisco that there were loads of opportunities just waiting for me.

If you nanny.

They will come.

If you nap too.

That doesn’t hurt either.

Playa Melt Downs

August 21, 2014

I am just starting to have them.

Already?

I thought to myself, why am I already having this much emotional resonance?

Well, let’s see lady.

You spent the entire week working before you left for the event.

You rode up in cramped quarters and that wasn’t restful.

You stayed over night in Reno and started to freak out about expenses that you weren’t expecting.

You have been on playa five days and haven’t had a shower yet.

That seems reasonable to be a little teary.

Plus, seeing people that I rarely ever see, except out here, supercharges those emotions.

Add to that not quite getting seven hours of sleep, more like six and a half every day and not getting a nap yesterday and though I was given a break today, it wasn’t long enough to nap.

I lay down and I got the knock within a half hour/twenty minutes of excusing myself.

The monkey has been having a hard time as more folks come in and it gets overwhelming.

It’s cute and sweet and amazing to see him engage with so many people, he’s very social, but every once in a while he gets overstimutlated and watch out.

Screaming.

I got an ear full today and it just wore me down.

I was pretty done in.

Pretty done with being a nanny.

Not with being a nanny out here, I am not going to quit, I would never do that, I am a woman of her word and I commited and though I may need to be commited when it is all said and done I am in it for the duration.

I just realized again that it’s so hard to do the nanny job out here not because of the conditions, those are hard, but because of the proximity to the parents and the friends and the folks in camp and beginning to feel like I am on a stage and everyone is watching.

I know exactly how self centered this is, the world is not about me, my petty designs, my schemes, my directions, but I am also, I forget, not used to being around so many people when I work.

I work by myself.

Yeah, the mom or the dad or a grandparent may be around, but I go for walks, to the park, in the neighborhood, I have down time, and then you know what I do?

I go home.

There is not a separate space for me here.

I forget that I have basically become a live in nanny.

Oops.

That.

I want to simultaneously retreat into my space and I get lonely and isolated and I then want to be out in the world and engage, but it can be too much.

Finding that balance.

Trying to figure it out.

Which makes me nuts.

And I need to get myself centered.

It’s Wednesday, pre-event, the damn thing hasn’t even started yet.

So.

I must up my self care a little and that means a shower tomorrow and I don’t care how it happens, but I have to get washed.

That will bring a huge uptick in my quality of well being and I can start with that.

The other is to get to bed a tiny bit earlier tonight.

Which means I am ending my blog early.

It’s a short night for me.

I have to rest more.

I don’t want to be a bucket of tears.

That’s the thing too.

I feel the emotions are overblown a bit, but there’s a lot of truth there too, and I have experienced what I am experiencing before and I have had friends counsel me and I have had epiphanies and spiritual awakenings galore out here, but then.

Well.

I fucking forget.

And I have to relive the experience.

I know that I have lots of amazing things to witness and art to see and friends coming home for the first time and I don’t want to not be present for that.

This is supposed to be fun too.

I know I will get in there and my perspective will change and it will all be good.

And I will have the experience I am supposed to have and I don’t have to judge it.

I just have to have it.

So.

Here’s to a little bit more sleep tonight.

A shower tomorrow.

And finding that still, soft, sweet, serene space in me.

I don’t have to search for it outside of myself.

It is there.

Deep within.

There’s A Storm Coming

August 20, 2014

Fortunate for you, fellow Burning Man friends heading out to the playa, it has passed.

It was a strong one.

It was on and off weather all day long.

Dust storms.

White Outs.

Rain.

High, high, high winds.

So high they knocked over numerous banks of port-a-potties.

I may come back to this thread at another time and add some of the photographs I took of the toppled johns, but for the moment the internet is so spotty I just want to focus on getting as much of my blog in before it conks out completely.

The city continued to be built though.

There is nothing so heartwarming to see, at least to me, as seeing the building up of the city despite the weather, the hard ass perseverance that so many folks have no idea of before they come out to playlandia.

I watched from inside the safety of the trailer with my little guy snuggling on my lap, three men on top of a container strapping down scaffolding that would have otherwise blown off in the  high winds, I worried that they might just get blown off.

