unSCruz 2018: Appreciations

All right.

The overwhelming story that emerges from unSCruz 2018 is one of community.

Despite the fact that we took up more space than we were alotted, we managed to squeeze everyone but the largest camper into our little plot of unSCruz real estate.

It was a beautiful thing to be living in community with so many wonderful, lovely people.

And of course when it was time to gift spankings and cookies to the crowds, everyone stepped up and played their part and we ran like a smooth well-oiled spanking and cookie baking machine.

I must give a shot out to all my campmates who really killed it food-wise for our Saturday potluck.

And then stuck around on Sunday to help tear down the camp, load my truck, and just generally being awesome people I loved spending my weekend with.

We had two women camping with us who were newbies to regional burns and they really rocked their outfits and spent time socializing with their camp mates.

I heart them for embracing the Burning Man culture, despite not having experienced a Burn.

And then there were the fabulous trio of men who complimented me and flirted with me ALL WEEKEND LONG.

They also were fabulous chefs and magnificent company the entire time.

And of course, who can forget the ladies, especially Marina who walked around in a tutu and bra and looked smashing!

Then there’s Yvette who gave out the MOST AMAZING HUGS and really made all of us feel loved and cared for.

GQ, who I swear is my brother from another mother, was a most excellent volunteer and really took on the role of helping out everyone in camp and in the larger community.

“MotherP” and Tejas deserve special kudos for looking after me (more on that later), and of course who can forget Dan and his girlfriend who really added color to the event and our camp.

I also have to thank Ned for bringing his hot tub and then soaking with me in it.

But no weekend recap would be complete without mentioning our fearless leader (and his lovely wife) who made the entire event possible by producing it with the incomparable Sass.

Without Twisty and Sass, there would be empty fairgrounds and no festival.

So much more to say, but for now, just thank yous all around and my unending appreciation for the extraordinary individuals whom they are!

Hugs and kisses for everyone!

Flashback unSCruz 2016 – Friday’s Downpour

IMG_9569UnSCruz was a pounding, loud, nipple-sucking, rainy weather, chilly, vodka-filled, sangria-soaked, cheesy good time.

More on the nipple sucking later.

It started out laborious.

We had to set up our camps in the pouring rain.

Definitely. Not. Fun.

Both Marina and I were challenged to operate in these adverse conditions and we finally found ourselves sitting around the table in my little tent trailer, eating KFC and taking shelter from ALL THAT RAIN.

Todd, Marina’s boyfriend, was a trooper. He kept our spirits high while he himself was soaked to the bone.

If I was on Survivor, I’d definitely want Todd and Marina on my team.

So my little tent trailer got set up.

IMG_9528I sacked out inside the tent and attempted to warm up with some vodka and lemonade before the evening’s festivities.

The rain stopped around 6 pm and we all ventured outside to cook dinner (spaghetti and meatballs) and then go mingle with friends.

Ali Bar Bar was CRAZY FUN!

It could be that a girl, who shall remain nameless, wound up showing off her breasts to a handful of people, two of whom decided to play with her nipples AT THE SAME TIME.

Wild.

Much drinking and merriment ensued and I am happy to report I did not go to bed alone.

I had a bed buddy who helped me warm up my bed so I was nice and toasty before I fell asleep.

Sigh.

It’s the little things – like a nice warm bed – that make me happy.

Giving my bed it’s own bed

Ok, this I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

Why is it that when I am camping, sleeping on an air mattress is NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP ME WARM?

WHY?!

You’d think ALL THAT AIR would be insulation enough.

You’d think, but you’d be WRONG!

Because the ground SUCKS all the heat out of the air in the air mattress which then SUCKS ALL THE HEAT OUT OF YOU.

And you spend an entire weekend shivering in bed, only sleeping when completely exhausted, wondering if you need to put on another pair of socks.

I am not a thermal physicist.

Nor am I an expert backpacker who knows all about sleeping bag ratings, insulation types, and how to stay warm in winter weather.

All I know is I haul a bed out there.

I haul in back in.

I freeze every time.

My bed is made up of an 18 inch thick air mattress, a fitted sheet, and a very stylish (if I do say so myself) comforter with matching pillows (modeled here by The Swede).

I finally gave in and bought a double size sleeping mat on Amazon to layer UNDER my air mattress.

That’s right.

MY BED IS GETTING ITS OWN BED!

Don’t think this doesn’t piss me off.

Why should I spend another $60 buying a mat so that my air mattress can stay warm?!

So that I can fucking stay warm!

That’s why.

Who needs sleep, anyways?

The thing that I remember MOST about unSCruz last year (besides some stellar “naps” with The Swede) was how FRIGGING COLD it was in the evenings.

I brought this to wear at night:

Now, there are two things wrong with this.

