Saturday, 31 October 2015

Boo.... Drip.... Drip...

Oh dear, it's looking like it might be a wet one for the kiddies this evening.

I remember a few Halloweens in my day wearing garbage bags over the costume.  And yet others wearing layers of clothes because it was so cold!

But it's always a little disappointing to think of the kids having to take umbrellas and wear boots.  Hopefully it'll clear up later, but right now?  It's raining hard.

Halloween here, in North America anyway, is the most Burning Man like experience you can have outside of an actual Burning Man experience... people have spent a lot of money to give things away and have created fun "art installations" for people to enjoy and people are wearing whatever makes them happy, often costumes that they've gone to a great deal of trouble to make.

It is pretty awesome when you think about it that way, eh?

(P.S.  Cell phone photo from yesterday.  My favourite part of it is "Halloween dress code"  Assuming it's open for viewing and candy gathering tonight too!) 

Friday, 30 October 2015

Shadow!!!

I don't think I told you about Shadow.

I told you about Buddy, my squirrel buddy, right?  Well, about a month (or maybe two weeks, I DON'T KNOW TIME WORKS WEIRD) ago, I noticed a black squirrel running a similar route to Buddy's.

So, because he looked like Buddy but a lot darker (we only generally have grey squirrels here) I called him Shadow.  You know, like he's Buddy's shadow!

Shadow, a bit after I first noticed him, started running by with little apples in his mouth.  (Yes, I'm assuming all these squirrels are boys.... just like I assumed all the ants were boys... and just like as I kid I named everything Alice for a while.  I just... do these things.)

I was all proud of Shadow, getting a great store of things not too much smaller than his head to eat and I told him so as he ran by.

I did, however, wonder where he was finding these mini apples.  But hey, I'm no nature-ologist.  (Yes, I know that's not a word, shhhhhh)

This week, I noticed that my favourite giant tree had hangy ball-things on it.  Chestnuts maybe, again... no nature person here, and I kind of went "huh"... because I'd never seen this tree with nuts or whatnots on it before.  But hey, maybe I just haven't noticed before or something.

So imagine my surprise when I was on the phone the other day and gazing out the weekend and watched a clever little squirrel out on the edge of a branch, fiddling away with HEY!  That's where Shadow's getting those apples!  They're not apples!  They're... chestnuts or whatever it is that tree is making and well doesn't that make more sense!

So now I'm even prouder of Shadow and whoever else found that food source and squirreled (heh) it away for the Winter.  Good job guys. 

So yeah.  Shadow.  Not apples.  Gathering.  Cute!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Whoops, Detail!

I feel like all of my posts right now might start with "I don't remember if" but... I don't actually remember if I talked about this when I was talking about my time at Burning Man this summer, so let's just pretend I didn't!

Really, the reason that Max and I ran into each other at all is that he (and his camp-mate friend) are photographers and I'd come across their work from time to time online.

Photography (and feeling shy at Burning Man) are what Max and I started talking about and when we were spending time together, I was happily reminded that he and his friend are photographers and so the three of us would sit around and talk cameras and lenses and shoots and things.  It was great.  Somehow I didn't expect that and so it was like this amazing bonus happy of the burn.

Once I got back, Max sent me a couple of shots he'd taken of me and I had to laugh.  Max has a much better camera than I do, and much better lenses.  And the particular combo he was working with with these particular shots can get quite a lot of detail.

Which is why I got to learn that when I put on lip balm (which I do all the time, and even more all the time down in the desert) apparently I don't just put it on my lips!

When I zoomed closer on the photos Max had sent me, I could see enough detail in them to discover that I seem to smear the lip balm on my lips and on the face around my lips.  Oh no!

So.. now I know... I'm generous with my lip balm.

Probably a good thing I don't wear coloured lip balm eh?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

My Summer Oh No!

Hey, I never told you about the almost major goof up that I had this summer!

So, most of my bills are paid automatically, or withdrawn automatically, but there are a couple that I still pay myself, so my online banking system has the... whatever payment people in there.

So this summer, when I was in the midst of my packing, double packing, getting ready for two trips and trying to get everything all sorted and write a bunch of posts time, I went ahead and paid off my (rather large) VISA bill.

I got back from Burning Man and was going through emails when I saw that my Hydro (electricity) bill had come.

And... it was HUGE.

Like... really huge.

And when I got over that shock, realizing it must have been some kind of typo, I realized that the huge bill was actually a credit.

Thought for a moment that it must be an error on their end and I'd just... never have to pay another Hydro bill, but realized that... well, maybe I should look into what... exactly was happening.

So I signed in online and checked my statements.

Oh.

No.

Oh no oh no oh no!

That massive VISA bill that I paid? 

I somehow also paid that amount to BC Hydro.

Oh crap.

At this point, the panic sets in because my financial situation is not strong right now and I'm not even sure my line of credit will cover this and my rent and ok... breathe... breathe...

At that point, I called up my bank and explained what had happened.  They said they could put a trace (or something) on it and recall it but it would take a while and cost a few bucks.  I said go for it!

I then called Hydro and explained and they took a look at the amount and went oh yeah sure, no problem. (I mean, we're not talking I overpaid by a buck or two... it was a LOT!)  They said they'd send me a check in a couple of weeks so I called the bank back and said they didn't have to do their thing.  Then I triple checked to make sure my accounts would be covered until the check came and I rolled my eyes at myself and felt very grateful that I'd caught it and that it was going to be fixed and that it all worked out ok.

But man... online banking stuff should not be rushed you guys! 

Whew.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Hmmmmm

Sort of right on the edge of not knowing how much to talk about what's going on for me right now.

Which always amounts to feeling equivalent to writer's block because when your mind is filled up with X, it's hard to think about anything else long enough to put together coherent (or at least semi-coherent) thoughts on something else.

So, for today, I'll fall back on an old "favourite" of mine to talk about.

The shortening days.

Dark thirty is a lot earlier and I know it's just going to keep being this way, or darker now for the next chunks of months.

I also know the time will change at some point here and that'll make it all even darker.

I'm noticing it in the mornings now too, and that's one of the reasons I love my light alarm clock so much.  At least I'm not getting dressed in the dark on the dark and rainy dark mornings.

Oooh, I just had a thought.  I'm sure it's not on his laundry list of things to do, but perhaps our new Prime Minister will eliminate the time change!

One can hope, anyway.  (I'd insert a winky face here if I was texting this to you so just imagine it k?)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Making Space

Continuing what I started.... at some point maybe this summer (didn't I talk about having a hard time throwing away old t-shirts?  Did I make that up?  Don't think I did but I can't find the post... anyway) I pulled a bin out of the back of my closet and started to go through old photo albums.

I don't know what to do with photo albums in general, because they take up space, but when you want to look back through them... they're nice to have.  But because my place is small, they're in a bin and I don't look through them.

But this weekend I did.

I went through them and found a lot of photos that were just... well, not necessary to keep.  They weren't holding a memory or they weren't that great or they weren't anything special.  So I rearranged things and ended up reducing my collection of albums in half.

Which I'm happy about. 

But now I don't know what to do with the negatives!

I mean, honestly, I probably won't reprint any of those photos.  None of them are anything more than snapshots, but there's always that sense of... what if.

And I don't want to just leave them for someone in the future to find and make a documentary about (as seems to keep happening of late) but cutting them up feels... mean, somehow.

So right now they're just kind of sitting there staring at me.

I cut one strip up and might make a collage of sorts out of it.

Did the same when I discovered the bin I opened had a "stamp collection" I'd forgotten I had.

I know, I know, I could probably go to the bother of selling the stamps and make a buck or two, but I don't have the patience for that and so I used the loose ones to make some cards and I'm happy with that.

The rest of them, I think I'll find someone to give them to (I was part of a kids' stamp collecting thing... yes, as an adult, shush, so they're all organized and on little booklet things and all that.)

I think there are more and more things I'm able to look at and realize I don't need that anymore or don't have an attachment to it anymore and so I'm clearing space and giving them away or whatever version of not-throwing-them-out I can figure out.

But yeah, photo negatives are kind of a tricky one.  They run up against my sense of "but what if" because if you lose the photo and the negative... well, that's not get back-able.  (Yeah, I know I could scan them or take digital shots of them or something but hey, that'd mean buying something or spending money and that's just more effort than I feel like putting in when I'm trying to simplify and clear out.)

Friday, 23 October 2015

Ok, Yeah

Ok, yeah, wow. 

This... anxiety thing that's happening right now?  Is not fun.

I'm going to talk with someone about it today.  Because... no.

Not.

