All posts by Bohemian Babe

Jan 2019

With the plethora of holiday parties over, I finally got a chance to chill out at home in San Diego. Something that included details like binging on a podcast called My Favorite Murder that I found out about when dropping some women off at a live recording of it. It kept me sane driving so many long hours even though one of the two women hosts (yay for ladies!) drove me bananas by sounding dumb as dirt and the other, while I liked her in private recordings, sounds fake as fuck during public ones. It would eventually be why I stopped listening but hey, it was great while it lasted and I probably couldn’t have come close to their over all magic. The simplified psychology of the murders and humor mixed in was indeed a great formula and their ratings showed it.
It was great to get back to my roots in Ocean Beach. A local dive bar called The Tilted Stick had a delicious $10 burger and a beer deal that I loved to take advantage of while doing laundry next door. While still only on my “to do” list, driving by donation-based yoga on the beautiful Sunset Cliffs further down the main street was also awesome. So was writing on the back patio of a restaurant called Breakfast Republic. It reminded me of a couple cafes I had gone to in India with Alexandra which made it even extra special.
Hangin at the beach meditating with my mala beads and reading Playa Dust for my third time was something I had been dreaming of and was finally back to doing. Juliette was forever pulling me over to another of our fun local dives called Lucy’s and unfortunately sometimes also pulled me into hangin with her soon to be loser boyfriend. Sweet dude but had too many problems to count and would later try to hook up with me while also trying to spin it to make it sound like I was coming onto him AND his friend. Knowing I would never do that, she saw right through it (helped that I had his attempt in writing) and I did my best to hold back on bitching about lowlifes. Made me extra thankful for my type being slightly nerdy sweethearts that have their shit together. I mean, one of us better, right?
Back to the love, visiting Jewels and snuggling on Sugs made me happy when I got a chance to do it. She was always a ray of sunshine even though really upset about something that happened involving her friend on that particular time back and I was happy to be able to dog-sit. Yup. My life was thankfully still where I had left it.
Still in my bubble though in a neighboring art district called Liberty Station, a swanky movie theatre called The Lot offered discounts for members on Wednesdays so I took my pop and then to a burger place called Sladers 50/50. It was a great daddy daughter day. Something we would soon do again but farther away when I took him a couple weeks later to a casino called Barona for a $45 lobster Wednesday buffet and a few hours of gambling. The half an hour to pick him up, popping into the Satterwhite Sanctuary (hurray to be able to love on the four pups) and another half an hour to the casino was a somewhat painful trek but I was happy to be spending time with him. Not knowing how much longer we would have him given his health was always haunting. Especially with the idea of going overseas for more than a year.
Gig work was still a hustle, especially catching a cold for a week and a stupid BS delivery company I was thinking of starting with threatening me when telling me I had to return their equipment since I didn’t sign up for a shift fast enough. Unregulated gig work was such crap and the class action lawsuits hadn’t begun to roll out against them as they were to a few months later.
Heading out with the roomie for a drink was fun and a good bonding experience before heading back to the Bay. Kicking my time off back there with a fun night at a Star Wars Bar called 7 Stars Bar & Grill with the homies from high school Nick, Ant, Leilani and a couple more, of course Nick started a conga line. Of course.
Dropping my phone in a toilet a few months before = no audio but you get the idea…

India creeping into my subconscious once again, I came upon a spot in a parking lot of the seedy East Side of San Jose littered with garbage in a way that reminded me of my time there followed within a day or two by also being transported back to Thailand when getting a cheap massage at a spot called Life Reflexology. Little reminders that I may be taking a breather at home but I was happiest when also on the road.
I loved spending time with my little Felton family of Brigit, Aaron and sometimes Melissa. Just like home in SD, I was forever humbled to be able to call such a magical place my second home. During local hikes in Henry Cowell Mountain State Park, I would watch deer feed in fields, people ride horses, dogs walking with their human family and got to say hi to my horsie friends at the neighbor’s cute and quaint corner house. Lady’s night with Brigit and Melissa at Henflings was super fun and felt extra great to have cheaper prices even though only being half an hour from the Bay. Something I was painfully reminded of at lunch a couple of days later when a Korean place double-charged me for a lunch by serving it hot instead of cold without telling me first that there was a price difference. It was extremely rare for me but I was definitely not leaving a tip there. $20 lunch my ass!
Catching up for my few short weeks in Nor Cal, Svet and I screwed around trying stuff on for the Money to Burn party Brigit and Aaron were going to throw to celebrate his being done paying alimony (Brigit always threw great parties) and then it was back to driving Lyft all over the place up there with SF, the mountains and Santa Cruz being my favorites. Already time to drive back to Southern California, I visited Grandma for a couple nights also driving for Lyft in LA (no bueno) and even managed to meet up with my burner buddies Angelique, Sid and Ash. Back and forth, back and forth…there was always plenty of good times and adventure even in my quieter moments. My personality may not have allowed for a life that had much of it but it was at least more than average at that time. I was soaking it up.


