Monthly Archives: October 2012

And again…

After reconnecting with my friends at Burning Man, I realized I had spread myself pretty thin with all my commitments. Though I felt pretty busy and like I was always in a hurry to get somewhere, I still managed to deepen some of my connections. It happened to be with my co-workers, dispatchers and rangers, but I felt I got a good balance of social time. I even spent some time with my fellow Leopards at the Martini Lounge and fulfilled my commitments bartending and such. Well, more or less. I was on-call a lot so I had to run off and be responsible.

One night near the end of the week was especially fun because I got to have a playa adventure with my friends from home whom I hadn’t seen in what seems like years. We picked quite the night for it, having to navigate the worst dust storm I have seen in a while. It was exciting and fun, although challenging at times. By the end of our journey around the city, I was done. We went hard and I am so glad of it. I definitely got it out of my system.

I ended up getting a couple offers on my house while I was isolated in the middle of the desert. But luckily, I am resourceful and have good connections so the deal went forward. It was a bit of a thrill to be able to conduct business from this makeshift city that only appears for one week of the year. But all went well and I managed the sale.

I also got to wear my Ranger hat quite a bit and found a terrific mentor who taught me from his years of experience. For those who don’t know, Rangers are a small group of volunteers who serve to ensure the safety of fellow participants without hindering their experience. It’s a real honor to be chosen to serve in this role. I felt very lucky indeed to have the privilege of such extraordinary shifts. I learned alot and my understanding of the ins and outs of Black Rock City increased ten-fold. I even pulled a 13 hour shift at one point but it didn’t feel bad at all. It was certainly stressful at times, but I loved the problem solving and awareness that I cultivated. I think I really fell in love with Rangering this year and hope that in time, I can really make a difference.

After Burning Man, I drove home and dropped off my car and trailer. I completed the sale of the house and was shocked that I got exactly what I had asked. That’s not common in this market so I consider myself very fortunate, indeed. It wasn’t long before I realized I had to go to San Francisco. There were lots of reasons including cat sitting a friends needy feline and helping out with my friends newborn preemie twins. Not to mention the community of Burners that I wasn’t quite ready to leave. Anyway, my condo wasn’t yet vacant since my tenant asked for an extension on her move out date. So really, I had no where to live. I love staying with my sister’s family but I didn’t want to stress them with my presence for an entire month. I guess I don’t need too much convincing to be in San Francisco. It is one of my favorite cities in the world.

I spent a good three weeks eating tons of mouthwatering seafood, walking on the beach, touring around the parks and museums, re-learning how to take care of babies, and cuddling JellyBean the cat. I loved living in Jelly’s house since I had not lived with housemates like that before. It was fascinating to learn the dynamics of how people mesh. I really enjoyed the rhythm of the very vertical character home just down the road from the famous Painted Ladies and took full advantage of my fabulous view of downtown. I don’t know how many nights I spent gazing out at the city lights and stars. There was one night in particular when a dark orange moon hung heavy, growing out of the skyline like a flower blossoming. It was unforgettable although I do prefer my balanced Edmonton skyline.

I was quite aware of the threat of earthquakes the entire time I spent in the vibrant coastal city. Ever since the quake in Turkey (magnitude 6.1 in Fethiye while I was sitting on the beach) I am borderline obsessed with natural disasters. I go through these phases, having experienced a tornado, flood, and hurricane in my past. The earthquake was by far the most intense and humbled me quite a bit. I had a plan and made sure that others around me also were preparing, just in case. One night when I was three quarters asleep, I woke with a serious start sure there was an earthquake. I ran around the house but everyone was sleeping. I checked my internet quake alerts and found nothing. I called a friend who talked me down and reassured me that I would be ok even if there were an earthquake, which there wasn’t. I wondered if I was crazy. Turns out my waking shaking came from Jelly (not a thin cat by any stretch of the imagination) jumping up on the bed to cuddle me.

