Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Goodness, it's September already! I've been extremely busy the last couple of weeks. The weekend before Labor Day (last weekend) we had our biannual Whole Nine Yards Sale, where members donate stuff, and we sell it. Raised about $2500 total, though $800 of that was from a donated pop-up tent trailer sold on Craig's List. The sale was a lot of work, both the setup and the cleanup. Running the sale itself, cashiering and such, is a lot of work, but in many ways the most fun part.

Right before that, my teacher returned from California, and it's awfully nice to have him around. I haven't done formal check-in with him yet, but just having him here is somehow a relief.

Sometime during this last week, it was a good day's work to get the current newsletter up on the website finally. I've cooked a bunch of meals this week because with Gyokuko gone, there are not so many of us to cook. We had the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) Board meeting here last Thursday and Friday, and I took minutes on Thursday and cooked meals for it on Friday. Saturday I needed to make cookies for Sunday morning and then work on getting the Zendo ready both for Sunday services (a lot of blowing vegetation had come in through the windows and it needed vacuuming) and for a wedding to happen in the afternoon.

So yesterday, Sunday, was a long full day. I got up at 5am to take a walk and sweep off the front porch of the Zendo building (more of that blowing vegetation, plus blue strings from a tarp that had maybe blown off the roof?), and then make breakfast for the community. Then services, talking with folks, closing up afterward, and a very brief break to get lunch before opening the building for the wedding folks (not sangha members, a rental -- I handle Zendo rentals these days, and wanted to make sure they had everything they need). One nice thing that happened was that after services we had had temple cleanup, so I had a couple of people assigned to me to clean out the zendo in preparation for the wedding. Moving 50-60 zabutons and zafus is a big chore for one person, but not bad at all for 3. So it all got vacuumed out thoroughly, altar moved back, precentor station stuff moved and protected with a screen, and all prepared. So that was one step eliminated for the afternoon.

The wedding ended up being a fairly elaborate affair, with great musicians (I'd heard them before) with their "light" sound system (2 acoustic guitars, a sitar, drums, various electronic things I couldn't identify, speakers on tall stands, microphones, etc.). It took them a while to load in and set up, and I stuck around for a while to make sure they could find what they needed, show them the bathrooms where they could change, etc. They figured the wedding would go from 3-4, and suggested I come over at 4 to help them put things back where they belonged.

I've been taking a Non-Violent Communication Class in the afternoons (this was the 2nd of 3) from 3:30-5:30, and figured I'd just have to leave it early. In the mean time, I got a bit of a break, and was able to read some of the paper before the class started. Only then I remembered the class was going to meet at the Dharma House (instead of the Zendo building because of the wedding), which meant that I needed to set up a room for them (us) to meet in. Okay, fold up tables and put them away, put out chairs. Oh, the rug needs to be vacuumed, so I get the vacuum. I remember that last week most people opted for cushions on the floor rather than chairs, so I raid the little house zendo for zabutons and zafus, and put some of them around too. (Sure enough, no one ended up sitting in chairs.) Also, need to put signs on the doors across the street and here so people can find the place.

Then came the class, which was really interesting. At some point, the facilitator paused and looked at her watch, deciding what to do next. I looked at my watch and it was 5:00! Oh, my gosh, I say, I was supposed to leave a long time ago. So I dash across the street, to discover that the wedding just ending -- to the sound of drums and lots of woo-hooing and applause. Oh, good, perfect timing. I supervise putting back all the zabutons and chairs, and decide to wait for the precentor station stuff (our gongs, drum, etc.) because all the sound equipment is in that area. The musicians want to go over to the reception for just a little bit (it's across the street at a neighbor's house), and I agree to wait inside the building to watch their stuff.

Of course, "just a little bit" turns into an hour and a half. Okay, not a problem. I do a few things to clean up and putter around, and then decide to sit zazen while I wait. The windows are open, because it's a hot day, so I can hear frivolity across the street. It's actually quite pleasant to sit in the quiet zendo and hear the sounds of laughter and celebration as well as the usual street noises.

By the time the musicians came back to load out their stuff, it was getting close to time for the evening program folks (Zen Community of Oregon, ZCO) to come in. Once people were back in the building, I hightailed it across the street back to my house to grab a bite of dinner and check in with a friend. Then back to help ZCO set up for the Zendo, finish putting the precentor station back together, and then do their evening program with them, sitting zazen and also doing Sanzen (brief formal interview) with their teacher, which I've been doing for a couple of years now. Afterwards helped clean up and close up and talked a bit with more folks, and finally got home after 10am. A long day, even more full than usual (though next Sunday looks to be just about as full).

So this morning I'm pretty tired. I figure today will be about getting things together and packing up for my camping trip. But now I read some e-mails and Plan B seems to be in effect. To wit: driving to Mom's tomorrow to help with getting her moved. We've been having some discussions about what's the best plan for Mom, and Marilyn has most of the logistics worked out (I hope) for getting her into a "retirement"-type home in Junction City, which all of us agree is the best option. I have been pretty worried about having her live alone (and so is Aunt Phyllis). We are also working on getting her to stop driving. She had evidently agreed to do so, and mostly doesn't drive much any more, but then maybe forgets and wants to drive. So, I need find out a little more, but it looks like at least some of my "camping trip" will have to go by the wayside. I'll probably pack stuff into my car, just in case, but won't get my hopes up too high. If we can get things more or less wrapped up by, say, Thursday, I could still drove over to the coast and stay one night somewhere maybe. Or not. (sigh)

Anyway, that's how things look this morning. It's day off again, and we'll have a fair number of people here for brunch at noon (I'm *not* cooking -- yay!), and then I'll be sorting and packing. If the storage place is open, I'll go over there, and if not, it will have to wait until tomorrow morning. All my camping stuff is in there, so it's a mandatory trip. Plus, I had taken a bunch of stuff out of there for the yard sale, and there's a fair amount of stuff strewn over my bedroom floor (I don't have a roommate at the moment, but that will change -- it always does). So I have to take a bunch of stuff back (and maybe some stuff to Goodwill??? I hope so).

Beings as it's September, there is starting to be a sense of things starting back up again. Even though we aren't back on our fall schedule until the end of the month, there are preparations happening and such, and there's just kind of that feeling. There will be last-minute trips -- in addition to my scheduled "camping" trip, Domyo (senior monk) is scheduled to go out next week, and the teachers the following week (somewhat contingent on issues with *their* parents). Then we'll be back into it all. I'm both dreading it and looking forward to it. I think mostly looking forward to it.


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