A sudden gust of wind ripped the shade structure off the front of the trailer and drew my attention to the front where the papa was busy securing as much of it as he could, then back to the view out the back window.

The men had stopped working and spread themselves flat hands locked, faces down on the top of the container, still, silent, a picture of resilience in the face of it all.

When the wind died down a bit, they just got right back up and went right back to work.

And that’s how it’s done.

At least in my circles.

I do hear rumors now and again of folks that can’t hack the weather and sometimes you just have to hunker the fuck down, you can’t do certain kinds of work.

Like, oh, putting the bike lights on my bicycle wheel rim.

God only knows where the 25 zip ties would have blown to had I attempted that.

No thank you.

I did eventually get out.

There were breaks in the storm.

Unlike my day, I had no break.

Although there was a little down time here and there where my charge slept, but I never did get away for my own little catnap.

The napping for him was disturbed by the trailer getting rocked in the high wind.

He was not upset about it, but the banging woke him up.

And when the two-year old has been woke up, he’s up.

The weather makes for new friendships though, I was having an awesome conversation with Slim in line to the Commissary.

Slim is somewhat of an iconic figure at Burning Man and I have never had the opportunity to really talk with him and we had a great talk about the weather and the power it has to connect people who may never have been connected to before.

When it hits and you have to grab cover, you sometimes grab cover with complete strangers and new friendships suddenly bloom.

Or you watch a neighbors tent blow away and you go help them set it back up after ward.

Or perhaps you find out that a friends space has been destroyed and you let them crash over at your place.

It brings people together in unlikely ways.

Extremes can often bring out the worst in people, but I find it more true that it brings out the best in others, and it really can be a matter of pure, basic survival.

You can’t let your fellow lapse in the dust.

And then you get up and start re-building it all again and no one knows better that there was crazy wind and rain and bluster and shaking trailers, ripped awning, toppled port-a-potties, dust soaked bodies.

It all gets tidied up and prettied and made neat-o before the “world” lands on playa and the fun begins.

The fun for a lot of people is pre-event, the camaraderie of people building the city makes my heart just swell.

For instance, it is nearly midnight and the entire camp, sans one or two of us who have no mechanical ability, ie me, are out side repairing the awning over the parents trailer so that tomorrow there will be shade for the monkey.

I mean, flashlights, and men and tarps and rope and god only knows what, I am not the best person for that sort of stuff, but they are.

I bring my services elsewhere.

I take care of the baby.

The little boy, I should say.

I maintain his homeostasis to the best of my ability and help him through the hard spots.

In the regular world, or the default world as it is called, he will give me plenty of clues that he is hungry or tired or needs some extra love and attention.

Out here it can happen really fast and if I’m not attuned to the minutiae of his moods it can get out of hand fast.

Little tempers flare under duress.

So my job is to be on top of it.

And on top of it means I am ending my blog just a tiny bit short of my normal word count and getting my ass offline so that I can clean myself of all the dusty dust and shake out my hair and wash up.

So I can get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Fortunate for me, the weather for the rest of the week is going to be dreamy.

Thank God.

MF Poppins out.

 

Virgin Bicycle Run

August 19, 2014

That is my news today.

For the first time since my ankle injury on June 5th I rode a bicycle.

My playa bicycle.

And it was a little rusty and a little scary, but I did it!

Yay.

The ride was short.

I was looking for friends and either I got the address wrong or they weren’t around the spot there were supposed to be at 8 p.m. this evening.

I suppose it’s the thought that counts and it also speaks to the general chaos that happens out here when you are trying to locate a person, place, or thing, you often get lost, waylaid, bump into someone else, fall into a rabbit hole and you’re suddenly across the playa at a twerking party at HEAT.

Huh?

Yeah.

That’s happening any minute now.

I was invited, even though I can’t really twerk nor would I if the occasion rose, not my style so much.

I can shake my ass, I just can’t drop it like it’s hot any more.

I might drop it and not be able to pick it back up.

I may dress like a twelve-year-old on a shopping spree at Hot Topic, but my body is that of a 41-year-old woman and there are some things it just doesn’t do so well anymore.