It's funny (in a not ha ha way) because I've had lots of worries before and even talked about them here but right now, when that wave hits me?  I can't even.... like the idea of trying to write it out is too much.  It's not something I can talk through in that moment, not something I can sit down and type out about.  This is different.

And so?  Help.  Help and change and asking for support, which is weirdly hard to do, but I'm doing it.

Lots of ways I'm working through the moments too, and finding things that help (a friend recommended skullcap tincture and I think it's helping) and yeah...

Boo, I say, boo!

Tell me about your weekend, would ya? 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

A Change. A Truth. A Confession.

Two weekends ago, I had a bad weekend.

One of those bad weekends that you come out of the end of it and realize you need to make a change, or there's just going to be repeats of this weekend and that's not ok anymore.

Two weekends ago, I got myself into a bad state of mind.

I got upset about missing Max and my thoughts snowballed and spiralled and I tried to talk myself out of it but it just got worse and I talked to my brother and I talked to C-Dawg and somehow it just kept getting worse and Max wasn't available, which meant I couldn't talk to him about it and so I sent him an email.

From that bad state of mind.

Because it seemed like the only way to get myself out of that state of mind.

And Max called me that evening and asked me how I'd gone from zero to sixty-panic-all-is-bad in the span of a couple of days and I realized... I didn't know.

And because Max means so much to me, what he said struck home.  I make up a lot of problems in my head that really aren't problems.  Or I take things that are small concerns and I think about them enough until they're BIG IN MY HEAD.

And I don't want to do that anymore.

I don't want to believe the thoughts I think anymore.  Unless they're good ones.  Positive ones.  Happy ones.

I know I get stuck in my head.

You guys know (I'm sure) that I can get stuck in my head.

I don't want to anymore.

Sure, I could say that it's anxiety or worry, but you know what?  I don't care.

I don't want to have another weekend where I end up feeling that upset and that distressed, and I'm willing do to the work to change that pattern and those habits, because I think sometimes they are.

This is something I need and want to do for me.

I have some ideas of what that looks like, and I'm aware it may not be as easy as I'd like it to be to change years of thought process patterns but I don't want to sit and be stuck in my head like that anymore.

I feel like I'm an addict coming out and saying I want to come clean or something.

Hi, I'm Victoria, and I want out of my head.

"Hi Victoria"

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Soon Enough

Before I'd even managed to finish the drive home from Nevada, Max had texted me that he'd looked at his work schedule and thought he'd maybe be able to come visit in November.

I was so happy.  And... "flattered" isn't the right word, but butterfly and rosy cheeks happy.  But it reinforced what I was pretty sure I knew about us anyway.  Which... happy.

I still told myself not to get TOO excited about it because work has to come first and I didn't want to get my hopes up and then him not be able to come.  But I mentioned it to a few people because I was super excited.  And because I wanted EVERYONE to meet him.

Like, for reals. 

(Which is very different from how I felt with Jason, and with Jay even... I think only Sarah and her guy met those two, and with everyone else I just... didn't.  I suppose that's telling, really.)

About a month ago, Max mentioned that he was thinking about planning another trip to New Mexico.

I didn't think much about it until he sent me a message asking if I'd like to join him in New Mexico over Christmas.

I?  Freaked out.

Kind of.

In my head.  Because... reasons!  Money, travelling... really this is happening, he asked me this, wow.

And I said of course.

And I booked my tickets the next day (after some deep breaths and flight research.)

Max then broke the not so great news that this meant he couldn't take time off in November, so wouldn't be coming to visit then. 

And I cried.

Because I'd really wanted to see him that much sooner.  And I'd wanted him to come into my space.

But I get it and I understand, I just... as I said to Max, I'm selfish with the amount of time I want to see him and spend with him.

So, I'm not going to be here for Christmas... first time I've not been at "home", and I'm totally ok with that.  I'm going to be on an adventure, with the man I love, in a place I've not been to before but that looks really pretty.

And it's really only about sixty days away.

(Which, if you "do" Christmas... you might want to start wrapping your brain around the fact that it's not too far away.)

I'm really really looking forward to this.

A lot.


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Elephants? Not In This Room.

So did Jason just kind of drop off the face of the earth this summer?

Yeah, a little...

Jason and I hung out the week or so before I left for the cruise, and it was unsettling.  I talked to him a bit that week, he knew how my brain was running away with nerves over meeting Max and what if I liked him, what if I didn't like him, what if we really liked each other and Jason just said to relax, let it happen and that if we really liked each other we were adults and would figure it out.

I was, to be honest, disappointed that I didn't get to see Jason in between my trips.  He's been my go-to person since we met each other and I've always shared what's going on in my life with him but we didn't talk before I left for Burning Man, nor did he respond to any of my text messages while I was travelling.  (Same as last year, as far as I can remember.)  But once I was on the road, my mind had other things to fuss over, and Jason was not on my mind at all for the trip down into the States.

Once I met Max and knew, from that moment, that I had found the most amazing person, any lingering feelings or thoughts I had about or for Jason disappeared.

When I returned home, I did not actually want to see Jason, or talk to him, and so for the first few days of being home, I didn't.  But at some point, I think I felt that I owed him and our friendship a check in, so I gave him a call.

And, you guys?  I wish I hadn't. 

He was in a foul mood.

And the absolute polar opposite of Jason's energy and what he gives off when he's in a bad mood and the way I'd felt every moment of every interaction with Max was shocking.  I wanted nothing to do with this person.

And the sad part is I've always known this about Jason. 

The first time we talked, I told him on the phone that I wasn't interested in dating him.  I felt, even then, that his energy was too loud and too much and that he was angry and trying to sell himself, or something.  But... I dealt with it.  And when he is calm and grounded and in a caring mood, he's good to be around.  But feeling and hearing that?  Was really jarring.  And upset me a great deal.

I told Jason I needed to get off the phone, and he stopped me before I hung up.  "How'd it go with Max?  You haven't mentioned anything so I'm assuming it didn't go well?"

"I'm done."  I responded, through tears.  That being the most honest, heartfelt response that came from me not thinking.

"It was that bad?" he asked.

"No, I mean I'm done looking.  I'm done.  He's it." I was really crying by this point.

Because I meant it, and I knew it for sure in that moment.  And because I had realized that although Jason had been great for me in a lot of ways, he'd also been really hard for me and hard to be around and I hadn't known just how much until I'd met Max and felt what it's like to be cared for in that way.

Jason's entire tone changed.  "That's great."  He said, meaning it.  "I told you you'd know, didn't I?"

And I laughed, because yes, he had.  Jason has been my biggest encourager to believing that the right person would come into my life.

We talked for another minute or two and then I got off the phone.

I'd told Jason.  There wasn't any possibility for confusion on his part.  (Not that I'd necessarily expected that, but I like to be clear.) 

Jason and I haven't actually talked much since.  I saw him briefly this weekend, to pick up a photography book from him, and it wasn't strange, but it wasn't the same.  I see things differently now, for better or for worse.

Jason told me he would always be in my life and he would always be my friend.  And I suppose I know I can always rely on him to be someone to talk to if I need.  But I also always knew that if I wasn't maintaining the friendship, we wouldn't talk much... wouldn't see each other much, and that seems to be what has happened.

And that's ok.

I think I miss going for photo walks and hikes and shooting with him, and perhaps we'll get back to that at some point, but I do not miss his energy and mood when he's not at his best, and it''s a relief for me to not have to navigate through that.

So, yes.  Jason has been steadily dropping off the face of the earth for a while now and this summer seems to have been the last slanted slope of that.  *shrug*

Perhaps it's only me that feels differently about our friendship, but it is.  Different.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Time and Space

At some point near the end of the week down in Nevada, I asked Max what, if anything, we were going to do once the week was over.  We talked about it for a little while, at the table in his camper, and I said that I wasn't wanting a long distance relationship as they're hard.  I said that I didn't really want to go home and go back to dating and to date other people and then be together just for the week of Burning Man.  (Some people have playa-only relationships.)  And Max nodded and agreed and... we just kind of left it at that.  (I think he had something he was going to and I was going to go hang out with Sarah and Connor or out to playa or something.)

When I was out and about that day, doing whatever (because of course I can't remember!) and half thinking about Max and I and leaving Black Rock City it dawned on me that I didn't have to figure out the small details and that it wasn't just that I wanted to be with Max it was that we were just...together, and that's what mattered.  Yes, I've had a few long distance relationships, several, if not most of them, have been documented in part here.  To me, they all felt difficult.  Sad.  Un-workable from the beginning, somehow.  This... didn't.  It's not even just Max himself, it's how we are together.  It's how I see and sense and know he feels about me and us.  And it's how I feel around him.  As I was out that day, I realized that this relationship wasn't going to be a sad thing.  There was no way this relationship was going to be negative in either of our lives.  It just wouldn't.

