Monday, January 14, 2008

Painting, praying, and other misc. stuff

Over the weekend G and i hooked up with Tom, Ching, and Chrystal to have Dim Sum at a place in Bellaire called "Fung's Kitchen". We had a great time, tried a lot of new things... even snails (one was enough for me!)

After we were finished eating we went to the Chinese Buddhist temple, "Teo Chew Temple" which was of course fascinating - a visual and olfactory feast!

Here's a link to a YouTube Video of the Lion Dance being performed last year for the Chinese New Year celebration at the temple.

There were many statues of the gods in altars, i don't know them so Ching and Tom tried to explain a little to me. When you first walk into the temple you pick up a handful of incense sticks and light them with the flames from large oil candles. Then you walk around praying while the smoke from the incense carries your prayers to the gods and you place a burning stick in a pot in front of each statue.

One of the gods, you could ask a question... first, you picked up two crescent-shaped pieces of wood and tossed them to the floor, if the god had an answer for you, one would land facing up and the other down. If he had your answer, you then picked up a tubular container full of long flat sticks, shaking it until one of the sticks presented itself to you by sticking out further than the rest. The sticks had unique numbers printed on them. I drew "94" and took my stick to someone behind a counter at the front of the temple and she asked which god i had inquired with (apparently there are at least two gods in the temple you can ask questions)... i pointed to the god and showed her my stick, she handed me a little paper with about 10 translations of my answer, none of which i could understand.

Then i was directed to another nice lady who worked in the temple. She asked me to tell her my question, then she looked at my paper and told me "Now is not a good time for you, but 2008 (Chinese New Year is next month) will be very good, and you should definitely pursue what you are asking about, it will bring you happiness and success in 2008.

I had asked the god if i would be successful with my painting.

Yesterday, pulled out a brush and starting fooling around with a painting i had started quite some time ago. It felt good being outside on my little porch, catching periodic whiffs of turpentine as i sketched and brushed.

In all was a very good weekend.

In other news today, Jamie is starting back at UT... Yay Jamie!

Something completely unrelated, While i was googling for pics of the Teo Chew Temple... discovered the amazing photography of Trey Ratcliff - spectacular images from around the world.


Shelli said...

of course you will be successful with your painting! you are an amazingly talented artist!!! all the best in 2008!

Biddie said...

What a fascinating time!! Sure can't find anything like that over here. I do miss the Houston area for all its complexity and variety .....

Michael-Ann said...

Michelle! You are a sweetie, woman :) yes... here's hoping we all have a fantastic 2008.

Mom... Houston is becoming more and more interesting every day. My only complaint is that the cultural aspects seem to be segregated into their own sub-towns within Houston, would be so nice if it was all scattered about making them easily accessible to everyone... perhaps people growing up with a temple two blocks from their house would be more tolerant to differences :)

Shelli said...

jes tellin it like it is!

Catnapping said...

her eyes are compelling. i like the mood of this. beautifully done.

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