Saturday, 27 August 2016


I'm in Oregon.

In an RV camp ground thing.

In my camper van. 

I have wifi!  And brought my computer!  (Just for the trip down and back... the playa would kill it dead.  Dead dead.  Plus, it's already nearly dead, or mostly dead.  I'm not sure which... I should ask Miracle Max, he'll know!)

Anyway.  I don't want to take up battery power, plus, I should probably sleep.  Soon.  But here's a summary of what feels like a week but looking at the date and time is apparently only two days (WHAT?)

Yesterday was horrendous.  I don't want to exaggerate, but nor to I want to under-ggerate.  (Not a word, I know) but it was awful.  I was miserable.  And scared out of my mind.  And that's just the tip of it.

Stayed near Mount St Helens and was blessed by a wind coming up overnight to cool things (and me, and this roastingly hot van) off a little.  Miracle. 

Tonight, well, I'm reminding myself it's letting me acclimatize to heat before the very very very hot place.  (Sigh)

Um... so I am here.  Somewhere in Oregon... Jason says (he's been navigating me via phone calls through both emotional breakdowns [there have been a few] and routes) I'm more than half way there.

I don't think I can, or should do the full push to Black Rock City tomorrow.  I'm around eight hours away and you never know how long gate road (entry) will take and the possibility of a twelve plus hour day just doesn't seem smart, especially knowing where I'm going and the physical strain I'll be under once there.  (It's so hard to adjust and get your body used to the heat and altitude (and heat!) while trying to set up your camp)  So although I'm feeling sad that I'm not already there (today was my "hit the playa" day) and would rather not "miss" another day, I think I will do what needs to be done to be SAFE!  And that means being smart and rested and fed and hydrated. 

Who knows, maybe I'll stop at a hotel tomorrow and get my computer going and tell you stories before I forget them.

Like just how different a road you've driven three times looks utterly different when you're the driver.

But yeah.  Hi.  I'm ok.  And here.

Wherever that is.

Friday, 26 August 2016


I think I'm leaving today....

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Oh Hai

Still here...

Will try to write more tonight if I can but as of right now (Wednesday night) I'm hoping to leave tomorrow.  But I, right now, have no control over when.  (Vehicle in shop.)

I'm trying.  I really am.  Panicked my way to dry heaving this morning.  That's a first.  (And hopefully a last.)

Trying to trust too.  Jason (as the vehicle person).  Me (as being able to do this... the drive.... oh man....)  The Universe (or whatever you believe has a hand in all this) 

Man are all my buttons pushed.  I don't even know if I'll ever be able to sort through this in my head to write about it.  I honestly may have to ask Jason to help me remember when I'm back.

Think positive things ok? 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016


You know if I disappear that's a good thing right now, right?

(I mean, assuming I can keep babying my computer .... it's touch and go right now) 

Because in theory, if I stop posting, it means I'm on the road. 

Initial plan had been to have shore power on my stops down in my van and so be able to use my laptop and maybe find some wifi to get some posts out.  Or at least to type out some posts or something.... but now.. well.  Right.

Ok, so.  I bought a camper van yesterday.  (Was it yesterday? Or... bought it technically Sunday, picked it up yesterday.)

It's old.  Like... old.  But we were assured it's been taken good care of and is sound.  Jason feels good about it.  Mechanic type people are looking at it tomorrow.

I am losing my sh*t.

I won't go in to the freakouts I am having right now because it's technically one in the morning and I'd really really like to sleep.  But this ... I mean... it was really not how I wanted things to pan out, and I'm not, well, I will have to learn to be comfortable driving such a big thing and basically, what I'm doing right now, or at least how I got through yesterday and intend to get through today is to ONLY focus on one thing at a time.

So like, yesterday it was "right now I'm driving with Jason out to pick up the van... that's it... that's all I have to do/think about."  And then it was "right now I'm following Jason back with the van"  etc. etc.  Because if I think about the big picture or even the medium big picture I lose it and panic and feel it's none of it worth it and all too much.

So... I wish I had time to say more but I'm pulling ... I don't know... ten, twelve, sixteen hour days right now or something?  And I'm beyond stressed and scared and I'm trying to change my pre-set thought patterns.  For example, I keep saying "I can't do this!" and at some point, I realized I should be saying "I don't want to do this"  Might seem small, but I think in the brain and attitude it's a big thing.  Doesn't make it easier or feel better, but I can (probably) do this... I just don't want to.  I'm not a failure ("can't")  I'm just choosing things that work for me ("don't want to")

Not that I'm saying I'm choosing not to go, just that I'm having a LOT of panic moments of holy f*ck I don't want to do this. 

