Thursday, February 26, 2009

Colestin Camp Out: Rules of the Road

Greetings campers,

Our good brother Tom is healing, praise be. He spent a couple of nights at our house, but wasn't here when we got home. I imagine he went home; he had cabin fever something fierce.

The Tom incident made me stop to think about – well, a lot of things. As Jane pointed out to me recently, it’s dangerous out here in the Colestin, especially for anyone in an altered state of consciousness. Alcohol has played a major role in most, if not all of the injuries that have occurred at our place over the years.

I propose we establish a Colestin Camp Out Code of Conduct and a rotating position of “Safety Officer.” I’m drawing inspiration from my experience at Rainbow Gatherings. Close to 20,000 people gather in a national forest each summer without permits, liability insurance or security guards, for an unsanctioned, unorganized public celebration . Over time, the Shanti Sena clan of peacekeepers evolved to resolve conflicts at Gatherings. The clan keeps a friendly eye on things and, when someone crosses a line, calls on everyone in the vicinity to participate in a solution. Their code of conduct can be summed up as: do no harm. With the Shanti Sena as my inspiration, I've started to create a Colestin Camp Out Code of Conduct and I'd love to have your input.

• I will no longer stock the bar with hard alcohol. Adults can, of course, imbibe as much as they choose, I just ask that we all self-police. If I observe someone who has overindulged to the point of endangering themselves or others, I will speak up, offer help, and enlist the support of others. I ask that we all do the same.

• The Titus bar and the fire pit are the designated smoking areas for all smoking activities. Cigarette smokers, please pick up your butts! It’s OK to throw cigarette butts in the fire pit.

• Please, no more than two degrees of separation for invitees. We want you to bring your friends and your kids’ friends (as long as they are under your supervision.) What I want to avoid are the friends of friends who show up without my prior knowledge.

• Buddy up if you hike after dark

• The NOs
o First, do no harm, to yourself or others
o No firearms
o No fireworks
o No drinking and driving
o No slip and slide; I'm retiring her. I've tempted the gods for too long

• The YESes
o Do what thou wilt (just pace yourself)
o Love is the law
o Speak up if something ain’t right
o Do it yourself

Here’s what I need:
1) Input on this code of conduct. Does it go too far? Not far enough? What should I include/exclude?
2) Volunteers for Shanti Sena shifts. I'm willing to wear the Safety Officer badge for a night. If anyone else is willing to stay somewhat sober and observant for a couple of hours during the weekend, let me know.
3) A commitment from all party attendees to care for themselves and others.

Last year, Pete and Louise saw a need for improved recycling/trash consciousness. They built the recycling center and a new attitude spread through camp. My hope is that something like the same thing happens with this code of conduct. I’ll build the structure, and the structure will increase awareness. Increased awareness should render it unnecessary.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Now that my 14 hour days are done and I’m back to “normal” life (as normal as life gets in the Colestin, which ain’t very) I'm ready to start thinking about the camp out. This will be big number 15. Hard to believe.

Mr. Green's recent escapades has prompted some soul searching about mundane issues like LIABILITY, which I will address in later posts. Despite my newfound paranoia, I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel.

I am NOT available to host a camp out on these dates:

JUNE 6-7: I’ll be in Arkansas interring my father’s ashes. Yes, he’s been dead for three years but, in what I can only assume was his final f-you to the universe, he donated his body to medical science. The medical school recently released his purported ashes for burial. (I have my doubts as to the authenticity of their provenance, but really, what does it matter?) We’re taking them to Arkansas to bury alongside my mother. As Uncle Buck said, shouldn’t take no more ‘n 3 or 4 licks with a post hole digger.

JUNE 20: Joe’s out of town, and I can’t face another camp out without him

JUNE 27-28 JANE’S GETTING MARRIED! That’s right, our own beloved Jane is getting hitched to her partner, spouse, and the love of her life Paloma. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away.

So, that almost completely rules out June, which is not so bad considering. I’m wide open in July. The first Saturday in July is the 4th, which is usually not a good option, but hey, I’m game if you are. Please send me the weekends you are NOT available in July and I’ll start compiling.


Anna finally made her way to the tropics, thank the lord. I give full credit to the young ‘uns down there at the college. It was a hair-raising journey for them, losing their director at the beginning a rehearsal period, adjusting to a new and completely unprepared director, weathering the rough seas as she learned the ground plan (16 desks onstage! 16!) Despite the seemingly endless surprises, the cast and crew never lost faith, never gave up. They are a great group of kids and have created work they can be proud of. I’m certainly proud of them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tom Green

Last night, in a momentary lapse of reason, Tom Green stepped out of Jimmy's french door that leads to nowhere and fell 16' to the ground. Jimmy and Sequoia had to roll him onto a piece of plywood, drag the plywood into the back of Jimmy's truck and drive him to the E.R. Tom was screaming in pain with every bump in the road and, as y'all know, our road is very bumpy. He has cuts, bruises, and five broken ribs, but he escaped major internal injuries, which is a miracle. I think he must have an angel on his shoulder.