December 2018

Deciding to stay home in California until after Burning Man 2019 by no means meant that the adventure was about to slow down. December exemplified that as it gave me plenty of opportunity to do what I loved to do best. Celebrate!
Santacon, a pub crawl started in San Francisco in 1994 in which everyone dresses as Santas (with a few relating exceptions) has evolved into a tradition that different cities around the world have continued on. Brigit was heading the charge for Felton and I wanted to stick around for it. My buddy from Spanky’s, Blackbird, even came down from SF to join and we had a blast. Adding additional entertainment, a server from a local restaurant, Creamer House, (where Brigit and I frequented for tuna melts) was one of the twenty or so who joined in and not only managed to leave with a crush on me but also with the big, furry cape my momma had made to keep me warm when I had been working in matchmaking in San Francisco. Long story short, even though I wasn’t all that interested, he still managed to give me a guilt trip about leaving to go home to San Diego and pissed me off by not getting the cape back to me for months.
After Santacon but before I headed back to SD, I got my hair did for the first time since Layla died in 2015. Something that may seem as boring and mundane as getting a pedi at first mention but, as had happened with many before, it had taken on some sort of right of passage. Even though I was disappointed with the result, probably my fault for not communicating clearly, I was happy I did it. To me it symbolized making an effort to take care of myself in the ways getting my bohemian lifestyle off the ground had been beating me up. A graduation to the next level of sorts. It’s funny how little random things so often end up being what marks moments of growth and change in our lives.
Heading home to San Diego within a couple days thereafter, I staycationed for an event another friend put on called Naughty or Nice. It was a weekend where a social group I had joined years before stayed at a local resort and did all kinds of local activities with the main attraction being a Christmas-themed pub crawl (not a Santacon though) in one of our local beach towns. So, so many pub crawls…
Svetlana had flown out and I met a cool guy from Denver who became my event boyfriend. For any of you burners, travelers or festies out there, you probably know what that’s like. It was great to catch up with old acquaintances and friends. Svet and I had a room right by the event’s main suite, making it even more fun. One of the nights of the event was also Sea World’s annual Christmas pub crawl where trainers, new and old, reunited for some fun. I had been around a lot when Nik was a trainer so it was always fun to join even if it meant that I was jumping between both of the events on one of the nights. It was good times to be sure but I was definitely ready to take a break from partying by the time it was done. For a few days at least.
Speaking of Nik, while I was always happy to be back in general, hanging with her and Kate was what what always made it most feel like home. I even managed to dive right back in with their kids when giving myself a black eye throwing Kate’s youngest, Audrey, up in the air in just a way that landed her chin right onto my eye socket.
Christmas celebrations still pouring out everywhere I turned with more party plans that hadn’t quite being fulfilled, Wendy and I thought it would be funny to utilize that shiner at champagne brunch in PB for a photo opp before getting drunkenly stuck in neighborhood Christmas parade and block party. The high of the day, something I still proudly chuckle at, being when we successfully crashed a random work Christmas party at The Grass Skirt tiki bar and successfuly pretended to be employees. The low of the day later being when I grabbed a dude’s cock while telling him to do the dishes at Nikki and Brent’s Christmas party. To be fair, Nik had only told me about the party a few days before so I hadn’t had time to rearrange boozy brunch. I stood no chance. Thankfully the dude and his wife were super fun, cool and also rowdy, though it still wasn’t exactly fun apologizing to her a couple days later. God. I still get embarrassed thinking about that one.
Juliette’s Christmas party was the last of the holiday tornado. It was fun with her awesome Italian cooking and big warm and vibrant personality that fit especially great with the holiday but it was also awkward thanks to her roomie being pretty much done with her after all the drama she had put her through with her then recent ex. Also because the rebound she had there at their party was an obvious loser, no doubt added fuel to the fire. It also caused Juliette’s other friends there to “WTF are you doing” and her to get really upset about it. Beyond those who cared about her just being concerned, she never seemed to acknowledge how the people she put in their lives affected them. I was far enough removed at the time to find it interesting to compare behavior patterns and reflect on my own. In the end, even though I didn’t agree with her, I had her back. I didn’t want her to feel alone and she was the only one responsible for making the decisions of her life. Especially when she was spinning in all kinds of different directions from her breakup. I’d end up regretting it but you’ll have to wait to find out about that…
At some point over the month, Wendy set up family pictures at a stupid department store (so 1995) in which I looked horrible. Something that made sense when I got hives an hour later. Probably because I hate those cheesy pictures and thought it was especially lame given that we lived in a beautiful place full of great photographers. Well, just maybe it was also because I had been to about five million boozy Christmas celebrations. Over all, she wanted to make sure we had a recent picture because of how sick our dad was. That was pretty rad.
Just like Thanksgiving had been, Christmas day was mostly a bust. Still not comfortable going over to the family’s house, my parents met me for brunch on the OB Pier and that at least ended up being a pretty awesome high given how much they loved it. I then spent the rest of Christmas alone with hives. Again.
Even if it wasn’t to last as long as I wanted, I loved being home for a minute to catch up with my people and little beach town. Alas, NYE was on our toes and I had plans for it that were about to lead me back North. More specifically, a campout with Mia and Los Angeles burners in the LA mountains. Fun but it was too damn freezing! By the time I had found a warm communal tent on the second night, I wouldn’t leave it. Between that and a couple of dudes I managed to smooch out with, I did manage to find my warm and fuzzy for saying goodbye to 2018 after all.







