Posts Tagged ‘travel nanny’

Don’t Mind Me

February 2, 2017

Singing French music slightly off-key at the top of my lungs.

I felt like singing and well.

There you go.

And French music makes me happy, especially when I am listening to a play list that my best French friend made for my on my Spotify.

It’s pretty awesome, a. a friend who makes a play list for you and b. that it’s mostly French music.

Although there’s some English music in there, it feels very apropos as I have been thinking a lot about travel today.

Paris in May.

Ten days.

Ten days.

Oh, let me say it again, ten days in Paris in May.

Paris in Spring.

My heart sings.

My feet tap dance a little, I just did a twirl about my room to the guitars and the vocals of Je t’aime Paris before I sat down to type.

I’m also making some other travel plans.

Puerto Rico.

In, wait for it.

July.

I know.

That sounds nuts.

And it’s actually funny, the only other time I have been to Puerto Rico was actually in July, a friend that I worked with at the Angelic Brewing Company got married there, she and her husband were both from Puerto Rico, what the hell they were doing in Wisconsin, I’m still not sure about.

But.

They wanted to get married in the oldest cathedral in Old San Juan.

Where, apparently, everyone who is Puerto Rican wants to get married.

The wait list was years long.

Unless you got married in the off-season.

Like, um, ha, July.

I think they still had to wait a damn long time for the date they did get, but yeah, it was hot.

But you know where it’s not hot in July?

Yeah.

San Francisco.

The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.

Mark Twain had it pretty spot on.

Last July was colder than last February.

In fact, I remember making out with a guy last February on the beach, barefoot and it was warm, surprisingly warm, one of the few nights where it was warm enough to be down at the beach and bare foot.

I remember him kissing me and the moon was sinking slow behind me, it was the day after Valentines Day and for whatever reason, I think it might have been ski week for the private school kids I was nannying, I had off that week.

I had school that weekend and then I had gotten dressed up on Valentines Day, passed out Valentines Day cards to my classmates and after class let out, I went up to the Castro and did the deal and spoke a big gay men’s gathering.

I met my Puerto Rican fairy godfather at dinner that night before the meeting.

We hit it the fuck off.

Fast forward to my birthday this past year, he brings me a bag of coffee from Puerto Rico, a jar of Adobo spice, and a guidebook to the 100 best places to go to in Puerto Rico.

He had just gotten back from a business trip there and it turns out is there currently and will be back mid-February.

He will be making a few more trips back for business and one of those trips, yes, in July, I will be going with him.

I wasn’t originally planning July, but July just happened to happen for me.

I found out from my family that they will be going on a big family vacation for three weeks.

I will have three weeks off in July.

THREE.

So.

Definitely Puerto Rico.

I have the airline ticket voucher from when I cancelled my trip to Wisconsin at Christmas.

The airline happens to fly to Puerto Rico.

I am thinking a week there.

Then fly back.

And.

Then.

Alaska.

Yeah.

I know.

Big fucking mood swing travel.

But.

I have always wanted to go up to Alaska during the summer and I have friends that live there and the fellowship is great.

And.

Um.

My dad is there.

I haven’t spoken to him since I left him in a coma in Anchorage two years ago.

I do not know where or why the thought popped into my head, but pop it did and it felt so right it gave me shivers.

“Go see your dad.”

That was not my thought.

It was planted there.

And I realized as soon as I had it that yes, I need to do that.

I’ve got his phone number and I figure I’ll contact the recovery center he’s been staying in and just feel it out.

I certainly don’t want to make a huge deal out of it.

Although, it is a huge deal.

I just felt very compelled to go and see him and do it soon, I don’t need to question it and though I had some trepidation about it, it feels very much like what I need to be doing.

It’s more for me than it is for my dad, I think, I need to heal a bit more around the relationship and I feel that a face to face, eye to eye, would do me some good.

Oh.

I’m sure it will be painful too.

But through that, growth, and I long for growth.

I want to heal those spaces and holes in my heart and be fully capable of saying I did everything I could to rectify my relationships with my parents while I can.

I also, really have wanted to go to Alaska during the summer and I have a couple of friends up there who just got married and it would be great to see them and maybe get out into the wilderness a little and take my camera and explore.

Then.

I had another thought.

Well heck.

Why don’t I go to Portland too?

My sister just moved there with my youngest niece and it’s been a couple of years since I have seen them.

