Tuesday, April 12, 2016
I'm currently in Macau working on a project. The food here is fantastic!!! In my opinion, the food here is better than Las Vegas. I don't like the old-fashioned decor of my hotel room though. But the restaurants here are beyond delicious. Today, when I left my lunch meeting with my business associates, there was a live harp performance in the lobby of Hotel Lisboa. The sight of it reminded me of the many things that I quit while growing up.
No, I didn't quit harp. But at one point in my life, I was harassing my father to buy me a harp and also pay for my lessons. He refused after he gave me a list of sports and musical instruments that I quit. He said he would not want to waste any money on putting another big musical instrument in our living room. (At the time, we already had a piano and a Quzheng in our living room collecting dust.)
The sight and sound of this harp reminded me of the time when my fingers were bleeding and full of blisters because I was practicing on a string instrument called Quzheng. I quit because I was not good at it despite my hours and hours of practicing in pain. My teacher told me I would get used to the pain and sure there were ivory finger picks that I could tie to some of my fingers to help. But unfortunately, lots of the music pieces require the naked fingers to shake, flip and press the various tight strings on the left side, so it was impossible for me to wrap and protect all my fingers with the ivory nails.
After years of lessons and not doing so well in the Quzheng exams, I decided that I should spend more time on my school work instead. As a retrospect, I think it's an instrument that's more difficult than piano. Every flip of the fingers, and every movement of the head, neck, shoulder, upper arm, middle arm, wrists, are all coordinated with extreme mental focus. Then there is the facial expression. My teacher always told me that I needed to get more into the music because only then could I hit the strings with all the vigorous power and yet maintain the "light as the feather strokes" appearance. Hitting the tight strings hard enough to do the music correctly while making every stroke look light isn't easy. It looks easy but it isn't. It's similar to ballet and figure skating, that require precise movement, tremendous mental power and the physical power, which is so controlled that the audience can't see it even though it's there all the time.
The following song is one of those songs that I spent many hours practicing for one of my exams. I of course didn't play as well as these women... If you watch and listen to the whole piece, you will understand why I quit. The comments on my exams were always about how I was either hitting the string too light or too strong, or my posture and my hands weren't looking gentle and flexible enough, etc, etc... There were just so many blisters that my fingers could tolerate before I threw in my towel.
Friday, April 1, 2016
My depression comes and goes. But whenever it hits, I feel really really bad. I don't know when exactly I started to experience waves of depression, I think it was somewhere after the first couple years into my marriage. The place where it started was of course America. I never felt depressed when I was living in Hong Kong. It was either because I was too young to experience hormonal imbalance or I was having a much easier life living with my parents. I was just pretty happy all the time in Hong Kong.
Yesterday after I talked to one of my brothers in Hong Kong, I was reminded of the fact that once upon a time, I had taken ballroom dancing lessons and I liked it. I haven't danced for years and had completely forgotten that I actually took lessons both in Hong Kong and in Los Angeles for various periods of time. Somehow, many things in life got in the way and my interest in dancing was pushed to such low priority that I actually completely forgot about it. Thanks to my brother, I now remember that those years when I was taking dance lessons and when I was socializing with my dancing friends, I didn't have depression.
Some of the dates my husband and I went on were actually dance parties. But we haven't danced anymore since we got married. I had completely forgotten that I could do Waltz. I am going to start ballroom dancing again and I can careless if I have a dance partner anymore. I will just dance with an imaginary dance partner. I found that dancing Waltz, even on my own, distracts me from feeling depressed. For those of you who want to try, you can tell from the above video that it's very easy to learn.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
My microwave is 3 years old but I think I had cleaned it less than 3 times. I cleaned so infrequently because I felt frustrated by spending 45 minutes at a time, futilely scrubbing that stinky monster with a wet dish washing cloth. I was never able to completely get rid of the tough grime all over the interior of the microwave. Every time when I cleaned it, I felt I was failing and I started to get pissed off at my husband for 1) microwaving too much, 2) for not listening to me to cover the meat sauce when microwaving, 3) for being such a snob who never once cleaned up after his own mess, 4) for refusing to move to Hong Kong with me where I can just easily hire a live-in domestic assistant like my siblings and my parents do, and then I don't have to scrub anything at home again.
Since every time after I cleaned my microwave, I started an argument with my husband, I just stop to bother with its cleaning. I just avoid using the microwave as much as I can. But there are moments, like now that I need desperately to heat up my frozen dinner but am feeling too afraid to open my disgusting and stinky microwave
I'm happy there is Martha Stewart who always has a solution for everything. I will go buy some lemons tomorrow and try to clean my microwave like Martha demonstrated. Hopefully it will help me eliminate one of my household distresses that always leads to marital discord.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Sunday, March 13, 2016
As an immigrant, I personally think assimilation is a futile objective if this is what any government is hoping to achieve. I think it is something that can only happen to the children of the immigrants who were born in the country (any country where there are immigrants), but I think it's impossible for the first generation immigrants to assimilate.
America's time change is one of those numerous things that I'm still confused about. I woke up today and I was late for an appointment because I didn't adjust my alarm clock on time again. This happened to me every year since I have been in the USA. I never knew when I was supposed to cut the hour or to extend the hour. I always messed it up. I often moved my clock the wrong way. It really upset me whenever I woke up and found myself to be living in a different time from the rest of my state. I felt embarrassed that every time when I tried to explain I was late because I was confused about the time change, people just looked at me and gave me the attitude as if to tell me, "Oh, come on, why didn't you say your grandma just died or something?" Well, may be I'm too sensitive.
Today, I just feel depressed because I feel like my life had just been cut shorter. For a few years, I have been feeling that time has passed by quicker and quicker. I remember how time passed slowly when I was in elementary school and it took Christmas and Chinese New Year forever and ever to arrive. Now time seems to pass so fast, and today it's actually an hour faster. Throughout the last few years, I have seen people just disappeared, one by one, people I knew, people I once hung out with, people I worked with, people I dated. I felt like yesterday all these people were still alive, and now they are gone.
Then recently, I see even other people's cute pets are disappearing from the face of the earth. It just makes me feel that life is fast forwarding too much. Life is so much like the flicker of the candle and it can just go off any minute. I don't know why I am feeling depressed now even though I just had a good meal in one of my beloved restaurants. May be my female hormone is acting up again. Or may be I'm just not happy about losing an hour today.
Monday, March 7, 2016
I just paid for my electric bill for the month of February and it was $150! This has been pretty much the average amount I've been paying consistently since November 2015... Before then, I was out of town a lot and I was living in hotel for my job, so the electric bill was really low and was under $50... I don't know what I have done differently when I am home that caused such a huge surge in electricity bill. Sure, I used the central heating to heat up my entire home at night because even in Los Angeles, it gets pretty darn cold at night due to the paper thin walls. I don't understand why my central heating system doesn't allow me to turn on the heat by different rooms. Instead, either I turn the heat on for the entire house or I don't turn on the heat. Is there a way for me to have a central heating system that allows control in individual room? How much electric bill are you paying per month?