When I saw Max again later that day I told him as much.  I told him that I didn't know the details of how everything would play out, or the details of when/where/what of us being in the same city/place, but that I did not see how this relationship could or would ever be anything but positive in our lives.  And that I did not want to date or think about dating.  I had found what I wanted in my life and that all that mattered.

And Max smiled, and agreed, and he held me and we went on with whatever else we were doing that day, and the rest of the week.

And that feeling was, I think, why it wasn't the end of the world when he left on Saturday.  I missed him being next to me, but I knew he wasn't gone from my life and I knew it wasn't the end of anything.  It was just, having to go back to the real world and finish vacation time and a time of us being away from each other.

The way I feel makes this entirely different from any other relationship I've had where we didn't live within a decent driving distance from each other.  Which means a lot to me.  

Thursday, 15 October 2015

And Then What?

I think I forgot to talk about the drive home from Nevada, which was good, just like the rest of the trip.

Sarah loves to drive (her words, not mine) and so we just kept pushing.  Got off playa easily Monday morning after a slightly frustrating packing up of gear (as Connor sleeps in the truck that takes the majority of our stuff, it couldn't be loaded until he was out of it) and headed out, me still wearing Max's shirt, he'd given me to keep warm before he left Saturday.

We ended up making what's typically been a two day drive a one day drive, and got into Port Angeles around eleven Monday night.

I think we were all exhausted, but also happy to know we'd be home the next day.

Next day, however, was labour day, and none of us had thought to reserve the ferry so we, once again, got up extra early (Sarah woke us, she was up at the crack of dawn) and waited in line.

Made the first ferry (yay!) and I was amazed to be home Tuesday mid day rather than that evening, or even the next day. 

When I turned my phone on as we were leaving playa, Max had texted me, and that made me smile.  He checked our routes for us on google maps and suggested which ways might be faster, and so we ended up taking a different (for Connor and I) route and seeing some really pretty scenery I'd not seen before.

And Max, being the most delightful person, sent me a link of the gluten free places I could eat at the towns we were stopping at.

And then he told me he'd looked over his work schedule and thought he might be able to travel up to see me in November.

Did you know you can blush when you're happy?  And when you feel flattered by how loving someone is being towards you?  Well you can. I found out!

I told Connor that Max was hoping to come up in November and he looked shocked.  Turns out Max had thought we were just hooking up, some playa, Burning Man fling for fun and I explained to him that it wasn't that at all. 

So the drive home was good, and safe and yes, Sarah likes to drive, so drive we did!  And we only had to pull a U-turn once when Sarah and I were singing along to The Wall so loudly that we didn't hear the GPS tell us to turn left.  Whoops!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Little Lessons Learned

I learned a few lessons this Burning Man that I want to share with myself so I can remember them next summer and not repeat the same goof-ups I did this year!

1.  Hydrate.  Like, actually.  This means you.  Not kidding.

2.  Don't leave your camp without water.  Seriously.  Even if you think it's just going to be for a little while, or even if it's evening and you feel like you "drank enough all day" to not need it, take your water bottle with you.  I'm serious.  Just do it.

3.  Sorry boys, you may want to skip this one... or not, what do I know, but don't wax before you go on a cruise that's two weeks before you leave for the desert.  I mean, go for it if you do it regularly, but his one's for me.  Because you seem to have forgotten that your skin doesn't like it and you'll end up looking like you have some horrible disease, which you actually don't and, well, just leave well enough alone.  Or deal with these things long before you have to wear a swimsuit... not, the day before.  You dumbass.

4.  Don't try to exfoliate all the calluses off your feet.  I, legitimately don't know what you were thinking.  You wanted super soft feet before you went to the desert why?  Not like you were going barefoot.  And so because you went all self-pedicure on yourself you actually managed to make things worse and weird and, just... stop.  Or get a professional to do it. 

5.  Cranberry.  Pills, juice, both, all of the above, pro-actively. 

6.  Oh, hi.  You know how you've never gotten a sunburn at Burning Man?  And so this year you just kind of didn't bother putting on sunscreen near the end of the week because the dust was probably working as a sunscreen anyway?  Yeah.  That's why you had a big, ouchy sunburn at the end of the week.  The reason that you have never before gotten a sunburn at Burning Man is that you have always always put sunscreen on every morning without fail.  And THEN the dust sticks to it and makes an extra sunblock but yeah, no... you have to put on sunscreen.  Every day.  Even if it's "cold" out and that makes you think there's... what... no UV radiation or something?  Sunscreen.  Every day.  At least once.  For sure, ok?

7.  Laces are really annoying.  So slip ons, or just make your laced runners into slip ons.  Oh, and as cute as fluffy slippers are?  Too hot.  And sweaty.  Because of the too hot.  Which means they end up making dust soup and so no. 

8.  Don't forget your warm clothes.  Even if it was hot the last two years.  Even if the next two years are hot again.  Warm.  Clothes.  Make room for them.  Because you'll miss those fluffy pjs when you need them and they're safe at home.

9.  Not a straw hat.  That's two years in a row you've taken one and the dust has eaten it into pieces that then turn into MOOP.  Stahp.  I know you don't really like hats and they never fit your head anyway, but get a decent, not straw one to keep the sun off (see #6) and make sure it either goes over your bun (because ...hair) or bun is high enough to fit in hat.  So try hat on with bun. 

10.  You will get sick and have physical not nice stuff to deal with when you get home.  It's happened every time.  So be proactive about it.   Your feet will get a little weird, try to avoid going straight to boots and socks even though the weather when you get home is brrrr and stuff.  Try your sandals, give the skin on your feet a little time to adjust.  You'll probably need to deal with the cranberry capsule stuff... keep fluids up and yeah, sorry about that.  Moisturize your hair.  And remember your hairdresser said it wasn't really "that bad" when she saw it so yay!  Good job.  You're going to have a cold, or at least feel like it.  Vitamin C, rest, and cold meds if you need them.  I think it's your lungs adjusting to being back on the coast and the change in PH.  So your body will have to deal with these things the week or two you're back so be ready and prepared to make it hopefully a little easier. 

11.  It's going to be ok.  You can't control much until you're there, and even then... you can only do so much so relax, it'll all work out and be ok.  And probably better than ok.

12.  You made a list on the way home of things you wanted this burn, look at it, get those things.  You wrote them down for a reason.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Other Moments

There are, I'm sure, a million other moments from this year's Burn that were special....magical... small yet perfect.

Like, whatever morning it was that Connor, Sarah and I decided to crack open a drink right after breakfast.  (I'd brought some vodka peach iced teas from home since I know I like them.)  And as we sat there, chatting about nothing, having a drink, staring off at the distant mountains, we wondered why everyone didn't always start the day with a drink!  And I suppose many do, really, but yeah, that was a nice morning.

Or standing on the art car, looking out over the playa, dancing to the music as Max hugged me from behind...dancing along himself.  All right with the world, beauty, love, art, relaxation.  Perfection.

Or the time we were relaxing, early one morning on Max's bed but had thrown his door open as it was warm.... and his neighbour came by to deliver the weekly newspaper (yes, you read that right) and got an unexpected view of Max's bottom, since we'd also thrown off the blankets due to heat!  Giggles all round.  Oh wait... Max wasn't naked... uh... no, uh... his bottom was covered by boxer shorts.  Yeah, that.  (Ahem)  (Whew, escaped that one!)

Or the evening that Sarah and I went out to find some live music and then wondered what the big line next to the band was and it turned out it was midnight grilled cheese so we waited in line and had what I have to admit may be the best tasting grilled cheese I've ever had!  (Yes, I ate gluten....shhhhh) 

There's something really amazing about moments like the grilled cheese one because you start to think about what all is going into it.  There's the people, who are giving their time to make and serve who knows how many grilled cheese sandwiches every night...all week.  And, can we just think about how much bread that is?  And how much cheese?  And propane (or whatever fuel)?  And how much that costs?  And that they're giving them away?  Because!  That's Burning Man.  That's a gift economy.  That's just part of why I love burners.  And Black Rock City.  And Burning Man.  That.

