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.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Negotiations

A lot has happened in the last week.

When I landed in Seattle on Friday, I didn't have much planned -- just a lunch date with D and then an afternoon of grading before officially starting spring break. Then I checked my e-mail and discovered that the house at the top of our list of places to watch had dropped its price by a tidy sum.

D and I were intending to put together an offer for the No. 2 house on our list (in terms of size, it didn't look like it would last us as long, but the price was better in comparison before the change on the other house). We weren't quite ready to make a decision on lenders at the end of my last visit, but D's done a lot of research since then and we had our choices narrowed down. So when the price drop came through, we decided to act on that house right away -- we figured we probably weren't the only ones watching and waiting.

We spent the weekend getting all our paperwork in order and put in a bid on Sunday. As we predicted, a competing offer was submitted Monday morning by someone else, so D and I did some thinking and decided we'd give the owners a price cap in the looming bidding war and then wait out the rest of the day (our deadline for a response was 9 p.m. our time). About ten minutes before our offer was to expire, we got a call from our realtor, who told us that the other offer had been withdrawn and that the owners had a counteroffer for us.

It turns out the owners were only willing to budge a tiny amount -- so we decided this morning to make an offer -- a final one -- at the value of our price cap in the bidding war that never happened. We've done our homework and know it's a reasonable price. So we shall see what happens next.

(Yes, I'm deliberately keeping this post as neutral as possible until we have more information. There's all kinds of back story that can't be posted until this is over.)

On a subject I can safely emote on, we took care of a Quaker parakeet named Sammy this weekend for a friend of D's who had to be out of town, and now I'm smitten. I know I said I wanted a kitty, but this bird leaves me seriously torn about what kind of pet to get.

I think what was so appealing about Sammy was his curiosity and his response to our attention. We really had to work to earn his trust, but that was what made the (brief) relationship we cultivated with him so rewarding. He was pretty nippy at first (chomping hard enough to break the skin), but we understood that he was in an unfamiliar environment and felt leery of us. So we worked on him with pieces of celery offered through the bars of his cage until he calmed down. Eventually, he was willing to climb onto D's arm without drawing blood. He still tried to bite anything that moved suddenly (sometimes our hands, trying to brush his beak away from our necks, which he liked to nip), but he got comfortable enough with us that he would perch on our shoulders and chirp back to us when we whistled and offered him treats.

Sammy's owner lets him loose at home most of the time, so as he grew to trust us, we started taking him out of his cage more and more, which he liked. We figured out that TV excited him -- he started shrieking at the people talking on the screen and darted back and forth on D's arms and shoulders (pausing only briefly to groom D, which included yanking out some of D's chin stubble!). The real breakthrough, though, was when we turned on some music. D had noticed before that Sammy got talkative listening to the dishwasher at his owner's apartment, which has a rhythmic thump to it when the arm spins. So we found an internet radio station that plays techno/dance and turned up the speakers. Immediately, Sammy started chattering away, spouting random phrases including "Good boy," "Pretty birdie," and "Here, kitty kitty kitty"(!).

It was great fun watching D interact with Sammy -- D had an African grey parrot and a Nanday conure when he was a kid, so I imagine this weekend brought back good memories for him. We spent part of Saturday evening giving Sammy some playtime, and I managed to get some pictures. Here are the ones that actually remained in focus.



2 comments:

French Fancy said...

Oh I feel so excited on your behalf but I do admire what you are doing - keeping it low and not thinking about it all the time, just in case it doesn't happen. I reckon this is 'your house' though and when you get it you must let me send you a super-duper card (don't worry I'm not a stalker, although obviously if I were then I wouldn't admit it)

love the bird, get a bird and teach it French

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh, EXCELLENT idea, FF. D does like the talkers -- we spent some time last night looking at websites that described different types of birds and rated their speaking abilities. Who knows, a bird may be in our future. Though if we get one, a cat will be out of the question for the rest of our lives. These kinds of birds have lifespans of 50 years in some cases!