The option of not going has come up again and again.

And yet I'm still here.

The "feel the fear and do it anyway" people can kiss my behind right now.  Because it feels really really bad.

(Maybe especially so for me.)

So yeah.  I was supposed to be leaving today.  I'm not.

I would LOVE to get down time of some sort today, but I'm not counting on it.  I don't know when I'll post again, so if no posts, yay!

Keep sending whatever you're sending... whatever goodness you can.  It helps and makes me smile if nothing else.  Which is a lot right now.  Thank you.

Monday, 22 August 2016


Where I'm at, honestly... is feeling like I can't do this.

But then also feeling like I can't back out.

I've been asked to shoot a couple of events.  I've got my volunteer shifts.  I've paid camp dues.  I have people I want to meet and gifts to give them. 

But.  I have no solid way of getting there.

My car, I would trust on the drive for sure, but I can't see all my gear fitting in it, and it's now too late to add racks or whatnot.  I did consider getting a trailer hitch installed so that I could attach a bike rack or something but I didn't want to spend the (fairly considerable) money if it turned out I didn't need my car... so I didn't.  So while my car would make the drive comfortably and I'm comfortable in it... I don't see it taking my gear, plus, I don't really want to tent camp all the way there and back. 

The van I was supposed to have... well, it's not here.  It's stuck in red-tape land.  Maybe it'll get here today.  Maybe it's on the ferry as you're reading this.  But... I can't count on that.  And if it does arrive, I don't know how I'll be driving it... and the plans we had to install a ceiling vent and maybe even a backup camera... no time for that, even if it arrives today.  (At least, not that I know of... although who knows.. and maybe I could delay another day...but moot point right now as the van is not here and who knows when it will be.  This is incredibly stressful and difficult for me..... the not knowing.)

Jason has a friend who has a mini van they were going to sell, and Jason asked if I could rent it for the trip and they said yes.  Except the van needs a new battery (Jason put on in on Saturday in the extreme heat with no shade and I thought he was going to die which made me want to die) and probably tires and has been sitting uninsured for several months and I don't know if all that can happen in time and if it does, I don't know how all my gear AND ME fits in there and I can't wrap my brain around it because it's still not actually functional for the drive.

On top of all that... which, honestly is more than enough to make me feel like this just isn't going to happen.... it's been incredibly hot this week and I have NOT done well with it.  I have actually panicked a few times (heat and enclosed spaces or rooms/houses with no air flow give me panic attacks and then I have to run outside and try not to throw up and then it's no cooler out there (especially at Jason's place... it's bad)  So I'm sitting there, trying not to throw up even though I've over heated and all I can think is I can't even handle the heat at home... no way I can handle it down there.

Like, honestly.  I'm not sure I can do this.

Yes, it's always a bit stressful getting ready to go but I've always just trusted it will work out.  This year?  I don't have a solid plan to get myself there.  Not even a solid back up plan.  Nor a solid back up back up plan.  And I have not relaxed in weeks.  Not only have I not relaxed, I've been incredibly stressed.  And it's been hot.  So I'm mentally taxed, and physically not well and emotionally exhausted. 

I honestly don't feel like me going to Burning Man is something that I can handle right now.

But I sort of also feel like I can't not go.

But yeah... for anyone who thinks Burning Man is this wild crazy party in the desert?  Oh hell no.  Just... no.  It's so much work and money and time and that's not even the half of it.  I remember coming back either last year or the year before and thinking "I don't want to do that again."  Now I don't even really want to do it now.  Yes I have happy thoughts of being there.... but then I feel how hot I am and I'm by the frigging ocean.... and I try to trust that a vehicle will work out... but I can't.

And I'm trying not to woulda-coulda-shoulda...

And I'm wishing my computer wasn't getting sicker and sicker.

If wishes were horses and all....

And let's not even talk about Saturday's Hip concert.  My heart can't be broken in to any more pieces.

Saturday, 20 August 2016


And still no van.



I realized the other day that the Hip's final (maybe) concert is happening today.

Which made me lose it all over again.

I've been doing pretty well with them since I saw them in Vancouver, but... well... today's the day.  I'm going to be watching the broadcast and I know they will blow it out of the park.

I just don't want this to be happening, you know?  Not to Gordie.  Not to the band.  Not to Canada or even, not to me.  Who's going to tell us how to live and feel and breathe the air of this land?

Friday, 19 August 2016

It Helps

You know back in the day when you were learning how to do job interviews and they said "oh, if they ask you what your biggest flaw is, turn it into a good thing"?  I always used to say something about how organized I was.  Like whatever reverse psychology answer I'd give would always end up pointing out that I'm very organized.

