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And home again! Part 1

Wow.  That was definitely the longest vacation of my life, or it felt like it, and it was still too short.  I’m not sure where to start but early memories are already dimming, so I’ll just start writing and remembering chronologically speaking.  Adding photos that I took with my phone, it will be a few days or more until my camera gets downloaded!

Thursday August 25

We were all packed up and flew to Reno Nevada! The night before was busy with packing, and as we were at Newark Airport, we started hearing about the hurricane.  Before that, I heard “blahblahblah hurricane blahblahblah florida” and that’s all I thought about it.  But it was Thursday or Friday that we heard about it hitting our area and hitting it hard – even being declared a state of emergency well before it was in range.  We were slightly panicked about this, as we didn’t expect it and had to ask our awesome friend who keeps our kitties company to move some of our balcony items to safety (more for the safety of others!)  Regardless, we made it through flying – no scan or grope, delays while we were on the plane, worries about making our connection in Phoenix, and relief that we wouldn’t have to fly home this time!

Our second leg from Phoenix to Reno was full of people going to the same destination as us, and as luck would have it we were seated by a local friend SusieQ – of course this leg always goes faster!

Landed in Reno, got our bags and a cab, and we were whisked away to our new home.  The sellers of the Playa Palace met us at the RV storage lot, gave us a once over of the most important things and walked us through hitching up.  All four of us crammed in the cab of the truck (who we affectionately nicknamed “Buddy” later in the trip) for the first drive over to the Grand Sierra Resort RV Park, then the sellers got a cab ride home from there. We were left to unhitch without any guidance, but it all went smoothly and soon we were set up for the next few days.  After grabbing a quick bite, we had to run over to my friend’s shop (Prism Magic in Sparks!) to grab bikes she lent us for Burning Man, as well as boxes I had shipped from NJ with bedding and other supplies.  One quick run to the Walmart next door (first of many!) and we had pillows and towels as well, and it was time for some much needed sleep after a quick bite at the resort.

Friday August 26

We slept fitfully in our new surroundings, and our first morning was bright – too bright!  We are not early risers, and I put on my expanding to-do list to buy some fabric to hang up in the windows.  I used velcro stickers to hang it up and it worked like a charm on the following mornings – until we got to Burning Man and the heat killed the stickiness!  (By then we were tinfoiling the windows, so we just kept the tinfoil in place ever since.  The bedroom was blissfully dark and cool!)

Anyway – that’s not the exact order of things.  We had a breakfast buffet that was scrumptious at the resort, and set out for shopping.  We shopped and shopped and shopped.  Mostly at Walmart. Groceries. Booze. Household essentials. I’ll come back with more detailed info if anyone can stand to hear about it when I have my travel organizer/notebook on hand… Eventually we took a break to enjoy ourselves at the resort pool and hot tub, and had a drink at the bar where the bartender from Florida tried to ease our worries as we watched the news coverage scaring everyone about the hurricane.

Pool & hottub break!  Biggest little city

(click any image to see it larger!)

We spotted the Technomads in their new vintage bus down the path from us in the RV park, not wanting to drop in we ended up having a twitter conversation where they invited us over after we crashed for the night! We didn’t catch up with them until we were on the playa.

One of our purchases was a handful of DVDs from the sale bin, as there’s a dvd player and tv in the Playa Palace – we enjoyed watching them in the evenings while we were hooked up to power, while making our own meals instead of eating out.

Saturday August 27

So Friday and Saturday are blurring at this point. Some things may be switched. I’ll come back to this with my book :P  Oh we went back to Prism Magic to do some vital blinkie and costume shopping – keeping our awesome friend Lauren in business!

Sunday August 28

It’s D-Day! Departure day! We had become more familiar with the trailer at this point, and driving the truck on it’s own, but it was time to REALLY get used to driving it! We ran a few more errands for fresh produce, toiletries, and something from Home Depot.  Then it was time to hook up and head out.

On the road! Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

We skipped our usual route going through Sparks on Pyramid Way, for the less windy/scary drive along 80 to Wadsworth.  Normally my routine is to get an Indian taco on the way back, but we were hungry and needed some food so we stopped at Elaine’s taco stand.  I have to say, it was probably the best taco I’ve had out there!  Elaine was wonderful and chatted with us for a while before we had to keep on our path.  We also got free water bottles with ads for bail bondsmen and lawyers on it… Hmmm what are they trying to tell us???

Free water bottles. Just in case.

We were excited to see the general store in Empire The town that no longer exists was open, though we didn’t stop because space was tight and we (read: Random) are new to driving this trailer.  We did stop on the way out however! We got through Gerlach and off of pavement around 6 pm, and had about a 2.5 hour wait to get in and reach our campsite.

Waiting to enter burning man during sunset Burning man entry line

After a beautiful sunset, we reached camp in darkness and found our campmates, helping them set up then get the Playa Palace into place.  It was late and we were beat, so no parties that night – we crashed so that we could do more in the morning!

Monday August 29 – Monday September 5

You surely can’t expect me to remember what day things happened in a city where schedules mean nothing? :P I’ll tell you that Wednesday we volunteered with WDYDWYD project and it was our night to make dinner for our relaxed meal plan group of half the camp. Other than that, the Man burned Saturday, the Temple burned Sunday, and when anything else happened doesn’t matter – only that it did.

