Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Burning Man I go

white witchCan you believe tomorrow I leave for Burning Man?

The months have flown by and I, for one, am glad I started assembling my equipment way back in February.

Burning Man can be done casually, but for this planner, I needed all the time I could take to get myself ready.

And I think I’m ready.

At least as ready as I’ll ever be.

I must thank my camp mates – especially Twisty, Illiana, and Ranger Chicago for helping me out and giving me really helpful advice.

But I especially have to thank Tejas who took me under his wing and helped me to prep for Burning Man physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I’m beside myself with excitement right now!

I’m leaving with a bike, a tent, 5 supply totes, 3 costume totes, 1 clothing tote, 2 drink totes (yes, I have more booze than clothes), 1 food tote, and 1 linen tote.  Totes are small (1.5’x1.5’x2.5′) so don’t worry that I’ve packed everything.

My blog won’t be on hiatus for the next 12 days. I’ve scheduled some reposts of oldies but goodies to get posted every day for your reading pleasure.

See you in back in the Default World when I get back.

Until then never forget the Burning Man motto….

….Safety third!

Sleeping naked and tent sex

IMG_7460I’ve gone through phases in my life.

Sometimes I prefer to sleep naked. Like when I have a new lover I’m “sleeping” with.

Sometimes I prefer to sleep clothed. Like when I had a new baby to deal with and was running in and out of my bedroom to feed him during the night.

My level of unclothedness is dependent on my level of sexual prowess.

New man = high prowess

New baby = low prowess

Fortunately at Burning Man, there will be no new babies. Only lovers.

And what with it getting so hot so early in the day I imagine I will want to sleep naked not just for the action it brings me but also for the coolness it delivers.

I already have the satin sheets to make my bed nice and cool and slippery.

Now I just need the man to put inside those sheets.

Will it be The Pirate?

Chances are good…

Although, for what it’s worth, I can have sex on a blow up mattress with satin sheets just about anywhere.

On the playa, there are sex palaces just waiting for me to hook up in them. Regardless of where I am on the playa, numerous people within a block or two of me have spent months planning and creating the most romantic and sexy places… just for burners.

Who am I to pick a boring old air mattress and neighbors who will make fun of me over a romp at Ashram Galactica?

You could’ve knocked me over with a feather

MichelleUnder the advisement of my life coach Chris, I wrote a letter to my ex-husband and hand delivered it to him on Sunday.

It was a momentous letter where I admitted I’d been a shoddy co-parent and thanked him for the wonderful 10 year relationship that we had which gave me the two greatest gifts I could ask for – my sons.

I wasn’t expecting much of a response from my ex. Perhaps silence. Perhaps an “I told you so”.

Instead I got a “Thank you for the card and kind words.”

I was stunned.

We had a brief but pleasant exchange.

And suddenly I’m filled with hope that he and I can model something better than a dysfunctional divorce to our kids.

Is it really as simple as Chris makes it out to be?

That in the end, it’s how you frame it that matters?

You look at the positives, you get a positive interaction. You look at the negatives, you get a negative interaction.

Here’s to many more positive interactions between me and the boys’ father.

Woop!

Holes in my education

Growing up, we never took camping trips.

Our “version” of a camping trip was a monthly stay at the Blue Dolphin Inn in Carmel where we’d go beaching and antiquing with my parents. Or another monthly trip to the St. Francis Hotel in Union Square in San Francisco where we’d go shopping and dining out.

I wasn’t aware of my lack of helpful camping skills* until I met my birth family who are all about camping, dirt bike riding, and four-wheeling.

I have no idea how to strap down a motorcycle. I over pack for camping trips ALL THE TIME. My menu choices are advanced culinary achievements.

I’m realizing, as I get ready to going to Burning Man, that I am missing vital parts of my education for things like packing a trailer.

Heavier items in front. Got it.

Lighter items in back Got it.

Strap your load down. What?

I have no idea how to use a ratchet strap. In fact, I’m so bad with ratchet straps I had to CUT ONE OFF MY TENT TRAILER that my ex-boyfriend had put on it.

Just because I couldn’t figure out how to get it off.

Not that I have a general problem figuring out how to get things off. ;-)

And come to think of it, after wielding a hammer this weekend making some funhouse mirrors for the camp, I realized how shoddy my hammering skills were.

And I have serious doubts as to whether I can wield a sledgehammer and swing it with any sort of skill such that it lands on target and pounds my rebar stake into the ground. All 18 inches of it.

