What the Festival, Friends & Family

My favorite thing about What the Festival was hanging out with my friends & getting to know some of the Utah tribe better. There were quite a few there from the Utah: Alisa, Kim, Marwan, Melissa, Wendy, Sugarboy, Bo, Lauren, SteveO & Craig.  I had the pleasure of camping & sharing Sofia with one of my best friends, Alisa. As mentioned in my last post, this festival was pretty low-key for me. I was in bed by 10pm on Friday and 11pm on Saturday. Never done that before at a festival! LOL! The day times were fun, though, hanging out with friends, swimming in the shark-infested river (the festival map showed sharks in the river & it was off limits – we went swimming anyway!), and browsing through vendor wares.

My friend, Dirk, came & found me on Friday night. Then we kept running into each other all over the festival, which is always fun. I also managed to find my friend, Evan, whom I had met a few weeks earlier at Sonic Bloom; he’s from LA & had ridden his motorcycle up to the festival. It was so fun to catch up & chat with him; we always have the best conversations. And finally, my dear almost-sister, Simone, was at the festival! Our families grew up together back in Tillamook County. I was the oldest & she was the youngest of all eight of the Larson/Kujak kids. We hadn’t seen each other in years & managed to find each other briefly. She invited me to spend the night at her place when I pass through Bend, OR in a few weeks heading home so that we can actually have some time to sit down & catch up. I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Of all the festivals to be sick during, I’m glad it happened to be this one. The ONLY reason is that the music line-up really wasn’t my cup of tea. I did find someone serving tea, by the way & enjoyed a few cups chatting with them. This girl had a much different style than Kevin from Photosynthesis, but I still enjoyed it & got even more inspired to figure out a way to bring a teahouse to Utah festivals.

Back to the music, so anyway, the only set I really wanted to hear out of the entire musical line-up was Phutureprimative. I’ve already seen him play several times over the past year, but I love his music! So I was bound & determined to make it to his set that started at 8:30pm on Saturday night. The problem was that someone had somehow stabbed themselves in the throat around 7pm that night. I had become friends with the security guard & heard the whole story from him on Sunday. Anyway, they shut down the festival gates. Our RV camping area was outside of the main festival entrance, which worked for the most part. It was about 1/3 of a mile walk into the festival from the camping area, but it wasn’t too bad as it was along the beautiful White River. However, since they shut down the gate, camping outside the festival boundary all of a sudden became a problem!

The White River

I guess I don’t do very well when people tell me “no” I can’t do something. LOL! Whenever that happens, I immediately start trying to figure out a way around it. Usually it works. 🙂 I knew that Dirk was over visiting some of his friends at the Seattle crew camp a short distance from Sofia. So I wandered over there. “The gate is shut down & I really want to get in to see Phutureprimative’s set”, I say, “Do you know any other way in?” Of course he does! LOL! He tells me that since he does security, he always tries to find the holes in security of other events. He found that there is no security on the back (hill) side of the festival. So he agrees to take me & a few others renegading over the back hillside into the festival. It’s a good thing I was at least feeling mostly better. It was a lot of up! We also had to climb over something like 6 barbwire fences, but we ended up stepping into the field just as Phutureprimative took the stage! Dirk totally made my festival by getting me there for that set! I enjoyed dancing every minute of it & it was fun sneaking into the festival as well!

Its kind of crazy how things change in life & how that affects your outlook on things. Phutureprimative has a song where the words go something like this… “It doesn’t feel the same without you…” Last year at Lighting in a Bottle, I heard that song for the first time & started crying. Aaron & I were separated at that time & I was missing him terribly. The festival I was at then really didn’t feel the same without him. And yet, here I was, a year and two months later, hearing the same song again. It did make me thing about Aaron. It still doesn’t feel the same without him, but damn it; it feels a hell of a lot better than being with him! I’m so happy to have FINALLY gotten to the point of really being done with that relationship. Why it took us a year & a half to break-up I haven’t quite figured out yet. I am glad, though, that despite everything we went through, we are still friends. That feels nice. But what I’m loving now is how good it feels to be free & to just be me! I really feel like I am embracing my true self & really coming into being the person I am to be.