Since I mentioned it, I’ll hit it first – WDYDWYD. Why do you do what you do? It’s an ongoing project that people can submit photos to with their answer (ala Postsecret) but the heart of it occurs at Burning Man each year, since well, a few years ago (200-something). I always loved this project, and this time we signed up to participate – my husband as a conversationalist and myself as a photographer. It’s the first time I took my DSLR out to the playa (I insured it first!) and of course, the day of our shift was the ONLY dusty day out there! It came and went in gusts so it wasn’t a serious white out, I just kept my camera in a ziploc bag as much as possible between shots. We also managed to get campmates to participate on Sunday – I need to get those model releases and images submitted soon!

What else can I say… It was a blur at the time, let alone a month later. The weather was amazing – aside from a few REALLY brief whiteouts on Wednesday, we had only a little dust, it never got too hot, the first few nights were warm but got really chilly midweek. The playa surface in the past has been difficult to bike around in, but this year the surface was in great condition except for a few odd streets where the water trucks (to keep dust down) ended up creating more potholes than in all of NJ…

The art was outstanding, we didn’t see enough of it (always the case!). The temple was absolutely amazing, and we were so excited that the Gameltron (we experienced this twice at PEXfest) was at the heart of the temple – we had one visit where we just sat and meditated under the music.

Playadipity – (serendipity on the playa) – we got an art car ride for our camp (that broke down. :P of course) and it stopped at the metal forest.  While we were there, a new friend that I met at my cousin’s wedding ran into us! It’s the only time we saw her, and we weren’t at either of our camps.

One night, a camp mate said she knew of a local camp doing a onsie and whiskey party. I don’t drink that much whiskey, but I had a onesie (one piece pajamas), so I put it on and we set out. We wandered all over, and we were across from the camp at one point but didn’t know it. Which was fine, the fleece onsie was surprisingly comfortable – I wore a tank top underneath so when I was warm/dancing I didn’t wear the top part.  It wasn’t as comfortable when the temperatures dropped and I had to strip to use a portapotty! (Note to self: buy onesies with a trapdoor next time.)

So – I have to mention our friend leading us was dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland. At one point she stops at a random camp to ask about the party we’re looking for.  She’s chatting with two guys, and then one takes her into the back section of their camp – she assumed they were looking for a map – and a guy in our group followed after her. As the rest of us waited and were starting to get impatient, she shows up eventually saying she fell down a rabbit hole!!! They lead her into a crazy maze of structures, which eventually opened up to a bar/lounge that felt like the real thing and not just  a tent in the desert.  The guy who followed her (the preacher) ended up staying as we wandered on, but he took Random and I there later in the week. This was such a great set up, it really was a crazy maze of structures that ends in a lounge – there were walls, artwork, air conditioning, a stage for open mic/musicians, and more. Unfortunately it was empty when we were there, but the “rabbithole” and the story of how Alice stumbled in it is one of my favorites from this year!  It was on C around 2:45.

A block over from this was another amazing structure on B, a temple-esque looking building with a second story that had a rotating hanging bed/lounge.  Our second time we stopped there, there was a great DJ and I danced as long as I could before companions wanted to travel on. I don’t know much about it, looking for more info, but I heard the camp members were Russian, that they wanted to burn it, but didn’t have the ability to move it from the crowded city streets to open playa, and had no burn pad. I saw a photo but forgot to note where it is….

By the way, there are some great pics here (#9 features two of my awesome campmates :P)

So let’s see. We did a lot of hanging out at camp during the day, and kept trying to stay out all night. Never made it to sunrise though we saw the sky starting to lighten one night! Oh well, sleep is a beautiful thing too sometimes. We had a great time with our campmates, it was great to see some old friends and make some new ones! Our art car adventure was a blast, and we went prepared for it to break down even though our campmate Stiles can work some crazy magic with beer and ether….

We watched both the Man and Temple burns from a distance away – it’s a different experience, but still really nice to enjoy the quiet and spaciousness rather than being jam packed in there.

I really missed PEX and a stage for fire performers – seems like there was less fire (art and performance) out there this year.  Out of the honorarium art installations, we saw and liked Aurora the giant weeping willow (we managed to stand under it before it was fenced off, due to people stealing the beautiful copper leaves!), the Pier, the Wet Dream (a beautiful sight at night, with LED raindrops, umbrellas, and the sound of a thunderstorm!), and the amazing Temple. We both also loved the tesla coil that made music! And the giant flowers, that had some kind of digital display that we didn’t see in full production, but were amazing.

(Edited to remove my emo ramblings from the initial post. :P)

We had to leave at the worst possible time – we love being able to stay until Tuesday and skip the long lines, but we only planned one night in Reno before starting our trip home (which we delayed a day…) and thus we were stuck for 7.5 hours on the exodus line on Monday. The pulsing method was much better than inching along, we would move then stop for an hour or so, get out and meet neighbors and hang in the shade of the RV.  But it was a long day.

Since this is already a novel, I’ll leave you here for the time being. In part 2, I’ll talk about our road trip from Black Rock City back to New Jersey, and hopefully have my photos done and ready for you! Here are two albums from camp mates though to hold you over!