Not that I have a general problem with poundings. ;-)

So there you have it. Serious gaps in my education leading me to worry about my ability to be self-reliant on the playa.

I may need a little help.

Sigh.

Burning Man, your 10 principles are challenging me.

*FYI, I can change my own oil, skin an abalone in under a minute, and change a flat tire, so I’m not totally helpless.  Also?  I own a sawzall.  ‘Nuff said.

Mortified

IMG_7281Let’s say there’s this girl.

Pretty. Maybe she’s blond. Smart. Funny.

But I digress.

Suppose this girl shows up at a friend’s house for a little action, if you know what I mean.

And action is what she finds.

In spades.

Matter of fact, she has to shovel through all the action she’s getting, if you catch my drift.

And lo and behold, it’s time to get dressed, and she’s looking for her underwear and her friend says to her, “I like your underwear. It’s pretty. I can see why you keep it even though there’s holes in it.”

Well, said girl *might* have suddenly freaked out at the thought of getting caught in holey underwear and immediately inspected hers to see if that was the case.

AND PERHAPS IT WAS.

Well, all this is just to say that if that was the case, the girl might be totally and completely mortified.

On an epic scale.

Because the only thing WORSE than wearing underwear with holes in it, is getting CAUGHT by a lover in them.

This supposed girl might have to make sure she wears the awesome silk panties next time she goes over for a little, ahem… action.

Things you don’t know you don’t know

IMG_7299I’ve been having some health issues lately.

Nothing big, I hope, just a random cluster of symptoms that could mean I’m going into heart, liver, or kidney failure.

It could also be nothing more than a health issue that lifestyle changes will fix.

Cut back on the drinking, get more exercise, lower my salt intake, etc.

My doctor, after commiserating with me over my symptoms, prescribed a course of Lasix to rid my body of the excess water.

This is all well and good but genius that I am, I took the Lasix BEFORE bed and THEN SPENT THE REST OF THE NIGHT GOING TO THE BATHROOM!

So I’m just making a mental note for next time…

DO NOT TAKE LASIX BEFORE BEDTIME UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE UP ALL NIGHT!

Insects aren’t MOOP!

IMG_7281According to reports, swarms of bugs are taking over Black Rock City.

I’ve seen the pictures, and it’s not pretty.

But I have to wonder, how long can a bunch of bugs survive in the desert without water?

Will they be all but gone by the time I get there?

Burning Man principles state radical self-reliance, so I went ahead and bought bug repellant – an essential oil based one I bought in Scotland to deal with midges, a citronella based one as a DEET alternative, a cream with 34% DEET, and a spray with 98% DEET which is guaranteed to melt the skin off your skeleton and mutate your genes for 6 generations to come.

But knowing me the way I do, regardless of what I do, I will get bit and I will react. So I’m also taking precautions and buying anti itch cream (could come in handy for other things) and something called an itch stick which my friend Dusty introduced me to at Precompression.

It magically took away all the itch.

And now, after all this prep, reports are coming out of Black Rock City that say that the swarms of insects are leaving/dying off.

Couldn’t happen too soon.

Honestly, it was beginning to sound like the plagues were sweeping over Egypt. Only in this case Egypt was Black Rock City.

The good news is that even if there are insects left, they will not be considered MOOP so I am allowed to swat and slap the little buggers who bother me.

Insects aren’t MOOP!

Bugs!*

It’s not enough that we have to deal with thunderstorms, lightning, winds, rain, the heat and the sun at Burning Man, it looks like this year we will have to deal with one additional feature – BUGS.

As in the biting variety.

Check out this picture of swamps of the little buggers around a lamp post.

bugsApparently, they are everywhere and they are there in spades.

pic postNow I’m a camper, so I’m used to having to deal with bugs. I’ve even camped in places so overrun with bugs that the only thing I could do was take my dog and go inside my tent to enjoy my beer. Ok, beers.

But I have to admit, I was looking forward to being in the desert and not having to worry about bugs, much less mosquitos. I react to mosquito bites and get HUGE welts (think silver dollar size) on my body where they bite me.

And the West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitos in Gerlach, some 14 miles away from Black Rock City.

Another thing to worry about.

This seems to be par for the course with Burning Man.

It’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

So I’m packing some bug spray – the homeopathic, citronella variety and the nasty, melt-your-skin-off DEET variety.

This is just another irony in a long line of ironies about Burning Man that I have learned to accept with little grace and a lot of humor.

 

*Now I’m hearing reports of scorpions.  It’s like the 10 plagues of Egypt!

