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Saturday, June 22, 2002

Sara: I can't smell the manure anymore

Unless I'm right by the increasingly repulsive port-o-john sector. Ok, they really failed logistics on this show. The water pumps powering the sinks broke this morning leaving a lot of people dirty and thirsty and unhappy. They got them working again later today, but for a while we were rather scared that we were staring anarchy in the face. It could have gone very badly. Dennis washed my hair with bottled water and it felt so great. Then we got into the main stage area for the really disappointing Blackalicious show, and all the of the port-o-johns were clean and had toilet paper. It made me realize once again that sometimes the simplest things are the ones that make us happiest. Apparently I have a plumbing fixation.

Karl Densen was great last night, but we only stayed awake through the first set and then slipped back to our tent for a night of really good sleep. Woke up this morning, dealt with the water crisis, and flopped around the campsite a bit. I listed to a couple episodes of This American Life on my mp3 player, and we read the weird religious tracts they're giving away at the coffee shop. So far, we're not converted.

Dennis' sandal broke on the way to the show this afternoon (ok, they didn't do it on their own - I tripped on the back on them as he was stepping and it tore the strap off) and then he walked back to the campsite barefoot to get his shoes. I waited for him alongside the road. About 2 minutes after he left, I realized that *I* should have been the one walking back to the site and he should have been sitting with our stuff. Of course, by then it was too late to gather up all of the stuff and chase after him, and he was out of sight so I had to sit and wait and feel like a complete ass. He would have been on the road to fetch me something I needed before I even had a chance to argue, but for me there was a time delay. Dennis is a much more effortlessly generous and loving person than I am. He is naturally the way I am when I'm really working on it. The thing is, he has probably already forgotten about the thing with the sandal, and I can't let go of it. Sigh. In the past, I've always been with people who would be more than happy to point out my flaws for me every minute of the day, so it's what I'm used to. It's not very fun to realize that I now do the exact same thing to myself - even though there's no one around telling me what a screwup I am, I still have to try to make amends somehow. This is, as you can imagine, a singularly unattractive trait in a fiance.

This could also be why I still have a rough time believing in salvation by grace sometimes. I'm not very good at receiving grace on any scale, human or divine.

We had Chicken Wings of the Gods for lunch, out of a big BBQ truck that is in the back of the concert field. Yum. The food at the show is really quite good.

Ben Harper is starting soon, so back to the field for me!
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Friday, June 21, 2002

Sara: From the Gateway tent at Bonnaroo

I'm soooo gross. There is water. There is dirt. There is mud. There is humidity. There is sweat. There is mud made of sweat. You get the idea.

I am quite cheerful, though. We had a reasonably easy time getting here last night; it took an hour and a half or so to get from the exit to our campspot, but people were pretty friendly and we were giving out bubble necklaces to people out the window of our Big White Malibu, and then we got the tent up and our bed inflated and it was a decent night. Today, we've been out exploring and waiting for our first show of the day, which will be Jim White. Dennis gave me his CD and it's quite fabulous.

Odd things noted on the trip from Knoxville to Machester: 24 hour fireworks stores. Next to gas stations. Next to liquor stores. Am I the only one who sees a possible problem with this? Fireworks, booze and gasoline - it's an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon waiting to happen. Of course people brought fireworks into the campground, even though it was one of a few things we were asked not to do. Last night was an impromptu fireworks show, which was disaster-free despite the fact that we are in the middle of really dry grass. Still - jackasses. The show promotors didn't make a lot of requests, so I don't see why people can't just go along with them. We've seen some Bonna-rude behavior in the past 24 hours, but overall, people are very cool. And severely overheated, but I guess most of them are from around here and are used to it. I've gotten a bit cranky from the heat, but only in fleeting moments. Dennis is, of course, a complete delight - he's been incredibly sweet to me, even in my moments of frustration and bad humor.
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Sara: Hydrate. Hydrate.

I did NOT drink enough water this afternoon. Jim White's set was fabulous (he plays what he calls 'hick-hop' which will have to be described by Dennis who is a much better writer than I am) and then there was a band in that tent that I didn't like much and I liked some of the fans even less and then I started to feel kinda woozy and I went out and took a nap off to the side somewhere. Dennis took care of me even though I was on the border of earning myself a tranq dart for being such a wuss. After I got up again we went to the big stage area to watch Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade (Les won; sorry Mule). Admission - I napped through the first 15 minutes or so, because I still was a bit out of it. I ate an apple and had some water and then I felt well enough to enjoy the show. They were great. Dennis will be doing a full writeup on the festival when we get back, so the details will have to wait 'til then.

