Posts Tagged ‘wood smoke’

Day Two

May 22, 2016

New York.

I’m beat.

I mean.

I walked so much today, I started to get shin splints.

But I couldn’t bring myself to get on the subway again after getting off it in Brooklyn at the Barclay Center stop.

I had gotten switched up on the trains as they were doing construction and the line that I was supposed to connect with was suddenly no longer available and I could have done another transfer but wanted off.

I wanted to walk.

That’s the best way to see things.

On foot.

I took loads of photos and saw some awesome graffiti and paste art that I wouldn’t have if I had been on the train.

That being said, I am pretty proud of myself at having navigated as well as I did.

The train system is smart and pretty easy to figure out, but I did find myself having some anxiety this morning as I headed off to the big city from Brooklyn.

And I realized now that it was my first time by myself figuring out how to go from one point to the other.

And I did fine.

I did get turned around, but, haha, not on the damn train, on the sidewalk.

I am so freaking dyslexic, I read my navigation backward, I literally look at the screen and go right when I should go left.

I am so grateful for the navigation and map apps on my phone.

I would have been wandering around in desperate circles.

I am a total know it by mistake person and a land mark person.


That church there, that’s where I need to go, or I can go on this block, or I will remember, as I did earlier when I was at Union Square, which way I came the only other time I was there and did the deal at the Seafarer’s Union hall, but ask me if it’s North or South, East or West, and I am at a complete standstill and close to tears, if not in tears.

I don’t have pet peeves per se.


Ask me to be your navigator and I will be a very unhappy lady.

Don’t hand me the map.

Don’t ask me to figure it out.

Just don’t.

You want a happy traveling companion, do not ask me for directions.


Expect to get lost.

Getting lost for some is fun, an adventure, a party, but for me, it just produces a lot of anxiety.

I know from a lot of self work and a lot of introspection and a lot of having done the deal and some outside therapy that has, oh, a little to do with needing to control my environment and being in fear.

It’s a safety thing.

I get it.

I let myself be gentle with myself when it comes up.

I have, however, been on the receiving end of some not so nice words having gotten lost with people.

It’s not comfortable.

I’m very well aware of it, but it will still catch me totally off guard and then I’m like, fuck, I’m lost, how did that happen?

But today, mostly, I just got lost in things I love.

I got lost in books.


The books.

Stacks and stacks and heaps and piles and floors and aisles of books.

So many yummy books.


The smell.

Such a good smell.

Not my most favorite smell in the world, wood smoke, bonfire, fire wood burning in the fireplace on a cold night, but right up there.

The clean, crisp, warm smell of paper and book binding glue and I just perused the aisles at The Strand and was a very happy lady.

My friend that I met today suggested popping into it.

And my.

What a good suggestion.

I actually put down all but one of the books I wanted to buy.

Not from a place of frugality, although, that did rear its head a bit, but more from the perspective of, oh, wait, how much weight do I want to carry around?


Can I get this book in San Francisco?

The answers were obvious.

But I did buy some notebooks, yay!

And some stickers.

Double yay.

And a magnet.

And one book for the flight back.

So that was nice.

My friend departed before me, off to work on his film project, and left me with directions to get to the MOMA.

Which I promptly forgot when I was on the second floor of The Strand.

Where did he say to go?

Get out the phone.

Map it out.

And yes, still spend way too much time when I got off the subway walking the wrong way down the streets.

Seriously I have a problem.

I did, however, make it to the MOMA.

And started at the top.


Although, to be honest, not my favorite, not in my top ten Rothko’s at all, I didn’t like the lightness of the colors he used, I like the deep oranges and greens or the super dark brick reds almost black or the indigo violet blue ones, this one, though luminous and gave me a pause to look at, was not something that held me for very long.

I was drawn to Van Gough’s Starry Night.

Me and too many other tourists, good grief, too many, too many, too many fucking tourists.

Which is probably why I enjoyed the walk home through Brooklyn so much, like that, “home.”  I have caught myself saying that a number of times, I’m heading home, I’ll be home soon, or I’m at home, and it’s the Air Bnb I’m staying in.

