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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!)

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

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

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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, January 28, 2009

Matters of (low-carb) taste

So January has essentially been a month of recipe testing, and it's yielded some yummy results that both D and I can eat. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you're suddenly not allowed to eat most bread products, it's very exciting.


One of the first things we tried was a chicken and mushroom casserole (above) that contains no pasta and uses only a little whole-grain bread as a bottom crust to sop up the delicious juices that come out during baking. I do have to say that the recipe, which came out of Martha Stewart Living, is more time consuming than I'd like (mainly because pan-frying very thick chicken breasts isn't a quick process), but I imagine that chicken leftovers could be recycled here to speed things up considerably. Speaking of recycling, the casserole gets even tastier the day after you make it because the flavors have had time to soak into the bread. Mmmm comfort food -- and one less meal to cook.

Fondue is one of D's favorite meals (he lived for several years in Switzerland, where he had his share of the authentic stuff), so we had one night of that while I was home during break. Alas, what to substitute for all the bread? Cauliflower. Cooked until just al dente, it holds up when you dip it into the cheese and it's actually good for you. Well, okay, fondue is not good for you no matter how you look at it, but at least the vegetable component makes up somewhat for the damage, no?

Now that I'm back at school and eating by myself, I'm doing more large-batch prep for consumption over several days. Soup is a staple still -- the canned versions I used to use for convenience are no longer okay for me since most contain thickeners, but the ones I make on my own are perfectly fine. I discovered a soy milk that is really low in sugar (unlike most regular kinds of soy or cow's milk), so this week's menu has included a cream of broccoli soup as well as a crab and scallop chowder. Very nice when the wind chill is -25.

The world of products made with sugar substitutes has also become a realm for exploration, although we try not to eat too much of the stuff that comes from there just because we don't know what the long-term effects of sucralose and aspartame will be. For an occasional treat, there's this nonalcoholic sparkling drink:


The orange mango taste is incredible -- especially for the fruit-deprived -- and reminds me of the Nantucket Nectars I used to drink when I was living out east. Unfortunately, this stuff, produced by a label called Talking Rain, is only available to me in Washington. Another reason to be the one doing the traveling this semester! D can't bring this to me in his carry-on luggage since such liquids are on TSA's no-fly list (unless you buy them for ridiculous prices from inside the airport). And checking carbonated beverages just seems like a really bad idea, between rough baggage handling and non-pressurized cargo holds.

Okay, time to grade the quiz I gave on Tuesday. Can't believe the week will be over for me tomorrow -- at this rate, this semester may be over even sooner than I thought.

2 comments:

French Fancy said...

You are doing very well with your new regime. Now my mum was diabetic and I don't recall her not having bread products. She had to watch her diet and keep her weight down but she still ate bread.

Having said that, your recipes and food do sound yummy.It's hard when it's so cold - roll on salad and fruit weather (oh, can you not have fruit?)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I think different people react in different ways to certain kinds of carbohydrates. For me, most bread products cause an immediate sugar spike, so I have to limit them. But I did find some low-carb bread at the grocery that I can at least make sandwiches with. And no, fruit's out. But veggies are very much in!

The other thing is that I'm not on insulin injections and may be able to stay off them if I can regulate my sugar levels through diet and exercise alone. Hence the more restrictive approach to certain foods. Once you start using insulin, you have a little more flexibility (though in some cases still not much).

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Matters of (low-carb) taste

So January has essentially been a month of recipe testing, and it's yielded some yummy results that both D and I can eat. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you're suddenly not allowed to eat most bread products, it's very exciting.


One of the first things we tried was a chicken and mushroom casserole (above) that contains no pasta and uses only a little whole-grain bread as a bottom crust to sop up the delicious juices that come out during baking. I do have to say that the recipe, which came out of Martha Stewart Living, is more time consuming than I'd like (mainly because pan-frying very thick chicken breasts isn't a quick process), but I imagine that chicken leftovers could be recycled here to speed things up considerably. Speaking of recycling, the casserole gets even tastier the day after you make it because the flavors have had time to soak into the bread. Mmmm comfort food -- and one less meal to cook.

Fondue is one of D's favorite meals (he lived for several years in Switzerland, where he had his share of the authentic stuff), so we had one night of that while I was home during break. Alas, what to substitute for all the bread? Cauliflower. Cooked until just al dente, it holds up when you dip it into the cheese and it's actually good for you. Well, okay, fondue is not good for you no matter how you look at it, but at least the vegetable component makes up somewhat for the damage, no?

Now that I'm back at school and eating by myself, I'm doing more large-batch prep for consumption over several days. Soup is a staple still -- the canned versions I used to use for convenience are no longer okay for me since most contain thickeners, but the ones I make on my own are perfectly fine. I discovered a soy milk that is really low in sugar (unlike most regular kinds of soy or cow's milk), so this week's menu has included a cream of broccoli soup as well as a crab and scallop chowder. Very nice when the wind chill is -25.

The world of products made with sugar substitutes has also become a realm for exploration, although we try not to eat too much of the stuff that comes from there just because we don't know what the long-term effects of sucralose and aspartame will be. For an occasional treat, there's this nonalcoholic sparkling drink:


The orange mango taste is incredible -- especially for the fruit-deprived -- and reminds me of the Nantucket Nectars I used to drink when I was living out east. Unfortunately, this stuff, produced by a label called Talking Rain, is only available to me in Washington. Another reason to be the one doing the traveling this semester! D can't bring this to me in his carry-on luggage since such liquids are on TSA's no-fly list (unless you buy them for ridiculous prices from inside the airport). And checking carbonated beverages just seems like a really bad idea, between rough baggage handling and non-pressurized cargo holds.

Okay, time to grade the quiz I gave on Tuesday. Can't believe the week will be over for me tomorrow -- at this rate, this semester may be over even sooner than I thought.

2 comments:

French Fancy said...

You are doing very well with your new regime. Now my mum was diabetic and I don't recall her not having bread products. She had to watch her diet and keep her weight down but she still ate bread.

Having said that, your recipes and food do sound yummy.It's hard when it's so cold - roll on salad and fruit weather (oh, can you not have fruit?)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I think different people react in different ways to certain kinds of carbohydrates. For me, most bread products cause an immediate sugar spike, so I have to limit them. But I did find some low-carb bread at the grocery that I can at least make sandwiches with. And no, fruit's out. But veggies are very much in!

The other thing is that I'm not on insulin injections and may be able to stay off them if I can regulate my sugar levels through diet and exercise alone. Hence the more restrictive approach to certain foods. Once you start using insulin, you have a little more flexibility (though in some cases still not much).