Blogroll

When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

Archives

For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

To search this blog, type in the field at the top left of the page and hit enter.

Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chipping in

I have discovered a new skill I never knew I possessed.

Some backstory: As I wrote earlier, there was some serious precipitation heading our way when I checked the weather the night before the final I was supposed to give. So I wasn't sure when I would be leaving for D's parents' house. The skies were clear, though, on Friday morning, and the roads looked decent -- just some slush on the local streets and even bare concrete on the highway through town. So as soon as I got back from turning in my grades on campus that afternoon, I chucked everything I needed into my little suitcase and decided to head out in the last hour of daylight.

And then I discovered that my car was entombed in ice.

Yep, that wintry mix did fall Thursday evening, and it left at least half an inch of frozen stuff from hood to trunk on my poor little Honda. When I opened the door to the driver's seat, shards the size of dinner plates cracked off and clattered to the ground.

I decided in that instant that there was no way I was going to spend another night in my apartment, even if it meant having to take a sledgehammer to the mess in front of me, so I pulled out my scraper and started whacking away. While the defrosters were warming up the front and rear windshields, I took some good swings at the ice on the side windows. Anyone walking by would have seen a crazed-looking woman apparently hell-bent on beating her car to death -- that's how hard I had to hit the ice to make any progress. But once I got going, I was quite effective, if I say so myself. Total excavation time: 45 minutes.

The sun was completely gone by the time I got done, and I hate driving in the dark (not fun with an astigmatism). But because of the reflective snow along the sides of the interstate, it was actually much easier to see the road. The fringe benefits of winter weather! Who knew ...

I got to D's parents' house with no trouble. It was a good thing I left when I did too -- the next day, the snowstorm we were expecting arrived and the weather's been dicey ever since. We came prepared with warm clothing, so we were able to provide extra manpower for chipping ice off the front walk before the holiday party D's parents hosted last night (if you thought half an inch on one car was difficult, try more than two inches of hard-packed glaze over hundreds of square feet of cement). Quite the workout!

Today promises to be warmer (a good ten degrees above freezing, if you can believe it), so the winter wonderland we've been living in will melt quickly in the next few hours. Fortunately, D braved the sub-zero temperatures a few days ago to get some shots of the iced-over backyard and its wildlife with his dad's telephoto lens. Here are the results -- pretty magical, especially if you've never seen what an ice storm can do:








It is nearly time for lunch, and D is about to assemble a gingerbread cathedral, so I'm off to help. Pictures of that to come soon! Until then, safe travels and a lovely holiday to everyone.

4 comments:

French Fancy said...

My goodness - I've never seen anything like it. One of them looks like a tiffany lamp with the hanging shards. How awful to be confronted with an iced-car. I suppose once the shock had worn off it was quite therapeutic (and bloody cold) to bang all the bits off. Well done for the drive though - I've also got astigmatism and know what a wobble that can do to night vision driving.

Anyway, my academic friend, have a lovely New Year's Eve and hope when you eventually return home that your driving conditions are a bit more agreeable

Femin Susan said...

Hi………
Absolutely fantastic post! Good job!
Great! Keep posting
Good week………
" A Happy New Year''

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thank you, French Fancy -- a good New Year's Eve to you too :) And yes, it *was* therapeutic to have at the ice. By the time I was done, though, I was definitely not cold!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Welcome, Femin Susan -- a happy 2009 to you as well.

