3 weeks ago I was at the Havurah Summer Institute. As I said here before, it was one of the best I've ever been to. Hard to say more about it; still processing. It's the central gathering point for more people I care about than anywhere else (and more this year than ever), and it's almost enough time to relax and spend quality time with all of them. Even absent the awesome programming, that's enough to make it the highlight of my year.
Two weeks ago my mom went into the hospital. She gets these flareups of back or neck pain every couple of years. Bad discs. She's home now, and still recovering. She's functioning fine during the daytime on minimal medicine, but probably still not well enough to deal with the commute to Manhattan. And evenings and nights are still challenging even with stronger medicine. The doctors don't ever seem certain about when or exactly how it gets better. It seems to be doing so, though perhaps more gradually than last time.
A week and a half ago I went to Philly Folk Fest. It was, by contrast, not one of the best I've ever been to. The grounds were incredibly muddy due to near constant rain from before I got there on Wednesday afternoon, up through Thursday morning. Even though it didn't rain again after that, mud was still a major issue through Sunday.
Thursday was spent basically thinking about nothing else. I had my volunteer shift until 10am. Then we found out the main "parking lot" was closed, keeping out (among many others) Uel/Beki/Saul's car and the Cohen family. Everyone was put into a staging lot in a logiscally problematic way, whereby they weren't allowed to leave their cars, but their cars weren't allowed to leave either. After many hours (and Uel pushing many cars out of being stuck in mud in that lot), they all got in. A few hours later, I left the site to swap my sneakers out for hiking boots, pick up SV and goob712, and stop at a synagogue to say kaddish. Returning to the site, we found an hours-long line of cars to get in, which included Val. Val gave up and went home, and I ended up parking at a side lot a mile away, with the main lot still mostly closed. Luckily SV and Goob didn't have much stuff, so it was pretty carryable. Friday, Val gave up and went home again, not arriving finally until Saturday. By Sunday, jdcohen helped me with some shenanigans to get both of our cars into the main lot finally, just in time to load out.
Between that and the oppressive Saturday and Sunday heat, it was a really stressful weekend. When I had time to relax and hang out, though, there was still some fun to be had. Saul and Val were camping at Fest for the first time, and had a blast, and I enjoyed watching them enjoy themselves. (SV had less of a good time, unfortunately.) Some of the old crew I've known for awhile were there, including Ariel, who I was glad to have return to coming and camping with us. And some of the music was good; in particular, Rebirth Brass Band, West Philly Orchestra, Ellis Paul, and Burning Bridget Cleary. (Damn, the BBC girls are hot.) I don't get the Iron & Wine love at all, and I didn't fall in love with The Derek Trucks Band either, though they were a solid Fest closer. (Why give any one act 2 hours, though?) The Decemberists were good, though their show was too similar to (and truncated from) a show I saw of theirs earlier this tour. Though I have to say the highlight of the weekend was NKC visiting for a few hours on Saturday. Really enjoyed chilling with her and meeting her boyfriend.
I think I'm at the point where Fest isn't a priority in my life anymore. I'll definitely be back, but from now on, I might skip years, I might come but not camp some years, and I might not volunteer. We'll see.
Last week, I was back at work. I tried to spend some time with my new roommate, and be productive at work, but mostly, I slept a lot. (Didn't sleep at work, thank goodness.)
This weekend, I was at Benj's wedding! jox and I bussed up to Boston all day Friday. We stayed with AW's mom, and AW was also there (and quite pregnant) for her high school reunion. So that was fun.
Both Friday evening and Saturday evening were spent at the home of EM & LN, though the latter was not yet home from working at camp. Great company for Shabbat dinner, and for drinks Saturday night, though both were dampened by crazy travel troubles experienced by BZ & ER. ER didn't make it to Boston until 39 hours after she was planning to; she just barely made the wedding.
Saturday was wedding-related things from about 9am until 5pm: services, lunch, and hanging out / singing. It was perhaps more fun than the wedding, especially for me, since I might've known more people there than anyone outside of the couple and their immediate family. I got to hang out with Benj's/my high school friends, chat a bit with his college friends, resume the month-long party with his/my Havurah friends, and catch up with his extended family. So much fun.
The wedding yesterday was great as well. I cried, of course. I had the honor of signing the ketubah, and even spelled my name mostly right. The dancing was fun, exhausting, and sweaty enough that my first errand upon returning home was a trip to the cleaners'. I was at a lovely Akiba table, but also got to chat with a bunch of other folks during the afternoon. (Aiton keeps insisting I schedule a Habet Ushma MST3K-style viewing party, and I think he's right.) And Benj and Emma are now married!
The ride home was interesting. Jo, Val, Dave, Dave's friend, and I in a 2-door sedan for 6 hours. And the friend was busy doing law school reading most of the trip back. We all survived, somehow. And then I went to bed and crashed.
Boston is really under-air-conditioned, by the way. WTF?
Now I'm back at work. I have tons of errands to do all week, a friend visiting from out of town Thursday night, and then back to wedding-related traveling on Friday! Still having a blast, and still trying to survive the month. Catch you later, LJ.