Or when we were biking along and Connor pointed out that we'd just passed my favourite Burning Man crush and I turned right around, found him and gave him the biggest hug, explaining that watching him and his camp mates put together their art car in 2013 had kept me sane when the heat was killing me.  Or as I already mentioned, Connor running into the same girl he'd sat with on an art car two years ago and them remembering each other?  Or me, seeing an art car I recognized from a guy I'd talked with on a dating site and seeing him and realizing that I could have gone up and introduced myself and had a funny moment there.

Or biking around on burn night, in the cold and finding El Pulpo Mechanico and watching it shoot fire and light up the night and yelling with joy at the top of my lungs because this place is beyond belief.

Or the time Max's camp mate asked if he could hold my wrist and then asked me if he could figure out what I did for a living, and then guessed I was a spy?  Dude..... how'd you know that?

Or all the times I would just watch Max and be more impressed by who he is and how he is and would just think "wow" and then he'd catch me looking at him and he'd smile.  And then I'd smile even more.

Or finally catching a sunrise, because we wanted to leave as early as we could and Sarah and I woke up around five, and got to see the sun come up as we packed up camp and drove out.

Or going back to Max's camp Sunday morning to say goodbye to the people I'd met and hoped to see again next summer, if not sooner, (and feeling like I really liked these people and that maybe, just maybe I'd camp with them next year...)

Or the random guy, out in the street, with a leaf blower, blowing the dust around and telling people that really, they had to get the streets cleaned, come on now!

Or the girl who stopped by my camp when I was just sitting there one afternoon, and asked if I had any duct tape.  I did, and she fixed whatever it was that needed fixed on her bike and then gave me a piece of pyrite and talked about how she had come from Mexico and this place was blowing her mind.

Or chatting to the fellow who stopped on his way by our camp and told us about the camp he stumbled into and how there were Russian celebrities there and that was a whole bizarre experience for him....and for me, listening.

So many moments.  Such a wonderful time.  Wonderful place.  Wonderful people.  Wonderful creativity.

And wonderful Max.

I was overwhelmed when I got home.  By being home, and by going back to work and being slammed by that, but also by the massively wonderful feelings I have for Max and our relationship.

More on that to come I'm sure... and maybe more little moments from the week as my brain remembers them.  Or not.  Who knows... 

But that, more or less, was my burn.  The things I'd vaguely planned to do didn't really get done, but Max and I found each other and that, and that Connor, Sarah and I all had a good time and came home safe, well, that's all that matters, really. 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Ahhhhhhhhhh

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian peeps.  And a happy Monday to the rest of you all!

I have a lot to be thankful for in my life, including the supportive people here.

It's certainly turned into Fall here, the leaves are changing colours and falling.... and the days are shorter, and sometimes a little drearier.

It sure is colourful though, when there's a bit of sun out to show off the trees!

Enjoy whatever it is you have going on today.  Myself?  Just relaxing.  And so very thankful to be able to do so.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Burn Night

Saturday night is burn night, the big Man burn, and so Sarah and I headed back to camp (she'd come with me to Max's for dinner and I'm glad she was there to hug me when my tears were overwhelming and Max wasn't there to hold me) and got ourselves ready for the evening.

This particular burn night, that meant more layers.  It wasn't warm!  Go figure, eh?  I was pretty stoked by this fact, but also amused that I had on tights and pants and a shirt (that Max gave me to be warm in, awwww!  And he sprayed it with some of his cologne, so I could still smell him, AWWW!!!!) and a giant fluffy jacket and I was finally wearing more than barely nothing at Burning Man, hurray!!!!

We weren't sure where Connor was and were just about to head out to find a spot for the burn when he biked up.  CONNOR!  (a la Norm from Cheers) And so the crew was together again and off we headed.

We left our bikes by a glowy thing (which... yeah) and found a spot near-ish the front to sit.  I'd forgotten my extra sitting cushion thing and found the ground quite chilly, which worried me for my health situation but hey, you do what you have to do to watch the amazing spectacle that is the Man burn!  Love it.

We sat and we enjoyed and we cheered and once he'd fallen, we got up and realized just how cold it was!

I can't remember quite how it went but at a certain point we were heading back towards camp and Connor went that way and Sarah and I headed back out into the playa.  We found some fire art and warmed ourselves and biked around a bit more before Sarah called it a night.

I stayed out for a while, biking around from art piece to art car to fire making, noise making, people dancing places.  I found the Mayan Warrior (which has an amazing sound system) and stood at the edge of the crowd and felt the bass thrum in my chest.  I found Max's camp's art piece and smiled as I watched them dancing and having fun together.

Max had told me I was welcome to join them but I didn't want to be there without him, and burn night has always been a quiet, solo one for me so I just kept biking.

My hands got cold though and I laughed that this was the first year I'd not bothered to pack my warm, fuzzy pjs.  Because it was cold!  This from a Canadian, eh?  (I checked the weather once I got off playa and it had gotten down to 1 degree Celsius that night, so yes, cold, actually!)  I slowly made my way back to my camp... not sure what time it was by then, but I got back to camp, dusted off my gear as best I could, and settled into my own, dusty tent.

Where I was freezing!

I guess I've never checked the weather rating on my sleeping bag but I'm starting to think it's not winter rated after all, brrr!

I curled up into as small a ball as possible and tried not to think about how much warmer it would be if a certain someone was there to keep me company, but like I said I was fine.  I'd had a good burn night, I'd been ok and enjoyed myself.

And I'd come up with a name for the freezing cold evening.

"Canada Burn."

Because, cold!


Friday, 9 October 2015

The End Of The Week

I can't remember if it was Friday or Saturday but at some point near the end of the week Max talked about the timing of their leaving and I realized he wasn't staying on playa as long as I was.  And as soon as I heard him say it I started to cry.

Max and his friend were going to be leaving right after the Man burn on Saturday and the two of us had never talked about when we were leaving, just when we were arriving, so I had assumed he was staying til Monday or maybe Tuesday... but no.  So I felt like I'd just lost an entire day with him in this already short week and I was pretty upset.  And shocked.

He pulled me aside and I told him how I was feeling and that it was unexpected and that I was feeling the shock as well as the sad.  He apologized... explained that his friend (and room mate and travel partner) had to get back for work and they also wanted to beat the traffic so they were leaving early Saturday evening, but that they'd be there for the burn.

But I didn't even know what that would look like.  I knew that he and his crew and camp mates would want to go see the burn together and I didn't want to interfere with that, but I also wanted to be with him for the burn.  But also with Sarah and Connor.  We talked it over and Max said that since their camp was planning on watching it from their art piece, he wasn't sure he could get all three of us on (space wise) but that I could come with him for sure.  But we worked out a way for Sarah and Connor to join us once we were out there and everyone seemed happy with that.  But Saturday was hard for me.

I did what I could to help Max and his friend pack and tidy and I tried to be as helpful as possible but I didn't want them to go.  At all.  We went for a wander around the neighbourhood at some point mid-Saturday and ran into some friends of Max's who run an art car and so we jumped aboard (with permission, once it stopped for us... never get on or off of a moving art car and always ask permission to board from the driver) and I had my first experience of being on an art car! 

I think I felt safe doing so because I was with Max and I knew he knew these people and so I felt like it was going to be ok.  Plus, Max made sure I had water while we were driving around and that made me cry all over again because I'm not so used to someone thinking about me and taking care of me like that.  So we drove around the playa for a while, taking in the view of the art and the people in this different, unique way, and then we headed back to his camp and they loaded up the rest of their gear and I... held it together while helping.

But I was kind of a mess.  Max and I had talked about what we were going to do going forward (I'll get to that another time) but I didn't like the idea of him not being there, next to me for all of Sunday, not to mention two lost nights.  (Three if you count that stupid Monday.)  But I tried to still be present in the time I did have left with him and I knew I'd be ok, if sad and missing him.

I guess we were too busy packing or trying to get food into our systems but somehow we all missed the group call out to head out to the burn set up (or whatever they called it in their camp) and when I jokingly mentioned that it looked like we'd have to head out on our own Max and his friend looked at each other and then Max came up to me...  "This is going to be it," he said.  And I didn't really know what he was saying.  It... how?  Did he... wait... what?  "Want to come see me change into default clothes?"

Shit.  No.

They were leaving right then and there.  Having missed the boat, so to speak, they made a decision in that one glance to each other that it was worth missing the burn in order to miss that much more exit traffic.

And?  You guessed it... I started to cry.

I didn't want him to leave, I didn't want to say goodbye, I didn't want the week to be over.

But most of all I didn't want him to leave.

But I let him go and say goodbye to the camp mates of his who were also still around, and I cried while Sarah gave me a huge hug and then I gave Max one last hug and kiss and I got on my bike and I biked back to my camp, crying and sad, but also knowing it was burn night, and I had to get myself ready for that.

