Monthly Archives: October 2010

Pollyanna’s Hometown Halloween

Hey, Anna-Liza here. I love Halloween, and one of the many reasons is my town’s Halloween Parade. The whole thing starts with one of the high school bands leading off with “I Want Candy,” (actually all the local high school bands participate, and I think they all started with “I Want Candy”!) and everyone who wants to march just jumps in and walks the parade route. We go down one side of Main Street and up the other, then the kids scatter for the candy given out by all the local merchants.

But this is one of those “a picture is worth a thousand words” moments, don’t you think?

The official lead-off. Who *are* these people?

Cool band uniforms.

How to hide a clarinet.

Instead of the three bears ...

A father and daughter moment.

 You can’t tell from the photo, but “Princess Leia” is wearing a knitted Leia wig!

The family that skips down the yellow brick road together ...

 And, of course, I can’t leave you without a glimpse of Wee Sprite and Knitting Sprite …

Cutest little Dia de los Muertos doll EVAH!


Pollyanna Takes on the 30-day Gratitude Challenge

Anna-Liza here, but I’m sure Lyda will be up for this, too.

A fellow WordPress blogger, Grey Matter Life,  posted this about gratitude and the lead-up to Thanksgiving. I think this is an excellent idea, and I’m all over it. My challenge will be remembering to post at least one item I am grateful for every day, and writing it down so we can read it on Thanksgiving.

I won’t post it here – that would be silly. This is exactly the sort of thing that Twitter is for! So I’ll see you there – I’m @Divina712 on Twitter, or you can read my tweets on the sidebar here, or on Facebook if you are my friend.

You are my friend, right? Well, there you go, something to be grateful for!

Pollyanna and the Random Weirdness of Artists in the News

Lyda here. A quick Random Weirdness post, and then back to the homework. No, really.

The Random Weirdness of Artists in the News

1.) Is he the perfect man? Artist and nerd Jim Campbell.

2.) Art – adding trippiness to your commute since…

3.) Interactive art. Is anyone else thinking they missed a chance to use this song as the background music? Nope? Just me?

Okay then. Digression over. Moving on…

4.) Freudian Uncanny Art. Hey, the article brought up Freud first.

5.) Artistic AND Energized – and actually quite beautiful.

6.) The Art World Mourns a Great One: Paul the Psychic Octopus Dies at a Ripe Old Age of Two and A Half. Hey, prediction is an art when you do it as gracefully as he did…

7.) Art in Fashion – never let them tell you it’s too late walk the runway.

8.) Art as Fuzzy Political Statement (but mostly just for fun): Yarn Storming. Also known as Graffiti Knitting. Hah! Still a knitblog!

Truth in Blogging: Anna-Liza sent me that link, and we had the following email conversation:

AL: I sort of like the idea of “yarn storming”.

Me: I like “yarn storming” too. A rain of sheep. A hail of hats. A blizzard of scarves…

AL: A rain of sheep might be painful. Just sayin’.

Me: True. Not as bad as a rain of bulls though… I was thinking of tiny knitted sheep, which would be startling but would only hurt if someone left their needles in…

9.) And she responded with this version of a yarn storm. Sometimes kitty dreams do come true…

10.) You see, she and I really like to yak it up.

Lame jokes and yak fiber, what more could you ask for?

“Hey, Fred, could you come over and yak-sit for us tonight?”

“Sorry, I’m already babysitting George’s llamas.”

Flaming Pollyanna Finds a Home

Hey, Anna-Liza here. “Home” for a lot of Burners has two meanings — wherever we dwell out here in the Default World and wherever we live on the playa. Kidsville turned out to be a really homey home for me. Our kids had lots of other kids to play with; we had other families around who understand the challenges of being at Burning Man with kids and being families who are more or less nontraditional in a world that still has problems with that.

I mean, go on and be a wildly Bohemian, art-generating, creativity-centered freakette, as long as you don’t have kids. Once that happens, both the subset of people called “parents” and the subset of people called “freaks” don’t know what to do with you … except for that very, very tiny subset of freakishly-inclined parents. There aren’t many of us, but we generally have each others’ backs.

And so it was at Kidsville. Not to say that all FIPs (freakishly inclined parents, of course) raise our kids the same ways, or have identical values, or are committed to subverting the dominant paradigm. Oh wait, that last one, yeah, we mostly do. And we’re generally committed to raising kids who think. Not anarchists, not rebels for the sake of rebellion, but people who will examine the rules, written and unwritten, and question whether they are still of value, if different rules would perhaps be more valuable at this point in time, if rules are even really necessary in any particular arena.

Oh yeah, and kids who grow up knowing that, if you’re having fun and you’re not hurting anyone, it’s all good. If you’re making life more fun for other people while you’re at it, even better. So. Kidsville.

