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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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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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Color me excited

Over the last few days, D and I have been working on the house, primarily getting the kitchen in order as that's where the most activity tends to happen while we're home. (As I'm typing this, I have a roasted red pepper sauce reducing on the stove for the next hour.) We cleared out the last of the kitchen items from our apartment and brought them back last night, so we're ready to fit my things in the remaining space once they arrive in a few weeks. And in probably four more car trips, we'll have the apartment totally empty.

The next project we're contemplating is painting our new place. The walls have seen some better days, and at the moment, every single room is the same color -- beige, as in the exact shade that comes in the Crayola box -- with the exception of the two extra bedrooms, which are Wal-Mart blue and Pepto-Bismol pink. Needless to say, we're eager to change this.

We found some neat websites that allow you to "paint" virtual spaces (generic images of kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms) with different colors so you can try out their effects. Basically, you just click and drag colors from a virtual palette -- nicely organized into reds, greens, yellows, etc., for easy reference -- into the scene provided. It's like a high-tech version of paint by numbers.

One program we tried even gives you the RGB values so you can reproduce the colors in any graphics program on a computer. So, armed with the numbers, I mocked up my own electronic paint chips to test around the house. The colors won't be identical to what comes out of the cans, but at least I can hold up my monitor against the comforter on our bed and say "Maybe?" -- or "Not even close."

What's a little baffling is how deceptive color is in small scale. What looks great painted on a virtual room -- covering the walls in their entirety, mind you, but limited to an image no more than 6" by 6" -- immediately looks overwhelming once you try to envision it in a full-size space. So I keep finding colors I think I love but then as soon as I test them out in human dimensions, I realize they're too intense. I think I've figured out a strategy, though: examine the color that looks good in miniature and then go to the section of the virtual palette categorized as "whites." The shades here are actually tinted (subtly) in hues that are like super-diluted versions of the colors from other parts of the palette. So far, I've been able to find the large-scale equivalents of what I've been testing online.

For the master bedroom:


The top row is what looked good in the virtual room. The bottom row contains options we might actually use. We have no headboard yet, so the only thing to worry about is the bed linens, which can be seen in the second picture from this post. Pretty?

And then for the kitchen and guest bedroom:


Again, the top row was good in miniature; the bottom row is what may work out in real life. I'm particularly leaning toward something close to the color at bottom right. The kitchen has warm woods for the cabinets, a slate tile floor with hints of green in it, and granite counters in a mainly flax color with veins of espresso, burgundy, and dark moss. The guest bedroom will have the red and gold comforter D's been using while I've been gone, which can be seen in this post.

Lastly, for the library, since it's a small room, we're thinking we'll be bold and try the green at the center of the top row in the palette above. Most of the furniture in that space will be white, and there will be throw pillows in mocha and pale pink.

The living room is proving to be more difficult to envision since its walls have the most square footage, transitioning into a stairway and two separate halls. D is also still deliberating on what color he wants for his office. More news as we narrow down our ideas! And certainly news when we actually get started painting. That won't happen for a while because of all our summer goings-on, but come September ...

5 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Very fun! I say "go for it!" with the color. Easy for me to say, right? I like the color you're thinking of for the library. As for the blues, they are beautiful, and I be even the light blues will probably be beautifully cooling in the bedroom. Makes me want to paint my house. Wait, let me rephrase. Makes me want to pick out new colors for my house that someone else can apply.

Bev said...

I'm drooling, both over the house and over your brief discussion on color. Very Seattle-colored :)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW -- I am totally intimidated by the idea of painting my own walls, definitely wishing we could hire someone to take care of it! But we do want to avoid the expense if we can, and there are great tutorials on professional paint vendors' sites explaining exactly what we're supposed to do (down to the brushstrokes). So I guess this will be a new adventure ... ?

Bev -- I need your decorator's eye for the living room! Consultation? :)

French Fancy said...

