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.

Vacation, day 2. Bugs on their deathbeds.

Have you ever tried taking a picture of something far away only to find out that your camera automatically focused in on a closer object?  Apparently my eyes were wired that way this morning.  Brian and I are staying at a quaint bed and breakfast that’s situated on a river in Peoria, Illinois.  Our bedroom has two large windows to offer a gorgeous view of the water.

But I don’t see the water.

What I do see are about 200 bugs (I’ll call them river bugs) that are going to die any minute now.  These are quite large river bugs and they’re pretty much all caught in a spider web death trap outside my window.  I’m not going to lie; the scene is pretty upsetting – the struggling, flapping and twisting to get free.  I have a feeling that I’m going to remember this sick feeling long after I’ve forgotten the name of this place.