Saturday, May 30, 2009

my new toy

my new toy

inscription from ms. bee

finally 5 years after ms. bee inscribed the inside of the alicia keys' book that she gave me, i finally got a piano!

my old friend from my japanese school days - we've known each other for almost a quarter of a century! moved back to vancouver after a 12 year stint in toronto. she really didn't want to let go of her electric piano but with a drum kit and 5 guitars that she was shipping back, she had to.

now it's back to boring scales and finger strengthening exercises for me. it's amazing how much my fingers have atrophied in 5 years. not that i was ever at a concert pianist level but whatever dexterity i had, especially in my left hand, is gone. scales used to be more of an exercise of remembering all the sharps and flats, not an exercise for fingers!

i'm hoping that with lots of practice i can regain the strength in my fingers soon. and eventually (maybe in 3 years) if can play this piece, even at 1/3 of her speed, i will be quite happy:

Friday, May 22, 2009

our crab apple tree

crab apple blossom up close

what used to be a wretched and evil looking crab apple tree, with branches growing in all directions and suckers sprouting from the base and all over the trunk, quite literally blossomed into a showy spring tree! for the past 2 weeks it has been, hands down, the prettiest tree on our street.

most of the blossoms fell off earlier this week with the wind storms, but andre's trimming work has paid off and our crab apple tree that looked like something from a tim burton movie now has a beautiful silhouette. the blossoms were SO fragrant too.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


i passed a kind of milestone in my life recently. my application for permanent residency in the UK was granted, and i can now remain indefinitely in the country, work and live without restriction, and in another two years apply for UK citizenship. if i do decide to apply for dual citizenship, my journey towards this will have cost about £3,000 over six years.

i realize now that i always took my canadian citizenship for granted. unless you actually go through the process of applying for numerous visas -- worrying about your ability to stay in a country, wondering about the worthwhile-ness of putting down roots (even decisions as simple as buying a toaster seem to take on greater consequence), or just the cost of the application process itself -- the right to live and stay in a place is not something that one would bother thinking about. i've felt for a long time now a renewed admiration for my parents, who immigrated to canada in their 20's with next to nothing, and for their adoptive country for having allowed them to stay.

perhaps, then, this idea of settling somewhere new and making my own way was something i inherited. i do remember, many years ago, back when hyedie and i were both still living in vancouver, we were encouraged by a friend to make a list of our top three "unattainables" -- not truly unattainable, but three things we wanted to experience in our lives but perhaps were not sure how to go about achieving or thought not possible at the time -- something to dream and work towards in the back of our minds. moving to a new country and spending a good chunk of time there was top of my list; as was learning to share my life with another person. strange how both "goals" have become so unexpectedly intertwined, and both are simultaneously everything and nothing that i could have expected and planned for.

the third on my list i will let you know if i ever achieve!

photo: a herb trough courtesy my father-in-law. he transplanted some rosemary, thyme and cilantro (here called coriander) already growing in his garden, and also planted basil and rocket which has started to sprout. hopefully we manage to keep everything alive for at least a few months!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

thoughts turn to gardening

the weather has finally warmed up and thoughts have slowly turned to gardening. i better hurry up and make some decisions!

have a great weekend everybody! i'll leave you with some links to some lovely illustrators:

evan b. harris and his photostream
saelee oh's blog
• c.w. roelle's wire drawings

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

fixing my eyes

herbal remedy

steeping the herbs

for the past 2 months, i've been trying to cure my extreme dry eyes that have ruined the top layer, the tear film of my eyes. this breakdown of the tear film causes blurry vision that gets worse as the day goes on.

the onset of this condition was very sudden and scary. one day my contacts weren't sitting well on my eyes and the next day my vision was totally blurry even with my glasses on.

after visiting my optometrist i was told to just lubricate and patiently wait while the tear film regenerated itself. according to her, this tear film breakdown is quite common for people who wear contact lenses for many years and for prolonged periods. as i was explaining my symptoms, she nodded knowingly. this appeased my shock and i almost felt like this condition wasn't such a big deal after all.

initially she told me that my eyes would clear up in 2-3 weeks. after 2 weeks my eyes hadn't made any progress and she said that in extreme cases it could take 2-3 months for the tear film to regenerate. but just in case, i was referred to an ophthalmologist who ended up prescribing the same treatment: lubricate many times a day with artificial tears and wait. i was told that if i still had blurry vision at my one month followup appointment, then he would prescribe antibiotics.

frustrated from not seeing any progress after 7 weeks, i booked an acupuncture session with my traditional chinese medicine doctor, cindy. i'm happy to say that after 2 intensive sessions and daily doses of dry heave inducing herbal concoctions, i'm starting to see an improvement with my vision!

i also noticed a huge improvement after seeing a chiropractor who practices gentle chiropractic, which uses gentle touches to make adjustments to the spine, back and neck. she also uses the network spinal analysis to hone in on my eye problem. she believes that by having a healthy spine, you can release tension and stress build up in your body that affects the productivity, creativity and relationships in your life.

it all seems so new age-y and too good to be true, but after not seeing any improvement with my vision, the fact that i can see better in just 1 week of seeing these two doctors makes me a total believer.

western medicine: 0
eastern/alternative medicine: 1