It finally cooled down while we were at that show, so we went back to our tent and hung around for a while and had snacks and bitched about the porta-johns, which have not been emptied. Infrastructure is a problem here, unfortunately. The toilet paper supply was already gone by this morning, and has not been replaced. Whine whine whine. Still, it's clear that whoever was in charge of the sanitation situation screwed up. We skipped Widespread Panic, so we pretty much had the whole Tent City to ourselves. Tent City is the term used in the daily newspaper they're putting out here. Apparently we're now one of the larger cities in Tennessee. Most of the people selling food and doing security here are locals, and they are SO nice. I mean, I'm pretty sure they had no idea what to expect (much like the potty people) but they seem to be happy to have us here spending money and having a good time.

We changed into warmer clothes around 10, and are on our way over to the Karl Densen show in a coupla minutes. He goes on at Midnight.

I wish I could upload photos here; I took a shot of our feet this afternoon that will strike fear into you [photo added later]. I'm wearing sandals today so I put sunscreen on my feet before we left the tent this morning. And then walked on a dirt path. Ewwwwww. My feet make their own gravy.

It was so cool to see my grandparents yesterday. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and are in their 80s. They're very frail now; I hadn't seen them in a few years and it was a shock to see them so deteriorated. Still, they seem pretty happy. They recently moved to Knoxville to live with my aunt (mom's sister - these are the maternal g-parents, the only ones left), and grandpa already has a great wood shop in the backyard, where he is currently building kid-sized tables and chairs for his incoming great-granchildren. Two of my cousins are pregnant right now; one is due in September and one in October. So, pretty soon there will be babies-a-poppin' in Knoxville. Anyway, my grandparents rock. They're my role models for what marriage is supposed to look like.

Wonderful moment yesterday - my mom brought a box of stuff for me from Michigan, including all of the old family Bibles and Prayerbooks. There's a Book of Common Prayer that was given to my paternal grandmother in 1927. I'm not even sure which edition that would be, since the one before the current (1979) version came out in 1928. I'm really looking forward to reading it veeeery carefully (the leather cover has all but disintegrated) and seeing the difference between it and the version I'm more familiar with, since I like Anglican history. Anyway, I was very touched when my mom gave me the books. I think it was the first time since I started playing for Team Jesus that I felt like my parents actually get what's going on with me.
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Dennis: Chiming in from the fields of Tennessee

Meeting Sara's family yesterday went swimmingly (nearly literally if Sara's neice MacKenzie could have gotten me into their grandparent's pool...). I tried to be myself with slightly less edges and offered to help with shopping, cleaning, etc. Think I came across as a nice young man from California who loves Miss Sara more than he can put into words. Works for me.

And I liked them a lot actually. Know that may sound bad but it isn't. The unknown is always fearful. Now I know them and I know they love my Sara nearly as much as I do (sorry folks but I'm really working on some BIG Love for this girl...) and I look forward to getting to know them better over time.

Isn't this weird. Me on the road seeing live music in fields and halls AND writing notes across the electronic ether, too. What an age.

The drive to the Festival grounds late yesterday afternoon was smooth as silk. Tennesse is lovely, green and flat and wholly different than California. I'm the wheel man on this one since Sara's new driver's license didn't come in time for the trip. Not minding at all and the rental car (the mighty Chevy Malibu, dudes) has a in-dash cd player. The 40 or so selections that snuck into the luggage went to great use. We even stopped for one last rib-stickin' meal at the Cracker Barrel (lordy how can Southerners use the name 'cracker' without wincing...) and ate a freakin' huge breakfast plate for my last supper on a non-paper plate for a few days. The cheese hash browns made me swoon and I think there should be more gravy on things after this visit to the Barrel. [photo left, trying to blend in]

Didn't even hit traffic until we got to Exit 111 in Manchester, TN, the exit for Bonnaroo. 2 hours sitting in traffic placed us smack dab in a field surrounded by tents and RV's and lions and tigers and bears. Oh my. The circus has truly come to town and I'm pretty content to watch the spectacle. Kind of thing that lets me know that the phrase, Oh the humanity, isn't just for zeppelin disasters anymore.

Amongst the dumbest things seen so far: A guy hanging off the roof of a car as we approached the festival gate who nearly got his head split open several times; fireworks used a great deal in fields of dry grass (Darwin has a bulls-eye on the heads of such folk...); shorts that never stay up and just give one an eye full of hippie guy ass day & night. Sigh.