Svetlana

Yes, Svet is originally from Russia.
We met when my dog Layla died in 2015 and I had rainbow hair.
A man who we had known online had invited a few of us together for happy hour to get me out of the house for what may had been the first time since losing my girl.
Her being a sweet and shy accountant (though with a secret wild streak), others often tease about how opposite we are and show confusion about how we could be friends. Among other similarities and bonds they couldn’t see was that we had lost one of the women in our small and close group of friends when she jumped off the Golden Gate bridge in 2017. She had been the heart and one who pulled us all together yet Svetlana and I had managed to find a way to continue it on after she was gone. It was actually when we finally got close

Brigit and Aaron

Brigit and Aaron are two of the first people I met my first time at Burning Man. Brigit is a nanny and semi mountain hippie with a love of the wilderness and great ability to throw a fantastic wvent while Aaron is a sweet and quirky NASA engineer who grumbles but is happy to get pulled into the burner and hippie ways.
They are OGs of my burner family and, despite our 18 year age Gap, some of the first people who I ever felt I could relate to in many of my outside of the box ways.
They host me to live with them sometimes in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz mountains. I love them and they help me to not feel alone in ways that I had for most of my life.

Juliette

Juliette is a nurse practitioner who has the full-blown Jersey Italian thing going and I loved it. She was loyal, loving and nurturing in a way that was special and hard to find.
We knew each other through the boating world. Something I was a part of because of the boat I lived and and she because of her ex boyfriend.
We were close for a time but her social, dating and party choices became too much of a problem. I’m sure I played more than my part as well. I am certainly not easy.
Love her and hope the time she drops from the story is just a hiatus.

Kati and Nikki

Kate and Nik are two of three sisters I’ve known since high school and are the two closest people I’ve ever had in my life and the most support I’ve ever had.
I started hanging with Kati when one of my high school besties introduced us and the three of us would hang. We got close when I would later visit her at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical School in Arizona. She was a pilot at Skywest and is currently a stay at home mom to two little girls with new aeronautical endeavors in the works.
Nik was a year younger and my sister knew her better than I. She dated a guy I hung out with a lot and we became close when both moving to San Diego around the same time in 2000. Her to become an animal trainer at Sea World, which she did. A senior dolphin trainer. She is now a stay at home mom to two little boys.

They have a younger sister Debbie (AKA) Doozer who is a doctor and lives in a different state. Dooz is more of her own person, which I love her for, and someone I also consider a part of my family.

These women are some of the best people I have ever known and probably the most important people I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve thought of them as angels, at least my Angela, for the close to two decades we’ve become close enough to consider each other family.