Sunrises are almost always my favorite part of a festival or party. I love the sunrise sets that are played & really connect with that style of music. I decided since I was going to bed early both nights to get up early on Sunday morning & enjoy the sunrise. It was beautiful! Not too many people were out & about. I went to the Hookah Lounge area on top of the bluff & watched a devil creating bubble art. I chatted with him as well. He’s a fire performer who also makes bubbles when fire isn’t allowed at an event. It was so beautiful to watch these huge bubbles glisten & sparkle for a moment in the pre-sunrise glow. Its therapeutic to just sit back, relax & enjoy something so temporary as a bubble & be captivated in its simplistic beauty.

A devil & his bubbles

After bubbles, I went over & found Alisa. I was super happy to find her as she is the champagne queen. Festival sunrise just isn’t complete without champagne, a different kind of bubble! I had brought a treat to share with her, some preserved wild hibiscus flowers that my friend, Merb, had given me. The flowers were a fantastic treat in the champagne! We toasted our friendship as we celebrated the beginning of a beautiful new day.

Champagne Sunrise!

Its always a little hard to return to work after a festival. Especially since it was my 3rd weekend in a row of festivals! I did get a glimpse of a dream of living the life of the true festival circuit… just going from festival to festival, seemingly without a care in the world. However I do realize that that is truly a romantic notion. There are cares in the world. Rent to pay, food to buy, technology to pay for, gas to put in Sofia, etc. And, so, back to work I went on Monday. It really wasn’t bad, its just changing your mindset from fun festival life to default world life. I am, however, so grateful that I have a wonderful career that allows me to embark on such an adventure such as this. I always keep that in mind if I’m ever tempted; I must stay responsible so I can continue living the life I live & enjoying this adventure that I’m on. It’s a pretty good motivation strategy!

Monday evening I spent in Camas, WA with one of my best friends from high school, Tiffanie & her family. She has two teenage daughters; one will be a senior next year & the other a junior. My goodness how time flies! I remember when those two girls were born. I remember when Tiffanie & David got married in my apartment for that matter! J It was fun to catch up with them & also chat with the girls. Ginny was so excited about what I was doing – working remotely & traveling on my adventure. I hope I inspired her to continue to reach for her dreams, no matter what they are or how crazy they might seem.

During my lunch break on Tuesday I drove from Camas to Wilsonville, OR to take Sofia in to get her air conditioner replaced. In & out, new air conditioner, check! Just in time for burning man. J While I was there I saw an advertisement that they also do generator tune-ups. I realized that I better get that done before burning man as well. So I scheduled an appointment back in Utah during the week I’m at home before I leave for burning man to have that done. Aaron & I don’t have good luck with generators at festivals. We killed one after our 1st Element 11. So we took it back & got a new one for burning man that 1st year. We killed it too out there. So we took it back & got another one that we took to burning man last year. Again, killed it. Damn that desert is hard on generators! Our friends had rented an RV during our 1st year & their generator went out mid-way through the burn. I do not want Sofia’s generator to go out at the burn this year! And, so, preemptive move – going to get the generator tuned. *fingers crossed* that it works the whole week!

Tuesday & Wednesday nights I spend at my Dad & Dona’s. I loved every minute of visiting with them! We went to dinner with Dona’s parents on Tuesday night & my Grandpa Larson on Wednesday. Dad came home for a long lunch on Wednesday as well as came home early on Thursday so we could have a glass of wine together & visit more before I left. I even got to sing the “Daddy’s home, daddy’s home, YAY, daddy’s home” song to him when he got home from work. He said he hadn’t heard that song in years! We used to sing it each night when he got home as we would race downstairs to the garage & give him a big welcome home hug.