The crowd is largely younger than us. 20's and teens and then a mix of old timers. It is an ambient swamp of noise and I've been kissed and thanked for bringing us ear plugs at least thrice.

Outside of a couple nasty heat swoons for Sara that got me worried things have been smooth. At least as smooth as they can go in a 500 acre field full of drugs and music and wild behaviour. By the way, Sara's doing fine now and I'm irrigating her like some Tennessee Valley agricultural project.

But the music, the real meat 'n' taters of why I'm here:

Jim White played by himself and was our first show of the fest. The crowd hated him and we loved him deeply. All his self effacing humor, religous imagery and ripping good songcraft win me over big time. And he made a great joke that alienated a huge part of the audience, "I think I'll play a bunch of Phish covers...oh wait I haven't smoked enough dope to make me do that." Outstanding. Sara and I were the only ones who clapped when he made the joke. I was proud of us and him for not bowing at the altar of Phish even here.

DJ Logic spun a wonderous good DJ set that mixed in phat beats & basslines with gems like the Beach Boys' Vegetables, the Stones' Can't You Hear Me Knockin and some other rockin tunes. He continues to delight me and impress me with what one man can do with two turntables.

Les & his mighty Frog Brigade tore it up this afternoon. Just tremendous. Warren Haynes came out to shred a solo on Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond before dashing off to another stage to play with Gov't Mule. Other Fearless Flying Frog Brigade highlights: Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath (wow is that a grand fit for this band); Hendershot (w/Dirty Dozen Brass Band improvising solos) and the best version of Angry Young Man I've heard yet. What a band they've gelled into. Like the strangest, funkiest circus music I've ever heard.

Just about to stake out a spot with our trusty pink blanket (makes it so easy to find each other in this sea of humanity) at the tent stage where Karl Denson's Tiny Universe will play a late night set. Finally dark so this will be the first great light show of the fest for me. Plan to loosen up appropriately and enjoy the sights & sounds.

Widespread Panic noodles away on the massive Stadium Stage (one of four places to watch bands). Their singers voice always makes me think he needs a hot cup of lemon tea and few squirts of Cloraseptic. And all their songs still sound like ONE BIG SONG to me even after years of trying to get into them. Their 3 hour set has allowed us to nap, eat supper and kick it at our tent (and our neighbors in the so-called tent city are largely cool outside of the usual jerky Phish fans).

We have been blessed with a less severe heat snap tonight and nary a mosquito in site (though i fear I've jinxed that by even mentioning it..). Drinking water whenever I stop to wonder what I should do next and find I'm feeling good though frighteningly grubby already. Thank the good lord to handy wipes and Dr Bronner's Peppermint Soap. Both have gone a long way to maing me feel human despite the layer of filth on my body. That and brushing my teeth. What a truly great feeling is a fresh minty mouth !!!

More ramblings soon...
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Thursday, June 20, 2002

Sara: Howdy from Tennessee!

Hi from the road! Dennis is charming my family left and right. My niece MacKenzie, 7 (see photo with Dennis, left), is completely infatuated with him, especially after he bought her a huge stuffed dog on our shopping trip this afternoon. She named the dog Dennis and insisted on having the same thing that he was having for lunch. Mac is our lead flower girl, and she informed everyone that she is going to be the Leader at our wedding. So, everyone follow Mac. She knows what to do!

My parents are also delighted, although mom is a bit creaky today because of a horrible cartwheel accident yesterday. She was trying to show Mac how to do one, and it didn't go well for her back. Guess cartwheels are harder at age 59. Anyway, we're having a lovely time, and are leaving for Bonnaroo in a couple of hours.

The accents here are wonderful. My cousin has a dog named Belle, but for the first couple of hours, we thought it was named Bill. Dennis checked the dog's tag on the sly to be sure, and realized that her name is Belle. We picked up a bunch of tourist brochures at the airport - I love tourist brochures. We saw an ad for Hillbilly Wedding Chapel in one of them, but I think we're gonna pass.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Sara: Silly rabbit.

With blogger-induced notoriety comes a bunch of people sending me email saying what a shallow little bimbo I am because all I care about is my wedding. Mostly, I'm amused that anyone would use their time on Earth to send such messages, but it does make me stop to think about what I'm doing here.

