Archive for January, 2011


Installing the New Interior Jeld-Wen Doors

Today our contractor Richard Rhodes hung three Jeld-Wen ponderosa pine natural slab panel doors with a Kwikset Balboa lever in satin nickel. Rich did an amazing job cutting the doors to size in my kitchen to match the uneven measurements of the house’s old doors. The old doors were so ugly I could not beleive it! The previous owner was a complete slumlord who made the cheapest repairs possible. Needless to say it felt so good to put some much needed care into my home.

Rich and Mike start to cut one of the slab doors down to size.

The old bathroom door.

The new bathroom door.

The old office door.

The new office door.

The old bedroom door.

The new bedroom door.

At the moment I am still in the process of refinishing the floors and will hire Rich to help with the final sanding and caulking. With DIY I think it’s important to acknowledge your limits and use a contractor when needed to finish the job off right.


Constructing culture through nature/urban spaces

This collection of three images links together black and white photographs from Taiwan, and the USA within the constructed Asian landscape of The University of Illinois’ Japan House.

The fist image on the far left is of a city street in Taipei juxtaposing trees on the urban sidewalk. The center picture is of a Japanese maple and fountain structure at Japan House, a Japanese cultural center at the University of Illinois. The far right image is of a residential street in Urbna, Il. Together the images reveal the creative constructions of nature and urbanity that  differs according to context and culture.


Long-distance Marriage

Long-distance love is increasingly common in our digitally networked and professionally outsourced society. In 2001, I met my husband by chance at a rave in Quebec City while living in Ottawa. We dated long distance for two years before settling in Montreal in 2003. In 2007 after getting married and moving to Taiwan, Ranjit went back to Canada to update his education at the University of Laval, a one and a half year process. Last year, I moved to the USA to begin a PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

An early photo taken about a month after we started dating, November 2001 .

As a couple we trust each other and are understanding towards time spent apart. The distance is always caused by education/career prospects that we both support. It is difficult and can be lonely. There are times when we both feel abandoned and harbor resentment. But we always manage to get through it. We are busy and the separation is always for a good reason that benefits us both.

Our wedding, May 2005.

At the moment Ranjit is half way through his Masters in Mathematics in Taipei and is developing his on-line cycling business. 2011 will be a big year for him as his finishes his Masters, re-vamps his on-line shop, and establishes the business in Hong Kong. I am supportive of all of  these endeavors. It is just too bad that we have to be apart. But it won’t be forever! Just one more year…

Snapshot from home, December 2009.

Late next May, I am planning on meeting Ranjit in Hong Kong for a romantic break which will mix business and pleasure. After spending four months apart the holiday will be an event to look forward to and I feel lucky to see parts of Asia as a poor student in North America. Life and relationships are about compromise. You have to remember the bad times are only temporary and be thankful of the positive elements that can easily be taken for granted.


Christmas 2010 and Reflections on the New Year

The New Year inevitably brings hope towards the future and hasty reflections on the recent past. 2010 was an intense year in which I changed jobs, moved to a new country, started a new Doctorate program, paid off student loans, and became a homeowner.

It was also a year that made me accept and move on from the negative attitudes of others and find peace in my own definitions of family/community.

Which is all we can do right? Before you can change the world you have to acknowledge how it functions and be understanding towards inevitable bias.

In 2011 I’d like to:

  • get pregnant
  • paint suede paint in the living room/bedroom
  • successfully refinish the floors and add new doors/blinds
  • survive the next academic semester which intimidates me (4 courses + 3 jobs and 2 conferences)
  • maintain a strong connection with my mother and friends in Canada
  • spoil my husband for his birthday
  • help the husband pay off our Visa bill
  • finish editing and publish a certain overdue article
  • develop my leadership skills (…groan, but the pressure is on)
  • spend more time with the dog and cat
  • get a new pair of Tom Ford sunglasses

And here are the photos from Christmas which was the best ever:

Ranjit, my handsome, witty, and creative Indian husband.

White lilies Ranjit brought home for Christmas Eve lunch.

Entrance to Diamond Tony’s on the 85th floor of Taipei 101 where we celebrated Christmas dinner.

A box from Tiffany’s. Ranjit surprised me with a silver necklace from the Frank Gehry Torque collection.

Christmas dinner

Bathroom with a view

Interior of Taipei 101

Jo’s tweets


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