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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, September 12, 2009

A restorative weekend

The title says it all: our stay at the B&B was bliss.

D and I were there for only one night, but the place was so tranquil and relaxing that you would have thought we'd been there for three by the time we left. The inn itself is a converted 1920s farmhouse with all renovations done by the couple that runs the place -- including the refinished woodwork, lighting, updated kitchens and baths, and a second floor addition. The grounds were also completely transformed by them from dry, open fields to shady tree-lined expanses of grass surrounding a sizable duck pond and antique barn. The whole place was clearly a labor of love -- it's been hosting guests for just over one year but it took seven to bring it all to fruition.

We weren't able to check in until after 3 p.m., so before that, we got lunch at the local greasy spoon and then went to a pick-your-own vegetables produce farm (one of many in the area). More on that later; it deserves its own post.

We also checked out several wineries. Most had free tastings, and one even offered special nibbles (as well as, more importantly, the recipes for them) to pair with what was on the pour list. We had a lovely time talking with the people running the tastings (especially here) -- no wine snobbery, just fun and interesting chit-chat about the region, tourism, and the ins and outs of running a family business.

We got to the B&B in the early evening, which gave us time to go for a leisurely walk around the duck pond before dinner and take a few photos as the sun was beginning to set. D also scoped out places he wanted to return to in the morning for more pictures. Here are some of the shots we ended up with.

First, the outdoor seating. These spots have a view of the gardens and apple trees at the back of the house. When we arrived, the owner had votives burning in hurricane lamps by every cluster of chairs, which set a lovely mood.




The duck pond is a short stroll from the house in a field surrounded by a rustic wood fence covered in roses.





On the other side of the inn, an old barn houses curios and antique machinery. My favorite item is the little wooden horse in the loft.



I'll close with my favorite shot, an old wheelbarrow we found hidden among some purple sage. I think this sort of embodied the aura of the whole place: a retreat from time at its usual pace, a sanctuary in tune with the land it's built upon, a home that's both luxurious and lived-in. The idea of work isn't hidden here -- you see and appreciate the effort that goes into creating such a beautiful space, the not quite nine decades of history that have given it its charm -- so the rest you take in its presence is that much richer.


We'll definitely keep this on our list of favorite getaway destinations -- perhaps a return visit in the spring once the thesis is done. It'll be a good way to celebrate a year of hard but hopefully worthwhile work.

4 comments:

French Fancy said...

It sounds and looks like a gorgeous place. Just what you both wanted after all these family commitments you have had lately

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Indeed, FF, and just in time -- D is picking up more family from the airport at this very moment! I think this is the last round for a few weeks, though.

Good Enough Woman said...

It's beautiful! So glad you had such a nice time. It looks SO relaxing.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I can't remember when in my adult life I've been more relaxed, GEW. It was a bizarre sensation, in some ways!

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

A restorative weekend

The title says it all: our stay at the B&B was bliss.

D and I were there for only one night, but the place was so tranquil and relaxing that you would have thought we'd been there for three by the time we left. The inn itself is a converted 1920s farmhouse with all renovations done by the couple that runs the place -- including the refinished woodwork, lighting, updated kitchens and baths, and a second floor addition. The grounds were also completely transformed by them from dry, open fields to shady tree-lined expanses of grass surrounding a sizable duck pond and antique barn. The whole place was clearly a labor of love -- it's been hosting guests for just over one year but it took seven to bring it all to fruition.

We weren't able to check in until after 3 p.m., so before that, we got lunch at the local greasy spoon and then went to a pick-your-own vegetables produce farm (one of many in the area). More on that later; it deserves its own post.

We also checked out several wineries. Most had free tastings, and one even offered special nibbles (as well as, more importantly, the recipes for them) to pair with what was on the pour list. We had a lovely time talking with the people running the tastings (especially here) -- no wine snobbery, just fun and interesting chit-chat about the region, tourism, and the ins and outs of running a family business.

We got to the B&B in the early evening, which gave us time to go for a leisurely walk around the duck pond before dinner and take a few photos as the sun was beginning to set. D also scoped out places he wanted to return to in the morning for more pictures. Here are some of the shots we ended up with.

First, the outdoor seating. These spots have a view of the gardens and apple trees at the back of the house. When we arrived, the owner had votives burning in hurricane lamps by every cluster of chairs, which set a lovely mood.




The duck pond is a short stroll from the house in a field surrounded by a rustic wood fence covered in roses.





On the other side of the inn, an old barn houses curios and antique machinery. My favorite item is the little wooden horse in the loft.



I'll close with my favorite shot, an old wheelbarrow we found hidden among some purple sage. I think this sort of embodied the aura of the whole place: a retreat from time at its usual pace, a sanctuary in tune with the land it's built upon, a home that's both luxurious and lived-in. The idea of work isn't hidden here -- you see and appreciate the effort that goes into creating such a beautiful space, the not quite nine decades of history that have given it its charm -- so the rest you take in its presence is that much richer.


We'll definitely keep this on our list of favorite getaway destinations -- perhaps a return visit in the spring once the thesis is done. It'll be a good way to celebrate a year of hard but hopefully worthwhile work.

4 comments:

French Fancy said...

It sounds and looks like a gorgeous place. Just what you both wanted after all these family commitments you have had lately

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Indeed, FF, and just in time -- D is picking up more family from the airport at this very moment! I think this is the last round for a few weeks, though.

Good Enough Woman said...

It's beautiful! So glad you had such a nice time. It looks SO relaxing.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I can't remember when in my adult life I've been more relaxed, GEW. It was a bizarre sensation, in some ways!