A Smidge of an Update

I’ve been busy, y’all. Last week, I took some days off CrossFit, made a really good meatloaf, saw the Postal Service*, and spent quality time with friends. Since returning to the gym last Thursday, I’ve made it my goal to practice double-unders and handstands as close to every day as possible, with my hated wall balls and pull-ups thrown in there, too. So far, I’ve seen progress in nearly all my skills, although wall balls are still so cruel for someone only 5’1″.

This weekend, I’ll have my best friend’s baby shower to look forward to. I love her and this group of friends dearly. That said, I am not playing baby poop guessing games. I will escort myself to the bathroom if those occur, and I will enjoy my mason jar of cocktail that I inevitably bring. (Judge me, I dare you to.)

In other news, I’m still focused on these October trips and beyond. We’ve hit $200+ on GoFundMe, so I’m trying to craft some kind of wonky fun video update bribe to get us to $475. Note that I’ve been saying “we” and “us” throughout this project–now that y’all (as in “the crowd”) are involved, this project has multiple stakeholders! So, join in on the journey.

I must be off, now. Lives to change, don’t you know.

 

* OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 I ❤ YOU, BEN GIBBARD!!!!!!!!

Sasquatch 2013: I Will Not Die Here (Part 2)

Day Three of Sasquatch 2013 got off to a slow start. Camping always screws with my sleeping schedule, and I woke up way too early to find my way to the restrooms. It was so early that I felt as if I were still in a dream. However, there were promises of brunch at Cave B, so I had to pull myself together.

Four of us left the campsite and walked about two miles to the nearby winery and resort. It was a good break from the grimy campground and grab-and-go food options. Cave B is an estate winery, and walking in, I could see the large variety of grapes they grow. The driveway into the establishment was at least a mile long, and there were vineyards all along.

Brunch was surprisingly slow, so we grabbed a patio seat and enjoyed warm coffee, breakfast pastries, and some of the best peppered bacon available. Everyone else also had an omelet (this egg intolerance thing is getting super-old). The view of the Columbia Gorge was outstanding as usual, and it was refreshing to sit, relax, be waited on, and have access to real restrooms. A life of luxury, one may think.

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After brunching, we took the chance to try out some of the wine at the tasting room. Tasting was only $7, and bottles were reasonably priced. This winery has some great varieties, so I definitely recommend checking it out if you have a chance. Also, they have a variety of accommodations. I want to stay in one of the yurts sometime, or maybe one of the Cliffehouses, but that will have to wait until all of us are rolling around in dough.

Brunching hard (borrowed from AC's IG)

Brunching hard (borrowed from AC’s IG)

Once we were done with brunch and wine tasting, there was a long day of music ahead. We started with The Tallest Man on Earth. My foot was bothering me, and it seemingly had to do with my arches. The only fix available was a piece of duct tape, so I wrapped it around my foot and stayed off of my feet for the first band.

All the bags.

All the bags.

Captivation and fashion.

Captivation and fashion.

Our big bands of the night were Shovels & Rope and Grimes. Ahead of ShoRo was Shad, who I found to be incredibly fun. I texted at least one person to say, “Hey! This Shad cat is pretty awesome! Get over here!!”

Once Shad’s set ended, we moved up front for Shovels & Rope. This was such a fun set. Their songs are folky and danceable, and they’re also just really fabulous performers and people. I only took a few photos during the set because I was preoccupied with bouncing around.

Shovels & Rope

Shovels & Rope

They are so so so in love.

They are so so so in love.

Today was the day that Little Sparrow and dust baths came into existence, as well. We ran into our favorite bar (yes, you can establish those at festivals), and as one friend was ordering, I nonchalantly started dancing behind her. We got it on video. Apparently, the way I was dressed and the way I moved reminded at least one person of a small bird. So, Little Sparrow was born, as well as the signature “dust baths” move, which can be summed up with “Drop down and get yo’ sparrow on.” This was especially helpful when we went to Killer Mike’s set, continuing on with the dance theme of the day.

Grimes was our last stop, immediately following Killer Mike. Unfortunately, the sound techs did not turn up the sound as loud as it should have been. For electro-dance-pop, it was pretty quiet. We spent a good half of the set wondering out loud why we couldn’t feel the beats reverberating in our chests. To compromise, we pushed our way further up into the crowd where it was at least a little bit louder. Grimes is going to have to come back to the Northwest, though, to make up for it. She was great, and the sound was out of her control. I bought one of her albums as soon as I had stable cell reception and have been playing it quite a bit.

Day Four was soggy and cold for a good portion. The original forecast said Monday would be the hottest day of the festival. False. Incredibly false. However, Day Four was also the day that I paid to take a shower. Best shower ever. The mobile shower was well worth the $3 and the wait. (I lined up at about 7:30AM for the 8AM opening, so I was in the third group or so of women able to shower. That line got incredibly long after opening.)

We still danced.

We still danced.

