Monthly Archives: April 2010

Grandma died

The details are scant, as I only found out second-hand through Darren. They say she was on painkillers and went peace­fully in the hos­pi­tal. It was her pain that scared me most; bet­ter to pass on than live with suf­fer­ing through can­cer and chemother­apy at her age, I always thought.

It brings me com­fort to know that Mina, her trusty and loyal maid, was there with her when she died. Also, to know my aunt will be able to go back home to a nor­mal life, instead of dot­ing on my grand­mother indef­i­nitely after giv­ing up her law prac­tice and leav­ing her hus­band and daugh­ter in Canada.

I called my dad, and he seems to be tak­ing it as well as I am. I learned all my Chinese idioms for death by lis­ten­ing to what he’d say in these sit­u­a­tions. One is some­thing like, “She’s passed her body”, which always sounded very spir­i­tual to me and plays on the Chinese belief that our spir­its pass from this world into an ances­tral realm. Another has some­thing to do with becom­ing “fra­grant” or the smell of incense. But when he asked if I knew, he said, “Did you hear that grandma went?”

I just hope my cousin Priscilla is alright. She’s a pint-sized woman (even by Asian stan­dards) who more than makes up for her small stature with a razor sharp tongue and wit, but she was the most ador­ing grand­child I’d ever met when it came to our ma ma.

All of grandma’s kids were already in Hong Kong to be with her1 — many of them fly­ing in from dif­fer­ent parts of Canada — which is a tes­ta­ment to how impor­tant she was. She was the uni­fy­ing force who tied the fam­ily together. Siblings would make peace with each other out of respect for her, and the peace has lasted.

I’m not sad. I was already sad when I was in Hong Kong last year, on the day I left her. Back then, I made my peace, never expect­ing to have the chance to see her again. Instead, I’m glad to have been able to let her know how much she meant to me (even though I wasn’t sure if she remem­bered, with the sever­ity of her Alzheimer’s), to hear her tell her story in her own words, and to cap­ture her voice and char­ac­ter on video.

When I see her smil­ing and hear her voice, I see an inno­cence about her I wasn’t used to see­ing. She was always a strong, classy lady.

  1. The excep­tions being my dad and Darren’s dad, who were fly­ing out yes­ter­day and next week respec­tively, until they heard the news. They’re chang­ing flight plans for the funeral. []

Version 11

Version 11 has been retired here. is now run­ning ver­sion 11. For a per­son who was noto­ri­ous for the fre­quency of his design changes, ver­sion 10 stuck around for a very long time — mea­sured in years, not months.

To everything, there is a season

I’m going through a sig­nif­i­cant shift in atti­tude right now. For the first time in so long, I feel sta­ble and com­plete, and I wanted my site to reflect this change. I’ve also been let­ting go of many things, and this cer­tainly gave me the moti­va­tion to update even though I adored the pre­vi­ous version.

I found lots of inspi­ra­tion in Jin’s recent refresh, which has an extremely smooth and slick feel to it. The ironic thing is that he wanted it to be clean and pol­ished, and told me he looked to ver­sion 10 of for ideas. Here I am get­ting ideas from his ideas from my ideas, in a won­der­ful cre­ative syn­ergy, and I think we’re both very happy with our mutual results.

Continue read­ing “Version 11″…

Maple syrup festival

There was a maple syrup fes­ti­val in Perth. A bit of serendip­ity too, because I had just run out of my last cache of real maple syrup, stored in a bot­tle of Crown Royal my mom gave me.

Perth is a great for a get­ting to visit a small town with­out hav­ing to drive too far. We missed the pan­cake break­fast in the morn­ing, but made up for it by hav­ing maple sausages.


I bought me a bot­tle of amber maple syrup. Apparently, it’s thicker and richer than the reg­u­lar maple syrup.

Continue read­ing “Maple syrup festival”…

E-mails that make me feel good

Hey Jeff!

Before I send out a big­ger email (yes, I am plan­ning this event around you again :) , how about Friday April 30th for the fon­due night?
Are you free?

Have an amaz­ing time tom­mor­row pho­tograph­ing! Sergey and I are going back to the Gatineaus just for the night tom­mor­row — I am not expect­ing the same desert-like con­di­tions in my tent :)

And for very obvi­ous reasons.