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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.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A lot of hot air

... is coming our way.

It's been creeping toward us all week and promises to descend into the Pacific Northwest by Sunday. I'm more than a little freaked out -- five straight days of 90-degree highs (as weather.com says).

Now I'm decently hardy; I used to play tennis in this kind of heat for my high school team (typical temps for the start of the school year in the Midwest) and I spent two years in Texas, where it was still this hot in November (try getting in the mood to do your holiday shopping when people are wearing clothes more appropriate for beach barbecues than winter wonderlands). In both locations, though, you are pretty much guaranteed an air conditioner in your house if it was built after 1990 -- no builder would design something without one. Our place, on the other hand, does not have this luxury; most homes in Seattle don't, and in the recent near 90-degree days we've had, getting work done at home has been feasible but miserable.

So yesterday, I headed to Home Depot right after the store opened to pick up a portable air conditioner (we would have gone with a cheaper window unit except that the homeowners' association for our neighborhood forbids them and will fine us more than the cost of said appliance if they catch us with one). When I called beforehand to make sure Home Depot actually had the model I wanted in stock, the person who answered the phone told me that there were 96 of them on the premises at the beginning of the previous day, and that more than half had gone out the door by closing time. So I'm glad I went when I did; today's chances of getting anything look grim.

At the same time, we really didn't want to have to buy a single-room unit as we already have central heating and could have a full-sized air conditioner hooked up to the system, which over time is a better investment. But that would require around $2,000 up front, summer is halfway over, and we'll probably have only one more heat wave before it cools down for good. Plus the likelihood of getting the job done in time for the imminent broiling is very low.

So I guess all this is to say that I'm feeling rather ambivalent about our purchase -- it was certainly justifiable and it was the best solution after D and I did the cost-benefit analysis (a fine on the cheaper window unit would end up putting us over the cost of the portable one), but I still wish it felt less like we were having unnecessary money wrung from our sweaty hands. Whoever prices portable air conditioners must be in cahoots with our homeowners' association.

Would you tough it out sans climate control? Apparently these folks have tried it. They have my admiration, but I just can't bring myself to follow in their footsteps.

2 comments:

French Fancy said...

We're lucky here in Western France that it does not get that hot. Having said that, our first year here (2003) was a record heatwave. It was about 95 for a few weeks and was unrelenting. My elderly dad was living with us and was getting more and more distressed with the heat.

We had fans everywhere and I kept wishing we'd got an aircon unit. We've since got free-standing one, as well as installing an awning to protect the south-facing living room but of course it's been mediocre summers ever since.

I think you did the right thing though - best to be prepared. Eat lots of ice cream (one of my weaknesses)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

We're glad we got the unit too -- we went to an energy fair today, sponsored by the local power company. There were people on hand to talk about energy efficient appliances, and we learned that installing an air conditioner could actually cost us closer to $5,000(!).

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Friday, July 24, 2009

A lot of hot air

... is coming our way.

It's been creeping toward us all week and promises to descend into the Pacific Northwest by Sunday. I'm more than a little freaked out -- five straight days of 90-degree highs (as weather.com says).

Now I'm decently hardy; I used to play tennis in this kind of heat for my high school team (typical temps for the start of the school year in the Midwest) and I spent two years in Texas, where it was still this hot in November (try getting in the mood to do your holiday shopping when people are wearing clothes more appropriate for beach barbecues than winter wonderlands). In both locations, though, you are pretty much guaranteed an air conditioner in your house if it was built after 1990 -- no builder would design something without one. Our place, on the other hand, does not have this luxury; most homes in Seattle don't, and in the recent near 90-degree days we've had, getting work done at home has been feasible but miserable.

So yesterday, I headed to Home Depot right after the store opened to pick up a portable air conditioner (we would have gone with a cheaper window unit except that the homeowners' association for our neighborhood forbids them and will fine us more than the cost of said appliance if they catch us with one). When I called beforehand to make sure Home Depot actually had the model I wanted in stock, the person who answered the phone told me that there were 96 of them on the premises at the beginning of the previous day, and that more than half had gone out the door by closing time. So I'm glad I went when I did; today's chances of getting anything look grim.

At the same time, we really didn't want to have to buy a single-room unit as we already have central heating and could have a full-sized air conditioner hooked up to the system, which over time is a better investment. But that would require around $2,000 up front, summer is halfway over, and we'll probably have only one more heat wave before it cools down for good. Plus the likelihood of getting the job done in time for the imminent broiling is very low.

So I guess all this is to say that I'm feeling rather ambivalent about our purchase -- it was certainly justifiable and it was the best solution after D and I did the cost-benefit analysis (a fine on the cheaper window unit would end up putting us over the cost of the portable one), but I still wish it felt less like we were having unnecessary money wrung from our sweaty hands. Whoever prices portable air conditioners must be in cahoots with our homeowners' association.

Would you tough it out sans climate control? Apparently these folks have tried it. They have my admiration, but I just can't bring myself to follow in their footsteps.

2 comments:

French Fancy said...

We're lucky here in Western France that it does not get that hot. Having said that, our first year here (2003) was a record heatwave. It was about 95 for a few weeks and was unrelenting. My elderly dad was living with us and was getting more and more distressed with the heat.

We had fans everywhere and I kept wishing we'd got an aircon unit. We've since got free-standing one, as well as installing an awning to protect the south-facing living room but of course it's been mediocre summers ever since.

I think you did the right thing though - best to be prepared. Eat lots of ice cream (one of my weaknesses)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

We're glad we got the unit too -- we went to an energy fair today, sponsored by the local power company. There were people on hand to talk about energy efficient appliances, and we learned that installing an air conditioner could actually cost us closer to $5,000(!).