I would go and observe, I really am tempted to see it.

There’s something about the idea of watching a bunch of drunken guys off DPW and Gate crew twerking that arouses every single bone of curiosity in my body, but it’s across the playa and I don’t have bicycle lights on my stead.

I do have lights.

I thought once the sun set and I couldn’t locate the village I was looking for that I would just ride back to camp, hook up my bike lights and head out and take some photographs and see the art as it’s being built up then swing by HEAT and see the boys twerk it out.

I got back and took the lights out of the package and realized that the guy at the store was not joking when he said that it would take about a half hour or so to hook them up.

I got wheel rim lights that roll a pattern and I am quite excited to see how they look–purple and pink hearts spinning around my front wheel, but there’s just not enough light to try to hook up a bicycle light contraption that also has 25 BLACK zip ties.

No way.

I pulled it out look at the instructions and read all sixteen of them and put it away.

I may pull a damsel in distress and find a boy to help me put the lights on my bike.

I am not so mechanically inclined.

I am, however, inclined to have them set up, so that is a must do for tomorrow.

It was a long day, 8a.m. until about 7:30 p.m. with the family.

I did get a break around lunch time, the alternating parents, nanny, and nap time with visits to the Commissary worked well enough today that I was actually able to get in a nap snack.

I didn’t think I would be able to fall asleep, I wasn’t really tired, but when the papa said I could take a little longer as he had a bit of down time before he had to head out to the 2p.m. meeting, I went to the Bambi and looked around my space.

I could read a book.

I could do some writing.

I could lie down and take a nap.

Even if I didn’t sleep it would be rest.

And.

It was too hot to go out and wander playa.

Especially since I discovered that my parasol was broken in transit.

Sad face.

What is a Poppins without a parasol?

I posted a message about having someone bring me one in and got a sweet note from a dear friend that she’ll bring me one, but I may have to scavenge up something before she gets here–this upcoming Saturday–I am going to need one and I know how disoriented I was when I was a virgin getting around, it may take my friend a day or two to find me.

Shit.

I know the city and I couldn’t find the people I went looking for tonight–despite having visited the camp every single year for the last seven burns–so to expect a virgin burner to locate me in a crowded city for a parasol drop off might be challenging.

Then again, I could get to her where she’s at.

Ack.

Anyway.

That’s a massive ways a way in the future.

Anything that is outside what I am doing tomorrow is a long ways off and not worth my bother to think about.

The focus for me is to get my bicycle lights on my rig so that I can leave camp and have a vehicle to mosey about in.

I have camped before where I had some limited access to golf carts but despite being right next to a string of them I won’t be getting access for evening joy rides.

I asked last year and got the thumbs down.

I won’t bother to ask this year.

It’s the bike or nothing.

If I go to bed on the early side of town tonight and skip napping during my break, should I get another break, I will take the time to set up the bike lights then.

That way when I get done with my shift I can go out and cruise.

I  will also locate where my people are at and arrange to see them for real tomorrow night.

Then a playa bicycle cruise under the stars with a spinning wheel of hearts to lead the way.

Sounds like a date with Destiny.

I like it.

Anyone care to join me I should be available around 9 p.m. tomorrow evening for a bike ride to deep playa to watch the stars fall down the sky.

I will be lit up and ready to roll.

First Full Day

August 18, 2014

In.

And it was a full day.

Ten and a half hour shift and this is the easy part.

The days, they are going to get longer, the mama and the papa are only getting busier.

Fortunate for me, I do happen to work with an incredible, smart, whimsical, and wonderful little boy.

He makes my heart just melt.

Today he told me out of the blue, with no prompting, “I love Poppins.”

My goodness.

Then, the topper, he leaned in and gave me a kiss.

Again, unprompted.

Sometimes I have to ask for a hug or a kiss or say, “I love you,” to get the “I love you too” back.

Not today.

This bodes quite well for the rest of our days out here.

He also is an extraordinary reader.

I mean, the kid loves books.

Thank you God.

I couldn’t be luckier to have a little one who is more than content to sit in my lap and snuggle and read books.

