Update September 21, 2008
The talent/no talent show (Saturday, Sept. 13) was fun, and none of us made complete fools of ourselves. Not bad on the talent end of things, in spite of it being done by amateurs. The Lonesome Dove play went better than some previous ones have (though last year's Wild Kingdom featuring Zen Buddhists in the Wild was hilarious). I think part of why I enjoyed it so much was that I wasn't in it. The two younger ordained people were both in it, wearing wigs (one was a hooker with long red hair and the other was an Indian with long black hair). And then Kyogen and I were singing. Prompting the MC to say that if you were monastics here you had to either wear a wig or sing a song in the talent show. Hmmm... come to think of it, though, Gyokuko got out of it altogether other than as an audience person.
All of our songs went pretty well, all things considered. The sound system worked well, though we did have to borrow mike stands. Still, when a local professional rock singer brought her high-end bass guitar amp on stage (though she did use our mike for her vocals), you could tell the difference between amateur and professional. Man, she was hot! They saved her to last, which I think was a good choice. The next day (Sunday) featured two meetings, and then I quickly packed to get out of town for my vacation. This is the first time I've used a Zipcar to do this, and I found out a few things. First, there's a 4-day limit on renting these cars, which I didn't know about before. I pleaded with someone in customer service to get a few extra hours to bring it back so I could stop in Corvallis and see the grandchildren after they got out of school. They graciously extended my reservation a few hours (which of course I paid for at an hourly rate), and that worked out beautifully.
I started out camping for two days in my traditional Beverly Beach campground near Newport. It was cold and foggy (very hot inland usually translates to cool and foggy at the coast), and it took me a little while to realize that I needed to be wearing wool socks, not going barefoot! I spent some time reading in my car overlooking the ocean rather than actually being out on the beach. Still, I did get a chance to gather wood, build a fire, cook my own dinner and breakfast, and generally "do camping" even for a couple of days, and I'm content with that for another year.
Then I went to visit sister Marilyn and her family (daughter Carrie and husband Don) in Cottage Grove. Had some nice conversation with them and some nice hang-out time before going to pick up Mother and heading to Phyllis's house in Eugene. Got to have dinner with Marilyn and Carrie, Josie and Nathaniel, Elizabeth and David, Phyllis and John, and of course, Mother. Stayed over with Aunt Phyllis, and got to visit with her the next morning for a while before she went off to her next project. Then I headed to Corvallis.
Got to visit with Nico and baby Brendan first because Alice was out picking up Matthew from school. Oh, my, that baby is cute -- smiley and happy all the time. He's about 10 months old at this point, and friendly as can be. When Alice and Matthew came in, I was surprised to see how tall he's become (is that a grandma comment or what!) -- he's easily going to be the tallest in the family, and a bit of a string bean, which is also not typical for that family. Then Alice went out again to pick up Christopher. Christopher was his usual sunny self as well, and the boys really enjoy their back yard. They also seem to enjoy being big brothers, both enjoying the baby and playing gently with him. I had a good visit, got my "baby fix," and headed back home.
And things have been busy here, of course, as we gear up for term starting next week. On Friday the abbots took a vacation day, and the phones kept ringing. They came back to several appointments for Saturday, and both of them spent hours yesterday talking with various students. One of the students was me -- I talked with Gyokuko to clarify where I am in terms of assistant tenzo. One thing I've determined is that I need to be signing up to assist at meal preps regularly, and put it on my calendar. If I leave it to when I feel like it, it doesn't happen. So I'm starting to do that.
Today I had a meeting after services about the budget (don't ask me how I got hooked into talking with people about the budget -- long story). It was interesting, and then I got talking with one of the board members, and finally we both decided we needed to go our respective ways. So I fixed myself some lunch and spent my traditional Sunday afternoon hour with the newspaper. It's raining here, and feels like fall for sure. I have more energy than I typically have on a Sunday afternoon, and I suspect it's because I've only put in a couple of work days this week. I really relaxed on my vacation, and that was good.