Which I am.  And man oh man is that ever helping right now.

Because, yes, I am constantly thinking of things I need/want/am missing in my packing for the trip, but I am also super organized and that is making this SO much easier.  I mean, really... I have, for example, bins in my bins (small in large) and when I unpacked, I wrote on a piece of paper what went in each bin and now that I'm repacking I know that I have to fill this bin with socks (for example) or I left myself a stickie note that said "out of nasal spray" and then I put it onto a list on my phone so I picked it up at some point over the year and when I went to repack, I had nasal spray to put back into the "medical" bin that said I was missing nasal spray!

Now, for some people that might seem un-necessary, but man, is it ever nice to get down there and have that nasal spray (or whatever).  Sure, people camp or go to Burning Man with less and on a moment's notice or with a wing and a prayer, but I like my health and I like my comfort.  So one pair of socks isn't going to cut it.

Even right now, my place may look completely messy, but it's organized and I could survive leaving tomorrow with what I have.  (Not well, but I could.)

So my organizing helps.  A lot.  And I'm grateful for that.  And not in a reverse psychology kind of way!

It's just hard to be organizing the packing and to have the addition of the van situation on top. 

I'm very grateful that Jason's taking on the bulk of that planning and organizing and I'm more just of a gopher/helper... and I'm grateful that he has the knowledge I don't and that his brain works in this way because mine doesn't.  This isn't stuff I know, although I'm hoping I can learn... I just would have preferred not to be doing it last minute the week before I leave on my first ever solo road trip.  But hey...that's what's happening this year...

I said to Jason the other day... next year?  Next year I would like for there to be no last minute worries around Burning Man.  2013 it was me not knowing what on earth I was getting into and going with strangers and seeing Jay.  2014 it was Connor not having a ticket until two days before we were leaving.  Last year it was me not being sure about Max and the busy summer leading up to that and this year... it's.... the vehicle and the camp and the volunteering and the drive and the solo and the other life stuff I've been dealing with.  So next year?  I would prefer no last minute worries at all.  K?  Cool. Thanks!

Thursday, 18 August 2016


I would love a day off.

Just saying.

Jason says this is how contract work goes.  Or construction.  Or whatever it is he said, but I just want some actual down time.  Didn't get any this weekend because of pricing... or whatever you call it... shopping in construction type stores and buying stuff.  And then packing and sorting the rest of the day after being done with that.

Right now, if I look straight at my computer everything's fine.  But if I look to the right at all or straight ahead?  Disaster.  (That's overly dramatic... I'm just in mid-pack)  I have no peace right now and when I look ahead, I don't know that there will be any once I leave, and I won't expect there to be any once I'm on the road although I may be pleasantly surprised! That'd be lovely, although relaxing on the road is not the same as relaxing in your own space.

Speaking of... as I've been under this stress/strain, I've found myself thinking that this is why people camp in RVs.

Because as I putter around my kitchen, I think to myself, man, it'd be a lot less stressful to go to Burning Man if I could take my entire apartment there.

Yeah... that's an RV. 

I get it now I guess. You kind of take your home with you with those.

Aw crap... now I'm thinking about gas and the expense of the trip to come and that's bringing up a wave of anxiety because money and now I'm going to go breathe for a few minutes but man... I would love a day off where I don't have to do anything.  Last time I had one of those I was so stressed I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd enjoy it now.

Which makes sense to me even if I didn't type it right.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Ok, so this is a bit confusing because I'm writing when I can which means the last few posts were written... I dunno, over the weekend, but now I'm writing this on... Wednesday (or something?  late Tuesday??) but so... yeah... don't... you know, use these posts as a calendar or anything.  Because.  Not.  Hello?  Hi.  Ok.

So, Bob had hoped to get the van to us on Monday... which was a LOT later than we'd hoped (which, as you know, is already MUCH MUCH later than we'd wanted, etc., etc.) but when I messaged him on Tuesday to find out what was going on (texts are not so good at conveying actual information, especially with people who don't text much or don't like to text) he explained that he didn't actually have the van yet. 

Which.  OMG.

Turns out there's some sort of red tape bureaucratic thing of paperwork that's insurance related (so not Bob's fault, and a surprise to him, and he's going out of his way and out of his own pocket to try to deal with it... on the mainland to boot) and so... well... right now it's Wednesday and we're just *hoping* Bob can even get his hands on the van.  (Cross any and all paperwork type fingers you can.  Let's get that mojo working to cut through institutional red tape... or whatever it is, ok?)  So best case as of right now, it'll be some point today (Wed) that we get our hands on the van.  (Oh, and I try to see how I feel driving it!)  But... it may not be.