I could fly back from Anchorage to Portland, hang out for a long weekend, then fly to San Francisco.

I looked up flights with the estimated dates of travel and I could do one way tickets, SFO->Anchorage->Portland->SFO.

Total cost.

$361.

I can freaking swing that.

I’m not planning anything yet, I have yet to get confirmed dates from my employers, but I did agree to take some of those days as paid vacation time and they agreed to pay me for my time for the other two weeks.

I had already bought my ticket to Paris when I had interviewed for the job, that vacation and those days off are part of my vacation pay.

Which means, that I will actually get another three weeks paid off.

Mind blowing.

And the right thing to do.

I’m contracted to work for them and I get paid a minimum of 35 hours per week.

They don’t use me for those hours, they pay me regardless.

When I find out dates I will go from there.

I know Puerto Rico is happening.

I will sit on Anchorage and Portland, talk to my people, make sure I’m making a spiritual decision and not an ego centric driven one, but rather be coming from a place of humility.

It’s family and I have challenges navigating family.

I’m doing better than I have ever in my life.

There is that.

But it is still vulnerable for me.

And who knows.

I may be in practicum and be tied to the city, so who knows.

No plans yet.

Just slow cooking some travel on the back burner.

And hopefully.

In the back woods, the G.reat O.ut D.oors, sounds damn good.

And a coffee shop or three in Portland.

I could get behind that.

I like coffee

Just a little bit.

Heh.

 

 

 

My Body Hurts

August 16, 2016

My brain hurts.

Everything hurts.

I am not sure why.

It’s not sick hurt.

It’s like I slept on my back hurt in a strange way.

But I slept like a baby, like a tired baby with hot milk in its belly.

In my own bed for the first time in eight days.

I remember putting my head on the pillow and rolling over and I was out.

I mean.

OUT.

I woke up to go to the loo at some point.

I think.

I mean, I usually do, as I like to have a cup of tea before I hit the hay, but I don’t even remember if I did, it was just an assumption.

I woke up when my alarm went off and got moving.

Now that I remember it, I did feel sore when I woke up, but I think I just shrugged it off.

And perhaps it’s tension or psycho-somatic, or who knows, I certainly don’t have to figure it out, but it is certainly there.

And there is no sleeping in my sweet, cozy, dreamy little studio tonight.

No.

I have made my return to Glen Ellen, to Stone Tree, to a week of being in Sonoma, but instead of being in Petaluma, I am at work.

The family’s vacation spot for the summer.

It’s not a bad bed and fuck, the room I have is huge, I mean, really gigantic.

Bigger than my in-law, that’s for certain.

It’s just not my bed.

I will be wrangling up some ibuprofen in a little while, after I blog and make a cup of tea and I think, yes, an episode of Mr. Robot.

I tried to do some Burning Man stuff, order a few last minute things, but I found I didn’t have the focus in me to do so.

I just paid my phone bill and that was all the online activity I could handle, no Amazon shopping for me tonight.

I made it out here ok, although there was a bit of a miscommunication between me and the mom and I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to lock up the house after letting in the housekeeper.

So I was in and around the Mission for many unnecessary hours.

That being said, I made an appearance at one of many fine church basements in the Mission and got right with God.

I figured, a week out of town, a week away from my fellows, from my favorite cafes and food and San Francisco, from my bed, my home, my things, was going to warrant a little getting steady with my emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.

I will be getting compensated for the additional money I had to spend on the rental car, which is nice, but I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with the parents about it.

The conversation happened via text this morning while I was at the house waiting for the cleaner to show up.

And today when I got there.

Well.

I was too busy catching up with the boys who wouldn’t let go of me.

Dinner was had with one leaned against me and the other in my lap, there was no removing myself.

The youngest was such a little darling, he was napping when I showed up and dad had to run to town on an errand, the older boy and mom were out, and it was just the little guy and me and the dog.

Said dog who was so happy to see me it made my heart warm and fuzzy.

When he woke up, the look on his face, incredulous joy.

“Surprise,” I said softly, touching his sweet face, and wiping his little sweaty brow.

He sleeps hot.

“Carmen!  Oh, Carmen, I missed you, I want to go pick tomatoes with you in the garden and make you a salad,” he said all warm and soft and cuddly and my god, my heart.

So much.

So much love.

He crawled into my arms and wrapped himself around me and told me how much he missed me and how much he loved me, and then he took my hand and we walked to the garden and picked tomatoes off the vine and fresh basil.