Day Four was also the only day we left our campsite at the time we wanted. We were on a music mission. First up was Horse Feathers. I have heard a song here and there by Horse Feathers, but never spent enough time with their music. This was a great chance to take it all in, though. It was a very PNW-y set, with the band being from Portland and the drizzle coming down.

Portland, OR representing

Portland, OR representing

After Horse Feathers, we wandered over to Cody ChesnuTT’s set. As Bran said, “How did I not know this sexiness existed?!” We danced and danced and danced. I was happy to enjoy the jazzy sounds, and appreciated the solos Cody’s rhythm section provided. It was during Love is More Than a Wedding Day that I had this sudden feeling of, “Everything’s going to be okay,” wash over me. I’m just an overly impatient and anxious lady, and there are a lot of things that I want to change right now, but I cannot. I just know if I am present, if I am okay with just being for now, that it will all work itself out one way or another.

Also, it’s hard to be overly self-involved when this is happening:

Still dancing.

Still dancing.

I love my friends.

After Cody ChesnuTT, we stuck around for Dirty Projectors. It was raining something fierce during their set, but it was still a very good set. Their music is fairly heady; there’s a lot going on. Again, I haven’t listened to more than a handful of their songs, so it was good to get the extended collection. I just wish it hadn’t been so damp. The waterproofing on my jacket was reaching its threshold. Even so, we were all still in good moods. Again, hard to be upset when the music’s good and the company’s even better.

Happy faces; happy hats.

Happy faces; happy hats.

The gang's all here! Except Bran. Where did she go?!

The gang’s all here! Except Bran. Where did she go?!

There was a significant gap in time between Dirty Projectors’ set and the next set, alt-J. We hunkered down in our favorite bar (again) to dry off and warm up. Several of the group did run off at some point when Death Grips’ sound filtered in and one friend remarked, “We should go. This sounds filthy!” They were right; I’ve been listening to their stuff since getting back. If I had been warmer, maybe I would have gone, but I was also starting to realize I was coming down with a cold. (Side note: This turned out to be a pretty brutal cold. I cannot take vacation without getting sick, it seems.)

Anyway, after we dried off and the rain finally stopped, it was time to venture out for alt-J, who was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t see what was happening most of the time, though, since the crowd was huge and I am so short. I couldn’t even see the big screens from where I was for most of the set; I had to ask my friends to describe what the band looked like when the set began.

alt-J

alt-J

Regardless of view, it was super-fun. These guys are really, really good. We danced and we made friends with another group of people from Seattle in front of us. I adore positive crowd interactions. It’s no good when other audience members are concerned about not being touched or about having the best view, etc. It’s more fun to just go with the flow and have some laughs.

Cute couple... aaaaand another.

Cute couple… and a photobomb.

We are having all the fun.

We are having all the fun.

The best times!

The best times!

THE best of times!

THE best of times!

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After alt-J, we were tired, cold, and nearly ready to leave. I insisted that we stay for The Postal Service because they were a big factor in my decision to attend Sasquatch after a seven year absence.

It was so worth it. The set included all the best parts of Give Up, a few new and exciting songs, and several of their covers. (Note: Turn Around is so amazing live.) Again, we danced. I screamed with joy because it had been nine years since TPS last played Sasquatch, and I had a piano recital that weekend that I couldn’t miss, and I had never forgiven myself for missing TPS live, but now I finally could. It was so worth the wait to finally hear my favorite album live, surrounding me with its intricacies and the evolution that comes after a decade. It was so worth the wait to share it with people who have been with me through the good times and the bad times. It was so wroth the wait to know that patience is a real virtue, and even though Ben Gibbard and I may have faces that reflect the heartache in our lives, there is so much good in this world and so many wonderful moments that must be savored and loved and lived.

"That is a face full of heartache." - M.

“That is a face full of heartache.” – M.

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They were having so much fun dancing during this song.

They were having so much fun dancing during this song.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Finally.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Finally.

After Such Great Heights played, we headed back to the campsite. We were already packed up and ready to roll. One car had to head back to Seattle immediately; the other two cars headed to my mom’s house for a home-cooked meal and a restful night of sleep. Brown Bird and I listened to The Postal Service the whole way home.

Although my body is broken and I haven’t been quite able to shake the cold I came down with, I am delighted that I got to spend the long weekend with my friends, having adventures that we wondered, “Are we too old for this?” Maybe, maybe not.

Regardless, it was the best of times, and even though we may think we’re too old for some of the aspects of Sasquatch (e.g., HoneyBuckets for days on days on days), we’re already throwing out more group outing ideas.

I like that. I really like that.

Sasquatch!, indeed.

Sasquatch!, indeed.

Sasquatch 2013: I Will Not Die Here (Part One)

A.K.A., Operation Desert Steppe

Heads-up: Photo-heavy post. A four-day weekend in the middle of nowhere results in a lot of capture-worthy moments.

It began months ago when the line-up was announced. A bunch of us sprung for tickets, and many of us hadn’t been to Sasquatch in years and years.

After several weeks of planning and several spreadsheets which made our eyes bleed from the absolute lack of any sort of order, too many categories, and so many simultaneous editors, the weekend finally arrived. With walky talkies–er, sorry, radios–in-hand, Operation Desert Steppe was in full-swing.

