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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Treading new ground

Last weekend, D and I decided to clear out a good portion of the little garden at the side of our house to make room for some new plants. We originally had only the four iris bulbs we'd been keeping in pots, but an impromptu trip to a nursery with Troubadour Mom and Newly Graduated Sis on the Sunday before that convinced us to get more residents for our flower beds.

We went out to Whidbey Island on a whim -- NG Sis hadn't been on any of the Seattle ferries yet and we hadn't explored Whidbey, so it seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The nursery was a quick pick from a Washington guidebook (we knew it happened to be open on Sunday but didn't have a lot of other information), and it turned out to be an excellent stop.

Chocolate Flower Farm is a little niche nursery toward the south end of the island, specializing in flowers and other plants in deep maroon hues, from chocolate dahlias and chocolate sunflowers to chocolate cherry tomatoes and chocolate corn (in color only, not flavor!). We wandered through the display garden, which intersperses flowers of other warm shades among the main attractions.



Top and center photos by Newly Graduated Sis

We were very tempted to get some lavender to create a border along the walk leading to our front door. There were at least three varieties, all of which smelled delicious. In the end, though, D picked out a salpiglossis flower (didn't get a shot of it in the garden itself, but the link offers a good image from the nursery website). We figured we'd try our luck with a less expensive plant before committing to a dozen or more seedlings, especially given our recent wild weather.

Our plan this past weekend was just to decide where to put the salpiglossis -- it's supposedly self-sowing, so we wanted to give it a home where it could have space to spread. But once we started looking around, we got distracted by the raggedy shrubs, overgrown ground cover, and dead ornamental grasses crowding the flower beds, which had probably been neglected by the previous owner for a few seasons. Out came the spade and pruning shears, and several hours later, we'd transplanted two bushes (I think they're yews?) and uprooted four others deemed too unattractive to keep (the species looks moribund, but their yellowed, drooping leaves are normal, from what we've seen on well-maintained public grounds). I also tried my hand at giving a laceleaf Japanese maple a much-needed trim -- it was beginning to look like Sweetums (of Muppet fame) -- while D ripped out masses of unidentified creeping vines. The salpiglossis eventually found a home near the front walk.

Of course, with all the newly bared earth at our disposal, we couldn't help wanting to fill it with beautiful things, so our one new acquisition will be joined by an order of tulips and lilies in the fall, which we bought here. The irises will go into the beds this weekend and we'll remove the last of the dead bushes (there are six remaining), weather permitting. Now if we can just find the valve that feeds the sprinkler system, we'll be in good shape ...

After growing up in hot climates, I never thought I would enjoy gardening, but this new project (in normal Seattle summer temperatures) is undeniably fun.

6 comments:

Sherlock said...

Gorgeous pictures! It's fun to plan new landscaping. I can't wait to see photos of the finished product!!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Me too, Sherlock! Though that may mean waiting until next spring. Not much to see at the moment except the absence of plants. But it's way better than what was there before :).

French Fancy said...

When one is in the right mood there is nothing as satisfying as gardening. You sound like you are having a great time doing up the house and the outside - this is a good time for you.

I clicked on the link to the nursery - it looked so pretty. We have nothing really open here on a Sunday - well apart from churches and bars, but then that is rural France for you

Contemporary Troubadour said...

The nursery was really beautiful, FF. You could tell it was a labor of love too -- we got to meet the owner, who was out there on that late afternoon working away happily with her dog at her side.

We are indeed having a great time with the house and our own garden -- it's drawing me away from the academic work I should be doing!

Good Enough Woman said...

Beautiful photos, CT! They make we want to abandon my dissertation (to an even greater degree) and work on the yard (even more). And isn't it GREAT to work outside in temperate weather?! I was just saying so to my husband. Here on the Central Coast of CA, the weather is often foggy. If not, it's likely breezy. At most, it's around 72. I can work outside. I can exercise. Things I don't think I would do if temps got over 77.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I am definitely a temps-under-80 kind of girl, GEW! Love it, love it, love it up here, even when it rains. Glad you like the photos -- D actually took the uncredited ones this time. We share so much time behind the lens that it doesn't make sense to put names on our separate work anymore.