When the oldest boy got back, he proudly showed me all the places they had picked blackberries and then insisted that we go back up to the garden and pick even more tomatoes, because he too, missed me, loved me, and wanted to make me a tomato salad.

They remembered from last year.

The tomatoes were out of hand and I probably ate two or three each meal, mostly chopped up with sea salt and olive oil, black pepper, lemon balm (it’s a type of herb), oregano, and fresh basil, splash of balsamic and I am a very happy girl.

Both the boys helped me make the salad and then they both ate out of my bowl and dredged their fingers through the olive oil and vinegar and ate bites of grilled chicken off my plate and just were relentless with touching me, cuddling with me, sitting on me.

“Carmen,” the oldest boy whispered to me, “please massage my back again,” he said, then tugged on my hand, when I had stopped to take a bite of dinner.

I melted, just a little bit.

Ok.

A lot bit.

We sat chair to chair and while his brother basically licked the bowl clean, I rubbed his shoulders and told him about my graduate school adventures and the animals I saw at the institute–hawks, the deer, the does and their fawns, the jack rabbit in the grass, the ears so high and big.

I tried to get a photograph of it, it was just huge, but it loped off into the high grass before I was able to get my phone up and open to the camera.

After dinner, which began to devolve, I think the eldest has a bit of a cold he’s struggling with, I let the boys smack me with pillows.

I had a sense that though they were not necessarily mad at me, there was a need to be a little aggressive with their feelings, get out some of the consternation and energy from not getting to see each other for the two weeks I was away from them.

They had missed me and they had feelings around it and they needed to express that too, not just the snuggly love stuff, which not withstanding was divine to experience, so a pillow fight ensued.

And it was absolutely the best.

I set a timer and let them hit me with pillows for three minutes solid without defending myself or hitting them back with the couch pillows.

It was so much fun.

The giggles.

Mine and theirs.

Then, when the alarm rang, we all just collapsed in a heap on the couch and snuggled more.

I was with them far past what should have been my end of day, but I couldn’t resist catching up and re-connecting.

I’ll be here until Friday.

Drive back into SF in the evening then have the weekend in town.

I’ve got some organizing to do in regards to Burning Man, then depending on what next week looks like, I’ll be heading back to Glenn Ellen in the evening on Sunday, I think, for one more week of summer vacation travel nanny fun.

Then off to Burning Man next Friday.

Oof.

Not quite ready yet.

But not really able to do anything more tonight.

Too tired to figure it out right now.

Time for Mr. Robot, I’m into the second season now, cup of tea, apple, bed.

Night y’all.

See you on the flip.

Just Add Another

July 20, 2016

Thing to an already full plate.

But fuck it.

I signed up for an American Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED child/infant/adult class for the last day of the month.

I don’t have any free time really in August.

August is going to be interesting.

And actually I do have a couple of odd free dates in the first week of August, so if you want to hang out and you’re not doing anything the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, hit me up.

We can do the MOMA.

Get coffee.

Hang out.

Make out.

You know.

Whatever.

Heh.

My certification lapses at the end of this month so I was trying to book in for one of those days that I will be free, but the classes weren’t available and I ended up having to sacrifice a Sunday afternoon for the class.

That being said, it may work out just right for me.

I was thinking I would do the class, then grab a BART and take the train over to Oakland and go to a friend’s housewarming/engagement party.

Looks like a lot of my friends will be there and since I’m already downtown, the BART doesn’t seem all that untenable and it will be nice to get out of the fog and be in the sun, catch up with old friends and see my friend’s house.

It’s hard to believe that I am making plans for the end of July and that August is like right there.

August looks like this: school retreat, out of town working for the family as they spend a couple of weeks in Sonoma at Glenn Ellen, then BurningMan, then back and right into the September with a Mike Doughty show on the 1st and my first weekend of school on the 2nd.

The month is like booked.

Crazy.

I reflected earlier though that August for me, even when I wasn’t in school, has always been pretty booked.

At least for the last nine years it has.

Burning Man takes up a lot of head space, physical space, preparation space, emotional, spiritual space, space space.

It just is a lot.

I have no answers still in regards to rides and shelter and this and that.

But.

I did get a notification from UPS that my signature was going to be required for a package delivery tomorrow.

Of course I’ll either be at work or I’ll be at a morning yoga class.

Which I committed to going to, so maybe I should go sign up for that.