Off all the places I’ve been in the city, I actually like this neighborhood and Greenpoint the best, there’s a mix of cultures and ethnicities that make me happy and I feel right at home and yeah, there’s projects, but I have been in the projects before and I just put on the walk and I am not bothered.

If I were to move to New York, which I don’t foresee, at all, the winters, yo, I would live in Brooklyn–but not Williamsburg, too white, too many hipsters and man buns and women reading tarot in a way too serious manner selling over priced hyper curated vintage and emergency sage smudging kits.

Dude I think I had seen it all at that point.


You’re selling emergency smudging kits?

Where am I?

Santa Cruz or Brooklyn?

I feel better in this neighborhood with the barber shops and the families and the hair salons, the little bodegas and the funky art and the graffiti.

But that’s just me.

I’m often at home where ever I go.

And yes, I got asked for directions again.

This time in Greenpoint by a woman from the city trying to figure out what train to get back on.

I had to laugh.


Of course.

I helped.

The blind leading the blind.

I also walked, because I had a funny feeling about being on the train past the point where I had gotten off.

I don’t know why, I don’t have to know why, but I had to turn around when I was heading down the stairs to the underground, it felt wrong.

And it was raining and I was tired and I thought, shoot, just call a car, but no, the walking.

The brownstones and the lights within, the big leafy trees, the sound of the rain falling like that, the smell of wet sidewalks.

It was a nice way to sort through my day and recall all the lovely art I saw.

I only got to the Rothko before digressing.

The ones that stood out for me, Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World, that stopped me in my tracks.

The two Klimt’s I saw, Hope II, Adele Boch-Bauer II.

The Mondrians, three of them, just stunning.

The Hopper, House by the Railroad.

Stumbling upon the Monet Water Lilies, I did not know they were there, at least this version of them, and I was brought to tears to think that I have gotten to see them in Paris and in New York.

How lucky am I?

The Seurat, Evening Honfleur, brought me to tears.

I was so startled by it and just stood transfixed.

I don’t always know that is going to happen with me and art.

I get something deep within, I am moved, I am transported, I feel deep joy.

And gratitude.

From my humble, poor, meek beginnings.

To a bit of a traveler and a bit of an art junky.

It’s so nice.

I’m so lucky.

I really.

I’ll say it again.

The luckiest girl in the world.


All tuckered the fuck out.

One more day New York.

Let’s make it smashing, shall we?

I hear you have some art for me to see.

Next stop.

The new Whitney.

But first.


Night y’all.

I Don’t Know Where I Am Going

October 24, 2013

But it smells like sea salt and wood smoke.

I blew a stop sign with tears in my eyes from the wind and the fog rushing past my face, the lights around me haloed in the glimmer of headlights and my heart soared just in front of me, clearing the space for my body to follow.

Flying on my bicycle to the beach.

It is cold outside.

I was bundled up, long sleeves, sweatshirt, jean jacket, fingerless gloves.

But it was exhilarating coming home from the Inner Sunset, the smell in the air reminding me that the cold weather is not just coming, it is here.

It seems a little early, but that could just be me, or it could be that it gets cold here, at the edge of the world, faster, then it did when I was in the Mission District.

The fog has laid claim to my neighborhood and the wind has a bite to it, not a teasing nip, a bite.

It’s not a mean bite yet, but I sense that I am going to be bundling up differently to ride around here when the rainy season hits.

Something that should be addressed soon, the coming November rains.

November is like, uh, next fucking week.

This month is zooming by and no, I don’t know what I am going to be for Halloween.

Probably nothing.

I am not a huge fan of Halloween.

The jackassery wears me out.

Oh, I like to dress up, really, did you see me today?

Flower in the hair, glitter on the nails, sparkle in the leggings, lip gloss, pig tails.

I looked like a juvenile delinquent.

I am a juvenile delinquent, with a few grey hairs sneaking in there.

But I don’t have plans to go do anything.

It falls on a Thursday, which means I will be taking my little girl charge to music class in the Haight and I may dress her up, but myself?


Unless I throw on my crinoline just for fun.

