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 31, 2008

An unexpected detour

So we were supposed to leave D's parents' place last Friday to visit my family in the Texas panhandle. Unfortunately, our travel plans were thwarted again (are we beginning to notice a pattern here?). What follows is an account of an odyssey that still boggles my mind. Normally, I wouldn't provide such a ridiculous blow-by-blow, but for the sake of illustrating how absurd the whole experience was, here's the tale. Feel free to skip down to the photo if you'd rather not hear about the journey.

Weather was the primary culprit this time -- not on our day of departure in question but in the days preceding it. Because of ice and fog, lots of planes were grounded, and the one that was intended to take us to Chicago for our connections to Dallas and then the panhandle never made it to our city. About an hour before we planned to head to the airport, American Airlines' automated system called us with the news that our 1 p.m. flight was a no-go.

Given D's success with the bus on his way down, we decided to cancel the tickets for the Chicago flight and hop the charter coach again to get back to O'Hare -- a four-hour ride, but one that would get us there in time to take a later flight to Dallas, with some hustling through security. We also got ourselves rebooked on Saturday's first flight out to the panhandle (the last plane for Friday evening that we were originally going to take would be long gone). Sounds good, right? At least, better than the new itinerary we were given by AA's automated system, which would get us to my parents' place late the next night.

Well, about two hours into our bus ride, the driver announced that our arrival at O'Hare would be delayed by 45 minutes. Normally, the bus line splits its passengers at a halfway point, transferring everyone going to Midway (Chicago's other major airport) to another coach. But because of the unusually high volume of passengers from all the canceled flights, the company was short on buses and ours would have to be rerouted to Midway and O'Hare -- which meant that we wouldn't be able to make our new flight to Dallas.

A quick call to AA revealed that there were no seats available on future Dallas flights until Saturday evening, which would mean getting to the panhandle another day late. But then, at the last minute, two slots opened up on an early morning flight, so we grabbed them and then found ourselves a hotel near the airport. Once we finally reached O'Hare, we got ourselves a good dinner, set our cell phone alarms, and promptly conked out.

One hour later: D's cell phone rings. Yep, our new new Dallas flight was canceled.

At this point, we realized that our chances of getting out of Chicago in time to spend any part of our vacation with my family were looking bad -- the AA agent D got connected to spent nearly an hour and a half searching for flights that would get us to the panhandle by Saturday, but the best he could come up with was a flight leaving Sunday for Indianapolis, connecting to a flight to Dallas, and finally getting us to my parents' place that evening. A quick peek at the weather forecast revealed an ice storm on its way to the Midwest for Sunday as well. Time to consider a new form of transportation? We thought so.

The pickings were slim, but we did find a car rental company with vehicles left (at a premium price, of course). So at 1:30 a.m., we made our reservation and finally had a guaranteed way to Texas. Because of the cost, it meant deciding to make the 1,050-mile drive all in one day, but it was a good thing we jumped on the option when we did. By 7 a.m., there was nothing available to rent within a five-mile radius of O'Hare.

Saturday was long, but we made good time, despite a tornado warning as we passed through St. Louis and torrential rains further south in Missouri. Here's a view of the Gateway Arch as we crossed the state line out of Illinois:


We reached my parents' place around midnight after 16 hours in a little red Prius we named Pepe. I don't think we really believed that we had made it until after the first full day of our stay -- what does it say about the state of the airline industry when you can drive a thousand miles in less time than you can fly the same distance?

The clincher: the flight we were booked on out of Indianapolis to Dallas ended up being delayed 11 hours, which would have forced us to miss our Sunday flight to the panhandle. I think we can say for certain now that the road trip was justified -- I just hope we won't be driving back to Seattle after this weekend!!! I'm fresh out of extended-travel stamina.

3 comments:

French Fancy said...

Over a thousand miles in a day, ContemTroub - I don't envy you one bit. How maddening to have almost got to go on so many planes which got all your hopes up - only to then have them dashed.I bet you could hardly talk for fatigue when you finally got to your folks' place. Your poor mum and dad (or do you say ma and pa?) must have been quite worried about road conditions as well.

Well done for getting to two destinations in almost impossible weather. In our bit of France atm it is very cold but there is no snow I'm pleased to say.

when do you have to get back to college?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

My parents and sisters tracked us like a human GPS while we were en route. It was quite cute -- they reported on the weather to us as we were driving through it.

I don't have to be back to school until the 19th, so I have some time to rest up (we head for Seattle tomorrow). Hope all's well in France! Any travel in the near future for you?

French Fancy said...

At the moment I am knee deep (well, strictly speaking I've not got as far as the knee, more like calf deep) in an essay on William Wilberforce and his views on Christianity which needs to be submitted on 9th Jan.

Then on the 14th I am off to the UK for a meeting and we'll be there for about 6 days. I could do without it really, but at least it makes me appreciate the peace and quiet of our bit of France.

I'm glad you are having a good long time together with your man. You deserve it.