Hang on.

Ugh.

It’s not a teacher I’m very fond of.

However.

It’s yoga and I’m going.

Done.

I’m working a slightly different schedule tomorrow so that the mom and dad can double date with some friends.

The said 8/8:30p.m.

So I’m just preparing myself for 9p.m.

Although still hoping it will just be 8p.m.

Then I can make my evening commitment at 8:30p.m.

But if I can’t make it, I wanted to make sure that I did something outside of work other than work, thus yoga.

And it’s good to be as regular as I can with it, I can tell it in my body now and I like how I feel when I’m getting to regular classes.

Three is the optimal, though I would like to be doing four classes a week, it just hasn’t always worked out that way with my summer time work schedule fluctuating as it has been.

This weekend will be nice and busy too.

Meet with my person Thursday after work for a little doing the deal and a chicken dinner at Firewood Cafe.

Then Friday, doing the deal, a party, and…

Saturday, meeting another one of my people, it takes a village I tell ya, at Tart to Tart, then up and over to Noe Valley to record a podcast.

Coffee after with a friend.

7p.m. commitment.

Then.

Who knows.

Probably catch up on sleep.

No Saturday evening things happening.

That’s a little open.

Sunday, yoga, which I hope to squeak in on Saturday too, but might not.

Then two ladies back to back and after a coffee date and walk down to the beach.

It’s date 1.5.

We met last week Friday at Public Works for the Desert Heart dj collective party.

He was with friends, I was with friends, but we danced a bit and hit it off and he got a hold of me yesterday and said let’s hang out.

So coffee and beach walk date.

And the weeks.

They do pass by.

Time it does so fly.

It’s amazing how quick.

It’s amazing how full my life is.

I am blessed to have so much happening.

A full and grateful heart, a full and gratitude filled life.

It’s awful nice.

I’ll have one more week of “normal” work hours next week, then start shifting into the August scheduling.

Which reminds me.

I also need to figure out how to get to the retreat and back for school.

That shouldn’t be too hard though.

Although, that being said I still need to work out a few details since I’ll be going to work from the retreat.

I may actually end up coming back to San Francisco, renting a car, and then driving back to Glenn Ellen the last day of my retreat, depending on when it lets out.

Ack.

Lots of stuff to juggle.

But.

Also lots of fun.

Despite the school year quickly approaching I am looking forward to seeing friends from my cohort and getting re-acquainted.

And it will be a much different retreat this year as I know the folks in my cohort and I know the space and the facility.

There will be an easing in that should be much softer and gentler than the landing I made last year.

Especially, as I recall that getting a ride there was crazy pants.

The person I was supposed to get a ride from canceled last minute, like minutes before I was supposed to go.

Fortunately I was working with a lady when I got the text and she just said, “hey, I can take you,” and that was that.

See.

Things will work out like that for me and the event will as well.

For me and everything in my life.

As long as I keep in fit spiritual condition.

I will be taken care of.

I always am.

Seriously.

This Is Actually Happening

February 25, 2016

Holy shit.

Sometimes things do really just fall the hell into place.

I got a job offer for playa nanny this morning.

Granted, there are things to work out, logistics, meeting the family, etc.

But.

After a half hour conversation we’re pretty much in agreement.

I’m going to Burning Man.

I’M GOING TO BURNING MAN!!

I’M….

Ok.

Well.

Ha.

You can tell I’m freaking excited.

Plus, despite always wanting a little more time for myself to go and play, I really do feel connected when I am being of service.

Nannying on playa is definitely being of service.

The negotiating that I really need to do is going to be with the family I am currently employed with.

I would be taking it as unpaid time off as when I head off to my school retreat for a week I will be using the last of my vacation time with them.

They were really amenable with me about it last year.

I think perhaps because the mom has gone a number of times and also, I do a damn good job with their boys and I didn’t have a single sick day last year, nor have I had one ever, since I have started working for them.

I did take sick time to go see my father when he was in a coma up in Anchorage.

Hell.

My family flew me there on their dime.

And I had only been working for them for a few months at that point.

I am not too worried that they will be able to be flexible with me.

I certainly am with them.

For instance.

Tomorrow I’m staying a half hour late so they can handle some neighborhood duties.

Then Friday, the boys don’t have school, so I agreed to come in 10a.m.-6p.m. versus the 1p.m.-8p.m. the rest of my week normally is.

Anyway.