Re-entry

- Working on my huge blog post about Burning Man and our cross country trip.

- Hating how soon I was back to having Mondays kick my ass and NJ drivers having me cursing.

- Struggling in the in-between states (of mind) between burn/vacation and daily life.  Feels like it’s either driving me deep into depression or to a launch point for something fabulous.

- Somehow, this really helped:

- As well as this.

- For now, giving up on sentence/paragraph structure, holding on as best as I can, and just being.

 

A repost from our other blog – I’ve been quiet because we’ve been busy :D

All’s been quiet on the nomad front, at least from your point of view perhaps!  While longer term goals of becoming location independent were pushed to the back burner, we held to our original goal of 1) buy an RV and 2) get to Burning Man this year.  If we didn’t buy one, we couldn’t afford the trip as it would eat away at the funds for the RV.  While in past years we borrowed most things, including shelter and transportation from a generous friend, this year that wasn’t possible.  So it’s a darn good thing that we accomplished step 1! :D

I wanted to blog when we thought we found our new home, but I didn’t want to jinx it or speak too soon.  And I would have spoken too soon, as that one slipped through our fingers to a seller who had cash on hand!  However, that led us to another lead we had ruled out early on.

We originally looked for a Class A or C RV, about 30′ in length, diesel to convert to WVO.  The one we almost bought was actually a fifth wheel trailer and diesel pick up truck – a number of things about the ad made it intriguing to us, and the logistics of vehicle and trailer grew on us.  When it fell through, we were looking at a short time frame to accomplish the impossible.

Our generous friend, who lives in Reno, had put out a call on the local Burning Man email list about our search.  One reply was a friend of hers whose father was selling a fifth wheel.  We ruled it out initially as we had our eye on a Class A or C, but when I came back to it with a new appreciation for the benefits of a fifth wheel, it only had one major drawback.  The pickup truck is gas, not diesel.

We didn’t have time before Burning Man to purchase a trailer and tow vehicle separately and figure out hitches ourselves, so we made the decision to consider this opportunity with the idea of upgrading the truck to diesel later on.

The more we talked to the seller, the better things sounded.  This one was much larger than the one that slipped away, so it’s much more suitable for living or traveling long term!  It didn’t have some of the bonuses the first one had (already had a dish for internet service), and it would need a generator and upgrade to electrical system for extensive boondocking or living, but the price was lower allowing us to budget more for improvements as we go.  It does have solar panels though!  It’s been with one owner who is meticulous about keeping records and original paperwork – the owners manual binder includes notes they asked the dealer when they originally bought it!

Through the help of our network of burners, we had the Trailerburn* crew do a visit in person to check it out on our behalf.  We got a big thumbs up, and thus we dived into purchasing a trailer and pickup truck in Reno, sight unseen!

* If you need any assistance with buying or renting a trailer in the Reno or CA area, please look these guys up! Good people!

Well, not unseen, but we have only seen photos.  And so here we are.  As of last week, we are the proud new owners of “The Palace” as her former owners called her – we may be renaming her the Playa Palace, but we’ll see what sticks!  We are flying into Reno on August 25, making the Palace our home while we prep for the burn, driving out there for the week and then driving across the country home to New Jersey!

In the meantime, I’ve been shipping bedding and supplies to Reno to furnish the Palace, and we have the joys of DMV we still have to finish — we went on Friday but they RAN OUT of license plates, so no new car registrations!  Seriously, they did.  Everyone I tell is shocked :P  A big box of plates had severe water damage, and over 1,000 plates were stuck together to the point where they are unusable.  Cross your fingers that this week goes smoother (did I mention we finalized the sale just as Mercury went into retrograde? Oh yeah…)

We’re planning our route across the country home – we don’t want to be on Route 80 the whole time, but have our eye on the Badlands of South Dakota, the House on the Rock in Wisconsin, and who knows what else.  If you have suggestions, please share!

Without further ado, here’s the Palace! It’s a 2001 Alumascape 33SKT by Holiday Rambler with a 1995 Dodge Ram 2500.

Palace June 2008.JPG

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YES IT HAS A KITCHEN ISLAND! Can you tell how excited I am about that?

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33SKT only

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So, a huge thanks to everyone who helped us in any way – from giving advice, to inspecting RV’s on our behalf, to handing off the check to the seller, and to the seller himself for being a fantastic guy! We promise to treat the Palace well and have some great adventures with her :D

If you are coming to the burn, be sure to visit us at camp New Jersey in the 4:30 Plaza.  Ask for Hunnybear and Random or come knock on the Playa Palace door!

Last night a friend sent me a link to this article on Burning Man, and the fact that tickets sold out this year – http://gawker.com/5826302/burning-mans-just-for-rich-people-now

As she only knows the stories I have told her, she wondered what was my opinion on it. Since it’s much longer than a facebook comment allows, here we go :P

“Burning Man is just for rich people now.”

No – No more than it has ever been. The fact that tickets sold out does NOT mean that only people who can afford $1,500 for a single ticket will be there. It means that about 50,000 people will be there who got their shit together and bought a ticket more than 6 weeks in advance of the event!