As I get older or maybe its because I live so far away from my family, but I really am appreciating seeing them & spending time with them whenever I can. Our visits are fun as well as real and heart-to-heart. I feel so blessed with the family I have, they’re so supportive & love me even though I haven’t lived my life according to any set of “typical” rules. All in all, I think they really enjoyed having me & my kitties parked right outside their townhome. We even took Geb for a walk around the neighborhood together. It was so adorable!! And it was funny, I felt like a college kid coming home with bags of laundry to do at the parent’s house. They were so sweet & had anticipated that I would need to do laundry. 🙂 I feel very blessed to have the family that I do.

Thursday evening I spent with Beckie. It was so fun, as we were out and about in Beaverton, we’d tell people, “we went to kindergarten & high school together.” Beckie is the only one I still am in contact with from kindergarten and she was one of my best friends in high school as well. Grade school & junior high I went to Tillamook Christian School and had not remained in contact with her, but we found each other & became fast friends again my sophomore year once I finally returned to the public school. I’m so happy that we’ve remained close friends all these years. We went to a fantastic restaurant in downtown Beaverton (Beaverton has come a long way from when I lived there while attending Portland State right out of high school). She had actually just gone to our 20th high school reunion the weekend before when I was at What the Festival. I felt a little bad abandoning her by not going to the reunion & going to the festival instead, but what is one to do? I opted for the festival & am glad I did. Although, it would have been nice to see people from my class, at least there is FB & therefore I am able to still be somewhat connected with my classmates. After dinner we enjoyed a good local Oregon micro-brew on her lovely deck. She & her husband purchased a home a few years ago & have been remolding it & updating the yard since. It really looks amazing all the work they have put into it.

Lunchtime on Friday consisted of grocery shopping & driving out to the east side of the coastal range. I was getting VERY excited to drive over the mountains & get to the beach! I didn’t want to get hung up in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic trying to get out of the city. Friday afternoon I spent working outside an abandoned building in a rundown town off the highway. Not the most scenic spots, but workable. Finally, 4pm rolled around & I was on my way! Butterflies of excitement were in my tummy as I drove over the all too familiar highway. This was my old stomping grounds; I was heading back to the coast, where I grew up!

I had plans to meet Mr. Mulcahy, my English teacher & Journalism advisor, in Cannon Beach for dinner that night. We connected a few months ago via FB & enjoyed corresponding together & catching up on what’s been happening in each other’s lives for the past 20 years. I’ve always respected & admired Mr. Mulcahy so much. I feel that he was my very first mentor in my life, really encouraging me & believing in me. I’ve been blessed with several mentors; each of them important in shaping me into the person I am today. I am so grateful for each one.

Since I had started the drive to the coast on my lunch break, I actually arrived with about 1 ½ hours before I was to meet him. So I decided to visit Ecola State Park, just north of Cannon Beach. I never really spent much time there as a kid for some reason, but it was fun to go now. The evening was absolutely perfect.

Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park

The weather on the coast is never really warm, but this evening, it was. I was in just a sundress wandering around the bluff, climbing through the beach grass & taking pictures of the spectacular view. What a beautiful “welcome home to the coast” it was.

Happy to be back at the beach!

Dinner with Mr. Mulcahy went way too quickly as time always does when you’re thoroughly enjoying yourself. He’s a collector, as am I. Actually, maybe more so. Since he’s retired, he’s likes to spend some time each day on the beach. He uses a metal detector & scavenges all sorts of treasures from the beach. He also reminded me about clamming, as he was telling me about razor clamming right there on the beach in Cannon Beach. For some reason, one must only clam during months that end with “r”. March/April/May/June/July/August are not right. I am determined to make it back to the coast one of these days in the proper month so that I can go clamming! I remember going clamming with my dad & sisters when I was a kid. We would go down to the end of Toll Road in Bayside Gardens & proceed to get entirely covered in bay mud & soaking wet. We’d be so cold, but would be so proud of our buckets of clams we’d bring home to mom. Clam fritters, clam chowder…mmmmm…

Leaving dinner, I stopped quickly by the beach & took some pictures of Haystack Rock. How can one go to Cannon Beach & not take pictures of Haystack Rock?

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

It felt so good to be back on the coast… but I was set on making it to Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain for sunset!