August 28, 2015

Magnaball 2015

Music, much like religion or politics, is amazing in its ability to bring people together. But unlike religion or politics, people don't fight wars over music. They just get together and jam out.

We've been Phish fans for several years. Last weekend marks my 10th, 11th and 12th shows. Mr. Go has been to even more. Some friends of ours introduced us to it and we go with them a couple times a year. 

The Sea of People at Magnaball 2015

Phish hosts a festival every couple years. This year it was called Magnaball. So we drove to New York state, camped for 4 nights and saw them play 3 shows.

our route

It was absolute insanity. There were 30,000 people packed in and camping around this race track. You had a couple feet between your tent and the next, if that. We were parked next to our friends in a line with space in between the cars for the tents.

Magnaball Map

It was like its own little town with separate camping villages. There were vendors in each campground selling food and crafts, and a ton more in the main area where the stage was set up. They had cool interactive art exhibits set up, a ferris wheel, a post office, a farmer's market, a club and a drive-in movie theater. The sheer magnitude of it was phenomenal. 

Mr. Go and I on the ferris wheel

Slightly inebriated  Mr. Go enjoying the art exhibits

For me it's always been less about the music (though that's awesome too) and more about the experience. The community of Phish Fans is unlike anything I've ever experienced. Maybe it's all the marijuana smoke floating around. But I like to think it's like-minded people just getting together and having a good time. Honestly, most of the people are so kind and generous it makes me a little emotional. 

Mr. Go and I were walking around the campgrounds looking for somebody with a cooler selling beer and we asked a guy walking toward us if he knew of anyone and he said, "You want a beer? Here I'll give you one." Then he walked over to his campsite, grabbed a beer and just gave it to us. We let our neighbors borrow a hammer and he returned it with a beer. I was standing in line for the shower and a woman gave me a Phish themed slap bracelet. I could go on. They're just good people.

(Of course there are bad apples in every bunch, like our one neighbor who brought a huge speaker and blared music in the middle of the night.)

On Saturday the band played in the afternoon and again in the evening. Apparently they usually do some kind of fun surprise for the fans, too, like a couple years ago they played on the bed of a truck and drove around the campground. This year they set up behind the movie screen and played at 1a.m on Sunday morning. It wasn't really secret, though. One of the food vendors told us and somehow everyone found out. So after their evening set on Saturday everyone migrated over to the movie screen and stood there, drunk and high, waiting. The band played this crazy set that wasn't really any songs, just one long song of amazing noise while cool fluid screen-saver-esque images played on the screen, interspersed with distorted images of the band as they played.

The combination of the music, light show and the energy from the crowd makes every show and experience a little different, and it can be very powerful. It's moved me to joyous tears several times and I look forward to the next experience.

August 26, 2015

Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (aka the worst week of my life)

This is a thing that happens to people. When Mr. Go looked our symptoms up on the interwebs and said "I think we have Hand Foot and Mouth disease," I laughed at him. We're not cows, we don't have Hoof and Mouth disease. But no, turns out we actually did.

The first symptom appears 3 days after infection: a high fever and feeling of unwell. I got that Monday night along with chills and a terrible headache. Mr. Go got it the next afternoon. Then the sores showed up. We had no idea the two symptoms were related. We thought they were bug bites at first and I cleaned the entire house and washed everything we own because I thought we had a chigger infestation. Poor Babs had bumps all over her legs and bottom.

The sores are basically deep blisters, and having them on the bottom of your feet means you can hardly stand to walk. Mr. Go had them all over his hands and I had to practically do everything for him.

Nighttime was the worst. Without anything to distract you, it made it seem even worse and falling asleep nearly was impossible. Sleep-deprived and in pain with no was the most miserable either of us had ever been.

We tried everything: Tylenol, probiotic foods and pills, anti-itch creams, lidocaine lotion. The only thing that provided some relief from the pain and itching was ice packs. We each slept with them; me with one on my feet and Mr. Go with one between his hands.

I was a little embarrassed to have contracted it, but my Mom Group assured me it was very common and most of them had had it at one point with their kids. In children the sores don't tend to itch for some reason, which I was grateful for. If Babs was 1/5 as miserable as the two of us, things would have been a million times worse.

Now that the blisters have stopped itching and hurting, they're peeling. Mr. Go's fingers look like weird scaly weenies. The nightmare continues, but it's all downhill from here. Another valuable life lesson.

August 17, 2015

Babs' 3,000 Mile Road Trip

Babs is a squirmy 16-month-old toddler, so I was understandably anxious about her coming on this road trip. There were a few bumps, some red-faced screaming and some miles where I had to ride with my arm twisted around to hold her hand, but we made it and ultimately have a more flexible toddler.

that's a lot of miles
If you have a baby who gets fussy/bored in the dar, drive while she is sleeping. We stopped in Illinois on the first night to get some sleep, since we were headed to a wedding and knew there wouldn't be much sleep the next few nights either.

We pulled into the jankiest Motel 6 in America at about 1 a.m. and Babs was delighted to explore the hotel room. Wide awake and not wanting to sleep in her pack n play in a new place, I bounced her (on my own two legs--not even an exercise ball) for about an hour before just putting her in bed with us and watching a movie on my iphone until she fell asleep.