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 31, 2008

An unexpected detour

So we were supposed to leave D's parents' place last Friday to visit my family in the Texas panhandle. Unfortunately, our travel plans were thwarted again (are we beginning to notice a pattern here?). What follows is an account of an odyssey that still boggles my mind. Normally, I wouldn't provide such a ridiculous blow-by-blow, but for the sake of illustrating how absurd the whole experience was, here's the tale. Feel free to skip down to the photo if you'd rather not hear about the journey.

Weather was the primary culprit this time -- not on our day of departure in question but in the days preceding it. Because of ice and fog, lots of planes were grounded, and the one that was intended to take us to Chicago for our connections to Dallas and then the panhandle never made it to our city. About an hour before we planned to head to the airport, American Airlines' automated system called us with the news that our 1 p.m. flight was a no-go.

Given D's success with the bus on his way down, we decided to cancel the tickets for the Chicago flight and hop the charter coach again to get back to O'Hare -- a four-hour ride, but one that would get us there in time to take a later flight to Dallas, with some hustling through security. We also got ourselves rebooked on Saturday's first flight out to the panhandle (the last plane for Friday evening that we were originally going to take would be long gone). Sounds good, right? At least, better than the new itinerary we were given by AA's automated system, which would get us to my parents' place late the next night.

Well, about two hours into our bus ride, the driver announced that our arrival at O'Hare would be delayed by 45 minutes. Normally, the bus line splits its passengers at a halfway point, transferring everyone going to Midway (Chicago's other major airport) to another coach. But because of the unusually high volume of passengers from all the canceled flights, the company was short on buses and ours would have to be rerouted to Midway and O'Hare -- which meant that we wouldn't be able to make our new flight to Dallas.

A quick call to AA revealed that there were no seats available on future Dallas flights until Saturday evening, which would mean getting to the panhandle another day late. But then, at the last minute, two slots opened up on an early morning flight, so we grabbed them and then found ourselves a hotel near the airport. Once we finally reached O'Hare, we got ourselves a good dinner, set our cell phone alarms, and promptly conked out.

One hour later: D's cell phone rings. Yep, our new new Dallas flight was canceled.

At this point, we realized that our chances of getting out of Chicago in time to spend any part of our vacation with my family were looking bad -- the AA agent D got connected to spent nearly an hour and a half searching for flights that would get us to the panhandle by Saturday, but the best he could come up with was a flight leaving Sunday for Indianapolis, connecting to a flight to Dallas, and finally getting us to my parents' place that evening. A quick peek at the weather forecast revealed an ice storm on its way to the Midwest for Sunday as well. Time to consider a new form of transportation? We thought so.

The pickings were slim, but we did find a car rental company with vehicles left (at a premium price, of course). So at 1:30 a.m., we made our reservation and finally had a guaranteed way to Texas. Because of the cost, it meant deciding to make the 1,050-mile drive all in one day, but it was a good thing we jumped on the option when we did. By 7 a.m., there was nothing available to rent within a five-mile radius of O'Hare.

Saturday was long, but we made good time, despite a tornado warning as we passed through St. Louis and torrential rains further south in Missouri. Here's a view of the Gateway Arch as we crossed the state line out of Illinois:


We reached my parents' place around midnight after 16 hours in a little red Prius we named Pepe. I don't think we really believed that we had made it until after the first full day of our stay -- what does it say about the state of the airline industry when you can drive a thousand miles in less time than you can fly the same distance?

The clincher: the flight we were booked on out of Indianapolis to Dallas ended up being delayed 11 hours, which would have forced us to miss our Sunday flight to the panhandle. I think we can say for certain now that the road trip was justified -- I just hope we won't be driving back to Seattle after this weekend!!! I'm fresh out of extended-travel stamina.

3 comments:

French Fancy said...

Over a thousand miles in a day, ContemTroub - I don't envy you one bit. How maddening to have almost got to go on so many planes which got all your hopes up - only to then have them dashed.I bet you could hardly talk for fatigue when you finally got to your folks' place. Your poor mum and dad (or do you say ma and pa?) must have been quite worried about road conditions as well.

Well done for getting to two destinations in almost impossible weather. In our bit of France atm it is very cold but there is no snow I'm pleased to say.

when do you have to get back to college?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

My parents and sisters tracked us like a human GPS while we were en route. It was quite cute -- they reported on the weather to us as we were driving through it.

I don't have to be back to school until the 19th, so I have some time to rest up (we head for Seattle tomorrow). Hope all's well in France! Any travel in the near future for you?

French Fancy said...

At the moment I am knee deep (well, strictly speaking I've not got as far as the knee, more like calf deep) in an essay on William Wilberforce and his views on Christianity which needs to be submitted on 9th Jan.

Then on the 14th I am off to the UK for a meeting and we'll be there for about 6 days. I could do without it really, but at least it makes me appreciate the peace and quiet of our bit of France.

I'm glad you are having a good long time together with your man. You deserve it.