I certainly don’t consider myself rich, and that’s why every time tickets go on sale, I’m waiting in the virtual line to buy them the first day. Sometimes for hours. This year, we got Tier 2 tickets because that’s what was available when we got to the front of the line. $210 each on January 19.

Of course, I get that some people don’t have the money especially right after Christmas and have to save up. But prices range from (going from memory, the ticket page doesn’t show this anymore) $190 each to $360 each, the rate they were available at right before they sold out. If you aren’t rich, then you know this, and you know you should get your shit together ASAP.

Or you can apply for a low income or scholarship ticket, like many have. Or you can pay in time and sweat. They pounded the golden stake in this weekend – that means that official work on building Black Rock City just began – and the people who live and work there for a month before the event, and several weeks after, certainly earn their place and usually aren’t rich in any way.

But I’ll admit, that in many ways, Burning Man is certainly not for anyone who is dirt poor. In that way, yes, it is for “rich” people.

Unless you live in Reno or Gerlach, if the price of the ticket (pre-sell out) is too much, you probably shouldn’t be going. If you do, and you aren’t out there now pounding stakes, you are probably doing it wrong. The costs of going to Burning Man and ensuring your survival (not to mention comfort and entertainment) are much more than just the ticket. Airline tickets, gas, water, shelter, food, booze, etc. This is doing it “right”.

If you somehow got a ticket but have no other money and show up, you immediately put anyone surrounding you in the awkward position of trying to keep you ALIVE. Yes, people do this. They show up with nothing and expect people to donate water and food to keep their dumbasses from dying in the desert.

So from that point of view, you don’t have to be rich, but unless you are paying the price with hours of work, you have to have enough disposable income to keep yourself alive.

By no means should a few outrageous ticket prices indicate that the entire population has paid that much – but many have put in 10x that amount into the artwork you’ll see. It’s not a cheap vacation, but to me it’s worth every penny.

And I will say the one group that I really feel for are those who applied to be in the official fire conclave (performance before the man burns) and were denied. When you apply, you either state you will buy your own ticket, or you wait for a reduced price ticket when your group is accepted. The news of who didn’t make the cut came out the same day or a day after the tickets sold out, so a few people who expected to pay under $200 are really out of luck now. I hope that they find kind souls to buy tickets at cost/reduced cost.

By the way – the Burning Man Org does not condone paying more than face value for tickets! They legally can’t enforce it, but they ask the community to self-police. Also, because of the prices we’re talking, lots of tickets up for sale are fake ones. If you ARE buying a second hand ticket, confirm with Burning Man that it’s a real ticket.

“”You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say we’re radically inclusive and then say we will only have 52,000 tickets,” he said.” (quote from link at top)

This is pretty ridiculous. Pretty much every event on this planet will hit a capacity limit if it becomes popular enough. Radical inclusion means ANYONE can come, anyone is welcome., not EVERYONE.

The organization has contracts with the land owners, the federal Bureau for Land Management. There has ALWAYS been a ticket cap as part of this contract, it’s just never been reached before.

For months, the org has predicted that the event will sell out and has distributed that message. But when it happens, even when they started PREDICTING it will happen, it’s already too late to renegotiate the contract for this year. Duh.

This year there is a one-year contract, with the cap of 52,000. It was consistent with the past two years (two years ago, it was close to selling out and may have been “unofficially” over capacity, last year attendance was down). A new 5-year contract is in the works for 2012 and beyond, and takes population growth into account, it’s not staying at 52,000 forever.

The last bit of the article seems to think it has a unique solution, that the rest of us have known for a while – regional events. Though I’ll laugh at that as a solution! Our regional, Playa Del Fuego, has sold out within hours for the past few years and tickets are even harder to come by.

So yes, gather your friends, do whatever you would do out in the desert, and burn something down. If you don’t have a ticket this year, try to bring Burning Man to your friends that would never make the big trek – bring it out into our everyday communities. Many of us are trying to do this more and more!

Whether it’s an official regional, a unofficial small gathering, or what — I only ask one thing. Don’t just have a party and burn shit. Read, learn, and incorporate the 10 Burning Man Principles into it. This is what makes it more than just a party, this is what holds the magic for most of us. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of freaks having a rave in the desert. Believe me, that would not be enough to have me keep going back time after time.

And for those stuck behind, talk to your friends, get on your regional discussion lists – there are lots of local celebrations on Labor Day weekend! If you are near New Jersey, our awesome Philly friends are doing their own festival (not a regional, but in line with the spirit and 10 principles of Burning Man) in southern NJ – Bangarang and ROC present Bangaroc 2011! 

 

Ten Principles

Radical Inclusion

Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Gifting

Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Decommodification

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance

Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression

Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort

Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility

We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace

Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Participation

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediacy

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Spring PDF

My thoughts and thank you’s for the recent Playa Del Fuego event.

I kept hearing references to the dramalamas on facebook before PDF, talking about whatever is wrong or changed with it over the years… Yes, I feel it has changed since I started coming, but also I’ve changed significantly. (My personal theory is that they were only trying to talk new attendees into selling their tickets to them :P) I avoided reading further as we prepped for the event, but it weighed on my mind that Smelly had to post silly and fun posts to try to drown out the negativity, and that some people were trying to divide the community or felt it was already divided. For each group that is usually disparaged in these discussions, I felt either part of or know some amazing people who identify as such.