Side note: it was the first time we'd co-slept and it was delightful. She wiggles a lot when she sleeps but it's worth being able to watch her in peaceful dreams. Plus, when she woke up and saw Dad and Mom in bed with her she fell back asleep for another hour.

On the drive home, we drove straight through and Babs slept like a log the whole way. I'd take that over a couple hours sleep in a hotel room.

Feeding Baby on the Road

Giving your toddler good nutritious foods while traveling can be difficult. When we stopped to eat, we'd give her some of whatever we had (omelet, hash browns, green beans, etc.) as long as it wasn't deep fried. But for quickie meals in the car when she's hungry and you don't want to stop, or when traveling without access to a steamer, we went through literally hundreds of these to-go puree pouches:

There are a ton of different brands: Plum, Happy Tot, Gerber, etc. And a ton of different flavor combinations: veggies, fruit, fruit & veggies, even some with yogurt and some with meat. But beware of the ingredients. Even if it only lists two things on the front of the pouch, many of them are sweetened with apple juice.

Now Babs gets uncontrollably excited whenever she sees one of these heavenly pouches. In the baby aisle at the grocery store, or the spare I keep in my diaper bag. Once she catches sight of it, she will move heaven and earth to get it. And all other food is second best.

It was 110% worth it for me to buy these pouch holders because Babs has definitely squeezed the food puree all over herself a time or two before I wised up.

Napping on the Road

We brought the Pack n Play for her to sleep in, since that has been her crib for the last month and a half anyway. She hardly spent a single night in the same place for about a week, but she did surprisingly well with it. She had to sleep between us in bed a few nights and we had to lay in bed and pretend to be asleep for her to go down for a nap a couple times, but it worked just fine.

At camp, she napped with us in the tent, or in the hammock. We put the Pack n Play in our tent for the first couple nights but she didn't end up sleeping in it so we took it down. She slept better when she would wake up and see us right next to her anyway.

She's a wiggler when she sleeps so I got pushed off the mattress a couple times, but I was so happy she was actually sleeping that I didn't mind too much.

It was so hot at camp the first few days we had to do a couple naps in the nice air conditioned car, but we were so hot too we didn't mind the break.

I know people say routine routine routine for toddlers, but I think this shake up was ultimately good for her. She's proven to herself that she can not only manage elsewhere, but be happy napping in a hammock and sleeping in a tent at night. Camp was so much fun for her with the great wide world as her playground that it wiped her out and she slept pretty good.

It's a good sign for the plans Mr. Go and I would like to put into motion in the near future. And the older she gets, the easier it will be to travel with her, as she learns more and more how to entertain herself without us around.

August 5, 2015

Vagabonding Packing List (with a baby) (and 2 dogs)

Listen, you're not gonna find a bigger clothes horse than this girl. So fitting everything I needed for 6+ months into a duffel (that I had to share with Babs) was pretty daunting.


 there's more crammed into every corner

up next on Hoarders...




I started with the basics. Things I would need if I were camping, or the car broke down on the side of the road. Bare-bones, essential survival gear. Mr. Go assured me we could thrift more clothes when we arrived at our destination and re-donate them when we leave, which put my mind at ease. I would not have to go naked--or worse.
The rest was all indulgence. I could've parsed this down a lot, too, and I'm sure I'll have to for the next venture.
  • nice dress & heels (for the one day a year I need to wear something nice)
  • climbing shoes
  • hiking boots
  • this prAna dress (literally the best thing I own)
  • several camis (the kind with the shelf bra. A-cup ladies know what I'm talking about)
  • several over-cami tanks
  • jean shorts
  • 2 more pairs of workout shorts
  • workout capris
  • lounging sweats
  • cotton shorts
  • a nicer pair of jeans
  • backup T-shirt & a couple casual tops
  • this prAna tank
  • 1 bag of jewelry & a small purse
It was important to only bring things that were versatile. None of this "these shoes only go with this one outfit" that I like to do. I can wear my sneakers with pretty much everything I brought. Same with my sandals. Mix and match. These are good principles to live by anyway.

Babs' packing list was tough, since she's growing so fast. I packed things she needed daily right now and one or two things she could grow a little bit into. Baby clothes are small, so they were easy to pack, but it's also easy to thrift baby clothes.
  • 7 onesies (including 1 long sleeved and 1 tank style)
  • 2 sleepers
  • a ton of washcloths
  • 4 burp cloths (to put under her when changing diapers)
  • 3 pairs of shoes
  • socks
  • sun hat
  • 4 sweaters/jackets 
  • 4 pairs of pants
  • 2 T-shirts
  • shorts
Her gear was the toughest to pack. For such a small baby, she certainly requires a lot of bulky equipment.
Other things we packed for our upcoming car camping trips, like a canopy, tent, sleeping bags, small backpack, etc.

The dogs came with their own bulky equipment, like their crates that they sleep in and a big bag of accoutrements like balls, bones, treats, leashes, etc.

It's been fun living a more minimal life than what we're used to. We still have it really, really good, but going without some of the luxuries (read: distractions) we've had in the past makes it easier to put the focus on experiences and being together.

It's sort of cathartic; freeing in a way. You feel lighter without all of your stuff weighing you down. Like you can do anything and go anywhere. Because you can.