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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, July 4, 2009

Three years

Next week, D and I will mark our third wedding anniversary -- but from opposite coasts of North America. He's going to be here working while I'm in Newfoundland for my cousin's wedding. How are we going to remedy missing this day together?

By celebrating during this entire holiday weekend, of course.

D got yesterday off, so we started the festivities by having a lunch date in the darling neighborhood called Queen Anne just north of downtown Seattle. D had been up there once or twice before but I hadn't had the chance to explore it.

First stop: The 5 Spot, a little diner off the main drag. The place was well recommended on various websites I'd peeked at. The interior looked quite busy when we arrived and was kind of noisy, but the menu promised tasty rewards. Imagine our delight when we got shown to a separate room at the rear of the restaurant away from the crowds with a view of a private patio garden!

The entire patio was surrounded by a brick wall, mounted with metal lamps at the top edge and a small birdbath below. The primary showpiece in the garden was a gorgeous Japanese maple, and the sunlight streaming through its leaves cast an especially soft light through the picture window next to our table -- a lovely filter for what's usually pretty strong sun at noon:



We took our time ordering, ultimately deciding on a steak sandwich with shoestring fries and a hearty stout for D and a smoked salmon and field greens salad with avocado, caramelized onions, lime vinaigrette, and herbed crostini for me. Everything was so good that we're going to try to reproduce both dishes in the near future (minus the beer -- we haven't tried out home-brewing yet).

After the last bites were gone, we wandered the neighborhood, checking out the boutiques and the local market. The latter had lots of starter plants to give us ideas for our own patio garden. Perhaps some succulents or some herbs? Maybe even a strawberry patch for next summer? That will probably require a corner of the yard itself. We've been sampling the local produce, and there's no substitute for fresh-picked fruit -- the berries shipped from other places tend to be picked prematurely and gas-ripened, so they lack flavor. I have a feeling we're going to be spoiled by all the goodies in season during these warm months! We already have plans to go to the farmers' market in a different area today. Have to take advantage of it while it lasts ...

We also stopped at a store that had beautifully glazed pottery on display. I fell in love with a set of six salad bowls -- they were celadon green at the center, fading to ecru at the rim -- but we decided to wait to buy them; D pointed out that the color was only inside and would be prettier outside too. We have plans to go pottery painting as it is on Sunday (which we discovered during our first winter here), so now that we have some inspiration, we might try to do something similar in design.

Time to head out -- but stay tuned! We have more neat discoveries to share.

3 comments:

French Fancy said...

how strong-willed you must be to sit opposite someone eating French Fries and not yearn for some. However your salad and crostini sound delicious. The venue sounded great and what a shame you are apart again - but only for a little while this time

Good Enough Woman said...

Congratulations on your three years! And your celebration time sounds lovely. Are you going to show us some of the pottery you painted?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF -- I can still have a few. The salad was plenty, though!

GEW -- Thanks. We will indeed have pictures (before and after) of the pottery. The pieces should be ready for us to pick up this weekend.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Three years

Next week, D and I will mark our third wedding anniversary -- but from opposite coasts of North America. He's going to be here working while I'm in Newfoundland for my cousin's wedding. How are we going to remedy missing this day together?

By celebrating during this entire holiday weekend, of course.

D got yesterday off, so we started the festivities by having a lunch date in the darling neighborhood called Queen Anne just north of downtown Seattle. D had been up there once or twice before but I hadn't had the chance to explore it.

First stop: The 5 Spot, a little diner off the main drag. The place was well recommended on various websites I'd peeked at. The interior looked quite busy when we arrived and was kind of noisy, but the menu promised tasty rewards. Imagine our delight when we got shown to a separate room at the rear of the restaurant away from the crowds with a view of a private patio garden!

The entire patio was surrounded by a brick wall, mounted with metal lamps at the top edge and a small birdbath below. The primary showpiece in the garden was a gorgeous Japanese maple, and the sunlight streaming through its leaves cast an especially soft light through the picture window next to our table -- a lovely filter for what's usually pretty strong sun at noon:



We took our time ordering, ultimately deciding on a steak sandwich with shoestring fries and a hearty stout for D and a smoked salmon and field greens salad with avocado, caramelized onions, lime vinaigrette, and herbed crostini for me. Everything was so good that we're going to try to reproduce both dishes in the near future (minus the beer -- we haven't tried out home-brewing yet).

After the last bites were gone, we wandered the neighborhood, checking out the boutiques and the local market. The latter had lots of starter plants to give us ideas for our own patio garden. Perhaps some succulents or some herbs? Maybe even a strawberry patch for next summer? That will probably require a corner of the yard itself. We've been sampling the local produce, and there's no substitute for fresh-picked fruit -- the berries shipped from other places tend to be picked prematurely and gas-ripened, so they lack flavor. I have a feeling we're going to be spoiled by all the goodies in season during these warm months! We already have plans to go to the farmers' market in a different area today. Have to take advantage of it while it lasts ...

We also stopped at a store that had beautifully glazed pottery on display. I fell in love with a set of six salad bowls -- they were celadon green at the center, fading to ecru at the rim -- but we decided to wait to buy them; D pointed out that the color was only inside and would be prettier outside too. We have plans to go pottery painting as it is on Sunday (which we discovered during our first winter here), so now that we have some inspiration, we might try to do something similar in design.

Time to head out -- but stay tuned! We have more neat discoveries to share.

3 comments:

French Fancy said...

how strong-willed you must be to sit opposite someone eating French Fries and not yearn for some. However your salad and crostini sound delicious. The venue sounded great and what a shame you are apart again - but only for a little while this time

Good Enough Woman said...

Congratulations on your three years! And your celebration time sounds lovely. Are you going to show us some of the pottery you painted?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF -- I can still have a few. The salad was plenty, though!

GEW -- Thanks. We will indeed have pictures (before and after) of the pottery. The pieces should be ready for us to pick up this weekend.