I found it interesting that almost everyone in San Fran seems to think that their house will be safe. That they live on some bedrock or have special structural allowances that will prevent any major damage. I have my doubts and wonder just how much of that is just denial. I guess the alternative is to be afraid all the time and that is no good either. So I found a happy medium and  by the end of my time there, I felt at peace with the prospect, should it come about. More or less. I still thought about it on a daily basis but I was more just aware of my surroundings than fearful.

I got to work some Burning Man Decompression events  and also attended some private parties held by my playa co-workers. I was really grateful to be included in this tight community. They are good people in this city and I felt warmth, not just from the sunny days. I explored and tasted the city, not nearly enough. I visited with friends but didn’t even see half of them. In the end, I didn’t feel like I was quite done but I couldn’t change my flight without a ridiculous penalty. I took that as a sign to go home. I had to deal with my empty condo that was waiting for me to move it. I am not comfortable with being inefficient and it seems wasteful to have evicted a tenant for no reason. So reluctantly I boarded the plane and came home.

Now I have been in Edmonton for just over a week and have already booked my next three months of travel. Or shall I say, my last. I have sorted out my condo with a new temporary tenant but I furnished it beautifully. It is going to be hard to leave it. But I will head back to San Francisco to resume my cat sitting duties and tend to some unfinished business. I will then visit my way around the States until its time to meet my family for our first (and very likely last) family vacation. I should be home in February. I am really looking forward to having a pet.

Grateful for roots.

 

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Time

Well it has been a while. I have had alot going on. But that is no excuse. I guess I have been trying to come to terms with the idea of not traveling for awhile. Its be a daunting process. And I am not doing such a good job of it. I keep finding reasons to keep going. Albeit they are rather good reasons, I am still straying from my plan.

After the Middle East, India, Nepal and Turkey (only because of the earthquake…otherwise Turkey was fabulous) I was spent. I just wanted to come home and rest. But that was not going to happen since I had committed to volunteering for a couple festivals that are dear to my heart. As soon as I touched down, my Dad had a health scare which jarred me a bit. Then I kept  busy with the planning and doing of Astral Harvest. I love this festival and this year it was super awesome since I had an integral role. It was also quite exhausting. In a good way, ofcourse.

Next I worked on finishing the book. And it was more of an effort than I originally thought. I began really taking pride in it and wanting it to be something decent. I didn’t change the essence but I did add quite a bit and refined it where I could. I had alot of support and help, directly and indirectly. I am pretty sure I couldn’t have done it alone or if I tried, it would have been a disaster. When I finally finished, it was like an end of an era. I felt I did my best and it was a good (not perfect) piece of work. My first book. I think of it as my only book but now that I have learned the process, I may take another stab one day.

When all was sent off to the printer, I rested for a quick minute before I began having tenant and house problems. They were pretty severe so I ended up selling one of my properties. I have to say this was one of the biggest reliefs of the decade. I have been wanting to offload this troublesome house for years but never had a good opportunity. Finally it presented itself on a silver platter. It was alot of work and quite a bit of stress but in the end I listed it just days before leaving for Burning Man. I  let it go and hoped for the best.

Drove down to the Nevada desert to attend my favorite week of the year. I went early so I could help with pre-event. The drive down was peaceful and I really enjoyed the drive once I got my car actually working right. Again, I had some awesome help from friends and family. I am so lucky to be so supported. I stopped in Bend to stay with a fellow Ranger and pick up my shipment of books. It was a surreal experience to see all these boxes of my creation. I was excited and nervous to give them to my supporters on the playa. When I signed the first one, I felt weird and wonderful.

I drove myself down to Black Rock City which was slowly building itself. I was so excited to be home. There weren’t many of my friends there yet so I spent the first few days just remembering. That didn’t last long before I began connecting with all my playa family. I was really looking forward to my first shift doing dispatch. I like to feel needed and somewhat helpful, even though those first few shifts were quite quiet. I was still nervous about my skills and whether I could “do it right” so coming pre-event was perfect. I had several awesome shifts and began really finding my groove. Then all my friends started showing up!

To be continued…

 

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