Which helped. 

Because once I realized they'd pulled out and started their exodus (I resisted biking after their truck waving for them to stop and take me with them) I felt fine.

Sure, I wished he was there, but he wasn't and I still had the rest of the night and all day Sunday at Burning Man.  Plus I'd found the most amazing man and I felt so good about him and us that really, there wasn't a whole lot to be sad about. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

WedThurFriSatur...day?

And now it all just blends together.

I was a little unwell for most of the week...Not to put too fine a point on it, I came down with a UTI... a urinary tract infection, which is very common for women on the playa and not a total surprise, especially seeing as I'd had the not so great couple of days of not watching my water intake.  Plus the playa is really not a welcoming place and the PH of the dust alters things, there's no real way around it.  But I wasn't at my physical best and couldn't really be too far from a pee-place as I was trying my best to flush the bad out of my system and stuff.  (Cranberry capsules for the win!)  Max was so good at taking care of me... making sure I had a drink always at hand and that I was actually drinking it.  It was also super handy that I felt so comfortable in their space and that they were ok with me using their toilet so that I could pee in relative comfort and not have to wait in the heat in the potty lines.  (It honestly is the little things that make such a difference.  Especially if you're not at your best on playa.)

There was also the dust.  This was a very windy and dusty year and so we (Max, his room-mate and camp mates and friends and even Connor at times, and myself) just hung out in their camper, out of the dust and chatted.  These random, fun, silly, sometimes deep conversations about who knows what.

I was happy.  I couldn't stop smiling.  And if I wasn't sitting cuddling Max, I was staring goofy-eyed at him and inching my way back across the camper to him.

Not that it was all that cool in the camper, what with keeping the windows and doors shut from the crazy wind and dust storms.  Every once in a while I'd get overwhelmed by the stuffiness and have to pop out, find some shade and mild blocking from the wind just to get some air.  Or, I should say... some "air."

At one point one of the shade shelters in their camp got caught up in a gust of wind and we all pulled on gloves and ran to help take it down so it wouldn't cause any more damage.  That's how intense the wind can be... this structure was solid, well put together, hadn't been moving in the wind at all... totally surrounded by other campers and rvs and trucks and shelters and BAM!  Just like that it was thrashing in the wind.  Thankfully no one was in the tent under the structure at the time or there would have been injuries.  It took about ten of us about as many minutes to take what was left of the structure down and that made me start to worry about my own camp and our ... edge of the city shade structures, with absolutely no shelter from that heavy wind.

I got antsy, and felt the need to go check on my camp and Max asked if I wanted him to come with me and I did.  We biked, hard against the wind, dust whipping into our skin, out to L street and along to my camp.  Which was empty.

I thought for sure Connor would have been back to check on things but neither he nor Sarah were anywhere to be seen. (I'd been worried about Sarah in the whiteouts but hoped she was ok.)  Luckily, things weren't ripped apart like what we'd just gone through but our shade shelter was looking sketchy and the winds weren't dying down so Max and I started to take them down as quickly as we could before they turned into kites or smashed into someone or something else.  As we did so, Sarah came running out from the tent trailer of one of the neighbours where she'd been taking shelter all day and I found Connor asleep in the back of his truck.  We got the tops off the shade shelters and made sure our tents were solid and took down a few more things that were flapping a bit too wildly.

The neighbours had lost their camper's awning to the wind and a few other structures had either come down or been taken down.  We also had huge sand dunes that had blown in to our area and when I went to check on my tent, there was a thick coating of dust over everything.  More dust than I've ever had in my tent. 

Which made me, once again, appreciate that I was staying with Max and just how much of a difference a camper or RV can make in the desert.

I later discovered that I'd actually missed closing a second zipper on the tent and so there might not have been quite as much dust if I'd caught that my first night in.... but I didn't, so there was a LOT of dust.  A lot!  Which is why it's a really handy idea to cover your bedding with extra sheets, so you have clean bedding no matter what.  I also cover my bins and my travel bag with sheets so they stay relatively clean.  Although with this amount of dust and wind and days of whiteouts... there wasn't really much "clean" happening!

So yeah, I was unwell, but not sick (if that makes sense) and knew that either I'd kick it, or it'd be an uncomfortable car ride home (with me peeing in a bottle or something) but with the help of cranberry capsules and fluids and staying close to home base and Max watching over me I started to feel better, if not perfect, after a day or two.  Which was a relief (for both of us.)

And it was dusty.  And windy.  Because they go together.  Duh!  My dustiest year by far, and apparently one of the dustier years in a while.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wednesday (ish)

I think it was Wednesday that I woke up and I was not feeling well.  (It could have been another day, as I said, I didn't have journalling time as my evenings weren't spent alone in my tent recalling the day, they were spent happily hanging out with Max and his friends or snuggling happily with Max and his super soft blankets.) 

I have a hard time not feeling well in general and especially around a boyfriend type person but I really wasn't feeling well and I think Max would have had to have been blind not to notice, so I told him I wasn't feeling that good and he asked me what he could do.

I said I wasn't sure but that I needed to pee but didn't feel like I had the energy to go all the way to the potties but I thought I should and he said I could use their camper's toilet and sorry if this is TMI but the colour of my urine was not anywhere near the colour urine is supposed to be and that made me really worried.  I didn't want to worry Max, but I told him I was pretty sure I was badly dehydrated and he jumped right up and brought me some cooled coconut water.

Now, I am not a fan of coconut water even though I know it's good for you and has electrolytes and I could barely stomach the stuff he brought me but man oh man, I swear I could feel it seeping into my body as I forced it down.  He went and got me another when I told him that had helped and even though I was still rather worried, I knew I didn't have to go anywhere and that Max would take care of me.

Which... to me?  Is a really big deal.  It's a big deal that I felt safe and it's a big deal that I felt he would be there for me and not abandon me to whatever might be going on.

The coconut waters helped and we took it easy until I started to feel better, but man oh man, that was a scary moment... realizing that I hadn't taken care of myself, hydration wise, and that my body had noticed.  I guess all those "rules" I made my first year, dealing with the heat, about always having water on me and always having electrolytes in my drink and never leaving the camp without my water and making sure I was drinking all day... I guess those rules were there for a reason.  Not to be overly obsessive.... but to be healthy.  I can also see how people do get unwell on playa.  I was (other than a few drinks in the afternoon) sober.  I know people do use drugs out there and it's not that I didn't hydrate at all, it's just that I didn't hydrate that well, or that carefully. I was distracted by Max, my routines were thrown off and most of my routines are to keep myself healthy and well.  So I can imagine someone being not-sober and not hydrating and their body just... well, not doing well.  So lesson learned... hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  Even if you've met the most wonderful man and can't think of anything else because being around him makes your brain goes mushy.

I checked in on Connor and Sarah at some point that morning and Sarah was having a bit of a rough go of things.  First year is tough, and she was still tired, and missing her husband, and feeling a little lonely and not feeling comfortable being a "third wheel" (as she put it) with Max and I.  I apologized and we talked it over and I explained that she was more than welcome to hang out with us and Max and his camp but I also know how she must have felt and I felt badly that things weren't gelling better for her with the situation as it was.

I told her I was worried about my health and explained the not so good colour I'd seen that morning and she said that maybe it was all the vitamins I was taking.  I said that could have had something to do with it... maybe... and I told myself to relax... that I wasn't going to die... and that I was going to manage my fluids better no matter what. 

She wasn't sure how much she was enjoying things and I think was contemplating leaving, but we talked about how the two of us could spend more time together (her coming to get me from Max's in the morning for breakfast as I would wake up there with no sense of time and had missed a few breakfasts) and how I could support her in enjoying herself but also letting her know I would support her whatever she decided.  We promised that no matter what went on this week, whether she stayed or left, it would not affect our friendship, and that was the most important thing to me.  But I was also honest and said that if she didn't want to hang out with Max and I for whatever reasons, I couldn't promise I'd see any more of her than I had in the last day or so.  And, thinking back, I'd spent most of Monday and a lot of Tuesday with her anyway, so perhaps it wasn't *just* me being "away" that was getting to her.  As I said before.... first year is frigging tough and the playa is rough.  Day three playa grumps are a real thing.  And coming in with little to no sleep?  Well, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Because I have no clear delineation of days from now on, I'll just say that Sarah decided to stay.  She woke up the next morning in a better headspace and I'm very happy for that.  I do feel badly that I sort of abandoned her and I wish we'd had a bigger talk day one about Max and how much I wanted to spend time with him and I completely understand how she must have been feeling. 

