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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.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Making do

That's sort of the way we've been approaching the crown molding project this week, namely from a lack of fancy equipment. And despite some hitches, we've made good progress.

What we were missing was an (expensive) electric table saw. Instead, we had the kind of saw that you use arm power to run and a guide (see photo) you can mount on your workbench to keep your cuts straight. Only we had no workbench -- just a lightweight table with a particle-board surface. It was left behind in our laundry room by the previous owners of our house, and we had no use for it, so we figured, why not?

It's really hard to saw anything if your entire workbench jiggles.

Enter the Two-Person Weighted Sawing System. One person sits on the table while the other person saws. Easy solution!

Well, not quite.

In the photo, you see D positioning a piece of molding on the guide, which is screwed down to the table. Note that the molding has to be cut at a 45-degree angle through its cross-section (or so I'm told), which requires it to be held at the tilt pictured. There is no way to secure the molding with the clamp that came with this guide unless the molding is lying flat (as in, parallel to the table surface). So in order to accomplish the proper cut, one person has to hold the molding firmly while the other person applies the saw. Hmmm.

In the end, we revised the TPWSS slightly -- D sawed while sitting on the jury-rigged workbench and I became a human vise for the molding. I do not recommend this approach unless the person sitting on the workbench is heavy enough to make jiggle practically nonexistent. Otherwise, your thumbs will hurt A LOT.

So last night, we finished cutting the last piece for the guest bedroom. This weekend, we're going to get everything mounted. We had originally planned to make do with a hammer and nails. Fortunately, one of D's colleagues owns a nail gun, which we are definitely going to borrow!

4 comments:

TKW said...

You own a Work Bench....whoa. Wicked Impressed over here.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Awww, TKW, now I'm blushing. Really, the surface isn't even 2' by 2' and it's no more than 2' from the ground. See that office chair in the background holding up the other end of the crown molding strip? Real carpenters would never use a TPWSS ;)

Good Enough Woman said...

Did you write that whole post in Greek? Seemed like it. It may sound too tradition of me, but I am really glad my husband and his brother take care of that stuff. I am very overwhelmed by hands-on projects that involved precision, tools, and instructions.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW, there is no way I would have been able to write the post if I hadn't been there to observe the process. Even now, I'm not sure I know what happened in D's head to figure out how those pieces of molding had to be cut. I bow down before his carpentry skills! I also tried handling the saw for about 30 seconds and promptly relinquished it. Sawing is tricky.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Making do

That's sort of the way we've been approaching the crown molding project this week, namely from a lack of fancy equipment. And despite some hitches, we've made good progress.

What we were missing was an (expensive) electric table saw. Instead, we had the kind of saw that you use arm power to run and a guide (see photo) you can mount on your workbench to keep your cuts straight. Only we had no workbench -- just a lightweight table with a particle-board surface. It was left behind in our laundry room by the previous owners of our house, and we had no use for it, so we figured, why not?

It's really hard to saw anything if your entire workbench jiggles.

Enter the Two-Person Weighted Sawing System. One person sits on the table while the other person saws. Easy solution!

Well, not quite.

In the photo, you see D positioning a piece of molding on the guide, which is screwed down to the table. Note that the molding has to be cut at a 45-degree angle through its cross-section (or so I'm told), which requires it to be held at the tilt pictured. There is no way to secure the molding with the clamp that came with this guide unless the molding is lying flat (as in, parallel to the table surface). So in order to accomplish the proper cut, one person has to hold the molding firmly while the other person applies the saw. Hmmm.

In the end, we revised the TPWSS slightly -- D sawed while sitting on the jury-rigged workbench and I became a human vise for the molding. I do not recommend this approach unless the person sitting on the workbench is heavy enough to make jiggle practically nonexistent. Otherwise, your thumbs will hurt A LOT.

So last night, we finished cutting the last piece for the guest bedroom. This weekend, we're going to get everything mounted. We had originally planned to make do with a hammer and nails. Fortunately, one of D's colleagues owns a nail gun, which we are definitely going to borrow!

4 comments:

TKW said...

You own a Work Bench....whoa. Wicked Impressed over here.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Awww, TKW, now I'm blushing. Really, the surface isn't even 2' by 2' and it's no more than 2' from the ground. See that office chair in the background holding up the other end of the crown molding strip? Real carpenters would never use a TPWSS ;)

Good Enough Woman said...

Did you write that whole post in Greek? Seemed like it. It may sound too tradition of me, but I am really glad my husband and his brother take care of that stuff. I am very overwhelmed by hands-on projects that involved precision, tools, and instructions.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW, there is no way I would have been able to write the post if I hadn't been there to observe the process. Even now, I'm not sure I know what happened in D's head to figure out how those pieces of molding had to be cut. I bow down before his carpentry skills! I also tried handling the saw for about 30 seconds and promptly relinquished it. Sawing is tricky.