Part of me may have been expecting to see something different this burn after all the racket, and to be honest, I did think of all those discussions while I was there. But my thoughts were never that they were right, my thoughts were that they didn’t (or couldn’t) see what I was seeing.

I was blown away this PDF, and it was because everywhere I looked, I saw participants.  I saw so many people who brought some aspect of themselves to share and gift and experience with the rest of us. It’s not new at this burn, but it seemed more concrete to me, possibly because of the negative chatter beforehand.

Going to wash dishes and getting caught in the rain, I was able to chat with one of the people who rolled a giant metal frame ball from the back field to the front – they broke a bolt and were waiting on a replacement, and I was able to express how much joy I got from seeing it roll past my camp earlier.

Artwork, interactive items, and decorations among the open camping areas seemed to be in higher quantity this time!

The silent rave headsets…. omg. This blew me away and really made my night. I was struggling because I felt responsible for being at the theme camp at night, yet I really needed a different headspace/music (and where our camp was, it was a constant mash up of totally different music styles!) The headset allowed me to stay seated in camp and take a musical journey (Ironically, the 2 camps participating I could hear from my camp. However, like I said – it was a disturbing mash up where you never heard any ONE camp well). I also enjoyed walking all around almost to the front gate while listening to one soundtrack – and of course, I think everyone who tried this can understand how it morphed a portapotty trip into a tiny dance party for 1 :P or maybe that’s just me.

There’s more. There’s so much more. The oakburners and our invite to the fancy dinner. The friends who were my lifeline when I couldn’t deal with a big crowd of strangers. The amazing people who participated in our theme camp and helped out – where but at a burn can an understaffed casino have 3 legit dealers walk in, ready to work our tables??? :D  Our “it’s only thursday” night at Camp Fogie.  Hearing all the stories from Dusty about Camp Sexy, she always has me in stitches :P

I know some of the great moments are already slipping my mind. But I had the overwhelming feeling that everyone I came across brought so much of themselves to share in unique ways, and thought of the facebook discussions, and really felt that the burn is what we make of it. Each and every one of us. What we bring – internally and externally – is what makes the burn.

If it feels too ravey, then bring something that’s NOT a rave. If it feels too hippy or whatever your complaint is, bring something different.  If a burn ever turns into something you don’t like, it’s because you sat on your ass and expected to be catered to. And if that’s the case, well then, don’t buy a ticket next time.

I don’t know what it is that makes a burn so magical. Wait, I do know, I just don’t know a name for it. I think the culmination for me was at the art burn on Sunday. (Now, I don’t say this to brag in any way. Seriously.) Did you see the Dreams and Demons pagoda? The one with the intricate cut outs encouraging people to write on it?  An amazing person that I’m lucky enough to call a friend made that, with the help of mutual friends. And here’s the reason why I cried through the burn of the piece, and cry now as I type.

Last year, at a backyard burn in NJ the night of Burning Man’s big burn, Random and I created a little temple. It was a lincoln logs version of a sculpture, but the first time we planned, created, and burned a wooden art piece. That night, we invited people to write on it as they do at the Temple at burning man, and they did. The comments they wrote broke my heart and inspired me at the same time. All the people at that burn turned a pile of wood into a true Temple. It burned beautifully, and was a great moment.

And then our friend says she was inspired by that piece and the way it burned, and thus the idea for her pagoda sculpture was born.

Every little thing we do has the possibility to change someone else’s life in ways we can never imagine. I was blown away, honored, and humbled by the fact that our little piece inspired something so intricate and amazing, and that in turn could inspire anyone who passed it and left a message or admired it.

To me that is what this PDF was about. The interconnectedness of all of us. I know that there are the core volunteers who do hours of backbreaking work to make PDF happen and be safe (and THANK YOU) every event, without thanks or acknowledgment. But it’s every single one of us who truly make this event what it is.

I may end this with paraphrasing something our campmate said to me at PDF, I’m not sure where the discussion started, with radical inclusion, jackasses, or what… We may have even just talked about the facebook negativity.   But basically he said “You have to fit in our parameters to be here, if you don’t then you shouldn’t come. But the thing is – we have REALLY WIDE PARAMETERS!”

