09-08-05: lightly browned

Wheee! I have triumphantly returned from Burning Man intact (not to mention dusty, sleepy, happy, introspective and of course, lightly browned). It was so completely unlike last year which made it all the more surreal. Many things I expected to happen never happened, and things I never dreamed of experiencing occurred. Dancing, art immersion, snuggling, screaming, laughing, simple gazes which summed up what words could not...

One of the things that made it so different was that this time I wasn't the one being led around and introduced to the experiences. Instead, I was the one who led the newbie, and even at that she didn't require much leading so I was able to get some quality alone-time to explore stuff. I liked being responsible for the RV, I liked explaining what I knew, and I liked kinda being the sober mom. It made the cutting loose that much more of a reward.

I met lots of great people; our campmates were a very diverse and super-fun gang. We had a bunch of CalArts film and music students, we had a Russian contingent, many Jews of varying flavors, me and Patty representing the 30-something crowd, and Schulte and Dunbar serving as the anchors of the camp... so the banter was lively and very interesting. A highlight was talking to DeadSquirrelMatt and CrackHeadMike about when we discovered we had perfect pitch and how it affects our lives. Very neat. And then of course, the Great Russian Jew Fart and Burp Debate... Schulte and I sat on a cooler while the young'uns yelled about the etiquette around bodily gaseous emissions; it was like we were watching TV. Very entertaining.

Outside of that, I don't quite know how to to relay the heavier-duty stories yet-- it'll probably be a few weeks. I've got some stuff to sort out, in a totally non-melodramatic way. I did keep a paper journal every day while I was there, so I will pick out the printable parts (this is a family show after all... hardy har har) and transcribe them soon along with the awesome pictures I snapped. My campmates also took some rockin' shots too, so mayhaps I'll link to them as well. So stay tuned.

In other news... In early August, I was so pumped up for the events queued up for the last two weeks of August (our first rehearsal for The Wall which brought BenEKing back in town from Colorado, the PAPA8 World Pinball Championships   in Pittsburgh, and of course, Burning Man) that I wanted the month to rush by. And now those awesome events have come and gone (and exceeded my expectations, no less!)... and --fwam!-- it's September. How'd that happen?

September seems more of a time of rebirth and renewal than New Years does for me... it's the whole going back to school vibe, picking out a new denim notebook and pens and stuff, buying supplies that I never needed but still wanted (what 8th grader actually needs a staple remover?), and the gradual introduction of chill into the evening air.

I am determined to do lots of Autumnal activities this fall. For some reason, the thought of bundling up in a squishy oatmeal sweater and boots (very LL Bean), jumping on a haunted hayride and having some dude in sick clown makeup chase everyone around a cornfield with a chainsaw thrills me to no end. I wanna drink cider, I wanna go apple and pumpkin picking, I want to bake a pie, and I wanna make a StrongSad Jack-o-Lantern. Yay, fall!

In other news... It's been a tumultuous 2 weeks for me. The next few will be busy too, as I ramp up for this benefit concert I'm singing on the 16th, getting back into the swing of choir on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings as well as gearing up for The Wall on 9/30 and 10/1.   I'm excited BenEKing will be in Delaware for about 10 days prior to The Wall opening--he's a fun partner in crime, even if it's just for a week. I have to be careful though. Benny and I have a really fun time together, and I get attached to people way too easily. And while that process is fun, getting myself unattached is not. I need to be a bit more careful about who I let in, even if it's just platonic. I already forget too many birthdays.

Speaking of that whole boy thing... it kinda dawned on me at Burning Man that being single is not an affliction to get all pissy about. I am not sad that I'm single; instead, I'm happy I'm not in a relationship that doesn't serve me well. Being unhappy takes too much effort, and frankly, I'm too lazy for it. Being happy is so much simpler.

Speaking of being happy... John and I have been talking a lot lately. I find it so interesting how much happier we are since we 'are not actively dating' (his phrase, I like it). We visited a few times over the summer (post-breakup) and things were effortless; we talk a few times a week and it's so damn easy and honest. I'm not afraid to have Awkward Relationship CheckIns now, when before the idea would paralyze me. Maybe it's because he's exponentially happier since his gig in San Francisco ended, and he's yet even happier being in Austin. It's so nice to have Happy John back, because we haven't really seen him since June of 2004. I'll take it in whatever package it comes in... friend or otherwise. I have no expectations or predictions as to our future, but I'm very happy he's in my now. It is good, and it is satisfying.

Speaking of people who are far away... looks like Cappella Sonora is having a Christmas gig this year in Phoenix, so I'm gonna try to fly out for that. I missed not having a concert last year, but with Jim and Robin and then Stefan and Heather having new babies, it just wasn't feasible. It'll be good to sink my teeth into some early music and sing with the gang again, see Danielle's house, meet Tanith (Stefan and Heather's daughter), see Amy and Brent's new house, play some four-hand piano with Mark, play some pinball at Castles and Coasters, and maybe try to see my TLT friends... a bittersweet thought especially now that Evelyn has passed away. I really miss my AZ gang.

Last night I was still kinda adjusting to life away from the playa, so I went for a much-needed drive. I headed up the Blue Route and hey what a surprise, found myself in a diner drinking coffee with Patch. I started the night out so cloudy and tired and perhaps even a little grumpy, and after 5 minutes of sitting there with him next to the diner fishtank I was instantly happy-slappy. He gets my stupid jokes, we giggle about defeating the dreaded Black Pudding in our 8-year-old D&D adventures, we bellyache about how stupid and self-defeating we are when it comes to relationships. It's so odd how our lives have been so frikkin' parallel, down to our moms both being French majors to us being Star Wars geeks. He's done the long-distance relationship thang before so we've got war stories to compare, he lervs roadtrips, he's got a HUGE sense of "wheeee!" and just generally there is much groove. Donna is a lucky girl, and I'm very thankful she's not the suspicious jealous type. Patch restores my faith in humanity.

Anyhoo... I'm hungry (what a surprise), so I'm gonna go eat something. Schulte made a bunch of transcendant salads on the playa, and one of them I have made twice already since being home: diced tomatoes (I use organic Roma tomatoes from Trader Joe's and sliced cherry tomatoes), fire roasted corn (TJ's sells this frozen in a bag... SO GOOD, go buy it now), fresh basil by the metric ton, fresh lime juice and coarse salt. (I think he put some red onion in it too, but I left it out. I'm not such a fan of my onion breath.) The other day I threw some edamame in there because I had some laying around.   This salad is so good it hurts. It really does. I wonder if he'd let me be his cleaning lady... I wouldn't need a salary, I would just want access to the leftovers in his fridge. :-D

To coin a Schulte-ism: "I'll eat anything, anytime."

On that note... I'm out.   Pica calls.

Peace out, kidz. I'll try to be better with the updates.

Fortune Teller Miracle Fish today tells me that I am: Fickle.   Oooh! I never got "fickle" before! Wheeee! (Wait, maybe I shouldn't be excited about that.)