We have it booked for stuff on Friday so... well, you know... let's not go there, ok?

But... yeah... no van in hand yet.  Man.  (I just wanted to rhyme some more, sorry.)

If I pause to think about it?  Freakout.  If I pause to think about "worst case"?  Freakout.  So... like we've done the last five days... we shuttled from store to store and made appointments and bought supplies.  Like improved camping gear... and tools.  Jason did NOT approve of my little, inexpensive tool kit and is helping me put together a real one.  He says with all the things we bought yesterday I should "be able to fix anything in the van."  Which is cool.. except... I still don't know how!

Also... money stresses me out at the best of times... the idea of spending... and some of it "big"... is making me uncomfortable.  I need to be smart.  But I also want to make sure I'm doing things well.

My brother always said (as a not really related example) to buy the biggest amount of RAM you could afford when buying a new laptop.  I kind of feel that applies with a lot of things. 

Take a hammer, for example.  My tool kit had a hammer.  I've used it maybe twice.  Jason insisted I buy a "real" hammer.  (Those things are expensive!)  But he says that it makes such a difference to have an actual, weighted, well made hammer rather than a cheap one that doesn't actually do the job.  Now, I didn't buy the ultra top of the line, but I did buy a good mid range one that felt good when I swung it.. or whatever. 

Need anything hammered?  I might be able to help you.

(There!  I distracted myself enough from the real issue at hand to feel happy!  YAY!)

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


So after the perfect storm that was the cold med anxiety disaster, things didn't actually slow down for me but I feel way way better.

Rather than the stress and anxiety overwhelming me to the point of freezing, I feel more like it comes in waves and I pause and breathe through the wave until I can get back to doing whatever it is I need to do in that moment.

Which... right now is... a lot!

There is a vehicle... a van... that now exists for me to take down to Burning Man.  Which is good.

I say "good" because there really wasn't a way to get all my gear into my car.  I love my car but she doesn't have much of a trunk (she doesn't mind, but I do a little when I'm trying to take people to the airport or am thinking about traveling to Burning Man!)  So having a van will give me enough space to not worry about that.  But.. it gives me other things to worry about.  Like being able to see out of it comfortably enough to drive it.

People tell me this won't be an issue but hey, "people" aren't me and I don't know... but again, that brings up the wave of anxiety so I'll just wait and see how it feels once I'm in it.  (I've limited my driving to a few hours a day so even if they're stressful hours, I should still have down time each day to recover, worst case.)

The other thing though (well, I'm sure there are MANY possible other things, but this is the one I'm choosing to focus on right now) is that this is an empty cargo van.  As in, not a conversion or camper type van.

Which... wasn't what we'd hoped for when we asked the friend to help find a camper conversion van for me to take down to Burning Man. 

Bob, let's call him, as I mentioned the other day, thought he had more time, so Bob's first priority for me this whole time of looking (which has been since early Spring) was to find a really solid, reliable van that would get me there and back safely. Which I REALLY really appreciate.  To quote Bob... he didn't want to "have to come down there and tow me back."  No, me neither. 

So he found a good, solid, conversion van (just fold down seats and lots of windows, no fridge or anything) in March or May (you know I always get those months confused!) and while he was running tests on them (you know, car tests?!) he kept finding things that weren't .... good.  Car... wise.  (He and Jason talked about it and Jason talked to me about it but I don't remember.  Cracks in the... manifold?  Uh... engine?  Bad.)  So that ended up being a lemon.  And then life and then "thought I had five more weeks"... nope.  So what he's ended up finding is just a basic van.  But by "basic" I mean solid and reliable and well maintained (and not terribly old I don't think... mid 2000s?) but nothing inside at all.  A work truck in a former life.

Now, Jason and I, MONTHS ago, had mulled over the idea of building a camper van from scratch.  I did a lot of reading and while it seemed fun, I just couldn't wrap my head around how and where it would all happen (I live in an apartment, he shares a place with a roommate... neither of us have tools.. etc. etc.) and decided I would rather just get a pre-done conversion van and maybe add some A/C unit or solar power or something to it.

Except then Bob just kept not... saying he'd found a van.  And I didn't want to bug him and Jason would check in with him now and then and the further time ticketed along, the more anxious, stressed, and worried I got about it.  Until it hit July.  And then I started freaking out.  A lot.  And Jason kept asking what I wanted to do and I kept saying I didn't know, because I'd already sent Bob money for the first van he found and didn't want to ask for it back and buy a used craigslist vehicle I didn't know anything about and the strain of not knowing what to do just kept getting worse and worse because I wanted to trust Bob (and Jason by extension) but .... this was not the type of timeline I work by.