So – a huge thank you to each of the 1,248 people who shared this amazing experience with us. Thank you to those who were negative on Facebook – your comments may have had an opposite affect of what you intended, but you helped me appreciate and view this burn slightly differently.
Thank you Amy, for making me cry so much, and for an AMAZING art piece.
Thank you Random, Calamity Joe, Nicole, Silver, and Debbie (virgin of the burn award to you!) and Scott/Mark and Nickname for the Fireside Lounge & Pink Elephant collaboration!
Thank you to each person who came and enjoyed it, and double thanks to those who helped by dealing, helping me count when I dealt :P, bartending, or just entertaining. (and thank you for adding the spank a Potter rule :D)
Thank you Blue and everyone who made the silent rave happen.
Thank you Oakburners for the amazing dinner!
Thank you to the people who made the steel geodesic ball, and the people who had the floating round bed all the way in the back fields.
Thank you Ebony for a lovely walk from where we met the geodesic ball to my camp, your infectious smile as you held up a yoga mat in the rain over your head stayed with me :D
Thank you Committee for Public Safety – we always love your tunes!
Thank you CPS and Crystal Castle for the silent rave stream!
Thank you Camp Sexy for being sexy, and for the barstool choreographed dance!
Thank you Dusty for our late night catch up session!
Thank you Patti, for being more amazing than ever, for allowing me to be a part of the dress burning and giving great memories to the dr who shirt :P
Thank you Potters & posse for being potterific!
Thank you to the baby burners, Rowan and Isabelle, and your families for putting up with the heat with you – it was such a joy to see a new generation born into this, and I don’t know how you did it! (er, dealing with babies in the heat while camping that is. I know how you *did it* :P)
Thank you Camp Rumor, for being a sanctuary away from home filled with great people!
Thank you Camp Fogie for “It’s Only Thursday”
Thank you all volunteers (and I suck, I missed my shift :( So sorry! Thank you to whoever filled in for us!!!) and especially Madhatter for being concerned about me (when all I really needed was just having people like you that I trusted to “check in” with, and plenty passed through)
Thank you Rock Inferno – didn’t get to play it but saw it in action!
Thank you always to camp Balloon Chain – LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT
Thank you to the Miss PDF contest – it was a blast having that to watch while we ate our lunch!
Thank you to (you shall rename anon) the women who made out for chips, the woman who gave up her underwear for chips, and everyone who took the barter system as a challenge for fun rather than an obligation :D
Thank you rain for the brief cooling, and thank you mud for almost being absent.
Thank you vets, and especially whichever one of you is related to the dealers who came to our camp!

It’s fast becoming a blur, but this is the first time I haven’t had a post-burn emotional crash – it’s your love and efforts to make PDF special that get credit for that.

With lots of love, Thank you.

Dig Deep

Those that know me well, know that I never hesitate to recommend sites or products I enjoy – I love helping entrepreneurs and small creative businesses get more coverage, and I love helping friends find them as well.  Today is a new venture, for the first time I signed up to be an affiliate!  While this is an opportunity for my blogging to pay back some of my expenses from buying too many domains and e-courses, I want to promise you this.  I will never be an affiliate for a product that I wouldn’t recommend for free.  So all fears of selling out aside, let me tell you a little of this story.

At some point, I stumbled on this blog called The Organic Sister.  It may have been the hooping that made our paths cross, or it may have been my searching after my husband and I got a hankering to do what her family did.  Tara, with her husband and son, live and travel in an RV converted to waste veggie oil. (They just sold their old rig and now have a truck running on WVO and a fifth wheeler!)  I think it was the hooping actually that led me there first, and I subscribed to the blog once we started thinking about the RV.  Over the past year or so that I’ve read it, I’ve enjoyed our many common interests in travel, sustainable technologies, and more.

She started Sustainable Baby Steps and Organic Life Coaching, and she had a lovely email conversation with me about RVs on WVO.   I’ve enjoyed getting to know her a bit better, and when she did a pre-launch of her latest efforts, I jumped right on board.

Click for more info! (Affiliate link)

I read the first two chapters and skimmed the rest, but I can’t wait to really dig deep into this project.  That was enough intro for me to sign up for the affiliate program.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but Tara’s approach and style are the perfect fit for me.  Her methods are clearer steps to those I started learning to do on my own (or, as influenced by the many sources in my life) – recognizing and identifying my emotions, and gently taking the time to figure out the sources for those emotions.  She goes further than I ever did on my own, and her workbook exercises really help you to, well, dig deep into understanding ourselves and growing in a positive way.

She’ll walk you through the ways to change your mindset about a situation, and therefore the whole situation, without any of the new-age “The Secret” hype – she’ll have you getting your hands dirty digging in your cobwebbed corners.  But she leads you there gently, with guidance and support, because she’s been there herself.  This workbook, taken seriously, could easily be worth more than a year in therapy!  She can’t fix all your problems (newsflash – no ebook or ecourse can! :P) but she is giving you all the tools and support for you to do so.

If you are struggling with any kind of blocks or unhappiness in your life, and know that if you could change your outlook you’d be able to overcome it… If you are willing to go all “Mythbusters” on yourself, doing experiments to determine which of your habits/expectations are plausible (reasonable) and which are busted (unreasonable and unhelpful, based on past experiences and not truth)…  If you can’t afford therapy, and want to take your soul/spirit on a coffee date, hold its hand, ask how it feels and what you can do to make it happier…  If you want to dig deep, Tara is the perfect person to guide you on this journey.

I’ll be working through it myself, so I invite you to dig deep along with me.  Feel free to connect with me by leaving a comment or contacting me off blog if you wish to talk more about it!

This icon and link will stay in my sidebar to the right – to support my blog (all proceeds will be going directly to our Sustainable Nomads venture!) you have to click this link.

No more hiding

I’ve been hiding.

In winter, we called it hibernating – given the amounts of snow we had, and few things to do, it was a great excuse to stay holed up and rest.  Just when the urge to be social again hit us, a bunch of crazy stuff happened that made me pull back again.  We started making plans and seeing friends, but emotionally and virtually (on blogs and social network sites) I’ve retreated.