Weddings in general are fascinating to me, and my own is only a small subset of that. Some of the fascination is of the train-wreck variety, because the Bridal Industrial Complex is a terrifying thing. The rest of it is just enjoying the delightful aspects. Planning the wedding involves almost everything that I think is fun - sewing, crafts, liturgy, writing, graphic design, watching Leigh make mad-scientist cakes, getting Ryan to participate in (possibly ill-advised) creative projects, having new adventures with Dennis, and designing cute dresses for my nieces. It's a chance to have a very good time with the people I love and I'm going to enjoy all of it.

This will be Marriage 2.0 for both of us, so we're not exactly going into this with our eyes closed. I'm crazy in love with this boy, but we are going to have to work our collective asses off at it if we're going to be pushing each other around the nursing home. However, I find that much less interesting to discuss on a web site than, say, deciding what to wear on my head for the ceremony.

I am 32 web sites and then some, but I only have time to do 2, and there are limits on what I am willing to share. I could do a site called Going Jesus about my faith struggles and trying to figure out what exactly God is calling me to do, but there are things that just don't need to be public.

To use my powers for good: Hookslide has a new CD and you should go listen to the mp3 of Overreacting.

Now I'm off to Bonnaroo!
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Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Sara: Eeek! I've been noticed!

I'm a link on Blogger today...I feel as though I've been caught coming out of the shower with a really ratty bathrobe and guacamole facial masque on. Um, come on in, sit down, ignore the dust buffalo that roam this place. I'll try to say something entertaining any minute now.

One thing that is working against me saying anything entertaining is the fact that I am packing for our trip, an activity which makes me cranky under the best of circumstances. It's like I'm dumping all of my anxiety about this trip in amongst the piles of underwear and loose-fitting clothing on my bed. I'm anxious about the trip.
Reason #1 is that I have no idea what 3 days of concert camping at Bonnaroo will look like, or what I will look like after 3 days of concert camping. I hope I don't turn into some horrid high-maintenance Rules kind of girl who will need to be taken down with a tranq dart.
Reason #2 is that I will be seeing my entire extended family which usually makes me sincerely wish that I was raised by wolves or hamsters or other critters. They're not horrible, in fact they're actually great people - they're just, you know, family. They installed the buttons and they know how to push 'em.
Reason #3 is that I have this idea that my presence is totally essential to the correct functioning of the Bay Area and therefore my job, house, and life will completely fall apart in my absence. This is not rational, and definitely points to someone, possibly me, thinking that she has way more control over things than she really does. I suspect the world will still be safe for democracy with me gone. Or no less safe, anyway.

I love the Dennis. I answered the phone at work today and the first thing I heard was him saying, 'you are so completely loved' and I started to tear up a bit. He knows how to cut through all of this crap that I pile around myself and strip me right down to what matters. He is such a gift.

Dennis is like a little kid over this concert - the big question is whether we'll see Gov't Mule or Les Claypool, since cruel cruel fate (and/or the concert promotors) has scheduled them to play at the same time on different stages. Grrrrr. Love the Mule. Love Les. What to do? I'm letting Dennis decide which shows to go to; I trust his taste in music and I know I'll have a good time whatever we're doing, unless I'm back in the tent sleeping off the aforementioned tranq dart.
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Monday, June 17, 2002

Sara: Weeeeeee!

We leave for Bonnaroo on Wednesday, so I'm going to be out of communication for a while. Maybe I can slip in an update from the road if someone is feeling generous with computer time.

Let's see a show of hands...who watched Married in America tonight? Ummm-hmmmm. I was really into those blessing cards the first couple on there used. If you missed it, they were index-size blank cards that all the guests wrote messages on, I think before the ceremony, and then they were strung on a ribbon and hung up at the reception. I liked it; I'd probably glue 'em in a book afterwards, or at least put them into a shoebox with the sincere intention of putting them into a book later.

My nose is slightly out of joint today because the item I made for a fundraising auction at church went for less money than I put into the materials. It was the Best Dressup Box ever and there's a very happy little girl somewhere out there who is currently dressed up as a queen-gypsy-flapper-movie-star-princess, but I should have just donated the money directly and saved myself the work. I'm being childish. Well, at least that project is Over and I can get on with wedding sewing when I return from Tennessee, so that's a happy thing!

Weeeeeeeee! One can now buy t-shirts featuring the weeeeeeeeeee squirrel. I love that stupid squirrel. Fun fact: one of my adorable niece Jadyn's first words was squirrel. Wasn't that fun?
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