I am over the moon.

I’ll get the ticket, the early arrival pass, looks like they want 8-9 days on playa, a great location–on the Esplanade! Where I have never camped before.  The camp is big and has it’s own set up–kitchen, shower trailer, I’d be put up in A/C and not have to worry about a trailer or RV or, god forbid, a tent aka a dust coffin, plus a ride there and back.

And compensation for my time.

I told them what I make as a nanny for my current family and I believe we are going to negotiate a flat rate, they need steady flexibility more than they need an eight hour straight shift, I said I can be their on call person, and I will have time off to go do the deal.

I was very upfront with that need.

I have to do some regular check ins either at Stella, Run Free, or Anonymous Village.

Because that’s how I roll.

And I’m a better nanny for it.

Believe me.

Pinch me.

It’s the last week in February and I’ve got my playa happening.

I’ve been writing about it now, as I mentioned previously, for a few weeks now.

I think I got a Jack Rabbit Speaks and there was something in it about a tax or thing that the BLM wanted to charge the event and I recalled thinking, damn, it’s time to get my ducks in a row regarding the event and figure out how I’m going.

I mean.

There was never really a question that I was going to go.

I knew I was.

Just not sure how.

I remember with great fondness one of my dear friends hugging me fiercely at the going away party I had in Dolores Park before I moved to Paris saying to me, “I’ll see you at Burning Man.”

I was like.

Of course you will!

I don’t know how, since I’m moving to France, but yes, of course, I’ll be there.

And.

Ha.

I was.

In fact, the person who referred me to the family that needs help this upcoming event, was the family I worked for when I got back.

Funny enough, I had already met the mom and dad and the oldest sibling and the grandmother at Lightening in a Bottle a few years ago and had gotten introduced to them in regards to hey, this is a person you should chat with about bringing kids to Burning Man.

And voila.

A few years later.

Here I am getting approached by them.

I love Burning Man.

You might have figured this out.

I am a Burner.

Yup.

One of those people.

And in my own small, rather sweet, if I may say so, way I am a contributor.

Nope.

I don’t built the art or make the music.

But once in a while you may see me dancing in camp to my own private song and feel for a moment that you too can dance.

Or maybe you’ll see me on the street and I’ll point the way forward.

Or best of all.

I will get to look after the littlest ones, the babies and toddlers, the young shining faces, brush away the dust, you will see the shine, so the mom’s and dad’s can go do their work.

I support the people that bring you the event.

And I am damn proud of that.

I’m not one of a kind, there are more playa nannies than one would imagine.

It takes a village, a huge village, to plan that thing out in the desert.

I get to go home again.

I am so thrilled.

Shameless with delight.

One day I will get married out there and my family, my friends, my children, all the soft, trusting hands in my hand, all the strolls through Center Camp Cafe, all the braids and flowers in the hair, all the joy, will accompany me out to the base of the Calico Mountains and sing me forward.

I know exactly how hokey that sounds.

And I don’t give a flying fuck.

It’s all about the love and the giving back.

I get to do both and get taken care of.

Glorious.

This life of mine.

LUcKIEST FUCKING GIRL IN THE WORLD.

Seriously.

 

Full House

June 24, 2015

At least it’s a gigantic house.

But there’s a lot of us here and today I had a moment of needing to be completely alone.

That is not going to happen, but I did take time to reach out to a few people and check in and do the things that I need to do to keep myself centered and sane.

I didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked either, one of the boys had night terrors last night and I woke up to a little boy screaming.

Not the best sound to wake up to.

I wasn’t needed to assuage the dreams, but I found it took a moment to drop back off to sleep and the full impact of so many folks in a space, when I am used to my own space has made me desire the silence that I surround myself with in my home.

I am quiet in the morning.

I get up and do my deal and for the first two hours sometimes, two and a half hours of the day, I don’t interact with anyone (granted 45 minutes of that time is devoted to my morning bicycle commute of 6.5 miles through the city).

I read.

I write.

I eat a mindful breakfast.

I check some e-mails and my bank account and make a mental list of any bills that may need to get sorted and the general effluvia of the day that needs addressing.

There is not that same quiet here.

There are four parents, four boys- 2 and 3/4s, a three-year old, and 2 five-year olds, one baby–a five month old baby girl that I just want to squeeze and squish and kiss every time I see her and I cannot help myself, I flirt with her like nobody’s business.

