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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 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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On safari


Thank the powers that be for the internet. Because of it, I'm essentially done with Christmas shopping and do not have to fight the crowds at the mall. And almost everything we've ordered is being directly shipped to Illinois and Texas (where we'll be celebrating the holidays with D's parents and my parents, respectively). Less to schlep, less to lose, less to have broken by those oh-so-gentle baggage handling machines when we fly out on the 17th. Yes.

Because we weren't under any crushing pressure to buy gifts, D and I actually did venture to the mall on Saturday. No, we're not crazy. We just have a little holiday tradition of our own, to preserve something meaningful for us in all the insanity: our annual ornament safari.

Each year, we pick out one special item to add to our small collection. For 2008, it was this fish (or one nearly identical to it in green instead of blue -- the one pictured was a gift to D's parents). We're hoping that someday, when we have little Troubadours to share these with, we can tell them a story about the ornaments, where each came from, why we chose each one.

This year's pick is the blown-glass bauble in the center of the bowl we keep on the coffee table (see above). Our tree is so small (six feet tall, not quite a yard at its widest) that there isn't room on it for everything we have, so we put the extras here. It spreads the sparkle around without much effort. We're all about no-fuss decorating.

In other news, my advisor wrote back to me, and all is well on that front. She is totally on board with my ideas about the direction of the manuscript and why that direction has had to shift. She's also excited about my initial structural suggestions (I'd put out a few in response to hers). So it sounds like I can finish this semester without quite as much worry about the next stages of the writing process.

My last submission deadline before winter break is this Friday, so I'm off to get busy on that. But before I go, I just want to say thank you to everyone who's been stopping by and saying hi here. You guys have been terrifically supportive, and it makes a huge difference. And your blogs rock.

6 comments:

TKW said...

Glad your advisor is on board!

I love you and your hubby's little tradition...it's those small things that make the holiday memorable.

Good Enough Woman said...

Is that fish a prosperity fish? We gave one to each of the kids a couple of years ago. Couldn't tell you where they are now . . .

I love your thoughtfulness about the decorations, and that blown glass ornament is just beautiful. But might I suggest that, when the little troubadours come along, that you keep that one safely stowed away for a few years to avoid major breakage.

;)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Awws, TKW. Thanks. It's nice having something that's just our own in the bigger picture. It's very no-pressure, unlike a lot of the "needs to be perfect" gatherings, events, and other stuff that make the holiday a nightmare for me sometimes.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

No worries, GEW! We'll be kid-proofing our decorations when there are little ones.

As for the fish, it is quite likely a prosperity fish. It was among many Chinese New Year themed ornaments -- a dragon stands out in my mind, in particular. We liked the segmented body on the fish because it can actually move its tail side to side.

Goldfish said...

What a great tradition. Such a little thing every year, and so much meaning attached. Love it.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Goldfish! It makes the decorating special and not a chore to fit in when it feels like there's so little time as it is. We get to say "Oh, do you remember when we found this?" while we're getting everything out. I'm sure that will change once we have children, though! I don't know how you, TKW, and GEW do it :).

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

On safari


Thank the powers that be for the internet. Because of it, I'm essentially done with Christmas shopping and do not have to fight the crowds at the mall. And almost everything we've ordered is being directly shipped to Illinois and Texas (where we'll be celebrating the holidays with D's parents and my parents, respectively). Less to schlep, less to lose, less to have broken by those oh-so-gentle baggage handling machines when we fly out on the 17th. Yes.

Because we weren't under any crushing pressure to buy gifts, D and I actually did venture to the mall on Saturday. No, we're not crazy. We just have a little holiday tradition of our own, to preserve something meaningful for us in all the insanity: our annual ornament safari.

Each year, we pick out one special item to add to our small collection. For 2008, it was this fish (or one nearly identical to it in green instead of blue -- the one pictured was a gift to D's parents). We're hoping that someday, when we have little Troubadours to share these with, we can tell them a story about the ornaments, where each came from, why we chose each one.

This year's pick is the blown-glass bauble in the center of the bowl we keep on the coffee table (see above). Our tree is so small (six feet tall, not quite a yard at its widest) that there isn't room on it for everything we have, so we put the extras here. It spreads the sparkle around without much effort. We're all about no-fuss decorating.

In other news, my advisor wrote back to me, and all is well on that front. She is totally on board with my ideas about the direction of the manuscript and why that direction has had to shift. She's also excited about my initial structural suggestions (I'd put out a few in response to hers). So it sounds like I can finish this semester without quite as much worry about the next stages of the writing process.

My last submission deadline before winter break is this Friday, so I'm off to get busy on that. But before I go, I just want to say thank you to everyone who's been stopping by and saying hi here. You guys have been terrifically supportive, and it makes a huge difference. And your blogs rock.

6 comments:

TKW said...

Glad your advisor is on board!

I love you and your hubby's little tradition...it's those small things that make the holiday memorable.

Good Enough Woman said...

Is that fish a prosperity fish? We gave one to each of the kids a couple of years ago. Couldn't tell you where they are now . . .

I love your thoughtfulness about the decorations, and that blown glass ornament is just beautiful. But might I suggest that, when the little troubadours come along, that you keep that one safely stowed away for a few years to avoid major breakage.

;)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Awws, TKW. Thanks. It's nice having something that's just our own in the bigger picture. It's very no-pressure, unlike a lot of the "needs to be perfect" gatherings, events, and other stuff that make the holiday a nightmare for me sometimes.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

No worries, GEW! We'll be kid-proofing our decorations when there are little ones.

As for the fish, it is quite likely a prosperity fish. It was among many Chinese New Year themed ornaments -- a dragon stands out in my mind, in particular. We liked the segmented body on the fish because it can actually move its tail side to side.

Goldfish said...

What a great tradition. Such a little thing every year, and so much meaning attached. Love it.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Goldfish! It makes the decorating special and not a chore to fit in when it feels like there's so little time as it is. We get to say "Oh, do you remember when we found this?" while we're getting everything out. I'm sure that will change once we have children, though! I don't know how you, TKW, and GEW do it :).