Posts by date

Posts by label

Air travel Airline food Allergic reactions Astoria Awards Bacteremia Bacterial overgrowth Baggage beefs Bed and breakfast Betrayal Blues Body Boston Breastfeeding British Columbia California Canada Cape Spear Clam-digging Colonoscopy Commuter marriage Cooking CT scans Delays Diagnoses Dietitians Doctor-patient relationships Doctors Eating while traveling Editing Endocrine Endoscopy ER False starts Family dynamics Feedback Food anxiety Food sensitivities Gate agent guff GI Halifax Heart Home-making House hunting Hypoglycemia In-laws Intentional happiness Iowa Journaling Kidney stones Knitting Lab tests Little U. on the Prairie Liver function tests Long Beach Making friends in new places Malabsorption Massachusetts Medical records Medication Mentorship MFA programs Miami Monterey Motivation Moving Narrative New York Newark Newfoundland Nova Scotia Olympic Peninsula Ontario Ophthalmology Oregon Oxalates Pancreatic function tests Parenting Parents Paris Pets Photography Portland Prediabetes Pregnancy Process Professors Publishing Reproductive endocrine Research Revision Rewriting Rheumatology San Francisco Scenes from a graduation series Scenes from around the table series Seattle Sisters Skiing St. John's Striped-up paisley Teaching Technological snafus Texas Thesis Toronto Travel Travel fears Traveling while sick Ultrasound Urology Vancouver Victoria Voice Washington Washington D.C. Weight When words won't stick Whidbey Island Why we write Workshops Writers on writing Writing Writing friends Writing in odd places Writing jobs Yakima

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chipping in

I have discovered a new skill I never knew I possessed.

Some backstory: As I wrote earlier, there was some serious precipitation heading our way when I checked the weather the night before the final I was supposed to give. So I wasn't sure when I would be leaving for D's parents' house. The skies were clear, though, on Friday morning, and the roads looked decent -- just some slush on the local streets and even bare concrete on the highway through town. So as soon as I got back from turning in my grades on campus that afternoon, I chucked everything I needed into my little suitcase and decided to head out in the last hour of daylight.

And then I discovered that my car was entombed in ice.

Yep, that wintry mix did fall Thursday evening, and it left at least half an inch of frozen stuff from hood to trunk on my poor little Honda. When I opened the door to the driver's seat, shards the size of dinner plates cracked off and clattered to the ground.

I decided in that instant that there was no way I was going to spend another night in my apartment, even if it meant having to take a sledgehammer to the mess in front of me, so I pulled out my scraper and started whacking away. While the defrosters were warming up the front and rear windshields, I took some good swings at the ice on the side windows. Anyone walking by would have seen a crazed-looking woman apparently hell-bent on beating her car to death -- that's how hard I had to hit the ice to make any progress. But once I got going, I was quite effective, if I say so myself. Total excavation time: 45 minutes.

The sun was completely gone by the time I got done, and I hate driving in the dark (not fun with an astigmatism). But because of the reflective snow along the sides of the interstate, it was actually much easier to see the road. The fringe benefits of winter weather! Who knew ...

I got to D's parents' house with no trouble. It was a good thing I left when I did too -- the next day, the snowstorm we were expecting arrived and the weather's been dicey ever since. We came prepared with warm clothing, so we were able to provide extra manpower for chipping ice off the front walk before the holiday party D's parents hosted last night (if you thought half an inch on one car was difficult, try more than two inches of hard-packed glaze over hundreds of square feet of cement). Quite the workout!

Today promises to be warmer (a good ten degrees above freezing, if you can believe it), so the winter wonderland we've been living in will melt quickly in the next few hours. Fortunately, D braved the sub-zero temperatures a few days ago to get some shots of the iced-over backyard and its wildlife with his dad's telephoto lens. Here are the results -- pretty magical, especially if you've never seen what an ice storm can do:








It is nearly time for lunch, and D is about to assemble a gingerbread cathedral, so I'm off to help. Pictures of that to come soon! Until then, safe travels and a lovely holiday to everyone.

4 comments:

French Fancy said...

My goodness - I've never seen anything like it. One of them looks like a tiffany lamp with the hanging shards. How awful to be confronted with an iced-car. I suppose once the shock had worn off it was quite therapeutic (and bloody cold) to bang all the bits off. Well done for the drive though - I've also got astigmatism and know what a wobble that can do to night vision driving.

Anyway, my academic friend, have a lovely New Year's Eve and hope when you eventually return home that your driving conditions are a bit more agreeable

Femin Susan said...

Hi………
Absolutely fantastic post! Good job!
Great! Keep posting
Good week………
" A Happy New Year''

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thank you, French Fancy -- a good New Year's Eve to you too :) And yes, it *was* therapeutic to have at the ice. By the time I was done, though, I was definitely not cold!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Welcome, Femin Susan -- a happy 2009 to you as well.