I'd wanted to have the van by Summer so I could give it some camping test runs.  See what I might need or want and practice driving (and sleeping!) in it before my long drive.  Be comfortable.

And then it was August.  And I called him.  And he said "uh oh" and then still nothing.  Until Friday.

Friday I messaged him and he said he had a van. 

He was going to pick it up and bring it back to the Island on Monday.

Which set off another gigantic panic.  Because Jason wants to camper-ize it as much as possible before I leave.

In a week.

Except we're not getting our hands on the van until MAYBE Monday but probably Tuesday (er, today... I'm writing this on Sunday night... that's just how I roll, yo!) and to me.. there is NO WAY anything was getting done to make it more than a shell of a van in... four working days!?

But Jason insists.  Is insisting.  So I'm trying to trust.

I've told him as long as it's one step up from sleeping in my tent, I should be fine.  It will carry all my gear and my bike and water and food and coolers and (ok, I have to take a breath... geez...) and hopefully I'll feel comfortable driving it with some practice.. oh wait, when am I practicing driving it if Jason's working on it during the week OH MY LORD WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!?!?!?!

Because, really... I do not do last minute things.  I just don't.  Well, ok, maybe I have written an essay or two last minute but that's different.  Big things?  No.  I don't like the stress of last minute pressure.  I know some people don't mind it and some people thrive on it, but I don't.  Stress doesn't push me in that way.  No likey!

So that's where things stand at the moment.  I have a van.  I do not know what it looks like or what shape it's in or how it will be to drive or what it will look like inside by the time I leave or anything. 

I have given Jason a budget.  He says he can stick to it.  I don't see how.

I have told Jason I don't want a crappy looking thing.  He says he can do it in this short amount of time.  I don't see how.

Because I have my bottom line of "safe to drive, can take all my gear, is kind of like a tent but hopefully a bit better?" anything above that should be a bonus and that's what I'm going with.  I have also told Jason that while he gets to rest once I leave, I have to rest this week so that I'm healthy, well, and calm enough to do the driving I need to do safely.  I am not going to stress myself and then feel awful for the drive.

So.... this is a massive practice in staying calm in what is actually a very stressful situation way outside of my comfort (and knowledge) zone.

This weekend was busy but good.  Jason and I drove around and "priced" things.  (Imagine doing a kitchen reno or something... Jason's the contractor... I'm the... uh... I dunno... but I'm doing this with him as much as possible.)  I also brought out all my bins, had a minor disaster explosion (you know the one... the mid organize disaster mess?) and then tidied and sorted and started to pack.  I have lists on top of lists and still feel I'm missing things but I'm also trying really hard to eat and sleep.

So if I don't get an hour a day to sit and post, you can understand why.  I am trying to pack for Burning Man (which is a massive endeavor in and of itself) while helping my friend turn a cargo van into something a little bit more like a camper van in the space of a few days.

While maintaining the rest of my life.  Oh, right, that!

And staying sane.  And healthy.  And rested. 

Yeah... this is ... well, really, it should be documented.  I hope I can do so.  Might just not be as it happens.

You know?

Monday, 15 August 2016

Ha, Ha! ... Oh....

I was lying in bed last night, a million things running through my head and I jokingly thought to myself "I should put up a post saying..... oh, sorry guys, you might not hear from me for a month!"  And I thought that was pretty funny until I realized it might actually be true.


See, this coming week is apparently going to be madness (more on that later) and then I leave.  And then I'm there.  And then I travel back.  That's four weeks.  That's a month!  I will be away from the interwebs for possibly three weeks and am not thinking I'll have time to write and post in the one week left before I leave.  Dude.

So... yeah.  If I disappear... for a month... all is well, and I'll be back.

Hopefully I won't.  Or at least not for an entire month, but I'm just saying.  What was a vaguely amusing thought... might actually... you know... happen.


Thursday, 11 August 2016


Way back when... when things were more vague and not... you know, two weeks away (sigh) Jason helped me plan out an awesome, longer route down to Black Rock City.

He encouraged me to go along the Oregon coast (which always looks so beautiful) and so we planned a route that would take me a few extra days (a week of travel, rather than a weekend) but would limit the amount of driving I was doing (except for a couple of longer days.)

This made me... some sort of combination of nervous and maybe excited, but as time grew closer and I had my driving exhaustion, I started to wonder if it maybe wasn't such a good idea.

So I made a couple of other routes.  One, super simple and "easy" (no more than a few hours of driving a day) and one with a quick jaunt out to the coast of Oregon. 

I think, at this point, I'm most likely to be doing the simplest route.  But if I'm feeling up to it closer to the date, I may do the slightly longer (by a day, but not really necessarily) route.  We shall see.