I could do that.

Hell, I wear my crinoline any time I feel like I need some fun in the routine.

For it is becoming a routine, slow, sure, steady.

I am finding my way about the work and the neighborhood and the recovery needs are being met and I am seeing how the bicycle is good for getting me to and fro.

I am finding times that work for bedtime and writing time and going to the job time.

I was thinking this morning that I may implement an extra fifteen minutes into my schedule into the day at the beginning by getting up at 6:45a.m. instead of 7a.m. on Mondays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays–to do more of my morning writing.

Thinking about it does not mean that I will, I just found myself with a few extra minutes this morning and really like the pace that I had to do my writing.

Plus, I was thinking of an article a friend had sent me about a person who for the last 13 years has been spending three hours a day doing daily writing.

On top of what sounded like full-time work and raising two kids.

I don’t have the two kids, unless you count the nannying, but I do have the full-time work and I get in about an hour an a half to two hours every day.

I type quite fast.

And I write quite fast.

Some practise at doing both and I can knock out the work far quicker than one would think.

I am not quite up to speed with my fingers finding the keyboard as fast as my thoughts come, but I am not far off.

I can hear the words and there is a pause between the word in my head and the word on the screen, but it is not much and it certainly is not as long as it used to be.

The same for the hand writing, which actually is faster than the typing.

Or perhaps my brain is a little slower in the morning when I am doing the pages.

Regardless, I do the writing and I do the work and it will one day pay off.

It already has in amazing ways.

I feel like people know of me and about me and I am able to share my experiences with a world that I cherish.

I like that my friends have tabs on me.

I like that folks I bump into randomly at 5th and Irving know that I have gone surfing recently and just got a wetsuit.

I find it a way to keep me accountable and not isolated.

Although it is not an excuse to not see my friends.

I like to talk to people face to face and engage that way too.

Much better than reading about it on Facecrack or whatever other social medium you use.

I like that I get information from very diffuse places and people.

I have a lot of odd connections out there to a lot of different kinds of folks from my family to my friends to people I have met at Burning Man, I like the breadth of my community.

But I also like sitting down with a friend and despite being flattered about someone reading about my day on my blog, I would like to see them as well.

I get to see Joanie this Friday and another old friend is coming into town on Sunday and we are grabbing coffee, I haven’t seen her in years, it will be good to catch up.

And I can tell them about the sea and the way it smells at night.

How yes, I look so young and dewy fresh, but it’s just the fog condensation on my cheeks not a new product from MAC.

I don’t know where I am going, I say to myself, but I do know I am going to be writing about it, wherever it is.

Today, it is a room down by the beach lit with candles and filled with music and notebooks and songs in my head.

A wetsuit waits in the closet.

A book waits to be read.

A tea-pot to be filled.

I don’t know how it all works out, but it does.

And I guarantee that the words, despite myself, will continue to come.

Because I don’t know where they are going either.

Just that they are always there for me.

Like the smell of the sea and the soft shrine of smoke adrift in my heart as I sail down the dark streets on my trusty sparkling stead heading off into the Sunset.

The Rainbow Connection

August 22, 2013

I should just start calling these the day after blogs.

The weather was big time again yesterday.

Dust storm white out.



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

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

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

Just as I was leaving the shower area another started.

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

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

Damn, Gina, stake that shit down.

This wind is not fucking around.

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

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

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

The hooting was heard all across the playa.



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

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

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

That is not bad.

I used to think those were horrid odds.

However, I feel grateful to get any.

And grateful that my camera still works.

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

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

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



NO fun at all.

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

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

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

Working on keeping those clean too.

Lots of baby spa time.


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

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

Not a bad way to spend your Burning Man.

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

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

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

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

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

I do feel like I am family.

That is how I like to roll.

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

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

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

Not Thursday, though.

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

They met ten years ago on a Ranger shift.

So romantic.

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

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

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

The weather clears after Thursday.

It should be hot and clear for the event.

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

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

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

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

Wood smoke.

My favorite smell.

So good.

So happy to be here.

Home is where the heart is.

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

Right now.


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