I’m partial to dark-eyed babies with curly brown hair.

Hell.

I am partial to all babies, whatever flavor or color, they all are delicious.

There is also another nanny, a dog, a caretaker that comes by the house every evening without fail right before the boys are being corralled to the dinner table who throws the whole house into complete ruckus as he checks the swimming pool and the garden and waters the plants and does any minor maintenance that needs doing.

That’s a lot of people, personalities, and activity happening around me.

I feel that I have done a pretty damn good job with my self-care, the family has certainly helped with that–accommodating my “strange” food diet, no sugar no flour, and being mindful of keeping the boys out of my room and space.

I have stayed with my current routine, the one that I would do if I was at home, so I get up two and a half hours before my shift starts, which has shifted a bit later here than it is in the city, also keeping me working later in the day than I am used to, but as I said to the mom tonight when I realized I was getting testy, in my brain, not with the family or the boys or the situation (a gentle reminder that I am out of my milieu and my comfort zone and a deep breath) where can I best be of service?

And when I was told, clean up the kitchen.

Ok.

I did it.

I felt a bit like the help.

Then I realized.

Hello.

You are the help.

Then I remembered, I feel best when I am of service.

So I happily scrubbed the kitchen while the boys and baby all went out to the wide swath of green grass behind the house and ran around the verdant paddock, not even realizing until I was half way through, oh, this is nice.

It was quiet.

The noise is not unpleasant, it’s just a balancing act, knowing when I need to engage, when I need to pull back, when I can help the other nanny, when I can help the other family or my family.

I also know that I am not a live in nanny.

I never have been.

I don’t know that I ever could be.

I like the autonomy of my own space.

I love the going home at the end of my day.

And that’s not the case here.

I have not left here since I arrived on Sunday evening and that in and off itself is surreal for me.

Despite the house being large and rambling and the grounds wide, the house is on 13 acres, I haven’t gotten out a whole lot to do exploring.

Mostly I am getting my exercise running up and down the back stairs and hunting down the various swim suits and rash guards for the boys.

I am getting into the pool everyday and that is enjoyable.

I mean, really, how bad is it when I am getting paid to swim in the pool with my charges on a sunny afternoon in Sonoma.

The constant presence of the parents is something I am used to from working in the city, just not the presence of two other parents and another nanny.

I remind myself to take care of myself.

To stay connected with my people.

One of whom is actually going to meet me in Sonoma tomorrow evening.

I cleared it with the parents to go out tomorrow and do that thing I need to do.

The timing has not been great for getting me out to do the deal and I am beginning to feel that, but tomorrow, I get out and I get to meet one of my ladybugs who is going to drive into Sonoma to meet with me.

Thank you Jeebus.

I need it.

I actually called and left her a message telling her I needed her to call and check in with me, because my solutions are sub optimal, but when I hear someone else’s problems, I suddenly have none.

Like really?

I have any problems.

Please.

I found out twenty-four hours ago that I was awarded a second scholarship for $30,000.

Which brings me to my total awards package of $80,000.

Again, who has problems?

I called my mom and she suggested that since things were going so well my way that I should be looking at getting my PhD.

Mom.

Can I please enjoy the moment?

Just let me.

Ugh.

I know better.

And that’s when I knew I was just a little spiritually off kilter, don’t go to the dry well expecting a drink of water.

My mom means well, but I know better.

I wanted something from her, I wanted acknowledgement, love, accolades.

I don’t need to look for validation from outside sources and when I realized I was doing just that I started making the necessary conversations happen to get me out of the full house and off into the world for a sit down in a church basement on a crappy folding chair.

It’s a lot more comfortable place for me to sit then in my head.

The house may be full and I may get overwhelmed at times, but this is a temporary situation and I know I am doing a really good job for the family.

I am grateful for that.

I’ll be grateful for Friday too.

But until then.

I will continue to ask, “where can I best be of service?”

Because when I do that.

I know that I am exactly in the right place.

Full or empty house.

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.

 

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.

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

Home*

August 17, 2014

And here I am at Burning Man.

Good to be home.

Good to have been given my first and quite spectacular gift without expecting it, a bracelet from Naked Bob–black rubber like those Lance Armstrong Live Strong bracelets, with the slogan on it: “Naked Bob’s Gun Camp For Kids Burning Man 2014.”

I am deeply honored.

My favorite part of the bracelet is that there is another little message in black embossed on the inside of the bracelet which says, “fuck you.”