First off, there’s a big open area in the middle of the village that’s pretty much all about space for the kids to play. There were three trampolines, a traveling ball pit, and a geodesic-dome style climbing frame which became Mini-Thunderdome at one point during the week … but I digress.

Average Kidsville Afternoon

There is so much giving and service at Burning Man — it’s a really important part of the culture. One of the Kidsville camps had a “wishing well,” where you could write a wish on a rock and put it in the well, and/or you could take a wish from the well and make it happen. Mr. B wished for Silly Bandz (or whatever the damn things are called), and someone came to our camp and gave him a really cool one shaped like a castle.

There are a lot of people who spend a lot of their time giving things away. Like this guy, who had a cooler on his tricycle and gave away popsicles and ice cream sandwiches and other typical Ice Cream Truck treats. Except it was, you know ….

The Ice Cream Trike

Not unique to Kidsville, but another generality of Burning Man is the chance for adults to play, whether it’s Moja flying a kite for the first time in her life,

Moja, Kite, Tepee, Awesome Hat

or dressing up any way we feel like,

Typical Burning Man Daywear

or riding around on a giant birthday cake.

The Birthday Cake Bus

That was the official Kidsville Mutant Vehicle, and we took it out for tours of the playa at night. Very, very cool. We could stand on the top and have a great view of all the art and activities, and if anyone got tired (mostly it was the kids), the inside was all set up with mattresses to curl up and sleep on. At night, the candles were lit, and so was all the artwork.

Lighting the giant birthday candles


Me & Moja on Top of a Giant Birthday Cake

Yes, that’s a lamp on my head. There’s not much light out on the playa at night, except right around brightly lit art pieces and camps. There are street lamps in Black Rock City, but not out in the middle of the playa. 

A really important safety rule out there is to be lit!! And that’s literally, as in having blinkies or other lights and glowy things on, so other people can see you and not run into you, and so you can see where you’re going. Not everyone remembers that. It’s amazing how many people we literally almost ran into who were sitting out there with no lights on themselves or their bikes. 

And then there were the ones who would walk or ride right in front of the bus as we were moving. Yes, we were moving really, really slowly, but the laws of physics still apply and it takes a certain amount of room to stop or turn a moving city bus.

Apparently, a lot of people want to have an epitaph that reads, “Killed by a giant birthday cake.” Our intrepid driver, with the help of some alert lookouts, managed to frustrate any such ambitions this year, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on the part of aspiring victims.

Moja and The Man

 There was plenty to do and see, day or night. Sleep deprivation is normal. In spite of the popular conception of Burning Man being one giant drug-and-alcohol fiesta of excess, I really think it’s sort of a waste to get wasted there. Just experiencing the thing is altered state enough for me. What’s the point of  interfering with my experience chemically, or herbally, for that matter? I want to remember what happened!

Like, for instance …

Darlin' K, Mr B, and a Mutant Vehicle


Mr R getting ready for paragliding

Mr R and another Mutant Vehicle


Icky the Icthyosaur

 If you look carefully at that last photo, you’ll see Darlin’ K (in purple) and Mr. B next to him, about to go riding with Icky.

I don’t have pictures of most of the best stuff . I was too busy having fun to take any. 

There was the giant shopping cart that came and took me and a bunch of the Kidsville kids away to another camp, for face painting and stories and crazy hair colors.

There was the Magic Carpet that tooks kids to the Black Rock Boutique on Tuesday, for a special kids-only event, where they got to pick out any costume stuff they wanted to take back with them.

There was the camp where they gave away free soft-serve ice cream, where kids (and their grownups) could cut to the front of the line.

My favorite art, no pics. Blissdance, Ein Hammer, the thing with the dozens of tiny dioramas in lit boxes with peepholes … you’ll have to find those photos somewhere else.

Hm, this is getting pretty long again. I guess I’ll have to tell you later about Mini-Thunderdome and the day DeathGuild came to Kidsville.

Come out, come out, wherever you are!



Pollyanna Procrastinates… As Usual

Lyda here. I should be working on my homework, but I wanted to pop in and say hello. You say “procrastination”, I say “keeping in touch with my virtual friends”. Potato, Potahto.

And I do have a lot to report on. This time: Seattle.

The overnight trip to Seattle was just about the right length of time. A nice chat with my sister on the drive from the airport, then a family lunch at home, a long afternoon of talking to each other, and then out for Chinese food.

Most of the extended Seattle family was there – including two nieces I hadn’t seen since they were toddlers, a nephew I’d never met, the nieces’ two mothers, and the nephew’s mother. Oh, and my oldest brother who lives on an island, my sister, my brother and my brother-in-law (my brother’s husband) – who happen to have the same first name.

Are you confused now? My Gorgeous and Younger brother has three children via sperm donation, all in their teens now. The two girls live with their two mothers (who are married), and take it as normal that they have two fathers (my brother and brother-in-law). 

