Where I live is not something I'm proud of. In fact, I don't want to invite my friends over. I've been wanting to move to a house for a while now. I'm not proud to say that I likely spent about 3 hours a day on design and home decor websites. But I don't have to look at other people's apartments or houses to know that mine sucks. First, it's a cookie cutter apartment with lots of problem and the ugliest fixtures. Second, it's filled with furniture we got from our college era and it still looks like a dormitory, as in, we have 4 bookcases, 2 desks, 1 futon that probably has dust mite in it, and no practical storage pieces like a sideboard. Third, you see boxes and boxes of print outs that Yves has accumulated through undergrad and phd, and our bookcases are lined up with texts since eco 100.
So tadaa! Here's my to do list for the apartment in order of priority:
- can I paint lamp shade with watercolor? Fabric dye did not work as well as I had imagined. If water color doesn't work, replace with a plain white Ikea shade and spray paint base in glossy yellow
- replace futon with a nice grey sofa
- get a sideboard (on its way) and refinish it
- wood crates as storage under bedside tables
- replace lighting in kitchen. It's just too dark in there.
- sell old desk on Craigslist
- paint shoes rack in white
- donate old desktop
- donate old text books
- buy an Expedit 4x4 to match ours and accessorize with Expedit doors and boxes
- use trunk purchased on Craigslist as new coffee table/storage
- upcycle the futon frame into benches (tentative start time: end of March)
- turn old coffee table into a desk
- a new blanket (or old?) to cover sofa
- rent a car to: visit Castlefield design district, Ikea, HFH Restore, antique/flea markets
- make a bookcase using vintage wood crates and salvaged wood (in the far future)
Gaiam has a great list of creative ways to reuse your old yoga mat. Too bad I couldn't really use my mat for any of these because there's cat pee in it... but next time I will keep my old mat around to cut it into useful tools like coasters, grip pads, sitting pads or kitchen shelves liner!
I should be happy
I don't have the right to be dissatisfied
I can't say
I daren't complain about the bitter that doesn't exist
Like a lake
With no wave no movement
I can't say
Whether this is bad or good
How to describe
My heart is like a ball and it's like a hole
The bigger it gets the emptier it feels
The remaining bits of strength
bits of courage
To face the loneliness
Believe that I still have the ability to let go
Need a bit of strength
A bit of courage
The vent in my heart is constantly suppressed
Whether or not I'm with somebody
There is only me
I'm drifting helplessly down a river of sadness and uncertainty. Rocks and logs that I previously held to gave ways to the quick current. I drank a few mouthful of water as a result of that, and now I am angry at myself for holding onto the wrong rock, and question my survival instincts that I used to be so proud of. I see people standing along the river, some watching me with pitying eyes, some trying to give me a hand. There are also others that are trying to tell me that I'm doing great, that I should just keep my head up. But I suspect that I must have made some terrible mistake or perhaps it's fengshui or something.
Trust me, I know what my options are. I can pray, naturally, and give myself entirely to God's care and trust that this is happening for a reason and I should trust His power. I can tell myself c'est la vie, the best is yet to come, and try to enjoy the scenary as my body continues to flow. I know I could also stay strong and anticipate what will be waiting around the corner, be ready for the next blow. I was relative calm like this not too long ago, before a big log almost knocked me out. It doesn't help that it also looks like it's going to rain soon. It doesn't help that what I've done so far have only seem to drag me further down the stream and add a few cuts and bruises.
I feel so lonely. I know I shouldn't. Look at these friends! Many of them are trying to help. But they don't know how it feels... which makes me so jealous of them. Why make them feel worse now? Their time will come when it comes. I know it will all come to an end, for better or for worse, but right now I just want to submerge myself in the river and not think about the end. Just let me be self-pity and sad right now. Quietly.
In rural parts of China, it is typical for children to travel a long way or cross a rapid river to get to school. This bamboo bridge school in Xiashi is beautiful and practical without being invasive of the local and natural aestheticity of the town. It not only makes the school a much more attractive place for children to learn, it also brings people together by transforming into a public gathering space and bridging two separate parts of the village. What's more, it's built with local and sustainable materials. The project won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2010.
Inhabitat (images by Li Xiaodong)
I had a one-on-one black and white printing lesson at Toronto Image Works with photographer Stephen Brookbank yesterday. Since the TIW uses paper processors I didn't get to play with chemical. Instead I learned how to operate the machine, how to adjust contrast and focus, and how ot analyze a photo and selectively adjust contrast, brightness, and color composition to make an image look better. Stephen was very patient with me and all my questions and he recommended me some books and photographers that I should read about. It's a fascinating experience especially since I have so much interest yet so little knowledge when it comes to film photography and I rarely print any photos in prints larger than 4x6. I learned that when you work on a photo in a darkroom and take your time to try different exposure time or play with dodging and burning, you see a photograph differently. Especially in these days when everyone take thousands of photos with the digital cameras and post them all on facebook, photography loses its purpose as a mean for story telling and the thought processes the came before a shutter is press is almost nonexistence.
Every time I held a print in front of me it felt as if it was the first time I actually looked at the photo. Instead of a flat photo, I began to notice depth, lighting, emotion. I became more proud of each photo that I selected to print, even though they were just 2 out of an entire roll of 36 films.
Now I just want to pick up my camera do some shots.
I like antique and vintage. I'm not very good at finding real antique or valuable stuff from a pile of junk or at a yard sale, but I do love go to antique market and vintage shops and look through things. Ever since I was a teenager I've always loved to look through my mom's suitcases of her clothes from the 70s and 80s and try things on. We'd go through her photo albums and ooo and ahh at her plaid shirt and light brown leather boots and her huge plastic rim shades and bell bottom. We'd try on her old washed jeans and long skirts and marvel at her tiny waist (24"!). She was the most beautiful woman I've ever met and if you like my style I give her all the credit for it. For my 14th birthday she bought me an antique charm bracelet from the Western Market. It's my favorite piece of jewellery and it's something that I will pass on to my daughter if I have one.
I was so sad to part with her clothes and stuff when she passed away. We were short of time and My luggage had limited room. But now whenever I go vintage or non vintage shopping all I could think of are those clothing pieces that we threw away that would have been nice to have kept.
Most of these pieces I kept were either bought during one of those shopping trips with mom or from her when I was studying in Ottawa. I remember where exactly I bought these and the comments that she made. I even remember some of the occasions where I wore them. I might not be able to keep all the clothes I once own but having their pictures taken is almost as good as keeping them in a trunk in the storage room, no?
Black Swan is my most anticipated film of all the films at TIFF. One of my favorite actress Natalie Portman dancing my favorite classical ballet piece directed by one of the best directors of our time. Now I just need to book a time in Y's schedule so we can watch it before our vacation.
And the limited edition posters of Black Swan are just brilliant!