Wendy. AKA: Big Red

Wendy is my sister. We are 18 months apart and fought like cats and dogs until somewhere on our mid to late thirties.
While I am the oldest, others almost always think she is. Where I am the bohemian free spirit and hot mess of the family, she is mainstream and had taken over as the head of our family.
I’m 5’10”, she’s 5’8″. I’m a blond and she has curly red hair. Our brother is brunette. An oddly common combo in our family.
While our brother Sean and I both moved to San Diego in 99/00, the rest of our family came in 2017 when our mother, Theresa, retired as a pedi-ICU nurse at Stanford.

November 2018 – A quiet month of daily life…mostly.

Being a foodie in California, especially when in San Francisco a decent amount of the time (and double that when constantly on the road) can be a little slice of gluttonous heaven. Especially when finding good prices by focusing on lunch specials, happy hour and Restaurant Week. Being all over the place and checking out these new culinary spots is about more than just food, of course. Aptos St. BBQ in, well, Aptos had a blues vibe with live music and Summit House in the Santa Cruz mountains (on the 17) combined a great mix of a calming scenic view while also being full of bikers. It was a lot of daily-life fun with a lot of appreciated diversity.
Besides chowing down, life in Felton also continued to consist of the hikes I adored in the redwood tree-infested Henry Cowell State Park and I even managed to finally meet the retired equestrian park ranger neighbor who lived in a picturesque house across from the park with his two horses in the front, Buster and Dandy. I had always wanted to love on them and jumped at the chance to say hello when he was outside one day, asking if I could share some of the many apples falling off a tree at Brigit and Aaron’s.
Even though I was driving 60+ hours a week for Lyft, I still semi-managed to take advantage of other opportunities that popped up, like stopping in and drinking Russian vodka with Svetlana when dropping off a passenger by her house late enough to justify calling it quits. Moments like those were great when I actually pulled together enough energy to rally myself to take advantage of my Bay Area bucket list. Still, reality was that driving so many hours, sometimes until 1 or 2 am, often left me waking up the next morning dizzied, disoriented and in an exhausted mental fog that was sometimes so strong it took a moment to remember if I had taken anything to sleep. There were nights of insomnia where I would finally take a Tylenol PM at 5 AM, sometimes from being too amped from a really good day and others from the stress of it going the other way. By the time I was ready to start driving the day after these rough nights it would be mid afternoon (so much for working out) and by the time I really started to feel awake, the sun was going down. Of course, and as was a constant concern, I knew I’d be more successful if I slowed down and had more balance, but I had always been terrible at that. Constantly scolding myself, the story played on repeat in my head about how I was setting myself up for failure and losing happiness by working too much like that. By late November I had given 5,576 rides and was getting less and less bummed about my time driving for rideshare likely coming to an end. Well, for the moment. I knew I’d still miss it.
Even with those days of being floored by Lyfting too much, I was proud of myself for managing to take care of little things. I stayed aware of and looked into money-making side-hustles I came across and dealt with micro-stresses like figuring out how to refill my meds at a new pharmacy when the label on my current bottle had all but worn off (thanks to my most recent travels), called about the microphone on my phone not working (after dropping it in a toilet at Nikki’s birthday), dealt with a call from the social security office about possible identity theft, looked into what I had to do to get medical (what ended up being to pay $200 a month for Medi-Cal) and about setting an appointment to get my hair did in order to help me feel a little less like a raggedy hippy.
November was a quiet month for the most part. Except for, you know, the deadliest wildfires California had ever seen. I drove for Lyft on the day the air quality was the worst in the world and could only see maybe half a mile in front of me. Even though I had worn a mask, I was still not-so-surprisingly laid up on the couch the next day feeling horrible. It had been scary enough just experiencing that much, and I had been worried for the people in real danger, but I was also still selfishly bummed about missing a fundraiser for Black Rock Roller Disco (the roller rink camp at Burning Man) being held at the Church of 8 Wheels. Going there was one of those things on the SF bucket list. What the smoke did do that I appreciated was eliminated out ability to play “out of sight out of mind” and forget about those poor people literally in the line of fire. It must have felt like Armageddon for them. I donated a little then for the people and animals in trouble and promised myself I would six months to a year later when most had forgotten the need that would still be there.
Moving on to later in the month, Thanksgiving was next to non-existent. Brigit had originally said she was going to make a meal for the holiday for the little family of herself, Aaron and I but later let me know that she had made other plans by asking me if I had plans. What it did turn into was a night of kicking off the holiday weekend at a bar in San Jose called Britannia Arms with my late-teens BFF Nicki to celebrate an old tradition, complete with a reenactment photo of us trying to be “hard” to be cool. She had brought a bunch of her people I didn’t know, or at the very least wasn’t close with, so it didn’t have the nostalgic feeling I was hoping for but I was still glad I made the effort and was pretty content as far as the actual holiday went (with only a few pangs of hurt and self-pity). It was a glorious and rare day alone with string bean casserole and snuggle time with Meowlie for most of the day until Melissa came over later.