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Negotiations

A lot has happened in the last week.

When I landed in Seattle on Friday, I didn't have much planned -- just a lunch date with D and then an afternoon of grading before officially starting spring break. Then I checked my e-mail and discovered that the house at the top of our list of places to watch had dropped its price by a tidy sum.

D and I were intending to put together an offer for the No. 2 house on our list (in terms of size, it didn't look like it would last us as long, but the price was better in comparison before the change on the other house). We weren't quite ready to make a decision on lenders at the end of my last visit, but D's done a lot of research since then and we had our choices narrowed down. So when the price drop came through, we decided to act on that house right away -- we figured we probably weren't the only ones watching and waiting.

We spent the weekend getting all our paperwork in order and put in a bid on Sunday. As we predicted, a competing offer was submitted Monday morning by someone else, so D and I did some thinking and decided we'd give the owners a price cap in the looming bidding war and then wait out the rest of the day (our deadline for a response was 9 p.m. our time). About ten minutes before our offer was to expire, we got a call from our realtor, who told us that the other offer had been withdrawn and that the owners had a counteroffer for us.

It turns out the owners were only willing to budge a tiny amount -- so we decided this morning to make an offer -- a final one -- at the value of our price cap in the bidding war that never happened. We've done our homework and know it's a reasonable price. So we shall see what happens next.

(Yes, I'm deliberately keeping this post as neutral as possible until we have more information. There's all kinds of back story that can't be posted until this is over.)

On a subject I can safely emote on, we took care of a Quaker parakeet named Sammy this weekend for a friend of D's who had to be out of town, and now I'm smitten. I know I said I wanted a kitty, but this bird leaves me seriously torn about what kind of pet to get.

I think what was so appealing about Sammy was his curiosity and his response to our attention. We really had to work to earn his trust, but that was what made the (brief) relationship we cultivated with him so rewarding. He was pretty nippy at first (chomping hard enough to break the skin), but we understood that he was in an unfamiliar environment and felt leery of us. So we worked on him with pieces of celery offered through the bars of his cage until he calmed down. Eventually, he was willing to climb onto D's arm without drawing blood. He still tried to bite anything that moved suddenly (sometimes our hands, trying to brush his beak away from our necks, which he liked to nip), but he got comfortable enough with us that he would perch on our shoulders and chirp back to us when we whistled and offered him treats.

Sammy's owner lets him loose at home most of the time, so as he grew to trust us, we started taking him out of his cage more and more, which he liked. We figured out that TV excited him -- he started shrieking at the people talking on the screen and darted back and forth on D's arms and shoulders (pausing only briefly to groom D, which included yanking out some of D's chin stubble!). The real breakthrough, though, was when we turned on some music. D had noticed before that Sammy got talkative listening to the dishwasher at his owner's apartment, which has a rhythmic thump to it when the arm spins. So we found an internet radio station that plays techno/dance and turned up the speakers. Immediately, Sammy started chattering away, spouting random phrases including "Good boy," "Pretty birdie," and "Here, kitty kitty kitty"(!).

It was great fun watching D interact with Sammy -- D had an African grey parrot and a Nanday conure when he was a kid, so I imagine this weekend brought back good memories for him. We spent part of Saturday evening giving Sammy some playtime, and I managed to get some pictures. Here are the ones that actually remained in focus.



2 comments:

French Fancy said...

Oh I feel so excited on your behalf but I do admire what you are doing - keeping it low and not thinking about it all the time, just in case it doesn't happen. I reckon this is 'your house' though and when you get it you must let me send you a super-duper card (don't worry I'm not a stalker, although obviously if I were then I wouldn't admit it)

love the bird, get a bird and teach it French

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh, EXCELLENT idea, FF. D does like the talkers -- we spent some time last night looking at websites that described different types of birds and rated their speaking abilities. Who knows, a bird may be in our future. Though if we get one, a cat will be out of the question for the rest of our lives. These kinds of birds have lifespans of 50 years in some cases!