I remember last year thinking about how much I missed having someone I knew there.  And not Connor, a close person.  And so when Sarah said she wanted to come I was happy and relieved; I knew I'd have a "person" there.  And when Sarah described how she was feeling on Wednesday I could relate... it's how I felt last year.  Alone in a place where it can feel like everyone knows everyone... except you.  And that everyone has their friends around them... except you.  And that you have to be this social butterfly and some of us just... aren't.  And missing your partner.  I know how she must have felt and I wish she hadn't had to go through that.

But I also tell myself that each burn has always been just exactly what I needed, even if it wasn't easy and so why shouldn't that apply to Sarah?  Maybe this burn was exactly what she needed right now, even if she didn't know it at the time.

But still... I have a hard time letting people down, but in this case, my connection with Max was so perfect and so amazing and good that I couldn't help but be with him and near him and next to him.  That's one of the things I explained to Sarah.  That not only was she welcome to hang out with us (it's not like we were snuggling in bed at any time other than bed time) but that my feelings for and about Max were beyond "just a hookup" (which I'm sure some people assumed we were) and that I had this limited amount of time to spend with this really incredible man and I honestly had to use that time as best I could. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tuesday. With Tutus

I woke up Tuesday morning and all I wanted to do was cry.

Max hadn't come to find me in my tent.  Clearly.  And I'd talked myself into thinking that... well, to be honest, I don't remember what anymore, but basically sad thoughts. 

I cried.  Talked it over with Sarah about how insecure I was feeling and how I just didn't know... whatever... and I cried.  We headed out for breakfast and when we passed by Max's camp I told Sarah and Connor to go on without me...that I would meet them there but that I wanted to talk to Max.  (I'd seen that his camper door was open so figured he was around somewhere.)

And there he was.  And he was happy to see me.  And he'd missed me and asked me what happened to me and I asked him the same...

He'd thought I was going to come find his camper the night before.  I told him I wouldn't have done that and didn't feel comfortable and wouldn't have wanted to knock on the wrong door or show up and he not be there so I hadn't.  And that I'd thought maybe he'd come find me.

He said he'd thought about it, but was pretty exhausted and had crashed in his bed, hoping I'd find my way to him.

I wasn't sure what to do with the not so awesome thoughts I'd had but figured I'd try to be mature and so I asked him if he had some time to talk.  He said of course.

I knew he had an event he was hosting later that day so I didn't want to take up too much of his time but he assured me he had all the time in the world and that he wanted to hear what was going on and what I had to say.

I don't remember exactly what it was I was upset or worried about but I think one of the things I said was that I felt insecure and like I didn't quite know what he was thinking with regards to me or us or was even saying "us" a silly thing?

And Max was wonderful.  He just is.  He listened and when I'd said whatever it was I babbled out, he stood, took my face in his hands and told me that I was the only one here on this entire playa that he wanted.  That I was the only one he was going to be with (cuddle wise... I mean cuddle wise!  Ahem) and that he wanted to spend absolutely as much time as possible with me.  He said some other really nice, heartfelt things and you know how with some people you just know they mean what they're saying?  Yeah.  That.  I felt so much better.

Like, a hundred percent better.  Everything he was saying I was feeling.  I wasn't alone in how I felt about him and about us.  He really really liked me.  All of me.  He wanted to share his burn with me, days and nights and all of it.  And then he held me and we cuddled on his super comfy bed (because now after a night in my pretty comfy tent, I realized just why so many people don't go back to tenting it after spending time in a camper/RV!) and we both regretted the missed night and I explained my fears of knocking on the wrong door and he said he'd put out a special light so I could find him.  I asked him why he hadn't found me in my tent and he said again how tired he'd been but also how, quite honestly, he thought his bed was a much comfier place for cuddles than my tent would have been.  Can't fault him for that although I did wish we'd found each other.  A week is such a sort amount of time after all.

We hung out and chatted and cuddled for a while before Max had to start getting things ready for the day.  We made sure I could figure out how to find him that night (he had a couple of events his team had to go to) and we went our separate ways.  (Sigh)  (No, seriously, neither one of us wanted to... there was sighing!)

I had missed breakfast and went back to camp to catch up with Sarah and Connor.  We sat around playing guitar and singing and snacking and I internally battled my shyness of not wanting to bother Max at his event and then decided to say F-it and asked Sarah and Connor if they wanted to come with me to Max's thing.  They said sure and we headed off for an adventure!


We went to the camp where the event was and I took a deep breath and went in.  Look at me, being a big girl... walking in to a camp AND one where the guy I really liked was hosting an event!  Who was this new me?  (I say with a winky face at myself)

The place was packed and everyone was having a great time and right away a couple of Max's camp mates saw me and called me over.  "He's right there!" they said and pointed behind this giant bar where Max and a few other people were serving up drinks of all kinds of flavours.

I hugged a few people hello (Max's camp mates were all so lovely and accepting and being welcomed into this event like this by them was really touching and meant a lot to me... made me feel like I was being looked out for, as part of their friend's circle of friends) and then Max saw me.

He smiled, this beautiful huge smile and then much to my surprise, he stopped what he was doing, came out from behind the bar and pulled me into a big kiss.  I think my legs turned to jello.  My heart certainly burst into happy fireworks.  He went back to serving and I stood with one of his friends and watched him for a while.

He asked me if I wanted a drink and although I've never really drank much at Burning Man I figured it would be rude not to so I asked him to pour me a small one.

Which... not!  Or, at least, "small" is a relative term when you're on the playa.  And that thing was strong!

Sarah and Connor and I all got a drink and had a happy CHEERS! and we stood around and chatted and danced (to the awesome live band that was playing outside the camp!) and I proceeded to get tipsy.

Which was so much fun!  No wonder people drink on playa!  Fun!

I spent some time, once the rush had passed, hugging Max behind the bar (that sounded naughty... it wasn't!) and I made sure that Sarah and Connor were having fun and having enough drinks!  Sarah and I went and danced with the band and I tried to get her to sing with them.  We chatted with Max's camp mates and it was such a fun, awesome afternoon.  Things started to wind down at some point and I checked in with Max and we confirmed that if we didn't run into each other that evening, I was going to head to his place and we'd not have another missed night.

Connor, Sarah and I stopped by there on the way to dinner that evening, Max was already out but we had a drink with his room-mate (do you call it a roommate when you're sharing a camper?  I guess.)  and headed out.

This time, I didn't avoid Max's camp's installation and I asked Connor and Sarah when we were out that night if we could stop by and I shyly approached, not wanting to bug Max.  But just like when I'd seen him earlier, he seemed really happy to see me, stopped what he was doing and came over to envelop me in the biggest hug.  You guys?  No hug has ever felt as good as these hugs did.  I swear I could fall asleep standing up against Max, I feel that relaxed and happy and safe and secure in his arms.

He told me he didn't think he'd be more than another couple of hours so once Sarah had had her fill of playa night (that lack of sleep catches up with you fast on playa) we headed back to camp.  I organized again and a little shyly wandered over to Max's camp.

Where he'd put some red lights outside of his door and left it open for me.  I had to laugh.  "What is this?"  I joked," The red light district?"  "But of course," he responded.  But how much did I appreciate that he'd made it easy for me to find his door.  I'd told him just that morning that I felt nervous that I'd knock on the wrong door and he'd done what he could to make it so I wouldn't feel nervous... he'd made it easy for me.  I no longer just really really really liked this guy..... I was starting to have majorly seriously fantastically real feelings for him.

Plus he looks damn fine in a tutu.

(Just saying.)

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Monday

I woke up Monday morning happy but slightly worried.

Monday was the day that Sarah was hoping to get to playa and I had no way of knowing where she was or when she might arrive.  So as much as I wanted to just stay and hang out and spend the day with Max, I felt like I had to head back to my campsite and wait for Sarah.

We'd arranged for each of us to have walkie talkies and that when she got onto playa "road", she'd see if hers would reach mine and this was about as good of an idea as we could come up with...what with not knowing about cell service and her not having a cell phone anyway.

So I walked home, giggling to myself that technically I was doing a "walk of shame"... heading home in the morning still wearing last night's clothes, and how funny was it that I've never actually done a walk of shame in my life, and here I was, at Burning Man where it so didn't matter, and no one cared.  Or would even notice!  I mean half of the people out and about were just making it home themselves, still in last night's clothes, no one needed to know that I'd been happily snuggling just a few hours before!