I'm still hoping to not have to take my car and well, I won't talk more about that until I know one way or another.

It's a battle right now to get stuff done while maintaining... non-freakout... mode.  That was a terrible way to explain it.  I just mean, I'm SO worried about stuff.  But if I let myself think about it I go down a ... track that doesn't help anything and doesn't let me get anything done and exhausts me and keeps me from sleeping and eating and all that good stuff.

So... I'm trying to... just... you know.. like, not think about having to take my car until I'm for sure knowing...


Breathing.  Because... (swear word)

Ok... I'm going to go do something else now.  Just... I have a couple of routes for my trip down and I think I feel pretty good about the "easiest" of them.

The end.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

So, What Is Happening With Burning Man

Well, I don't know, why are you asking me?  Oh.  Right.  Ok. Sorry.  Uh....

Yeah, I don't really know.

You were way out of the loop for a while there because I couldn't seem to get myself together enough to type about what was going on.  But back at the start of July, when I helped Jason out by driving the visitors around the island, I found it completely exhausting.  Like, it totally, utterly drained me.  And so considering this, I didn't see how it would be possible for me to make the road trip all the way down to Nevada.  Oh, and back.  Oh, and spend a week in the harsh desert environment.  At all.

I talked to myself a lot about it.  Sure, maybe I could physically do it, but I might be exhausted.  And unhappy.  And the more I thought about it, the less it seemed like something I actually wanted to do.  I cried a lot about it and was pretty upset.

I didn't want to go to Burning Man and I couldn't see a reason to go.  I kept saying... it's so hard.  Such a difficult week, and this year I won't have even a travel buddy with me... no Max, no Sarah, no Connor, nothing.  Just me, and all that goes along with that... where *would* I camp?  Could I connect with former neighbours and find them?  What if it went the same way as 2015 and they weren't all that findable?  What if I camped next to someone and ... I dunno.... it wasn't fun somehow?  Why?  Why was I thinking of doing this?  And then I'd have to drive home after too?  No way.  This is dumb.  I don't think I'm doing this.

And there was probably a month of this... maybe not.. maybe it was only a few weeks, but it felt like months, to be honest.  Things hadn't come together yet on whatever vehicle I was going to take, I wasn't able to see the people I'd met through Max, I was going to do a lot of driving to go to this very difficult place to be by myself and alone and then drive home to .... this.  This not awesome exhaustion and stress and this is stupid.

So I started to wonder about maybe not going this year.  At all.

I wasn't sure what that would look like.  Would I be disappointed come September?  Would I feel badly for the guy who rescued me by selling me his ticket (the answer is yes) but maybe it just wasn't in the cards.  I couldn't feel any motivation to go.

I started messaging people I knew where going.  "Hey, I'm not feeling up to it... help?"  And the first few people I messaged got back with... you know what?  Me neither... sorry.  It drains on you, you see... the prep, the event, the... everything... it's a lot.  And so not even the burners I reached out to for help were helpful.  "Nah, I'm not sure I want to go either, sorry."  Crap.

I didn't NOT want to go, but the whole idea didn't seem anywhere near fun.  Like, not even close.

And add to that trying to deal with life on top of it all and stay calm and .... everything?  Just too much.

That was my state for the last few weeks, leading up to about two weeks ago. Just.

I am somewhat active on a couple of Burning Man forums online, and will often strike up conversations, or have conversations ... uh... struken up with me.  (This is, after all, how I met Max... which I sometimes forget... the randomness of the internet and all.)  I'd been chatting a bit with one fellow (No!  Not another Max situation in any way, just chatting.)  when he mentioned that the group he volunteers with down at Burning Man was looking for more volunteers and might I be interested?

Well, yes, actually, I would.

It was a group I interacted with my first year and was very impressed by but was told (post event) that one couldn't volunteer with them without qualifications that I don't have.  But, my new friend told me that they needed non-qualified volunteers and that if I was interested, he'd put in a good word for me.

I asked him a bit about what was involved and then went straight online to apply.

He sent an email to the volunteer coordinator saying he thought I was a good fit (which was very kind of him, and a bit of a mind-mess for me... people who don't know me think I'm nice/cool/good?  woah...) and they took me on as a volunteer.  Yay!

Except, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

Online courses to take (and pass!  WHILE DEALING WITH DEATH COLD!) and ID photos to upload (I don't have a photo of me I like enough nevermind one that would work as an ID photo, oh man!) and then there was the signing up of for shifts.  Hours worth of shifts?  Oh man... what... exactly had I done here?