  1. It is obviously not a cold weather romper. In fact, I doubt any romper is appropriate for cold weather.
  2. I can’t figure out how to get into it sober, let alone figure out how to get into it when I’m drunk, in the dark, in a tent, with The Swede watching. There’s just too many straps and moving parts.

Because of this, I did something I almost never do.

I slept in the nude.

And let me tell you, I was SNUGGLED UP AGAINST THE SWEDE THE WHOLE TIME.

Why it is that men are like furnaces when it’s cold but my ass is like an ice cube?

Apparently during the night, I STOLE all the covers and The Swede had to wake me up and ask for the covers back.

Of course, I obliged.

Then I snuggled with him to warm HIM up.

Because I’m sweet like that.

This time around there will be no Swede, warm or cold, to keep me company.

I am sleeping in a small 7 foot by 8 foot tent.

I’m less than enthusiastic about my prospects for keeping warm at night.

You see, I much prefer a human body next to me instead of a pillow.

But somehow I’m sure I’ll survive.

And who needs sleep anyways?

Read my mind, I dare you!

I am driving everyone around me ABSOLUTELY crazy.

I know this because I’ve managed to even irritate MYSELF.

And yet, I still persist.

You see, I’m fixated on the Pagan Bunny Burn and my level of organization has gone THROUGH THE ROOF!

Inventory?

Check.

Meal schedule?

Check.

Map?

Check.

Color-coded map with event notes?

Check.

I mean, really. . .who DOES THIS?

Today I cross referenced the schedule of activities to list the food events, times, and locations on our meal schedule so that we can see at a glance what’s happening foodwise at any given time.

It’s moments like these that Tejas can sit back, laugh, and THANK GOD he’s not in a relationship with me.

Because right now, I’m SUPER irritating.

The thing is, I DON’T REMEMBER the stuff I pack or where it is unless I write it down.

Do you know how many times I bought ratchet straps because I have no idea where my other ones are?

[They’ve been eaten by Tejas’ MotorBeast, btw.]

I’ve spent a lot of money getting ready for this burn.

I even bought a propane tabletop heater so that I can keep warm on the cold nights.

So you can imagine what happened when I mentioned to Tejas that light rains were expected for our campout and he said. . .

“Maybe we shouldn’t go. It’ll be cold and wet.”

I just stared at him.

And stared.

And dared him to read my mind.

Mom to the rescue

I am DEATHLY afraid of spiders.

It’s been this way all my life, ever since my dad INSISTED on catching the spiders in my bedroom in a plastic bag which he SHOOK IN FRONT OF MY FACE before depositing them “safely” outside.

You can imagine my youthful horror.

My mom, on the other hand, is DEATHLY afraid of snakes.

So is The Swede, for that matter.

And just like I’m sensitive to even LOOKING at a picture of a spider, they are sensitive to looking at a picture of a snake.

The other day I was with my mom and we were inspecting the backyard shed, looking for my camping equipment.

It drives me crazy that she RELOCATES all my gear all over the place, but since it’s free storage, there’s not much I can do about it.

So there I am, digging through conduit, pool covers, and tarps when I come across my tent.

Pete (as I like to call my tent) has seen better days.

He’s been to four burns, two unSCruzes, and countless other minor camping trips.

I fear this may be Pete’s last hurrah.

So I haul out Pete lickety split and that’s when I see it. . .

A snake?

A spider?

A mouse?

What was in the shed?

It was a spider.

A big, knobby black widow.

ON MY TENT BAG!

I immediately freaked out.

I told my mom to back out of the shed slowly and I followed her.

She, thinking it was a snake because who would freak out over a teeny tiny spider, backed out rather quickly and asked, “What is it?”

It’s a BLACK WIDOW! I practically screamed at her.

Oh, is that all?

She casually takes off her shoe, steps into the shed, and beats the black widow with her shoe.

There you go!

Just so you know, you can be 44 years old, have two kids of your own, a college degree, and be a relatively accomplished camper and yet MOM STILL HAS TO COME TO THE RESCUE.

Just sayin.

Cheap booze but top shelf ambiance

The Swede is not coming to unSCruz this year.

Yeah, I cried like a baby when I found out.

It was SO MUCH FUN last year.

It was especially fun having him there for the wedding, my strip tease to George Michael’s Freedom, and all the costumes!

AND, I got laid A LOT, so there’s that!

This year his daughter is having knee surgery so his absence is understandable.

I hope she has a speedy and peaceful recovery.

But planning for unSCruz and the Pagan Bunny Burn with or without my Swede has got me going through all my camping totes and organizing ALL MY SHIT.

And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve lost my stove!

How a person loses a stove, I will never know.

It’s BRIGHT RED, after all, and takes up a considerable amount of space.

Fortunately, I found my backup one, but it’s EVEN BIGGER and takes up EVEN MORE SPACE.

The irony is, I’ve also lost my flatware and dinnerware.