I woke Connor up and we went to eat.  I asked him when he thought Sarah might be getting there and he figured mid-afternoon at the earliest, so I figured I'd just stay in camp all day and turn on my walkie talkie after lunch.  I was worried and just wanted it to work out ok.  For her to have an easy drive and an easy entry and for her to find us and for us to figure out how to get her car into the "it's not really our space" space and all that stuff.

As we biked back from breakfast, I noticed that someone was using our shade shelter to put their stuff in and I was kind of annoyed.  I mean, I knew it wasn't exactly our space, but still, the stuff we'd set up was our space and why would someone put their bike and their guitar in our...wait a second.  Who was that person... unpacking their car...SARAH!!!!!!  It was Sarah's bike and Sarah's guitar because Sarah had somehow gotten in, found our space and started to unload our gear while Connor and I were off getting our food!  Amazing! I was SO HAPPY!  So happy she'd made it and that I didn't have to worry.  How easy was that?

I gave her the hugest hug and we helped her get set up and organize.  She was here!  She'd made it!  She was safe!  And here!!!!

Awesome.

Once she was settled, I went with her out to playa.  We stopped for a bit at Max's camp so I could see him and introduce them and I asked him when I'd see him.  "Later," he said, after giving me a huge hug and kiss and asking me why I'd ever left in the first place.  I told him I'd had to make sure Sarah got in ok....but that in the end, she hadn't needed me at all, which was awesome.  So Max went to do whatever he was going to do and Sarah and I headed out to playa.

We went out towards the Man, to the Temple and to the last of Marco Cochrane's "lady" sculptures and then Sarah was hot and tired (she'd been up for several days in a row and driving for almost an entire day) and we headed back.

The three of us (Connor, Sarah and I) just chilled out in camp all day and then headed for dinner.

I felt sad.

I didn't know where Max was or what I should do about seeing him.  "Later" he'd said... was I supposed to just guess what that meant?  I should have asked what he meant by that, or for specifics but at the time I was just so happy to see him I didn't want to ask and seem... needy or something.  But I also didn't want to go knocking on his door, or randomly into his camp asking for him, I didn't want to seem like some random chick looking for her crush so I just... didn't.

I think I may have driven by his camp or maybe even through it, but he wasn't in his camper and I didn't know what to do.

I mean, even if one of his campmates had known where he was or where he was maybe, it doesn't mean I could have found him...and it didn't seem like he was looking for me.  Had I been wrong in how I thought we felt about each other?  Was I more of a fun distraction to him?  Was he going to be off all week doing his stuff with his friends?  Was this all going to be a hurtful disappointment to me somehow?  Would we not actually see each other again all week?

So, yeah... I got into my head.  Clearly.

But I was disappointed.  I wanted to be with Max and I didn't know where he was and I didn't know what to do about that and I felt shy about trying to go into his camp to "find" him or whatever.

Sarah was exhausted so she crashed pretty early after dinner and I went out riding on my own.

I kept seeing the art installation Max was working on and I kept avoiding it.

But I swear it kept showing up on playa and I felt utterly immature and like I was pouting every time I'd see it.  Huh... I'll show him.  I'll... bike away in the OTHER DIRECTION from his stupid camp thing.  That'll show him.

Because yeah... as if he was a) even there and b) looking out for my specific bike lights.  Good job teenaged-brain.

But still... I was... bummed.

Went home and organized my stuff.  Which... I hadn't actually done that carefully Sunday, so it was necessary to do but then I went to bed.  Pretty unhappy.

But hey... Max knew where I camped... maybe he'd come find me?

And with that thought I did not sleep much at all.

Every noise I heard my brain interpreted as Max coming to see if I was in my tent. Or maybe...was that Max actually unzipping my tent?  Or...(half asleep) what if that was someone else coming in my tent?  Or Max?  Would he?  I kept waking up totally afraid that someone was coming in my tent but then hoping it was Max and then feeling dumb that I thought it might be him.

I must have fallen asleep at some point but I wasn't a happy camper.

(Yes, I threw that pun in there... you're welcome!)





And that's pretty much where I run out of journal entries from the week.  I have a couple from the end of the week but even they are rather sketchy notes.  The rest is going to be pieces that I put together from my memory as best I can.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Sorry! Sunday, The Third (And Hopefully Final!)

(Sorry, totally left you in the lurch there yesterday, but I kinda had to!  Life first, blog second!  Or some other heartfelt quote like that.)

So Connor and I had had to take a break from setting up and I was not happy or comfortable with staying in our location and as I was standing there talking it out with Connor and putting some decorative touches on my bike, Max showed up.

I recognized him right away and felt this instant combination of shy, happy, relieved, calm and nervous stomach butterfly type energy all at once.  He pulled his bike into our camping area and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, even though I did feel shy to meet him for reals.

He was even better looking in person... which, that probably doesn't sound nice, but he was good looking in his photos, but as I've always said, people, to me, don't look like their photos, no matter how many different shots I see and both Jay and Jason were not what I'd expected when I met them.  Max?  Was really super extra cute.  But not in a "awww so adorable!" kind of way but in a "oh my.... giggle..." kind of way.  And as nervous as I was, I was also so happy and relieved that he'd found us.

I think I forgot for a moment that I'd texted him our location and I certainly hadn't expected him to have his phone on (he told me later that he'd just had this feeling he should check his phone and did... and got my text and took off right away to find me.  Awwwww) and so him showing up was a surprise, but really good.

But, yes, I was really happy he was there because it meant that my stress over finding him or him finding me was over.  Done.  Found.  And I somehow knew right away that I didn't dislike him.  Or, whatever else it was I was worried about..... "Hey, I know you" is I think what my brain came up with to say and then I just kind of kept... putting stuff on my bike because, well, I didn't know what else to do (that's when the shy kicks in... I'm just...gonna...stand here and... tie flowers on my bike because.... I ... uh...)

I don't remember the exact details of it all but I think I said hey Connor, this is Max, Max, this is Connor or maybe we hugged first or maybe after I introduced them but I felt shy and nervous but also totally at ease and comfortable.  It was... cool.

According to Connor we "just held on to each other" and this pretty much goes along with how I remember things going... I didn't want to stop holding him and more importantly, I didn't want him to stop holding me.  He felt good.  Nice.  Comfortable.  Familiar.  Right.  Even though I was feeling shy and like I didn't know what to do, I felt really safe and good leaning up against him so I just kept doing that.

Then I'd be overtaken by shyness and feeling like we should get our shade shelter situation sorted (heh... alliteration... heh) and so I'd pull away and start to sort of do something but then would just gravitate back to Max and we'd hug again and just...be.

I'm pretty sure I lost most of the coherent thoughts I had but I did have the thought of needing to set up camp and so we started to set up camp and Max pitched in and I didn't know what to do with myself.  I was... not... needed!  Max was helping.  Set up camp!  My camp!  Just... like that.  My neighbour told me to come sit with her and "let the boys do all the work" but I couldn't so I helped where I could and organized other things when my help wasn't directly needed but man was it weird to not be setting up my own gear... tent... shade.  Such an odd feeling to have that help, unasked for.  Burner style, sure, but still.  It was positively wonderful and utterly discombobulating.

Which is pretty much how the rest of my Sunday went!

Once our shade was up and my tent was set and I'd thrown my bins into said tent, Max asked me to come for a bike ride with him, and to meet his friends and his camp.

I.... didn't want to.

I think if you'd asked me at the time how I was feeling I would have said "I don't know" but in retrospect I can see that I was overwhelmed. 

The "not knowing where to camp" issue had really thrown me and then meeting Max, as great as it was, was still a lot to take in, and a mental adjustment I kind of wasn't able to make that quickly.

So we kept setting up and then Max asked again and I sort of said to myself, self?  You're at Burning Man.  This really cool guy is here and wants to hang out with you.  Just go.  Ok?  So I "caved" and said sure, and me, little Miss plan it all out and never leave camp without my backpack and water just hopped on my bike and left with Max.  I was so distracted by Max that I left camp totally empty handed and with nothing organized.  So.... not me!  (In a good way though.)

Max and I went for a ride out into playa and I still felt shy and didn't have much to say or know what to say or how to feel and it was getting near dusk by this point and I had left without my glasses and his bike had no lights (he'd borrowed a camp mate's bike) and so we headed back in, stopping to say hi to his friend and a camp mate or two and then we went back to my camp to get Connor (and my glasses) and Connor... was less than sober (yay Connor!)  He'd organized his stuff and then the neighbours had had him over for a couple of beers and he was happily buzzed.  I felt antsy about things not being set up (my sleeping stuff wasn't even ready to go) and Max and Connor kind of figured I needed some time to sort my stuff out so Max headed back to his camp (which was not too far from where we ended up) and I set up my bed and that was about it as I felt completely out of it.