Of course, by the end of the event I may be more than a little tired of reading Richard Scarry’s Busy Town; Busy, Busy Town; What Do People Do All Day; Busy Town Airport; Busy Town Firestation; Cars, and Trucks, and Things That Go.

Fortunate for me, he has other books.

We just have not unpacked them yet.

There are still kinks to be worked out, but the camp is coming together.

I don’t have electricity in my trailer yet, it’s currently running on battery power, which means that when my computer dies, my blog will be done for the night.

Which is what happened last night.

The main trailer the family is in has A/C and electric so I can charge up my laptop and my phone during the day.

My day started at 6 a.m.

I did not want my day to start at 6 a.m.

However, the bladder called and I realized from lying in bed and just noting the color of the sky, that the sun was soon to come up and I would be remiss to not shoot some sunrise photographs before the space started to fill in with camps and people and you know, stuff.

So, I grabbed my camera and headed to the port-a-potty bank closest to the trailer and did my business, then out to the playa, empty, spacious, wide open.

A few cargo containers dotting the landscape and the spires heading out of the 9 o’clock keyhole.

Not another human in site.

Not a noise to be heard.

Just the sun coming up over the playa.

Blew my heart wide open just like that.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Oh ho!

The generator just kicked in.

Yay!

I have power.

I have music on my box.

I have a laptop that is charging.

Woot.

I shall actually be able to post my blog tonight instead of tomorrow in the early afternoon when the monkey is taking his nap.

He woke up pretty happy after his nap.

Two hours and fifteen minutes.

Who wouldn’t be happy after that kind of nap?

I could have used that kind of nap myself.

However, there was no napping in Who Ville today for me.

There may be tomorrow, we are figuring out a system that allows everyone to get access to the A/C during the day and sneak in nap time.

We all need it.

The parents are both out and about and busy and they are only going to get busier as the days to the event count down.

The catch is that the bunny rabbit happens to take his nap around 11a.m. or 11:30 a.m. and when he is down for two to three hours that means lunch time.

The time for lunch is noon to two p.m. with the other event staff that are here working at the Commissary, and it keeps very strict hours, you come three minutes past closing and you do not get in.

The worry was that one of us was going to miss lunch and/or napping ourselves, but it seems that we are going to be able to tag team it.

Today he went down at 11:15 a.m.

I sat with him for the first 45 minutes.

Then the papa and I headed to the Commissary while mama worked from her “office” on the couch, we headed back after a quick bite, I brought the monkey’s lunch containers with me and brought back a to go box.

Mom then went next and hit her lunch and her two p.m. meeting.

Upon returning the bunny and I headed over to my trailer–the Bambi–and worked on an “I Spy Sticker” book while he had a cup of milk and mom got a 45 minute nap snack with the papa.

It worked really well.

I, however, didn’t get a nap, tried to get the little guy to go down for a second nap, but he was not having it.

We went en famille to dinner and discussed the plan of attack for tomorrow, with some slight tweaking, we should all be able to eat lunch and catch a nap while he’s doing his nap.

That’s the hope anyway.

After dinner some friends dropped by and we went for a ride out to the playa to catch up and breathe and hug and sit under the twilight dusk and ramble at each other for a bit.

It was just the refresher I needed.

I headed back to my trailer with much joy and love in my heart and downloaded the photographs I took today.

I got some decent ones and I am happy to have technology that works.

I know it’s somewhat atypical of the event to have internet and such, but really, I would be remiss if I had to skip writing my blog and connecting with my peeps off playa.

Though I will say there will come a night when I don’t post or a day when I nap instead of write.

I have to do that too.

Rest.

And with that.

I am going to make a cup of tea.

The electric kettle is getting pulled out!

I am going to eat an apple in a camp chair and enjoy the stars and the deep quiet that is pre-event before there is no more pre-event to enjoy.

I am looking forward to seeing all my friends that are headed in, but I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit that these first few quiet nights are my favorite time to be here.

It’s not often that I am getting to ride out to the playa before it’s full of all things that burn.

Happy I got my chance tonight.

Much love to you from the 9 o’clock keyhole.

Mary Fucking Poppins out.

Out on the playa

Poppins on the playa


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