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

Friday, August 21, 2009

Treading new ground

Last weekend, D and I decided to clear out a good portion of the little garden at the side of our house to make room for some new plants. We originally had only the four iris bulbs we'd been keeping in pots, but an impromptu trip to a nursery with Troubadour Mom and Newly Graduated Sis on the Sunday before that convinced us to get more residents for our flower beds.

We went out to Whidbey Island on a whim -- NG Sis hadn't been on any of the Seattle ferries yet and we hadn't explored Whidbey, so it seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The nursery was a quick pick from a Washington guidebook (we knew it happened to be open on Sunday but didn't have a lot of other information), and it turned out to be an excellent stop.

Chocolate Flower Farm is a little niche nursery toward the south end of the island, specializing in flowers and other plants in deep maroon hues, from chocolate dahlias and chocolate sunflowers to chocolate cherry tomatoes and chocolate corn (in color only, not flavor!). We wandered through the display garden, which intersperses flowers of other warm shades among the main attractions.



Top and center photos by Newly Graduated Sis

We were very tempted to get some lavender to create a border along the walk leading to our front door. There were at least three varieties, all of which smelled delicious. In the end, though, D picked out a salpiglossis flower (didn't get a shot of it in the garden itself, but the link offers a good image from the nursery website). We figured we'd try our luck with a less expensive plant before committing to a dozen or more seedlings, especially given our recent wild weather.

Our plan this past weekend was just to decide where to put the salpiglossis -- it's supposedly self-sowing, so we wanted to give it a home where it could have space to spread. But once we started looking around, we got distracted by the raggedy shrubs, overgrown ground cover, and dead ornamental grasses crowding the flower beds, which had probably been neglected by the previous owner for a few seasons. Out came the spade and pruning shears, and several hours later, we'd transplanted two bushes (I think they're yews?) and uprooted four others deemed too unattractive to keep (the species looks moribund, but their yellowed, drooping leaves are normal, from what we've seen on well-maintained public grounds). I also tried my hand at giving a laceleaf Japanese maple a much-needed trim -- it was beginning to look like Sweetums (of Muppet fame) -- while D ripped out masses of unidentified creeping vines. The salpiglossis eventually found a home near the front walk.

Of course, with all the newly bared earth at our disposal, we couldn't help wanting to fill it with beautiful things, so our one new acquisition will be joined by an order of tulips and lilies in the fall, which we bought here. The irises will go into the beds this weekend and we'll remove the last of the dead bushes (there are six remaining), weather permitting. Now if we can just find the valve that feeds the sprinkler system, we'll be in good shape ...

After growing up in hot climates, I never thought I would enjoy gardening, but this new project (in normal Seattle summer temperatures) is undeniably fun.

6 comments:

Sherlock said...

Gorgeous pictures! It's fun to plan new landscaping. I can't wait to see photos of the finished product!!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Me too, Sherlock! Though that may mean waiting until next spring. Not much to see at the moment except the absence of plants. But it's way better than what was there before :).

French Fancy said...

When one is in the right mood there is nothing as satisfying as gardening. You sound like you are having a great time doing up the house and the outside - this is a good time for you.

I clicked on the link to the nursery - it looked so pretty. We have nothing really open here on a Sunday - well apart from churches and bars, but then that is rural France for you

Contemporary Troubadour said...

The nursery was really beautiful, FF. You could tell it was a labor of love too -- we got to meet the owner, who was out there on that late afternoon working away happily with her dog at her side.

We are indeed having a great time with the house and our own garden -- it's drawing me away from the academic work I should be doing!

Good Enough Woman said...

Beautiful photos, CT! They make we want to abandon my dissertation (to an even greater degree) and work on the yard (even more). And isn't it GREAT to work outside in temperate weather?! I was just saying so to my husband. Here on the Central Coast of CA, the weather is often foggy. If not, it's likely breezy. At most, it's around 72. I can work outside. I can exercise. Things I don't think I would do if temps got over 77.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I am definitely a temps-under-80 kind of girl, GEW! Love it, love it, love it up here, even when it rains. Glad you like the photos -- D actually took the uncredited ones this time. We share so much time behind the lens that it doesn't make sense to put names on our separate work anymore.