It wasn't just the usual heat/elevation/tired from travels, this was Max-brain.  I was utterly distracted by him and... again, discombobulated is the word... that I barely was doing all the things I always do... feel like I NEED to do in order to be and feel set up.

I hustled, wanting to get back to Max before he could find some adventure for the night and Connor and I took off to Max's camp, leaving, yet again, with nothing more than lights for the evening.  (What was coming over me????)

Connor and I wandered over to Max's camp, found Max, and went into the camper he was staying at (with the friend I'd met earlier.)  I, at this point, am now a little more comfortable, but (again... in retrospect...) had not hydrated since we'd started setting up camp hours ago. 

Nor had I eaten. 

Didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but a day or so later (time starts to melt now...) my body let me know it was NOT happy with this situation.

Connor had a few more drinks and then an awesome playa random moment happened when a gal who was camping with Max's camp came by to say hi to Max and his friend and totally recognized Connor!  And Connor recognized her too! 

They'd met on an art car back in 2013 and talked for ages about biology and sea life and I was so happy they'd found each other as I remember Connor telling me about the awesome chick he met that night in 2013.  Cool.  (Plus I was secretly hoping they'd like each other and smooch.  I mean, come on... they both remembered and recognized each other!)

I don't remember how it all played out, but I ended up staying the night with Max. (Blush)

I won't kiss and tell, except to say that getting into bed with someone for the first time (even if just to cuddle) when you haven't showered but have been working and sweating and are covered in who knows what and playa dust and grime?  Does not feel attractive.  So I sat on the edge of his sleeping area for a while feeling utterly shy again, even though I'd settled into feeling very comfortable with him as we all sat around and chatted in the evening.

Max, you see, is incredibly nice.  And friendly.  And personable.  And well-liked.  And his camp mates were very welcoming and friendly and I just felt comfortable.

I'd felt safe and accepted into his camper by both Max and his friend and Max and I had either sat next to each other cuddling, or been happily smiling at each other all night and I think we were both looking forward to some time to ourselves, and some cuddles.

So while the day had started off poorly, and gotten increasingly stressful and unhappy, meeting Max.... having Max find us, and finally getting to feel how wonderful it felt to hug him and be held by him made everything else fade away into the distance.

I honestly don't remember ever feeling so instantly comfortable with someone and like it just felt right.  And, yes, once I got over the shyness, there were other feelings there too, but I would have been happy if we had only ever just cuddled and been near each other.  And I felt lucky that we would be able to spend this time, in this wonderful place, getting to know each other.

Happy.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Sunday, More....

It took us probably an hour to get to gate and it was dusty.  Dusty and windy (and hot) and did I mention the dust?  Yeah.  That's the dustiest entry I've had, and it had Connor and I laughing.... here we were, in this awful, horrible dusty place and we couldn't have been happier.  Even if I was a ball of angst hoping things would work out.

I was hot too.  Connor used the newly purchased water spray fan and I think I fell in love right then and there.  People who invent things like that should be knighted.  Anything that makes/keeps me cool in the desert is frigging awesome.  For sure.

We had a super cool gal at gate (where they take your tickets and check your vehicle for stowaways and contraband and such) and then another half an hour or so to census and then the greeters.  Where we got stuck in a whiteout (dust storm) as soon as we'd been waved through.  Black Rock City at its finest... completely invisible!  So yeah, entry line was so dusty (and hot and windy) and, sad and strange and somewhat disappointing... we had cell service too.  I heard after that AT&T (or whoever) had put in a cell tower "nearby" and, well... the times they are a changing, eh?

There was something so perfect about my first year on playa not even being able to contact anyone, even if I'd wanted to.  Phone just stayed away.  Last year?  There was spotty service, and I found that handy when I was missing Jason and wanted to try to say hi but really... phone stayed away.  It was somewhat disheartening to know that I.... and anyone else... could use my phone the entire week if I wanted to.  Because I wanted to be away from all of that.  Away from life and work and contact and just all of it.  But anyway.... it would turn out to be rather handy, but at the time, it was bizarre and disappointing.

We entered the city and started to drive to where we'd hoped to be.  As we got closer to the area, I started to (in the words I wrote in my journal) freak out.  It was packed.

Not at ALL how we'd found it last year... packed.  And not by random camping people like 2014, packed with RVs and serious looking camps and major set ups and .... it.  Was.  Full.

The corner and neighbourhood we'd wanted to be in... had been in last year... had talked to all our neighbours and friends about going back to and re-uniting was totally, completely, utterly full.

There wasn't even the tequila bar fellows and I know they'd been given early entry so to not even see them?  I was really choked.

Because now what?

Our quaint little collection of long time burners and neighbours and friends was now an art car RV nation.  There was NO neighbourhood, and no one we knew or recognized was there.  How on earth were we supposed to find all these people we wanted to camp with and how on earth was Sarah going to find us???? Never mind Max.   He was the last thing on my mind at this point.  At this point, mid-hottest part of the day Sunday, I had no idea where we were even going to end up camping.  There was no room and we'd seen no spaces on our drive there either. 

I swore.  A lot.  Both inside my head and out loud in the truck.  This was kind of beyond my worst imagining.  I thought it might be busy and we'd have to move a block over... I didn't think it would be gone.  Utterly.

We'd stopped where we'd hoped to be and I was looking around when I saw the distinctive truck and teardrop trailer of our sweet, older neighbours from last year.

I felt like it was a small ray of hope and so we drove around the block to the street they were on, which happened to be the very last street of the city.  L street.

But there was space, and it was SO nice to see them and they were SO happy to see us and it was close...ish to where we'd hoped to be and we decided to stay there.

And it turns out that even that was space that had already been given to someone.  An art car collective, for lack of a better term, and that was also completely just... not adding to my mood and stress.

We started to unpack... kind of... when the space-holders came over to talk to us.  I felt like we should move and told them it was no problem, that was fine but he went and talked to someone and they said it was ok if we took the space we needed (which really wasn't much) and so that helped.  Kind of.

I still had a bad feeling about being there and the whole "what happened to our neighbourhood" thing and I was pretty stressed and upset.  But Connor just kept asking me what else I wanted to do and I had no answer.  This was the area Sarah was going to be trying to find us in and it was really really important to me that she could find us and to make that as easy on her as possible.  And, this was also the area near where Max would be camping, and where we'd be eating and I didn't want to go traipsing around the city trying to find another spot and maybe end up on the opposite side of the place so we started to set up.

And as we started to set up, the wind and dust kicked up again and I started to get really worried about our location.  Was it worth it to be with neighbours to put up with a week of unblocked wind and dust and (to quote myself) "this shit"?  I really didn't think so and I was very very unhappy.

(To maybe make it clearer to those who haven't been or who haven't a clear sense of what I mean when I say "L street" or "the city", Black Rock City is laid out in the shape of most of a circle, from 10:00 to 2:00 .... as on a clock.  The "streets" start from the inside of the circle and work out alphabetically, and L is the last street... which means there is nothing to block the incoming dust and wind.... no other streets of campers and trucks and RVs to perhaps take some of the brunt of the weather, L street gets it all, full blast... no break.)

The wind (and therefore dust) was so strong we had to stop setting up and we sat in the shade of Connor's truck, on our coolers, to talk it out.  We were both unsure, but neither of us knew what else we could/would/should try and I was very upset and unhappy and didn't know how we'd find people or be found by people if we did move.  I just didn't know. 

The lead guy of the art car space came over and talked to us and gave us the ok to be there and have the space and I guess that was the deciding moment of... well, I guess we're staying.  We have neighbours, we've been given the go ahead to take some space that isn't actually free to take so... let's just do this.  I guess I felt a bit better.  Both to have the ok from the fellow to be there, and, I suppose, to have just made a decision, even if I still wasn't sure it was the best one. 

At this point, I pulled out my phone, and texted both Sarah (who doesn't have a cell, but has an iPad she'd be checking for iMessages when she got wifi later that day or early Monday) and Max our location so that Sarah would hopefully be able to find us in our not quite the spot we'd thought and so that Max could find me.  Even though I hadn't heard from him since he left for playa and I was pretty sure he didn't have his phone on at all.

Oh!  And in what is possibly the most adorable co-incidence of all things ever, guess who is FaceTiming me right now?  (Squee, gotta go, sorry!  Leaving you at a grumpy spot!  But seriously... I was so unhappy and stressed and ugh!)
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