on happiness

The snowpocalype of 2008 has officially ended: most of the snow has melted, save the black dirty stuff on the side of roads; the ducks are back in the duckpond (which is now officially a wetland, having doubled in size), and today the weather alternated between sunny (I raised my eyes to the sky and wondered what was that strange, floating yellow orb), rainy, and rainbowy. Today I will ride my bike for the first time in 11 days to yoga class.

I spent Christmas with my parents and siblings in the family home in Portland, as well as Corey and my friend Laura, whose flight to Montana was delayed until the 27th. My sister and I have been trying to make the most of her time here by going out to see movies. Yesterday we went to the previously unexplored by me Academy Theatre, near 82nd and Stark. It’s an awesome place–$4 tickets, great popcorn, pizza and hot dogs. The names of the movies are written in chalk on tiny blackboards hung over the theatre entrances. I’m definitely going back there.

The film we saw was called “Happy-Go-Lucky,” by the British director Mike Leigh. Neither of us had seen any of his films before, though we’d certainly heard of him. The movie was about a woman trying to be happy and good in the face of some not so happy or good things. I thought I would be annoyed by the movie, because I’m usually annoyed by people who are cheerful all the time (or at least I was in high school). They came off as shallow and naive to me, the Happiness Police. However, the movie didn’t annoy me, much to my surprise. Instead, it really drove home the message I’ve been trying to preach to myself lately–you gotta give out the positive energy. You gotta have a good mindset about your day, and your life, and the way things are going.

Easy say, hard do. Immediately after the movie, we got lost in the glorious Asian food market on 82nd and Division. My sister was looking for sushi-making materials and I had a long list of food for an epic homecooked huge Asian dinner. I got inexplicably tense and frustrated by not being able to find the tempura battle amongst all the tiny, labeled in Chinese (Vietnamese? Forgive my ignorance…) aisles. Then after a long wait and bus ride, we got home only to find that everyone else in the family ha d already eaten, and that I’d bought the wrong kind of cuttlefishh, and I didn’t have as many points on my Oregon Trail left as I’d thought, and, and, and… oh, so it’s hard! It’s had to remain upbeat? For me, at least. For Corey, it seems almost effortless. Maybe it’s because he’s been around the block a few more times than I have, taken a few more punches.

I’m trying, though. You gotta have your little goals every day. I have an interview for a paid internship on January 8th, training at the new elementary school I start work at on January 5th (I’ve got a new job, doing a morning Homework Club now–Homework Club FTW), and return to other Homework Club and ESL teaching on January 12th. Read a chapter a day of “Team of Rivals” (that process is going to have to speed up, now that I’ve discovered I can’t renew it because of all the other holds on it… hello, 500 pages in the next 2 days…). Write in my paper journal (or this one). Do push-ups and sit-ups. Apply for at least one job a day (if not more). Bike to yoga class. There’s still our tickets to Ecuador on January 18th, and there’s still time between now and then to decide.

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