I drove up from Portland the evening prior and convened with several members of the Operation Desert Steppe party. Scary moment of the night: our Brown Bird hit a detour near Mount Vernon, WA on her way down from Bellingham due to a bridge collapse on I-5. She was about half an hour behind the collapse; her decision to wash her hair may have saved her from going into the river.

With everyone safe and sound, we set our alarms for “way too early” on Friday morning with a planned departure of 6AM out of Issaquah. We got set back a bit when one of the cars in our caravan realized a ticket was missing. They had to turn around from Issaquah and drive half an hour back into Seattle. This at least gave us some time to go to QFC and stock up on protein bars and cheap camping chairs. I chose magenta.

This is what 6AM on Sasquatch Day looks like.

This is what 6AM on Sasquatch Day looks like.

We got coffee and our missing car met us. We dispensed the third and final radio handset to that car, and we hopped onto I-90 and headed east.

Their original departure time was 4AM from Seattle. Barf.

We weren’t the only early birds on Friday.

The radio conversations kept us entertained and awake for a good portion of the trip. They also saved us when one car missed the exit to the Gorge Ampitheatre and we had to pull off to the side of the highway and wait. Luckily, this gave us the chance to line up and get ready to enter the campground. Our arrival time of 10AM was early enough that there were no lines, so we got in and immediately set up camp.

We didn't have a pop-up tent, so here we are starting to improvise with the "gypsy tarp."

We didn’t have a pop-up tent, so here we are starting to improvise with the “gypsy tarp.”

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None of us are engineers.

All done!

With shelter from the rain complete, we played around until it was time to head into the concert venue. Keep in mind, the first bands weren’t scheduled to go for several hours.

My friend's site also had an improvised shelter!

My friend’s site also had an improvised shelter!

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Skills twerk.

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We were pretty stoked considering, by this point, we’d all been up for like a thousand hours.

After a few hours, the sun finally started to come out. We continued to play. When else were we supposed to get all “sun’s out; guns out”?

Two times the twerk.

Stunner shades on.

When the time came, we trekked to the venue to catch several groups: Japandroids and Father John Misty, primarily. I tried to watch Youth Lagoon, but between the 30-minute (+/-) sound check and my short attention span, I lost interest and ran off to another set.

011 crew reunited. And it feels so... good?

011 crew reunited. And it feels so… good?

Faces and friends.

Faces and friends.

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It got purty out.

I should also mention that we got horribly lost on the way back to our campsite after we decided to call it a night. It literally took us 45 minutes to find our way back. I kept insisting that “No, guys! That’s the teepee with the American flag by our site!” every time I saw a flag flying. Eventually I was right, but only after I spotted the American flag by a teepee in close proximity to Kansas, Montana, and Colorado flags other sites were flying.

As B said, “I was weighing the cost benefit of just lying down and sleeping in the middle of the field.”

Luckily, we survived the first night and lived to see a sunny day. Our friend, Robbie, was scheduled to play somewhat early on Saturday, so we headed down to catch his set.

Pel Meni was at Sasquatch. THANK THE GOOD LORD.

Pel Meni was at Sasquatch. THANK THE GOOD LORD.

Holler.

Holler.

The lady crew.

The lady crew.

Bro crew.

Bro crew.

Onward.

Onward.

It was bright and early for a dance party, but there was no way we were going to miss RCED’s set.

Ready to dance.

Ready to dance

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Hey, Robbie.

Hey, Robbie.

RCED party.

RCED party.

Robbie (a.k.a., Robert DeLong) never fails to put on a good show. He’s incredibly talented, but beyond that, he’s also one of the funniest and kindest people you’ll meet in this life. While we were briefly catching up with him, a fan came up to ask if Robbie could throw up the University of Oregon “O” symbol for a photo. Robbie said, “Sure, but I don’t think OSU over here is going to be real happy about that,” and gestured at me. (Go Beavs!) Regardless of his compliance with the UO fan’s request, the afternoon set was a hit. (Additionally, it seems that Bear Mountain played ahead of Robbie, and they were pretty awesome, too.)

We killed time at the campsite before the later bands. We may have climbed through the sunroof of the Jeep our friend lent to the group. We may have danced on it a lot. No one can be quite sure! (That’s a lie; it’s on Facebook and Instagram.)

The big draws (at least for me) for the night were The xx and Sigur Ros. It was so wonderful just to lie on the hill and just be. The Sigur Ros set was complex and beautiful, and it reminded me of all the times in college where I would put on a Sigur Ros playlist and essentially meditate. They have a way with sound that gets right down into my soul.

Beauty is all around you.

Beauty is all around you.

Perfection

Perfection

Day Two concluded with a visit to the Dumpling Tzar. It was too bad that the other vendors had longer lines because Pel Meni is outstanding, but I wasn’t going to complain about not waiting. Those dumplings are serious good, y’all.

Recap of Sasquatch Festival 2013: Days Three and Four to follow.