As far as work went on that holiday weekend, Wednesday and Sunday were a bust thanks to being TOO busy. AKA: the nightmare of just inching my way around in airport traffic instead of getting anywhere in a productive time frame. Sometimes I couldn’t even get into our waiting lot at SFO to be in the digital countdown, though I did luck out once in a while with random long rides that took me in the right direction. What seemed to happen more often, though, were long rides that took me in the wrong direction toward the end of my shift. For instance, getting one at 11:30 PM from SJO all the way back up to SFO. AKA: away from home which added at least an extra hour to bed time, making it after 2 AM. Not great for how I would be feeling the next day.
There was a lot of the beautiful mundane that is so much of what life consists of. Well, maybe not my kind of life quite as much but you get it. I was happy that I managed to meet up with Wendy and her friends one night when she flew into town to drop off my niece. Once again, they weren’t my people so I was a little uncomfortable despite crashing with her sweetheart of a friend, Sara. I quit the show I had been watching, the Good Wife, feeling like I had wasted those moments of my life, at least after the first season, and caught a cold as I seemed to do once a month. Thanks, no doubt, to the sanitary conditions and germs of those around me both when driving and at home. There were little treats like taking advantage of $5 movie days at the local Cinelux movie theatre to see Fantastic Beasts, grabbing a beer every now and again to sit with around the fire at Monty’s and $8 lunch specials at the local Chinese restaurants. The food wasn’t great but the prices couldn’t be beat.
Driving down the streets of our amazing mountain town, waving back to locals filled my heart and gave me amusingly paranoid moments of wondering if I was acquainted with any of those people or if they were just randos saying hello. Driving over the hill from the mountains into the Bay, I made mental checklists…scrub the car seats, yoga, hike, write…by the time I hit the beautiful but dangerous winding highway 17, my analytical mind had graduated from the warm-up of the lists and even further into the creative imagination that I had lived in as a child. I’d think about how I had a lot of good things in my youth, especially once moving to San Diego, but the main words I’d use to describe my life up until my mid twenties was pain and rejection. Finally finding Lamotrigine in my mid-thirties was the first thing that had really changed all of that but also took away some of the things I identified with and loved the most about myself. Then I’d analyze about whether that was really true or if it was a chicken or the egg thing. Following that train of thought and falling even farther down the rabbit hole, I thought about how I had been a happy and inspiring human drug to those around me when on one of my natural highs of charisma, adrenaline, happiness, love and empathy. How I had been able to live in my imagination and the way that inspired my writing. I thought about how different I was compared to the “normal” people of society and how I got it from my mom. Then I was thinking about her. How she would get upset when everyone around her was happy because, I thought, it maybe fucked with her self-worth and sense of direction to not have anyone to take care of. Plus the (for her) anxiety-ridden and upsetting chaos of the excitement that happiness brings. There was, of course, also fantasies about winning the lottery, being discovered by someone who wanted to work on this blog and the book I wrote, travel funding and (cringe) falling in love.
As my mind wandered six ways from Sunday, the beauty of that nature I was so in love with still managed to pulled me out of my imagination for small moments too magical not to notice. My favorite at that time being the steam that burned off the trees in those mountains as the sun hit in the mornings. Unfortunately, I was also pulled out for not so magical moments of having to focus on that scary road. Especially during a super rainy year of driving a Prius down a freeway where so many crashes took place. I had already hydroplaned once or twice, once knowing that I would have been in a crash if anyone was driving next to me. Not fun.
As those tedious moments that make the day to day continued, I felt happy and high when finally kicking the cold and extra great when it happened to come on the same day of a great 11+ hour working day of making $300 (before $85 + taxes overhead). Good timing before managing to take three days off driving. Something I hardly ever did.
Maybe the most fun I had all month was making it to the Dickens Fair with Brigit and Aaron for the first time followed with the relief of getting my hair did. Being at the salon for 5 hours, though, with the stylist’s kid playing on the floor wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. It was cheap at a total of $100 ($50 Groupon and a $50 tip) and I rarely did the “take care of myself” grooming so, even though the outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for, I was still gratefully happy.
So yeah. Over all, it was a month of the mundane day to day that is, I reiterate, so much of the beauty of life and something I hadn’t had in a long time. I had learned to appreciate it so much more and tried to hold on before the craziness of my adventures returned.