Like I said when I half mentioned it the other week, it has been an absolute whirlwind.... and utterly overwhelming.  (Now, add onto that the sinus meds starting to get into my system and you see the perfect storm starting to form, eh?)

Oh man.  So I was (and still kind of am) mega stressed.

Because "positive stress" is still frigging stressful, man!

But... I also suddenly had a reason to go.

A reason to drive all that way... a reason to show up.  I'd committed myself to 18 plus hours of volunteer work with this crew.  Now I "had" to go!

Which felt good.  Better than not wanting to go.

But.... it also began a whirlwind of stress, because now there was a certain reality to deal with.

What.  Frigging.  Vehicle???? This, at the time of writing this, still hasn't been resolved, by the way.  Yes, I can take my car, but I'd rather she was kept clean, and she doesn't have the biggest trunk (ha... joke in there somewhere) and it would probably be more expensive of a drive down as I'd be likely to stay in hotels and they're... not cheap.  I called the guy who's been supposed to find me a van to take (I'm thinking I haven't kept you guys very up to date on this, sorry) and he... I guess, somehow thought he had five more weeks.  Uh.  No.  So he's "working on it" and I'm trying very very hard to be calm and trust... but... I'm stressed.  If I think about it, well, it just... I don't think about it.  But there have been a lot of tears and upset over this.

I still haven't figured out the route.  (Working on that this week)  There was a plan for me to take a few extra days and do a leisurely drive along the coast before cutting in, but now I'm thinking I just don't have the emotional energy for that and I'm looking at just a simple, but still hopefully leisurely drive without the coast thrown in.  Sigh.  Stress.

Oh, what else?  Right.  Camp.


In talking to the fellow who'd help connect me with the volunteer opportunity, he asked me where I was camping.  "Not sure... boonies?" was my response.

He suggested that I camp near them (their camp was full) but that's always risky because the established camps can be near open camping but you never know how full open camping is and man, I'd be driving randomly trying to find a camp I didn't know and a person I didn't know and it would probably be just easier to not camp near them.  I don't know.  But then I started worrying about things (as I do...) like... oh, everything.  And blah, blah, blah long story a little bit shorter, out of nowhere, he said he'd ask his camp lead if they might be able to squeeze me in.

I didn't know how I felt about this, but it seemed.. sort of smart maybe?  And lo and behold, they found space for me and I paid camp dues and they sent me information to read and cleanup shifts to sign up for.


I've never been with a camp before, and one of the reasons is that I'm protective of my time.  Being with a camp involves (more) volutneer time.. maybe cooking, or cleaning or whatever the camp offers as their gift (running a bar or something) and well, that just never appealed to me particularly.  Plus... a group of people I don't know.  Ugh.

But I figured this was the year to try it.  Not that I worry about things happening to me out there, but I would be around people who could help if something went awry.  And there would be communal shade and, well, as for the rest, I would see what it was like to be in a camp.  And my new friend would be there (and hopefully we got along, oh man)

So, yeah.  Things are not settled.  I'm not feeling calm.  My anxiety is way ratcheted up (although better than when the cold meds had me in their grib) and I'm working really really hard on finding the balance between staying calm and getting things done.  Because often the process of getting things done stresses me which then tires me and then I need a break and things don't progress.

But I'm trying.  And it's rough.  But... the update is this:

It seems I'm going to Burning Man this year.  Driving by myself.  In a vehicle that is hopefully not my car but very safe and reliable that I can sleep in.  It sounds like I'll be camping with a camp and I have signed up to do volunteer shifts with a group (yes, I'm being vague about who/what...) and I am freaking the f*ck out about all of it.

More to come, I assume... as I find and/or make time for writing.

I highly doubt I'll have a series of blog posts pre-written for the time I'm away... I can barely get regular posts out.  Plus I am totally overwhelmed by trying to plan and prep and oh, right life.  Sigh.

It's rough in here right now you guys.  Send good vibes.... or whatever you've got.  I'll take em all.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

You, WHAT?

Apropos of nothing, really, but I've been half distracting myself, half keeping myself company, half not really doing Math right now all that well, by watching old reality tv shows online.

And by "old" I mean 2009.  So, like oh my god ancient for reals! 


I don't think I watched the show when it originally aired, but I have watched it before and I'm only watching it again because it's nothing I have to pay attention to and, well it's free and there's not a lot else on right now.

But.  And it's a big but (I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CAN NOT LIE!... sorry... ahem...) .... I can't even pretend it's not completely fake anymore.  Sigh.

I remember watching it and feeling like a fair amount of it was staged "So, Emily, how are things going with Dan after your big fight at the party the other night?" and such, but this time watching it?  I can see the editing cuts and how it is pretty much totally, completely, utterly put together.  Not even a semblance of real!  Le SIGH!

