Friday, October 09, 2009


the pod has been a tad bit chilly of late. this afternoon, after two days of constant cold downpouring rain, i relented and gave in to my freezing digits and turned on the heat. that smell reminds me of third grade, taking a bible study class in a mobile home outside my elementary school...

yes, that dusty, burnt bacon-y smell reminds me of the separation of church and state.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

welcome home...

7 hot dusty days camping in a dried up lake bed at the foot of majestic mountains has the ability to clear your head of the clutter.

ever since the first time i heard about burning man, i've wanted to go. the one-two punch of testing your personal limits by camping with just what you can pack in combined with the eye-popping art made right there on the playa appealed to a core part of me.

when my cousin, andrew, talked to me about going and camping with his group, pandora's lounge and fix-it shoppe, i seriously thought about going. i knew, however, that going and knowing only andrew would not be an option for me. andrew's a super-fun guy, but andrew's also a super-busy guy at burning addition to help run the camp and fixing bikes in the shoppe, he volunteers and works a lot. i knew i had to find someone to go with and i had the perfect person in mind and that was my friend, kim.

kim is a sculptor, potter and avid camper. she would appreciate the art, not be too freaked out by the craziness and i knew we would have a good time together. so i asked her, she said, "yes," and the months of planning began.

fast forward to september 1, 2009 when we winged our way along with a new friend, cheryl, to reno, nevada to start our adventure.

the first day was full of travel, car rental snafus and driving...not to mention the fact that we still had to set up our tent, get our beds put together and eat some dinner. tuesday was a very full, tiring day. the next morning when we woke up kim and i decided that september 2 was our real first day and made a fresh start right then and there, putting the travel-day blues behind us.

every day is like a lifetime on the playa. you go to bed at night and try to remember everything you did during the last 24 hours and your mind reels. how could you have packed so much sensory overload into just 1,440 minutes? it was impossible, and yet, it really happened (and i have the pictures to prove it).

at times i wished i could go home. on wednesday in the twilight of the sunset i asked myself why i had come on this journey. the experience was testing my emotions in a way i had not expected. i didn't feel comfortable (tent camping can be physically taxing), i was face-to-face with things that in the real world would stop me in my tracks (nudity is quite common on the playa and as open-minded as i think i am, at first, the sight of both women's exposed breasts and men's nudity freaked me out). i wanted to be able to gain as much as i could from this trip, through all of my senses, but at times i was paralyzed by my surreal surroundings.

friday during our morning ritual of walking to center camp to get coffee, kim and i decided to sit on the dusty couches and listen to the music. mamuse was the name of the two women who were peforming at sunrise. their voices were soothing. it seemed as though their melodies were softening the hard part inside of me that had needed tenderness. i silently cried throughout their set, connecting with the answer i had the night before been looking for.

i had come to burning man to leave the worry of being sick behind. for the past five years i've been consumed with near constant thoughts of illness. approaching my five-year cancer-free anniversary in december 2009, i was often worried that i would not reach the date. then, last year, i was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder and i felt my health was out of my control. this trip was taken on the pretext of traveling before i was unable to tackle such a difficult undertaking. when the temple burned on sunday night, i knew i was leaving all of my worry and self-doubt about my health right there in the ashes of the temple on the floor of the lake bed. i was not going to pack that to take back with me.

two weeks later, i am still worry-free. i'm not naive enough to think that i'll never worry again about my health. as a matter of fact, i experienced a flare up of my condition immediately upon returning home. blame it on the near-constant sun exposure, or the fact that i rode my bike miles and miles every day, or the most likely contributor to my ability to get through the week while in the midst of it -- i had no other choice! but the worry is no longer a needling, whiny voice in the back of my mind, egging me on to live fearfully.

when you arrive at the greeters' gate at burning man, the greeter asks you if you're a first-timer. upon hearing that i was, the greeter asked me to get out the car, smiled a huge grin, hugged me to her so tightly and cheered, "welcome home!" looking back, i know that going home to burning man made it possible for me to let go of my worry. here now, sitting in my real home, i am able to write about how i am reaping the rewards this mind-altering experience afforded me.

love letter to the man
(a poem i typed in the middle of the playa on a vintage royal)

hippies, freaks, spirits
all of us sharing this
crazy dusty ride

couldn't conceive of it (really)
before i arrived...
now that it's almost over,
i may think it was a dream.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


i love donut shops. donuts, however, are not my favorite, unless of course, they're homemade. and when i say "homemade" i mean made from a roll of cheap-y pillsbury biscuits patted flat, hole pushed through the middle with my thumb, deep fried in hot, hot crisco to a golden brown and then dredged in pure cane sugar. if there was a donut shop that sold THOSE donuts i'd be there in a new york minute. my gram taught me how to make them and they are seriously the most delicious things to come out of breakfast skillet, hands down.

more than donuts, though, i like donut shops. please don't think i'm referring to anything other than independent, mom and pop shops. those other things that call themselves donut shops are straight-up lying. those double-letter-titled imitation stores (yes, krispy kreme and dunkin' donuts, i'm looking at YOU) are nothing more than tarted up versions of a pure classic.

my grandpa used to drive to midtown on sunday mornings to california donuts on jefferson avenue and pick up the most amazing assortment i've ever seen. opened like a jewel case to reveal shimmering jellies and glittery glazes, that box never disappointed all of my eight year old senses. have you ever eaten a warm, raspberry jelly filled donut? don't like jelly? okay, how about a donut on which the sugary covering is still oozy from the fresh dip it's just taken in the glaze bath? yes, that's what i'm talking about.

california donut, sadly now in a state of disrepair and abandon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

did you think i was kidding?

yes, i'm back again.

thanks to everyone who left comments and made me feel welcome and not like a ding-dong for being gone for so long. that was nice of you.

here are some of the things i think i've learned from nathaniel's first semester in college:

1. we did a pretty good job raising nathaniel (i think we already knew that) but it helps when your kid is able to assess what could have gone better in a given situation. it gives a parent confidence that the foundation the three of you built together is strong.

2. i like to cook. i am a good cook. i don't like fish sticks and blue box macaroni and cheese and i never, ever will. ina garten is my new superhero. (note to self, must learn how to cook for two!)

3. we need to work out (see number 2, above).

4. i am deeply in love with my husband (i already knew this too), but after the raw, new-ness of nathaniel's absence wore off, we settled into couple-dom again and it is wonderful.


i will post some pictures of a few finished objects very soon. i can't wait to share with all of you again!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

hello there...

i am still here, for those of you still interested or checking (hi, kim!)

nathaniel's first semester is behind us and the second semester is well under way.

my empty-nest tender heart has healed (mostly).

i plan on being more present here and re-connecting. emotional hibernation is sometimes necessary, but now it's time to wake up and get going.