Vacation, day 8. Ross’ leather pants.

A couple of days ago, I found relief within the four walls of a porta potty.  (Relief = Shade.)  Yesterday was another story.  You see, yesterday was Jean Shorts Day for me.  But with the temperature getting to be around 100° and the humidity being at 78%, suddenly these shorts vetoed all hopes of comfort.  This could have been foreshadowed by the fact that all of my rings have been feeling very tight around my swollen fingers.  Why didn’t I realize that my fingers aren’t the only parts swelling in this weather?  Upon making my morning run to the porta potty, with all the sweat and stickiness that comes with this heat I could hardly get my shorts down.  Well, you know what that means…  If you can’t get them down, good luck getting them back up.  There I was wiggling and writhing, desperately trying to get the shorts up past my knees. The problem was that with every unsuccessful second that passed, my body was only getting hotter in the porta furnace.  Couple that with the fact that this particular porta potty isn’t exactly on level ground… if you know what I mean. Unstable porta potty +swollen body + jean shorts that will barely scrape up past the thighs… Well, that equals a very nerve-wracking moment for me.

Vacation, day 6. All my rainbow colors.

This week has been a week of firsts for me. Shortly after waking up yesterday morning I was intrigued by a small group of protesters standing just beyond the gate of the music festival. Protesting Cornerstone Music Festival? Really? Upon encountering them, the most hostile one declared that I looked like a “whore,” was like all the other “sodomite lesbians” in here and that I “have the devil” in me.

…giving you a moment to process that information…

Rest assured that I will be blogging about that as soon as I get my hands on the (yes!) video footage.

Another first for me happened this morning: I was actually happier inside a porta potty than outside of it.  Don’t be silly, not for the regular reasons.  I stepped inside and basked in the relief of the sun not beating down on my already sunburned skin.

Vacation, day 5.

Vacation highlights to date:

1) Receiving an email from a good friend in Canada who recommended that I check out the band Listener; then showing that email to our friend Dan, who IS Listener, and watching him humbly and awkwardly process that praise before taking the stage.

2) Making burgers for friends last night which, in spite of the lack of buns and abundance of bread, still tasted quite gourmet. We all wiped our mouths with last year’s ‘Happy Birthday!’ napkins when we were through because, even on vacation, I can still be practical.

3) Staying dry so far, in spite of the fact that our tent – which had ‘never been opened’ – is actually missing the rain fly. (I know, Momma, you told me to do a trial run and set it up. I didn’t listen. You were right; I was wrong.)

4) Seeing Brian be in such a happy place. Period. This is good for both our souls.

In a couple hours I’ll be doing some haircuts for the gourmet burger friends. Yes, I brought my scissors. And I know I’m on vacation, but you see this is good for me. Because once I fix them up, I’ll be much less distracted by hair when they’re on stage tonight. My motives are fifty percent generous, fifty percent selfish. Photoside Café is such a rare and talented band that I insist on as few distractions as possible.

Vacation, day 4. The Ice Nazi.

So Illinois doesn’t like our sense of humor.

After a significant battle over who trumps whom (Subway vs. Arby’s), Brian and I spent about an hour working through our WalMart checklist. (You know… full length mirror, mouthwash, groceries… all the important camping necessities.)

We chitchatted with our friendly WalMart cashier (a clear sign that we are NOT in Northern Virginia anymore) and exited with the intention of grabbing the two bags of ice that were rung up at the register. Except there was one problem. A sweet, little old lady, whom I will affectionately refer to as the Ice Nazi, scanned over our receipt only to find that *gasp!* ‘ice’ was nowhere to be found.

Vacation, day 3 – The monsoon incident.

A few of my clients can’t believe that I’m the camping type.  When they hear that their hairstylist is not going to the beach for vacation, but instead going to the corn fields of Illinois to camp for a week at a music festival, their faces tend to take on this scrunchy, why-on-earth-would-you-do-that expression.  But you see, this kind of ‘roughing it’ is nothing compared to camping at an orphanage in El Salvador.

Thirteen years ago I embarked on a summer mission trip with a team of about 30 people.  After two weeks of boot camp type preparation, we reached our destination in El Salvador and promptly set up our camp site.  The day was sunny and the hours seemed long, as they always do when you’re 14 years old and don’t know what you’re doing.