I questioned who my friends are and who could be trusted.  I questioned myself, as to how I felt less myself and why – was it an issue of struggling to maintain self identity in a marriage already? Was it post wedding depression, and would it go away?   I don’t know, and I may not for a while.

(However, for the record, married life really DOES rock! Just to be clear, none of these are marriage issues – they are the “sort out my head” issues and having never been married before, these questions come up.)

But while I used to come here and spill out my heart, I stopped.  I feared the consequences – as someone who is likely a facebook friend betrayed me.  I feared being hurt or hurting my friends in some way.  I feared my mother was reading (while I always keep in mind that a parent or employer could read this, I try not to restrict myself as much as I have been).

Blogging is a part of me – typing out the entries is my therapy.  If I want to (and I do) someday make money from any creative endeavors on my part, I need to sell my soul.  (I love Danielle LaPorte, though I am not taking that workshop.)  If I don’t, I’m just imitating everyone else who inspires me.  I look around at what others do, and feel that they stole a concept that was going to be my great enlightened moment in the near future.  And now that they are doing it, they probably do it better than me, so I need another idea.  Yeah. This has been the crazy circular logic that – along with my fears – has had me stuck in one place.

And here we are in spring, where the spring weather is STARTING to make an appearance, but even on the cold days I see the buds in the trees and bushes, the cherry blossoms, the forsythia bushes.  In true stereotypical fashion, spring brings a new hope.

I need to let go of the how, and focus on the why.  I want to share more, even the ugly messy parts, because when I do I find a new level of connection with people.  I’ve blogged while crying and planning to erase it the next day, when I get supportive comments saying that others have felt exactly the same.  This is my soul, my truth, and I need to keep sharing it.  I can’t always share it in the real world or in person, if only for lack of thinking fast on my feet, but this is how I do it.  This is MY space, my identity, and I’ll keep it despite however many blogs/sites we may have at one time :P

Kinda crazy, but a big part of what prompted this entry was a simple encounter at lunchtime with a coworker.  We were having a great chat about TV shows, when he stated that he stopped watching one because there were scenes of two guys making out.  I was offended by his statement, and replied that it wasn’t a problem with our TV watching group, as some of them are gay.  Maybe I could have said something better, maybe not.  After the shock passed, it made me so thankful for my community of friends and their lack of homophobia.  It made me think about how my coworker would probably never become friends with the gay couple we watched that same TV show with, and it made me realize just how much he’s missing out by that.

What it comes down to is that I am so restricted in how I can be “myself” in the office environment, that I absolutely have to take advantage of the ways that I can, that I have to use outlets like this to bare my soul, and that – especially as a woman married to a man in this hetero-normative society, I have to make sure that my thoughts on human rights, sexual identity, and such that I take for granted among like-minded friends are shared with those who are NOT in that mindset.  It’s time to shake the world up a little bit more.  It’s time to be less afraid.  It’s not about confrontation, it’s about being more open about myself and my viewpoint so that people don’t assume my thoughts for me.

It’s going to piss some people off, it’s going to hurt some people.  I hurt someone with my post on my friend’s suicide, as someone who knew her protested loudly that it wasn’t suicide, I was wrong for saying it was, and I was offending her family.  It was upsetting at the time, but now I can only think of how hurt this woman truly was when she eventually was told the truth, by someone other than me.  I still don’t regret posting it.

Fuck the haters, fuck the cowardly internet stalkers, fuck the homophobes.  If the only thing I have to lose is the support of people I don’t agree with?  Then I have absolutely nothing to lose and we all have something to possibly gain.

I have to share this in case anyone is interested – Clickin Moms is running a webinar tomorrow with our faboo wedding photographer, Neil Van Niekerk! And they are giving away a copy of his new book on off camera flash!  I haven’t bought the book yet, but his first one was amazing for learning how to bounce on camera flash, and honestly I was just waiting until the next time I placed an order from Amazon to add this one to my cart :D  (Though you can also buy a signed copy straight from him!)   Even if I don’t win a space in the webinar, I’m considering signing up – just need to see if I can take a long lunch tomorrow to attend!

ETA: Oh geez, I haven’t had enough coffee. Giveaway winner will be announced this morning, though it’s not clear in the post at all, apparently entries were due by midnight last night. :(  Well, I don’t mind advertising for Neil’s book or webinar anyway, and I’m signing up for it now :D

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes

Keeping with that resolution to track my recipes, here’s the St. Patty’s Day ones!  They have been all over the web the past few years, usually called Guiness cupcakes with Bailey’s frosting. My husband calls them Irish Car Bombs, even though it’s different booze! :D

I saw a few recipes but chose this version from Food.com, with minor revisions.  I actually made them twice, last weekend for an Irish murder mystery party, and last night for coworkers today and friends this evening!

Makes 24 cupcakes

Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
    (I totally didn’t sift this, and I don’t know if my cocoa was Dutch-processed. :P)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
    (My edit: When I made the second batch, I forgot we used up the sour cream on baked potatoes this week. The choice was run out to the store while guests were over, or use a fat free blueberry greek-style yogurt.  I went with the yogurt and I think the cupcakes came out tasting the same in both batches!)

