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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.

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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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

And now, back to doing this*

Not totally, but for the time being.

I got a call back from the GI doctor's office a week ago, following up on the abnormal liver enzyme stuff. The good news is that nothing requiring immediate, invasive intervention is necessary. The bad news is that there is no short-term way to address the problem. Basically, for the next seven weeks, I get to abstain from alcohol and all anti-inflammatory meds, see what my enzyme levels look like in mid-January, and then reassess the situation. Which means I get to do the craziness of holiday season without the two things I was kind of counting on to help me get through it: good wine to calm my frazzled nerves and painkillers to put the kibosh on tension headaches (family get-togethers involving Troubadour Dad will do those things to a person). Oh, joy!

Oh, help.

I am going to get through this just fine, I assure you, but it may not be pretty. However it goes, I'll try to make it entertaining here. What's a stressful holiday without finding some way to laugh at it?

I will also be indulging myself in very good coffee flavorings for the duration of this no-alcohol thing. Torani, I'm looking at you and all your tasty sugar-free syrups.

* Photo courtesy of Marketing Sis

8 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Oh, CT. I am so sorry that you have to go boozeless.

With the kind of will power and discipline you've had to demonstrate, I'm wondering if you should become a Tibetan Buddhist. Surely, you're already part-way up the path of enlightenment.

Or, it should be good practice for the discipline of writing. I hope.

Hang in there! You can do it!

(My verification word is "immanic.")

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I appreciate your condolences, GEW. I have a feeling, though, that true Tibetan Buddhists would find me utterly unfit to become part of their circle. I have too many replacement vices for the ones I can no longer enjoy ;). Maybe that's why I've been able to deal with having them taken away?

TKW said...

SEVEN weeks with out alcohol???!!!???

Duuuuuuude.

You have nothing but my complete sympathy. At least tell me the doctor had pity on you and prescribed Valium?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Yep, TKW, seven weeks. It was eight starting last Tuesday, but hey, one down already!

:P

I WISH the doctor had offered me Valium. Though the kitty is a nice substitute (so calming to have her asleep on my lap). Unfortunately, she can't come with us during the holidays, and the hope is that she'll get adopted before then.

French Fancy said...

I think it is lack of painkillers that would affect me more than lack of alcohol. I also get tension headaches and sometimes also take pain meds for my back. Oh you poor thing - you can do it, you can do it - just keep brainwashing yourself

Contemporary Troubadour said...

It IS like brainwashing, FF. Maybe I should consider producing a series of self-help CDs to sell! (Not really, I'd just keep repeating, "Get thee to an animal shelter and foster a pet ..." :). I wish I could take one of these darling kitties with me over the holidays. I imagine Poppy and Misty are lovely to have when you're not feeling 100 percent.

Goldfish said...

You have my complete sympathy. Empathy. Was off the booze (not that I'm on it heavily anyway, but still) for four months for medical reasons. And, in practice, it wasn't difficult. But the idea? Horrifying.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi Goldfish! Thanks for stopping by -- am enjoying your blog immensely. You're right, in practice, the non-drinking isn't bad. When not under doctor's restrictions, I actually do just one glass of wine with dinner as it helps with my blood sugar levels. The stress of the holiday season just feels like it warrants more :)

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Monday, November 30, 2009

And now, back to doing this*

Not totally, but for the time being.

I got a call back from the GI doctor's office a week ago, following up on the abnormal liver enzyme stuff. The good news is that nothing requiring immediate, invasive intervention is necessary. The bad news is that there is no short-term way to address the problem. Basically, for the next seven weeks, I get to abstain from alcohol and all anti-inflammatory meds, see what my enzyme levels look like in mid-January, and then reassess the situation. Which means I get to do the craziness of holiday season without the two things I was kind of counting on to help me get through it: good wine to calm my frazzled nerves and painkillers to put the kibosh on tension headaches (family get-togethers involving Troubadour Dad will do those things to a person). Oh, joy!

Oh, help.

I am going to get through this just fine, I assure you, but it may not be pretty. However it goes, I'll try to make it entertaining here. What's a stressful holiday without finding some way to laugh at it?

I will also be indulging myself in very good coffee flavorings for the duration of this no-alcohol thing. Torani, I'm looking at you and all your tasty sugar-free syrups.

* Photo courtesy of Marketing Sis

8 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

Oh, CT. I am so sorry that you have to go boozeless.

With the kind of will power and discipline you've had to demonstrate, I'm wondering if you should become a Tibetan Buddhist. Surely, you're already part-way up the path of enlightenment.

Or, it should be good practice for the discipline of writing. I hope.

Hang in there! You can do it!

(My verification word is "immanic.")

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I appreciate your condolences, GEW. I have a feeling, though, that true Tibetan Buddhists would find me utterly unfit to become part of their circle. I have too many replacement vices for the ones I can no longer enjoy ;). Maybe that's why I've been able to deal with having them taken away?

TKW said...

SEVEN weeks with out alcohol???!!!???

Duuuuuuude.

You have nothing but my complete sympathy. At least tell me the doctor had pity on you and prescribed Valium?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Yep, TKW, seven weeks. It was eight starting last Tuesday, but hey, one down already!

:P

I WISH the doctor had offered me Valium. Though the kitty is a nice substitute (so calming to have her asleep on my lap). Unfortunately, she can't come with us during the holidays, and the hope is that she'll get adopted before then.

French Fancy said...

I think it is lack of painkillers that would affect me more than lack of alcohol. I also get tension headaches and sometimes also take pain meds for my back. Oh you poor thing - you can do it, you can do it - just keep brainwashing yourself

Contemporary Troubadour said...

It IS like brainwashing, FF. Maybe I should consider producing a series of self-help CDs to sell! (Not really, I'd just keep repeating, "Get thee to an animal shelter and foster a pet ..." :). I wish I could take one of these darling kitties with me over the holidays. I imagine Poppy and Misty are lovely to have when you're not feeling 100 percent.

Goldfish said...

You have my complete sympathy. Empathy. Was off the booze (not that I'm on it heavily anyway, but still) for four months for medical reasons. And, in practice, it wasn't difficult. But the idea? Horrifying.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi Goldfish! Thanks for stopping by -- am enjoying your blog immensely. You're right, in practice, the non-drinking isn't bad. When not under doctor's restrictions, I actually do just one glass of wine with dinner as it helps with my blood sugar levels. The stress of the holiday season just feels like it warrants more :)