So, I realized last night when I got a 10 p.m. craving for chicken strips, then became mildly weepy when "Save the Last Dance for Me" came on the radio while I waiting in the car on line at Burgerville that I am either insane or possibly suffering from PMS. As much as I love The Drifters, they do not usually make me cry, not even during that sad part of Under the Boardwalk where the poor guy's shoes get so hot he starts to wish his feet were fire proof. My morning did not start off so well either (cat hiding in a room she's not supposed to be in and refusing to come out, I broke one of the shelves I had taken out of the closet when I came upon the not so bright idea of dropping it on the floor to make a loud noise to scare her out, and I woke up feeling tired, like someone had drugged my honey mustard dressing last night). Work too seemed filled with annoyances (a macro that kept erroring out no matter how many times I recorded it, needy coworker, etc.). All in all it made me delightful to be around. I was even kind of mean (short) to one of my coworkers this afternoon, which does not make me feel particularly proud. I should probably apologize to her tomorrow.
So, in an effort to remember the time a short 72 hours or so ago when life was all rainbows and unicorns, here are some highlights from my weekend:
Chicago you can read about here.
The Portland Buddhist Festival - The first time I ever went to this event was a couple of years back, when it was held at Oaks Park. The festival features talks, teaching activities and tabling by local Buddhist communities. It was an engaging place to visit, because of my fascination with the philosophy and comparative studies in general. I've done a fair bit of reading on Buddhism (Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, etc.), but am nowhere near knowledgable, despite harboring secret fantasies of one day visiting Plum Village . The Sangha was founded by Hanh, who might be familiar to you via his work at trying to effect a peaceful resolution to the Vietnam war.
But even if you aren't familiar with Hanh or Buddhism in general, the festival is well worth a visit, and not only because festivals in the park on a sunny day are fun. My favorite parts were the lectures and the wealth of information to be found (both via literature and just talking to people) at the tables. I especially enjoyed the table for the Maitripa Institute, which was manned by the most genuinely smiley guy I have met in a long time. He was one of those people who have little crinkles at the corners of their eyes from smiling so much. He was especially sweet to any the kids who visited him, singing and playing little tunes for them on a finger piano.
Best of all, I am particularly excited that the the institute offers free classes for members of the community who are interested in learning more about Buddhism, because it just so happens that I AM a member of the community and I AM interested in learning more! Speaking of learning more, there is a really beautiful illustrated book called Buddha by children's book illustrator, Demi, that is a really nice introduction to the story of Buddha's life, if you're interested. It is worth it for the artwork alone.
My Gang Initiation - I am pleased to announce that in my bid to be more open to trying new things, I have joined what my neighbor calls her "gang". I am not usually much of a joiner, but being all Mexican (0% diversity), they needed a token white girl and I must say that it feels good to be part of something bigger (even if I did have to claim that I knew karate to get in). So far our activities have included eating mole, designing Quincenera invitations and taking walks to the park to retrieve the gang leader's boy crazy 15 year old daughter and her younger sister, because they were out past their curfew, but I'm sure we'll be getting matching tattoos or at least do more sitting around drinking coffee and eating chorizo and eggs (my new favorite food).
Seriously, though, I am enjoying getting to know some of my Latina neighbors and am having fun brushing off my dusty ESL instruction skills to help them with their English. It is a good feeling to be able to help someone from another country - especially at a time when things like this are happening. Sometimes I just don't know what is wrong with people. I can't even begin to imagine what possesses someone to think "Oh, look. That person is [fill in your race of choice here]. I should go beat the crap out of him, because he is not white." The most that ever occurs to me in terms of difference is "Oh, wow. That person must have some interesting experiences we could talk about" or (more likely if s/he's from another country) "So, I wonder what they eat where s/he comes from..." That last part could just be the hunger talking. It has been about 4 hours since my last feeding.
Toby - The sweetest dog in the world's health continues to improve. I think the rock eater is finally back to normal after his sojourn at the Veterinary Hospital last week. I had wanted to take him with me to the Buddhist festival to be blessed, but he was still feeling a little slow and I was worried the heat might be too much for him. Even without being blessed by a monk, he is now back to prancing around like a goat when he's excited, grumbling at me when I talk to him, and he even tried to get me to sing with him this morning. It is good to have him back. Someday if I can ever get over my embarassment at anyone else (well, anyone who is not my mom or Jen, Bec or their mom) hearing my part in our duets, maybe I'll post one of his songs. Maybe...
For now, however, I am off to enjoy a fresh piece of Texas Sheet Cake (possibly the only thing that keeps me from turning my back on the home of W) and finish reading Zoli (which I can recommend, if you haven't read it yet, but more on that later).