October 2018 – Still Plenty of Fun

The first time I partied after getting back from Burning Man was, ironically, with my new burner bud Mia when she introduced me to the Hash House Harriers. A “drinking group with a running problem”, it started in the military as a creative way to keep soldiers in shape and had since evolved into a social group that was pretty much a scavenger hunt with costumes, running, booze and other debauchery. Of course I loved it, albeit a couple of super young Marines who got me just a little too drunk, triggering my issues from playing military mama back in the day and I ended up crying by the end of the night. It was good fun all-in-all and a cry every once in a blue moon can be quite the release. Even if a hot mess when doing it.

Back to Felton I went from there. I was about to spend most of the next year up there in those Santa Cruz mountains full of redwoods in order to make the money for my sister, Big Red’s 40th, Burning Man and all of the things I had to pay for to go teach in Korea. God I loved it. My first home, San Diego, was a fun, living on vacation, excitement, close family and friends beach lifestyle. The mountains and San Francisco, my second home, was where I found peace, nature, rest, culture and where my burner life was centered. Of course there was exceptions but that was typically the rule. The two together are what made for my balanced home.
Nicki, one of my closest friends during my formative years for those of you just turning in, was turning 40 and throwing a theme party a week later where everyone was to come as one of their favorite musicians. Dragging Svetlana along who cane as Prince, I came as Jimmy Buffet. My one regret being that I forgot to sing “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw“.
Always presented with painful reminders of how impossible it was to make it to everything, I missed seeing Doozer (honorary little sister/Kati & Nikki’s sis) who was in San Francisco an hour away that weekend but did manage a week after that to camp out for a night and go wine tasting in the mountains with my good friend from home, Juliette, and her pal Rose when they came to town. I even managed to picnic in Dolores Park with Levi, another one of my new friends from the burn as well as our campmate & bud at another time, Bacon Daddy. Burning Man was slowly taking over my life, if you hadn’t noticed.
I had stepped into a year of working 80 hours a week but was still managing to fit in amazing moments. Something I had always strived for but typically been bad at in the past. From afar these occasions looked like nothing but fun and adventure but reality was that I killed myself to make them happen and could only half enjoy because of it.
That isn’t meant to be a complaint. On the contrary, I hope to show how the bigger picture is always hard when going for grand things and how growth while building a foundation is painful and at times more important than instant gratification. Who knows. Maybe I’m half-pointing that out to remind myself.
Now that a history of debilitating anxiety had finally been successfully taken care of, learning how to say yes, sieze the day, make time with no excuses and to be there for loved ones when it mattered was finally up to bat. The more I was weighed down with work, goals and bills, the more important it because to learn how to break away and look up. For the first time in my life, I had finally been finding my way in so many ways. This was one of the most important.
Speaking of Burning Man slowly taking over my life…the first time I had gone to San Francisco’s Burning Man Decompression party, I had taken my sis Wendy and had been heartbreakingly disappointed. It felt too much like a generic one-day for-profit party festival and not enough like the ten principals that made the burn so important to me. Between that experience and flying out the day after the one that was coming up for Nikki’s surprise 39th birthday, I had been apprehensive about going for 2018. Svetlana had been so excited, though, that I gave in and had was pleasantly surprised when having an amazing time. As opposed to the previous experience, I felt the spirit of the burn. Especially through her eyes and squeals as she exclaimed her thoughts and feelings, all of which lined up with what I believed the burn to be about and why it was so special to me. (Insert proud tear.) She even managed to find a way to get her first experience of being covered with playa dust and I managed to find and participate in one of my favorite things, a cuddle puddle.