No, it's just interesting to see how I'm noticing things I didn't the first time.  The show is completely manufactured and it's easy to spot.

I still think it would be interesting to be involved in one of those shows though, just to see how much is cut and changed and taken out of context, etc., etc.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Well, That Wasn't Fun

Ok, so if you remember, I whined about having a cold last week.  I got quite sick two Fridays ago and then it "mellowed" into just a nasty cold.  Wasn't fun.

A few days into said nasty cold, I started taking cold meds.  The "sinus" kind, because that was my most annoying symptom... sneeze, sneeze, sniffle, cough, exhaustion, sniffle... sigh.

They weren't working all that well and I mentioned that to C-Dawg who recommended a particular brand, so I snuffled off to the store and bought some.

All week, I've been getting more and more stressed.  Which is not unexpected with everything that's going on.  But by Friday I was a mess.  Absolutely losing it.  It was awful.  But I went to bed, hoping a good night's sleep would get rid of the stress and cold and I'd feel better.

Woke up Saturday morning still feeling stressed and sick so popped a couple of the new sinus meds.

I don't even know if they helped because I had the worst day I've had in a long long time.  It was awful.

Nothing I was doing was making me feel any less anxious.  Not even concrete things. I couldn't even make lists because the very act of thinking about making a list would overwhelm me and land me to uncontrollable anxiety. 

I called Jason and went to see him.  We were going to wash his car and I figured the activity would help distract me, which it did, a bit, but once we were done and sat down for a while I lost it again, completely.  And on top of all that I was still sick!.... wait....

I looked at him.  It had just occurred to me....

Was it possible that the extreme, un-controllable panic I was fighting off was being fueled by the cold meds?  I mean, yes, I have a lot going on, I am stressed, I have problems with anxiety right now but this?  This was beyond that.  So far beyond that.  I was shaking.  Unable to calm myself at all.  For a moment here or there, but then it would all come rushing back.  Jason and I went out for a drink.  Yes.. to self medicate... it was worth a shot at this point, to be honest, and I lost it in the restaurant just even trying to explain to him all the areas I was stressed about.  And I am almost always able to keep myself together in public.  Not this time. 

Which, to be honest, made me feel better.  Because if this level of freaking out and feeling this horrific wasn't me?  Was the pseudo.. whatever ephedrine whatnot that had been in my system for a week and then was amplified by the new "extra strength" brand that morning?  Well, you know what?  That would end.  No more cold meds for me.

I, ironically maybe, felt better sinus-wise when I woke up Sunday morning not having taken anything, so am hoping the cold is on its way out now.  My anxiety is still not good and still difficult to manage, but nothing like what it was on Saturday.  That was brutal.

I know there are warnings about using these things, but to actually experience that kind of a reaction first hand was bad.  I'm pretty gun shy now.  Or maybe will just make sure I don't take them for more than a few days in a row.  But you guys?  That was not fun.  At all.  It was like the worst ever moments of my worst ever panic attacks for eight hours straight.  And I was STILL trying to function on top of it all.


Bad cold medication, bad!  Go to the corner and stay there and think about what you've done!

Phew.  Glad to be through it.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

I. AM. NOT. A. ROBOT. *clunk*

Hey, how long has the captcha thing been asking you to pic images?  Or is that just me?  Am I really a robot and just finding out now?


Wednesday, 3 August 2016


Somehow forgot to mention the cold/flu/bug I picked up on Friday.

It's still hanging out.  Guess it figures I need company.

I... would rather we parted ways.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


I've been having a really really hard time the last few weeks with my situation around Burning Man. 

So much so that I wasn't able to talk about it, but was putting together a post explaining how I wasn't sure I was going to go.

I still should probably write that post, but over the last four or five days there has been a sudden, unexpected shift that is seeing me volunteering with a group in the city I didn't know I could work with.

So... yeah.

In the middle of the whirlwind of sorting it out so more later.

Or sooner.

I don't know anymore right now even.

And yes, that dog is famous now.  Locally so.

Go figure.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Surprise Holiday!

And Happy August! (Long weekend!)

I swear, this one always sneaks up on me.  (I probably said that last year too... I'm not even going to search for it because I'm pretty sure I did!)

Please don't steal stuff from here, it's not nice. But leave a comment, why don't cha? And drink more water. It's good for you.

P.S. If you think you know me? You probably don't. If you're sure you know me? Pretend you don't. I'll never admit I know what you're talking about anyway.

P.P.S. All this stuff is copyright from then til now (Like, 2006-2018 and then some.) Kay? Kay.