I suspect they’re off partying with my stove.

So I got replacements – new flatware and new dinnerware.

And because I’m neurotic, I also bought placemats.

Who in their RIGHT MIND eats off of placemats when they’re camping, I don’t know?

But I can tell you I drew the line when I was tempted to buy chargers for meals (the plates that go UNDER your dinner plate and only serve the purpose of being pretty and dressing up the table).

That impulse buy I resisted.

But I did get a paper towel holder, a flatware caddy and a collapsible kettle.

It’s ironic, isn’t it?

We go camping to get away from it all yet we haul all this CRAP out with us to make it more like home.

Don’t even get me started on lighting and music.

Fortunately, that seems to be Tejas’ area of expertise, so I’ll just leave him to it.

We’re sure to have a nice little shady patch of ground with slick lighting and mood music.

We may buy cheap booze, but we have top shelf ambiance.

SoulFire 2016: The Heatstroke Chronicles

white witch michelleMaybe it was just me.

Maybe everyone else did just fine.

But I managed to get myself good and overheated as well as dehydrated at SoulFire TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Tejas and I arrived on Friday at 10 am and set up camp in the heat. Once camp was set up we drank rum and cokes until I started to worry that I wasn’t getting enough liquid so I drank 3 diet cokes.

Just a word of advice: Diet Coke DOES NOT PREVENT DEHYDRATION.

No it does not.

Because at about 9 pm after battling a dehydration headache for about two hours, I gave up and went to bed with 3 Tylenol RIGHT WHEN THINGS WERE GETTING GOOD!

I laid there, freezing cold, wanting a bed partner to snuggle with while I recovered.

But no, there were no bed partners to be found.

I laid in bed until about 1 am, then got up to party only to find that the party was winding down.

So back to bed.

Try again another day.

Cue Saturday.

I’m drinking TONS of coconut water to keep me hydrated and yet with the 95 degree heat I still manage to overheat.

Dante took me to the Restaurant to sit in air conditioning and cool down.

I was dizzy walking up the hill to the Restaurant (even though I was wearing nothing but pink ruffled panties and a crochet bikini fringe top).

There was an art exhibit going on in the Restaurant and I found that if I positioned myself just right I could stare at a picture of a dolphin while the vent blew cold air up my butt.

It was amazing!

So, lessons learned:

Diet Coke is not the same as water

Coconut juice will not prevent overheating

Do what you need to take care of yourself

However, if you fuck up (like me) then friends are so helpful when you’re not feeling well.

Love to Tejas for giving me Tylenol and love to Dante for cooling me down.

michelle and tejas

The Weekend Boyfriend

For the weekend of unSCruz, I had a boyfriend.

The Swede went with me and basically admirably filled the position.

  • He helped me load and unload my truck.

Twice!

  • He helped me get Tejas back to camp Friday night (after we lost him for 4 hours).
  • He helped cook and clean.
  • He wore costumes.
  • He held my hand and told me I was beautiful.
  • He kept me warm on the cold nights in Watsonville.
  • And he gave me a thorough tongue lashing.

Yes, that means EXACTLY what you think it does.

The Swede was sweet.

For all my worries that he would have trouble fitting in, The Swede did JUST FINE.

Better than fine.

He was AWESOME.

He even let me take post-coital photos of the two of us.

unSCruz was a blast and I can’t wait to blog about all the things that happened.

But by and large, the BEST PART OF THE WEEKEND?

The Swede.

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Mac

Some of you know the story of Mac, the incredible white German shepherd my ex-husband rescued for me when we lost our oldest son to cancer.

That dog brought me back to life and saved me when I was at my lowest, deepest point of suffering.

Mac died when he fell out my truck window onto Highway 80 when the boys and I were coming home from a camping trip.

I remember watching him fall in my rearview mirror and also seeing my 60 pound, 7 year old son desperately trying to hold on to him.

I thought that perhaps my son was falling out the window too.

You can’t imagine the horror I experienced.

My son stayed safely in the car but sadly, Mac was killed while getting off the freeway (10 years to the day after my oldest son died).

We’d just finished up a LOVELY vacation at the Yuba River with my Uncle Donald, Aunt Stacey, and my cousins Jennifer, Travis, Bella, Matt, and Nick.

It was amazing.

Today, I was reminded that when it was my turn to swing on the rope and fall 8 feet into the water, I was chicken.

I didn’t want to jump.

And Mac stood by my side and waited with me while I worked up the courage. . .

And JUMPED!

And only after I jumped did he follow suit and jump in with me.

He was an amazing dog.

And I feel lucky that I somehow managed to take this picture of him THE VERY MORNING OF THE DAY HE DIED.

The last picture I ever took of him.

And I’d like to think that in the afterlife, he is playing in the water, in the sun, surrounded by family.

I love you Mac.  You are not forgotten!

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