Please send lots of healing love energy his way. He's a good man and a good friend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Anna, I don't think we're in Moscow any more

Cigar makers, early 20th century

It has been a long haul in the Tropics down at the college. We go into tech rehearsals on Saturday and, as my good buddy Beth Bardossi says, “we’re in the deep weeds now.” I came into the process 5 days before rehearsals started and we only had a 5 week rehearsal period so, yeah, I’ve run out of time with a lot of loose ends left undone. But I have faith. A lot of good people are working hard. I think we will create a few moments of beauty, maybe get within far hollering distance of pity and fear. Or not. It will be what it will be.

Making theatre with college students is such a strange and gratifying experience. They’re so eager and committed and serious about their craft, especially the ones who don’t have any craft yet. The ones who have been at it for awhile fall into two camps. Some are settling in for the long haul (grad school or a career), others are coming to the realization that this might not happen for them. They are starting to realize that the Muse is a fickle bitch. She comes and goes. I’m living proof of that, campers.

Anyway, if you find yourself in the neighborhood and want to see the show, I can usually get comps. Here's a link to the schedule:

The moon is waxing on new snow tonight, campers. We finally got a little precipitation after a very long dry spell. When you live in the woods, you fear drought more than flood. In this instance, fire trumps water. As soon as I get through opening, I'll start floating dates for this year's campout, big number 15. Fire up the calendars and Katie bar the door...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The C Word

No, not the C word you're thinking of. What a dirty, dirty mind you have....

I’m in a good mood today because I found out that I don’t have cancer, which will positively cheer a girl up. Yeah, cancer. In December during my annual exam, my doctor felt a lump on my thyroid gland. “It’s probably nothing,” says she, “but I think you should see an endocrinologist.” So, off I toddle to Medford to meet the specialist, who feels up my neck. “It’s probably nothing,” says he, “but I think we should get an ultrasound just to make sure.” So off I toddle to the radiologist, who greases up my neck and takes an ultrasound. A few days and several rounds of phone tag later, I get a call from the nurse. “It’s probably nothing,” says she, “but it’s about 3 centimeters in diameter, so we want to do a biopsy.” Biopsy, says I? “Yes, to rule out malignancy.” Malignancy, says I? Cancer? That’s not a word you hear every day, or ever if you’re lucky.

I’m told that the needle biopsy process is much less traumatic than it used to be in the bad old days. They don’t even bother with a local anesthetic any more because the numbing shot is more painful than the biopsy itself. So they say. It may be easier than it used to be, but it still involves being stuck in the neck with a needle not once but four times. It’s no day at the beach.

After the biopsy, the wait for results began. They told me that there was less than a 5% chance of it being cancer, but it didn’t matter, I spent three days mentally making my will and rehearsing scenarios of how to tell the kids. I have a tendency towards self-dramatization (thus my profession), but for once, I kept the drama to myself. I didn’t want to say the C word out loud and draw the attention of the gods.

I got the call from the nurse while I was at work today. “Your results are negative. No malignancy. We’ll want to ultrasound it again in a year to see if it’s growing. If you have pain or unusual hoarseness, let us know, but otherwise, you should be fine. We’ll see you in a year.”

Just like that, I’m good to go. I have a non-malignant solid tumor on my thyroid. It may or may not grow. If it grows, it may or may not affect my vocal chords. But, it’s not malignant.

The C word will get your attention right quick, campers. The C word will make a girl stop and think.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Report from the Musical Front

Hamfist rocked the house at Stillwater on Friday and it was a stone cold gas. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I'm doing, playing in a band at age 50. Who am I kidding? But I must say, it felt incredible up there. I love to dance like a mad woman at shows and have always felt like the energy of my dancing contributed to the energy of the performance. On Friday I confirmed that suspicion when I experienced the other side of the equation, performing for people who were dancing their asses off. I could feel this incredible rush of energy coming from the crowd, waves of intensity. It felt like I was riding a current of electricity, twitchy but good.

My inner critic wants me to believe that standing up onstage is a symptom of self-importance and an inflated ego. My inner critic likes to say things like I’m making a fool of myself. I gotta slap that bitch around sometimes. I need to stop apologizing for who I am and what I do. I loved it up there on Friday. We were prepared, we knew what we were doing, and we did it well. The people in the audience loved it. Together we built something greater than the sum of its parts. It was gratifying as hell.

I absolutely do not take the experience for granted.