I've missed you but as you probably saw I'm on a blogging holiday. I couldn't even read your post because I've read so much text lately my eyes hurt. But I have thought about you and wondered how you were getting on.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF, lovely to hear from you. Hope you're doing all right and that your exams will be over in short order so you can relax. I, too, have been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog since I've been traveling without internet access. Am grabbing a few minutes at a cafe for now and looking forward to having a routine again in a week.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Color me excited

Over the last few days, D and I have been working on the house, primarily getting the kitchen in order as that's where the most activity tends to happen while we're home. (As I'm typing this, I have a roasted red pepper sauce reducing on the stove for the next hour.) We cleared out the last of the kitchen items from our apartment and brought them back last night, so we're ready to fit my things in the remaining space once they arrive in a few weeks. And in probably four more car trips, we'll have the apartment totally empty.

The next project we're contemplating is painting our new place. The walls have seen some better days, and at the moment, every single room is the same color -- beige, as in the exact shade that comes in the Crayola box -- with the exception of the two extra bedrooms, which are Wal-Mart blue and Pepto-Bismol pink. Needless to say, we're eager to change this.

We found some neat websites that allow you to "paint" virtual spaces (generic images of kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms) with different colors so you can try out their effects. Basically, you just click and drag colors from a virtual palette -- nicely organized into reds, greens, yellows, etc., for easy reference -- into the scene provided. It's like a high-tech version of paint by numbers.

One program we tried even gives you the RGB values so you can reproduce the colors in any graphics program on a computer. So, armed with the numbers, I mocked up my own electronic paint chips to test around the house. The colors won't be identical to what comes out of the cans, but at least I can hold up my monitor against the comforter on our bed and say "Maybe?" -- or "Not even close."

What's a little baffling is how deceptive color is in small scale. What looks great painted on a virtual room -- covering the walls in their entirety, mind you, but limited to an image no more than 6" by 6" -- immediately looks overwhelming once you try to envision it in a full-size space. So I keep finding colors I think I love but then as soon as I test them out in human dimensions, I realize they're too intense. I think I've figured out a strategy, though: examine the color that looks good in miniature and then go to the section of the virtual palette categorized as "whites." The shades here are actually tinted (subtly) in hues that are like super-diluted versions of the colors from other parts of the palette. So far, I've been able to find the large-scale equivalents of what I've been testing online.

For the master bedroom:


The top row is what looked good in the virtual room. The bottom row contains options we might actually use. We have no headboard yet, so the only thing to worry about is the bed linens, which can be seen in the second picture from this post. Pretty?

And then for the kitchen and guest bedroom:


Again, the top row was good in miniature; the bottom row is what may work out in real life. I'm particularly leaning toward something close to the color at bottom right. The kitchen has warm woods for the cabinets, a slate tile floor with hints of green in it, and granite counters in a mainly flax color with veins of espresso, burgundy, and dark moss. The guest bedroom will have the red and gold comforter D's been using while I've been gone, which can be seen in this post.

Lastly, for the library, since it's a small room, we're thinking we'll be bold and try the green at the center of the top row in the palette above. Most of the furniture in that space will be white, and there will be throw pillows in mocha and pale pink.

The living room is proving to be more difficult to envision since its walls have the most square footage, transitioning into a stairway and two separate halls. D is also still deliberating on what color he wants for his office. More news as we narrow down our ideas! And certainly news when we actually get started painting. That won't happen for a while because of all our summer goings-on, but come September ...

5 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Very fun! I say "go for it!" with the color. Easy for me to say, right? I like the color you're thinking of for the library. As for the blues, they are beautiful, and I be even the light blues will probably be beautifully cooling in the bedroom. Makes me want to paint my house. Wait, let me rephrase. Makes me want to pick out new colors for my house that someone else can apply.

Bev said...

I'm drooling, both over the house and over your brief discussion on color. Very Seattle-colored :)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW -- I am totally intimidated by the idea of painting my own walls, definitely wishing we could hire someone to take care of it! But we do want to avoid the expense if we can, and there are great tutorials on professional paint vendors' sites explaining exactly what we're supposed to do (down to the brushstrokes). So I guess this will be a new adventure ... ?

Bev -- I need your decorator's eye for the living room! Consultation? :)

French Fancy said...

I've missed you but as you probably saw I'm on a blogging holiday. I couldn't even read your post because I've read so much text lately my eyes hurt. But I have thought about you and wondered how you were getting on.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF, lovely to hear from you. Hope you're doing all right and that your exams will be over in short order so you can relax. I, too, have been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog since I've been traveling without internet access. Am grabbing a few minutes at a cafe for now and looking forward to having a routine again in a week.