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
    (I used one box. See note under milk as well.)
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 3 tablespoons irish cream (Bailey’s or Carolan’s)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
    (My edit: Milk is for wimps. Throw in 1 more tablespoon of Bailey’s instead. The first time I think I used more like 4.5 tablespoons of Bailey’s total, to get the right consistency, and I liked that icing better than the second batch! I since saw that some reviewers on food.com did the same, some even cut down the sugar amount as well. Next time, I’d hold off on adding it all, and keep trying it as you adjust the consistency using Bailey’s and sugar.)
  • My addition: green food coloring to the icing, adjust to your preference.
  • green sprinkles (I added chocolate ones too.)

Directions:

Prep Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 1 1/4 hr

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F Grease 24-30 cupcake cups, or fill with paper liners.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the butter, Guinness, cocoa and brown sugar, whisking often, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Into the work bowl of a stand mixer (or into a large mixing bowl), sift together salt, flour, white sugar and baking soda. Add the cooled Guinness mixture and beat on medium for 1 minute. Add eggs and sour cream and beat on medium for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake cups. Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then remove and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  5. Meanwhile, in (cleaned) work bowl of stand mixer, cream butter until very light and fluffy. Add salt, and slowly add confectioners sugar. Do not run the mixer above low, or the sugar will spray all over your kitchen. Add a couple of spoonsful at a time until it has all been absorbed into the butter. Add Bailey’s and milk until spreadable consistency is achieved.Add green food coloring (optional).
  6. Frost cupcakes with Bailey’s frosting. Sprinkle with green sugar and chocolate jimmies.

 

Booze content for those who need to know:  for 24 cupcakes, each one contains 1/24 cup (2/3 tablespoon) of Guinness and 1/6 tablespoon (1/2 teaspoon) Bailey’s (if 4 tablespoons were used total).

Blast from the Past

Thank you spammers for this one – an LJ post of mine is routinely hit by spam, but today I re-read my original post. I never posted much on LJ, it was mostly just to connect with one community board on there (for BPAL). But Miss Ter’i put an “Interview Me” meme up where you volunteer to answer 5 questions she asks you. .  I believe this was about two weeks after the Playa Del Fuego where I met my wonderful husband… (See #2!)

 

06/12/2008

1) Describe some times in your life when have you felt strongest and most at-peace with who you are.

wow tough first one!
my first inclination is to say when i travelled in england/europe… although, while i felt strong and independent, i was still very much searching for myself.  but my times in glastonbury and the isles of scilly were awesome and i felt at home and peaceful with myself, even if i was still unsure of who that was!
second thought is burning man and related events….  not at first, and probably not even in the desert…  but eventually, being able to feel like i can truly be myself and not worry about impressing people, and then having friends and people who supported/respected me, just felt like home.

2) Love rolls into your life. Is it riding a motorcycle, driving a fancy car, dancing on-foot up a mountain road, pedaling a bicycle, hot-air ballooning…or…? (you take it from here…in other words, what vehicle did it ride in on?)

LOL… LJ only (cuz not sure he is ready to hear this, quite yet…. maybe… although we seem to be on the same page…)

it strolled/danced in wearing a bowler hat and fairy wings with a band aid on them (hence no flying ;o), on a grass path across from the fireside lounge at PDF.
:D

sorry it’s not creative, but it’s honest ;o)

3) Tell me about your new tattoo.

heehee. I’ve wanted one for a long time, and had some different ideas. The one I ended up with came to me actually after BM last year.  I saw the celtic forest installation, and there was a drumming circle there at night, it was a cool spot but nothing stuck out in my mind any further than that. I didn’t even take a photo. (I didn’t take many, and used disposables) When I got home and stumbled upon either photos or description of the art, I learned the figure was Belisama, a celtic (well gaulish) goddess of fire, the forge, crafts, and is associated with a river in england.  I’ve wanted something that relates to BM and to fire and really wanted it before this year, since I’ll be performing in conclave. And she just seemed perfect. It hits fire, water, crafts, and burning man.  It has spiritual/pagan connections, but to strangers on the street i can just say it’s a sculpture from BM, and they’ll think it’s an angel. so it’s not “in your face” but has a lot of meaning to me, that i can choose how much of that to share.
Never expected to get it on my shoulder, but the artist is awesome and had really good points (the view is looking up at her, so it would be stupid to have it lower on my back!)  i’m thrilled. or will be when it stops itching ;o)

4) Where did the name ‘Hunnybear’ come from?

*sigh* i broke the unofficial “rule” and gave it to myself… because since my first PDF, i’ve taken and shared (although i forgot to share it much this past one) a bottle of Barenjager – a honey liquor that’s really yummy. not something you want to drink a whole bottle of, but perfect and unusual for people to sample! people remembered me based on that, and I grew up a winnie-the-pooh fan, so there ya go.  (I will accept an “official” playa name when given one that fits and isn’t too embarassing LOL)

5) Why poi?

Saw fire spinning at BM, then my first PDF…  Poi was the most common fire tool that I saw, and they sold ones that glow, so that’s why. and i surprised myself by not (always) being a complete klutz with them!  i still dabble in hoop and want to learn staff…. but i do love the poi!

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