God, I love you Burning Man.

I also don’t know how much of this blog I am going to be able to write.

I don’t have a hook up yet to charge, but I do have access to the internet and that is awesome.  It’s a great privilege and one I do not take lightly.

I will do my best to post every day and put up photos when I can.

I just shot photographs with my Iphone 5c today, nothing with my Fuji.

That will be rectified tomorrow.

For now, it is just really nice to be here.

I have gotten my trailer set up and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Burning Man.

The stars are so deep and full and rich, I have the door to the trailer open and it is just like looking into the heart of the Universe.

It’s one of my favorite things about coming out so early, there’s so little light pollution, it is as if I could just reach up and touch them.

The whole world makes me feel like I can just reach out and touch it.

The mountains, the flat of the playa, the overturned bowl of Delphic blue, the deep high sky that seems only to be over this particular place and time and it delights me that I get to be a part of it once again.

Granted there are always challenges.

I seem to have caught a cold from one of my charges–all three of them and two of the mom’s this past week have had a cold–and my nose is tender, which does not bode well for being out in the dust.

Fortunately, it is early and there’s not a lot of traffic to kick up the dust and the rain seems to have passed and its great weather.

It was hot when we landed, but not unbearably hot and at one point when we were getting water in Gerlach I just wanted to sit out in the sun and soak it all into my bones to carry back with me when I go back to that socked in fog city, San Francisco.

It’s going to be a long haul, but I am happy to have gotten here and to have my things arranged and ready to go for my first day as playa nanny.

I have my laminate.

I’ll get a radio most likely as well.

I got my utility belt out and it’s loaded with hand salve and lip balm and my Sigg water bottle just hooks right onto the belt.  I also have my goggles and bandana and sunblock ready for tomorrow.

And all my finery.

“I feel like I stand out like a sore thumb,” a new friend confided in me at the Commissary as we stood out in a sea of dusty black.

“Don’t worry,” I said and patted her arm, “I will be doing it up in style tomorrow, I feel really unredressed, frankly, being here in my jeans and tennis shoes.”

I had not had the chance to change-up my travel outfit into my playa clothes as the dropping of the family’s trailer had been derailed and was late getting set up.

We all had dinner in our “street clothes.”

And then after dinner I had visitors drop by camp.

I got to see friends and hang out in the back of a truck bed out underneath the twilight sky, dusky velvet with violet love and indigo sparkled with pinks and mauve.

My friends were so beautiful it hurt my heart a little to look at them.

That might be perhaps what I appreciate the most about Burning Man–it breaks my heart open again and again and forces me to let more love into my being.

“The wind is blowing in my eyes, that’s why I am tearing up,” I shared with them, and though true, it was also not true, they were so rich and stunning and lovely to look upon it brought tears to my eyes.

To be blessed to be in the presence of such luminous beauty is an honor.

I love my life.

I love my friends.

I can’t wait to see the rest of them as they trickle in.

*This is where my computer decided to punk out on me and said no more blog lady pants go to bed*

And now it’s tomorrow.

Or today.

Or my first day on playa, true, my first morning.

I slept well, it took a moment, to fall asleep in a new place the first night is always a bit of a challenge, but it was done.

Unfortunately I woke up an hour before my 7 a.m. alarm.

Fortunately I woke up an hour before my 7 a.m. alarm.

I got to see the sunrise, and that’s always a nice thing to do.

Lots of folks at Burning Man see the sunrise, but they are usually on the other end of it, staying up late to see it happen.

I tend to be up early.

My shifts officially start at 8 a.m.

I have to be up and dressed, a visit to the port-a-potty, sunblock, bed made, prayers said, utility belt strapped on, and ready to hit the ground running.

The day was great to start, though, I will admit I am tired now and it would not be a bad idea to take a nap.  I don’t know that I am going to get one today, I think there will be days I do, but today being the first day and the mama and the papa doing all the stuff, it may be hard to get one in.

My charge is down, which is how I am able to write at the moment, and my computer is charging, which seemed to be the issue last night, ran out of juice.

I have yet to run out of juice myself and I am hoping to keep it that way.

More dusty adventures to come.

 

PS

If you are coming out to the great dust bowl family reunion and want to visit, I am located in a Bambi Airstream at 8:45 & C at Camp Equilibrium.  Just ask for “Mary Fucking Poppins,” or “The Poppins.”

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