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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.

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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Nesting?


Why, yes, we are.

Having family around didn't deter us from working on our place last week -- in fact, it was all we could do to keep D's dad from making yet another run to the hardware store (it's one of his favorite places, it seems) as we thought of various tasks we wanted to tackle while the weather was good and the manpower willing. As a result, the gutters are now cleaned, the wasp nests are gone from beneath the eaves, the trees and bushes are pruned, and only one carload of our belongings remains in our apartment.

While D worked on tidying the outside of the house and moving as much as possible from our other address, I worked on putting things away. I think my biggest accomplishment was getting the closet in our room organized. Until three days ago, it was a chaotic catch-all with clothes flung in piles on the shelves and floor, mostly because we'd been focusing our attention on the rooms the family would be occupying while they were in town.

The nice thing was that even with four extra people in the house, there was plenty of space for everyone, both public and private -- unlike the time when D's parents, aunt, and three brothers came to visit us two weeks after we got back from our honeymoon. I believe we even had guests camped out on the floor of our bedroom that time. Talk about having to get comfortable with your new in-laws right away ...

Our visitors have gone now, and I have exactly one week before I'm traveling again, this time for a visit to my grandmother and a cousin's wedding. I wish I could have a few more days at home as I still don't feel like I have a routine here yet. The structure of each day has been drastically different, given the continuing move process, and that's made it difficult to establish regular work hours for my thesis. More on that front soon -- I've finished another book on the reading list, just haven't gotten to reflect on it properly yet.

One thing D and I have been able to keep routine is breakfast, thank goodness. And now that we're no longer limited by a shortage of cabinet space in the kitchen, we've been able to use the dishes we'd previously had to keep in storage, like the adorable egg cups from Almost Dr. Sis in the photo above. I love them -- the only challenge is bopping the eggs they hold. How can you whack something on its pate (much less scoop out its innards) when it's made to look as if its cute little feet are sticking out at you?

Well, D seemed to have no trouble.


We're looking forward to giving you a virtual tour once we've gotten our place completely in order. In the meantime, here's another nominee for the One Lovely Blog award, in keeping with the rest of this post: decor8, written by Holly Becker. So many ideas to consider ...

6 comments:

Bev said...

I wholly approve of your choice of brown eggs; they look so much nicer in the white cups. However, at school, of course, I wasn't about to trust the dining hall dishwasher with my egg cup every morning, so one lazy Saturday I had breakfast with it...until I get my own kitchen, they'll be holding bobby pins, eye drops, and lip balm in a neat row on my shelf. I can't wait until I'm there to nest with you!!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Awww ... so creative, Bev.

Squeeeeeeeee can't wait till you visit!!!! Though I may be loath to do any painting then as we'll have just gotten everything in place and I'm so not looking forward to moving it OUT again to put down drop cloths, etc. Maybe we'll just go on a paint sample hunt and put possibilities on the wall for further contemplation? :)

French Fancy said...

Fancy a newly married couple being inundated with family members - your inlaws do make me worry for you

Love the egg cup

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF, it was definitely an adjustment! Every family is different, I suppose. I think I convinced D after that visit that it wasn't practical to have so many people in such a small space. It's one thing when it's just your family on vacation in a hotel room for a few days (that's what he and his folks have usually done). But now that we're our own family unit, the boundaries for privacy are (necessarily) shifting. I sensed we wouldn't reach that understanding, though, without that trial run ...

Also, now that we've got other actual bedrooms for people to sleep in, I'm guessing we won't run into such a situation again.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Too funny about the egg with legs... though if were hungry, I wouldn't hesitate too long before cracking it open! And gorgeous photos, btw.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

CM, thanks for stopping by! I guess you must have found me from your page. Love your blog (as the next post says)!

D and I are quite the egg fans. We've just never seen any that could (theoretically) run away ...

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Nesting?


Why, yes, we are.

Having family around didn't deter us from working on our place last week -- in fact, it was all we could do to keep D's dad from making yet another run to the hardware store (it's one of his favorite places, it seems) as we thought of various tasks we wanted to tackle while the weather was good and the manpower willing. As a result, the gutters are now cleaned, the wasp nests are gone from beneath the eaves, the trees and bushes are pruned, and only one carload of our belongings remains in our apartment.

While D worked on tidying the outside of the house and moving as much as possible from our other address, I worked on putting things away. I think my biggest accomplishment was getting the closet in our room organized. Until three days ago, it was a chaotic catch-all with clothes flung in piles on the shelves and floor, mostly because we'd been focusing our attention on the rooms the family would be occupying while they were in town.

The nice thing was that even with four extra people in the house, there was plenty of space for everyone, both public and private -- unlike the time when D's parents, aunt, and three brothers came to visit us two weeks after we got back from our honeymoon. I believe we even had guests camped out on the floor of our bedroom that time. Talk about having to get comfortable with your new in-laws right away ...

Our visitors have gone now, and I have exactly one week before I'm traveling again, this time for a visit to my grandmother and a cousin's wedding. I wish I could have a few more days at home as I still don't feel like I have a routine here yet. The structure of each day has been drastically different, given the continuing move process, and that's made it difficult to establish regular work hours for my thesis. More on that front soon -- I've finished another book on the reading list, just haven't gotten to reflect on it properly yet.

One thing D and I have been able to keep routine is breakfast, thank goodness. And now that we're no longer limited by a shortage of cabinet space in the kitchen, we've been able to use the dishes we'd previously had to keep in storage, like the adorable egg cups from Almost Dr. Sis in the photo above. I love them -- the only challenge is bopping the eggs they hold. How can you whack something on its pate (much less scoop out its innards) when it's made to look as if its cute little feet are sticking out at you?

Well, D seemed to have no trouble.


We're looking forward to giving you a virtual tour once we've gotten our place completely in order. In the meantime, here's another nominee for the One Lovely Blog award, in keeping with the rest of this post: decor8, written by Holly Becker. So many ideas to consider ...

6 comments:

Bev said...

I wholly approve of your choice of brown eggs; they look so much nicer in the white cups. However, at school, of course, I wasn't about to trust the dining hall dishwasher with my egg cup every morning, so one lazy Saturday I had breakfast with it...until I get my own kitchen, they'll be holding bobby pins, eye drops, and lip balm in a neat row on my shelf. I can't wait until I'm there to nest with you!!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Awww ... so creative, Bev.

Squeeeeeeeee can't wait till you visit!!!! Though I may be loath to do any painting then as we'll have just gotten everything in place and I'm so not looking forward to moving it OUT again to put down drop cloths, etc. Maybe we'll just go on a paint sample hunt and put possibilities on the wall for further contemplation? :)

French Fancy said...

Fancy a newly married couple being inundated with family members - your inlaws do make me worry for you

Love the egg cup

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF, it was definitely an adjustment! Every family is different, I suppose. I think I convinced D after that visit that it wasn't practical to have so many people in such a small space. It's one thing when it's just your family on vacation in a hotel room for a few days (that's what he and his folks have usually done). But now that we're our own family unit, the boundaries for privacy are (necessarily) shifting. I sensed we wouldn't reach that understanding, though, without that trial run ...

Also, now that we've got other actual bedrooms for people to sleep in, I'm guessing we won't run into such a situation again.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Too funny about the egg with legs... though if were hungry, I wouldn't hesitate too long before cracking it open! And gorgeous photos, btw.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

CM, thanks for stopping by! I guess you must have found me from your page. Love your blog (as the next post says)!

D and I are quite the egg fans. We've just never seen any that could (theoretically) run away ...