Catching that early flight after way too little sleep the next day, and somehow managing to look presentable while doing it, it was all absolutely worth it when meeting up with the group of friends from my twenties who had once upon a time been my family to give Nikki a birthday surprise of an urban pub crawl on a group party bike Brent, her hubby, had rented. We even got the driver hyped and I made one of my old matchmaker attempts to set up a date with him and Wendy. Alas, she broke his poor heart after our punk guy friends convinced her that he was gay (he wasn’t) and I ended the day by dropping my phone in a wobbly toilet after not wanting to leave it with my drunk friends because I was scared they wouldn’t take care of it. Freakin figues.
Whoopsie-daisy should be the new motto of my life.

Back to Brigit, Aaron and their cat, Meowlie’s in Felton along with visiting a bud from the burn in Oakland, it was back to working non-stop for the rest of the month with occasional breaks to be a foodie, cocktails, for naked skinny dipping under the stars and a night or two of hanging around the fire pit at Monty’s Log Cabin. I may not have gotten traditional weekends but I sure did know how to make the most of it all. ✌🏻
Brigit, always fantastic at throwing a soiree (never say no to a party thrown by burners) hosted a witches tea party and I managed to go to Nicki’s Halloween party, which I had been told would be a movie night but ended up mostly consisting of taking kids trick-or-treating. Heading back “over the hill” to meet up with our a friend to finish the Halloween night her favorite bar, Joe’s, it was a pretty low-key Halloween which worked just fine for me.
All things considered, I’d say I was recovering from Costa Rica, India and Burning Man pretty well. Email maybe for that pesky rest thing I was still so damn bad at. C’est la vie!









GSR – An After-burn Party on the Way Home & the Rest of Sept

In the years I’d been going, I don’t know why it never dawned on me before takeoff that the journey back after Burning Man was a huge trek within itself. By the time packing up, herding the crew and actually getting through playa traffic was done, it could easily take eight hours to get to Reno. Eight if lucky. Way more if there was an accident anywhere down the two-lane road, an Amber Alert (like 2016) or any number of other things.
*Cue a runaway building-sized eyeball with a narwal horn and dragonfly wings.*
Originally grouchy about adding another stop after the burn, when the time came, Grand Sierra Resort in Reno had actually stopped me from having the mixed feelings of being bummed as the city started to break down while at the same time trying to amp up for the man burning. What it also added, and I ended up being so incredibly relieved for, was indoor sleep, a huge pool after-party the next day and one last night’s sleep before the long drive home.
Continuing our pilgrimage meant that there were of course be a few more hiccups. First not being able to find a dumpster that had any more room for the loads of smelly trash we were taking off the playa and then when I hit a car parked in the wrong spot when trying to park our gigantic RV at GSR. Finding the man who was renting it to own up, I lucked out when he said not to worry as insurance would cover it. Only a burner still riding the magic could be so cool.*tear*
I, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly channeling that same magic when flipping out on rich dude Mia was acquainted with for taking my spot in bed on that first night when he had his own damn room. I way too tired from the previous two weeks, two months if including India, to let that shit fly.
Finally home in San Diego somewhere around 3 AM a couple days later, Mia and I crashed at her pad for a few hours after Mom had left me stranded there (I’ll spare you the ugly details) and then woke up to find that the RV had been towed for blocking a street that was a dead end alley. Adding to the fun of that experience was being covered in flea bites in the tow yard office when going to pay the $800+ to pick it up. An infestation the people who worked there knew about but didn’t manage to mention. The people who work at those places are always such lovely folks. For a grand finale, it was just her luck to hit a neighbor’s car with that beast of a motorhome after I had gone. Major lesson learned: no way do I ever want to drive a vehicle that big again. Though of course the thought of it still makes me cringe, I giggle a little at the hot-mess of it now.
Unwinding for the rest of the month was pretty low-key. I was back at my place in Ocean Beach, picked up a new insanely expensive rental car to continue driving for Lyft and just generally recovered from India and the burn while showing off little badges of honor by wearing colorful Indian jewelry and putting my majorly dried out fingers on display. Playafied, baby.
Beyond that, I was back to my normal SD life. Chilling out at the beach, eating acai bowls, hangin on a buddy’s boat, writing from cool spots like my favorite local cafe, Te Mana, friends, farmer’s market on Wednesdays and caught up with loved ones. Happy times that included taking my pop for a movie and a crazy ice cream float at Slater’s 50/50 (you know, to prove I was still American) and spending time with all my sisters (two from another mister and one by blood) and the rest of the fam (minus mom) doing fun local stuff like coffee or coctails and the beach.
Goodbye and goodnight, September. You were the last month of big adventures for a while. And for once, I was totally OK with that.