Burning Man expectations

Burning manNow seems like as good a time as any to record my expectations for Burning Man, having never been before and having no idea what it’ll really be like.

For me, Burning Man is just one big adventure. And it has provided adventure since the moment I got my ticket way back in February. That $390 purchase launched me into an adventure of epic proportions as I attempted to prepare myself to survive in the desert for 10 days and leave no trace of me behind.

It is with great humor that I recall Tejas telling me that my ash from incense is MOOP and must be collected and disposed of properly. I vented for days about that.

And now, being almost completely packed, I remember the stress I felt over ALL THE THINGS I HAD TO GATHER TO BE COMFORTABLE ON THE PLAYA.

The truth is I expect to be uncomfortable on the playa. I expect to be dusty and hot, sweaty and sticky. I expect my nose will hurt and my feet will be sore. I expect discomfort.

But then I also expect an amazing experience which will become a legendary chapter in my life. I expect to be surprised by how friendly and open everyone is. I expect that it’ll take me a day or two to adjust and become open and friendly myself. Or maybe it’ll happen sooner. The playa, I think, has a way of reducing people to who they really are and stripping away all the falseness and bravado.

Will I be as adventurous I think I will be? Only time will tell. But I think the chances are pretty good that I will take on the challenges and interactivity of Burning Man.

I expect that I will also get burnt out. Of drinking. Of exploring. Of talking to people. I expect to need to retreat to my tent to relax and get some much needed alone time.

And I also expect that there will be a cauldron of emotions to deal with in the Village. Hopefully none of the drama will be mine.

I expect to be wowed by the art and performances at Burning Man. I think some of it could move me to tears. The Temple of Promise will be a sacred place of grief and healing for me. And the burning of it will signify a momentous change and catharsis for myself and many others.

I expect to feel awkward as I try to navigate the world of Burning Man for the first time. I expect to feel like a newbie trying to learn the ropes to a very difficult and complex course. I expect to rely on my good friends Tejas and Illiana for pointers and tips as to how to handle myself on the playa. But mostly, I’ll feel awkward. And then I won’t.

I expect to have body issues crop up as I see young things with prefect bodies parading around naked or semi naked. But I expect to also feel beautiful in my own skin and celebrate my own body while I’m there.

I expect much. And yet the richness of the experience that is Burning Man 2015 isn’t even captured in my expectations. From February to today, I’ve already begun the adventure and am looking forward to spending some time in the desert exploring, experiencing, and participating. Six plus months of preparation have led to this moment, as I stand at the precipice ready to dive into the enigma that is Burning Man.

Embarassed

white witchPart of getting ready for Burning Man is packing all the supplies you’ll need to survive wind, rain, and heat in the high Nevada desert.

That’s a lot of stuff.

For instance, in case it rains and the playa becomes impassable, you need to have a toilet – a bucket lined with a plastic bag, with a pool noodle seat cushion. Oh, and put some kitty litter inside. And incidentally, the best kind of garbage bag to use is a trash compactor bag – those things can take a beating and hold up. Which is exactly what you want out of a trash bag you’re pooping into.

Too much sun? Bring a parasol. Got a sunburn? Bring aloe vera gel. Too much heat? Bring a shade structure. Wind? Bring ratchet straps.

Sigh.

You get my point?

There are a million contingencies out there on the playa and you have to plan for them.

At a certain point I just gave up.

I have, I’m embarrassed to say, 15 small totes (24” x 13” x 16”) with all my stuff in them. Not including the stuff that doesn’t fit in totes like wood blocks to lift my cooler up off the ground. And my air mattress. And my cooler. And my tent. Etc.

There’s just SO. MUCH. STUFF.

Everyone laughs when I tell them I have 15 totes. They assume that I have lots of costumes. But the costumes don’t take up that much room – a mere 2 totes. What takes up room is all the supplies I have to bring – the electrical gear and the straps, and the lighting.

I joked earlier that my playa name should be Eager Beaver because I’m so gung ho to get to Burning Man. But now I’m thinking a more appropriate name for me would be Pack Rat.

Of course my friend Tejas gave me a little reprieve last night while I was driving him to his RV. When I told him how embarrassed I was, he told me not to worry because everyone figures out what to bring and what not to bring on their first burn.

Relief.

Yes, I did bring some frivolous stuff – like atomizers and essential oils to scent the tent and give aromatherapy massages. And a disco ball (very small, of course). And EL wire. And condoms. And a bag of “toys.”  And a pile of totally frivolous knickers….

Well, you can’t expect a girl to be completely practical and pragmatic. One must have a little fun as well!