The nephew has a mother (and two other adult sisters who are not related to me by blood, but why stop adding nieces now?). He has only recently come into my brother’s life, as he wanted to meet his dad when he turned 18. Which is why this is the first time I met my nephew.

Oh, and my two oldest brothers (the one who lives on the island and the one who is a doctor) are technically my half-brothers, as they are the sons of my father and his first wife. And one of my cousins on that side is also their sister by adoption, as my father’s sister died while my cousin was young, and my father’s brother who was raising my half-brothers (their mother having died young also) adopted my cousin, so she is their cousin and their sister.

There. That’s clear, isn’t it? Our family tree is a bit… convoluted. But healthy.

But I digress…

With so many people on Saturday, maybe y’all can understand why I felt the need for a long walk in the rain on Sunday morning. Well, it wasn’t really raining when I left with my brother to walk to the store, but it was misting. I took my camera, and let him go off to the store without me while I took pictures of the neighborhood. By the time I got back to the house, it was really raining, I was soaked (note to self for next time:  take an extra pair of shoes so I’m not squelching in the airport), but I had some awesome shots and I had enjoyed the quiet beauty.

I was in time to say good-bye to my sister who was heading off to catch a plane to Africa. She works for a non-profit and travels to Africa a lot. Younger brother works for a non-profit too, as do I. Another family trend. Then it was time for their weekly Sunday brunch.

The nieces and nephew came, as did various and sundry friends. Apparently, all the regulars had been told that their attendance was mandatory, so I got to met a lot of people. A lot of people. And best of all, one of my dear friends came – he and my brother were best friends growing up, and I just love him. It was so much fun seeing him again after so many years – he hasn’t changed a bit, still funny and charming and wry and a great storyteller. The last time I’d seen him was at my wedding reception so very many years ago.

After the crowd left, another nephew who lives in Seattle came by. This nephew is one of My Brother the Doctor’s sons, and I hadn’t seen him in many years. He is now a nurse, and as always, quite funny and very relaxed. So that was excellent too.

It was more social interaction than I am used to getting in a year, and I was tired and talked-out by the time I got on the plane. But happy I went.

Not that I had much choice. When younger brother sets his mind to it, resistance really is futile.

Flaming Pollyanna, Coming and Going

Hi folks, Anna-Liza here. I will state right now that Burning Man was beautiful, fun, silly, all the things it just is for me. And Kidsville is an awesome village. We did, however, have some complications getting there.

We planned to leave on Saturday the 28th, and Darlin’ K had a big fire gig on Friday the 27th. The net result was a really good show and Darlin’ K staying up all night packing. 

Adding a very late start, slower than expected driving pace, and a flat tire on the road between Fernley and Gerlach at 4 AM,

we got to the playa with both of us exhausted and later than planned. Never a good idea – at least, arriving exhausted is never a good idea. I don’t know anyone who ever gets there when planned.

The first couple of days were mainly setup days. We got our tent up before it started raining, at least. (It only rained that once, which was plenty. It laid the dust for a while). Our campmates, Moja (formerly known as SAKB – Marin’s suggestion in the comments for a better nickname made excellent sense), and her husband were in the process of erecting their tipi when we arrived, and had that up before the rain, too.

I will just say, the traditional Plains tipi design is about as perfect as you can get. This one used three foundation poles. No rain got inside, it was snug, cool in the hotter part of the day, and held up to the winds really well. Not unexpected, of course, but nice to have the actual experience of it. Did you know that, if tipi poles are made traditionally (and correctly), the raindrops will slide down the poles to their base, rather than dripping into the interior of the tipi? Anyway, I digress …

The trip back was complicated by one of the Subaru’s CV joints breaking down between Salt Lake City and Evanston, WY. We were only about 15 miles out of Evanston, and were caravaning with Moja and family, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but still. Darlin’ K stayed in Evanston to get the car fixed, the kidlets and I rode with Moja. We all had one more night on the road than planned, and the kids and I got home around 10:30 Wednesday morning. Darlin’ K arrived around 7 that night.

BUT, the in-between was great.  

Which I will talk about next time. 😉

Pollyanna Checks In – the wine is for loading only…

Lyda here.

Just a quick check in before I fly off to Seattle tomorrow. I’m only going overnight – an extravagance that I would never indulge in on my own. But Gorgeous and Younger brother insisted that I visit, and since he used his frequent flyer miles for the ticket, I realized – as always when younger brother has his mind set on something – resistance is futile.

The Zombie Army will of course be traveling in the baggage compartment. I hope the baggage handlers are quick on their feet, or there could be unplanned snacks for the horde.

But before I fly, I had to share with you this gem from a work email I just got, saying that a workshop will be great for parents, and I quote:

“and will be a great way to support that new mussel that we are developing.”

I’m glad our baby shellfish will get the support they need.

Just how do you support mussels? Create a “wine sauce free” zone?

Mmm… wine sauce…

Weirdness – It’s the only way to fly!