Me as Daft Punk
Okay real quick, because I need to go to bed at a reasonable hour so I can be functional at work in the morning.. jeez, whoda thunk I'd grow up to be a responsible adult? and I'm not even getting paid for this. ehhh who am I kidding - even though they let me vote, drink, and buy porn, I'm never gonna grow up proper.
On that note, HALLOWEEN! We did the place up RIGHT. Even though we're a Buddhist work community, it's still staffed by Westerners and we fusioned this place like a space shuttle from the future. The banquet hall got all decked out Saturday morning with spider webs, coffins, and one corpse hanging from the rafters (I tied the noose, Meggie's clothes provided the corpse). A bunch of people made yummies, there was candy in abundance, and we all came down to bumble around and have a Halloweeny dance party. The winners of the costume contest - Ana and Davie, who were riding
- won a week off of lunch cleanup duty. At 10pm, everybody pitched in with cleaning up the place and then migrated over to the bonfire, which Mike Murphy had stoked up. There were guitars and wolf-howls in abundance! You can check out Leigh's photos on Picasa
if you missed them.
Soon after Halloween was THANKSGIVING - and two week's worth of preparations, oh man. A signup list for cooks went up on the fridge pretty early into November, so people could elect to cook a particular dish or side. We had to give our recipes to the kitchen, too, so they could order enough food for us to cook with. Another list showed up with times for people to cook their dishes, starting at 6:15pm (after dinner was cooked) on Thursday the week before Thanksgiving.
The day of Thanksgiving, of course, we had to have a FOOTBALL GAME. What without any TV reception on-site - and a mixed bag of loyalties to different regions - we instead trooped down to Stump Beach and held our own Ratna Ling football bonanza. Doug brought traffic cones, somebody rounded up the football, and we went! Loads of fun, even in the misty chill from the NoCal Pacific.
Yes, I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
When I got back at 4pm, the kitchen was overrun with a lotta lotta cooking, and for a good cause: 50 people sitting at three long banquet tables arranged in an arc around the banquet hall. We filled the buffet line to bursting with tofurkey, green bean casserole, candied yams, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and one huge platter of tofurkey - followed up by George's delightful dinner rolls. They rolled out another table for all the desserts, too, which included gingerbread cookies, 16 punkin pies, and tiramisu. ohhhhh man so much good food. And so much thankfulness! Arnaud gave a speech during dinner which everyone echoed, to the gist of: "We are thankful to be so fortunate, that we have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies and friends and family members we care for and who care for us, wherever they may be, and that we have the opportunity to do the work we do and preserve the cultural legacy of Tibet." And afterwards, we put Alice's Restaurant
on the stereo =)
These holidays are still hanging around, mostly in the form of leftovers popping up - the day after Thanksgiving, we had a Leftovers Casserole, four different dishes stuffed into one casserole pan. Pretty good stuff. And yesterday for lunch, the remainder of my yams from Thanksgiving were remixed into sweet & spicy burrito stuffing and sweet potato fries! Man, our kitchen is great. There's still some Halloween costumes floating around the Ling, mostly the Commons - and my robot helmet is on top of my armoire.
Now that it's December, several Holiday Cheer squads were dispatched during Saturday morning's community work period to prepare for the coming Yuletide times. Now visitors approaching the Ling will be greeted by a cheery string of Christmas lights outlining our gate, some colorful ones on the trees, and a 20-foot tall Christmas tree in the front lobby of the lodge! Fortunately, we're avoiding most of the schmaltzy music* and tawdry sales associated with the season and just get the good bits: happy people anticipating their holiday cheer.
(* Okay, that's not totally accurate: we dug out a copy of John Denver and the Muppets singing Christmas carols because Megan from Odiyan wanted to hear them.)
But Christmas break or not, we're still working hard! It's our good ol' eight hours a day, six hours a week that keeps this place running and, by george, we're sticking to it. This coming week is the last full work week, then we get a two-day retreat for everyone on site-a nice way to round out the season-and two days of cleanup before most everyone heads out to see their families - at least, their families outside of the Ling!