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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.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For the record

Twenty minutes of my life I will never get back. May the following phone conversation at least provide entertainment (or something else?) here.


Monday morning. Contemporary Troubadour dials the number of her future doctor's office at Almost Dr. Sis's medical school and places the phone to her ear. After three or four rings, someone answers.

Female Receptionist: [Laughing loudly at something] "Hello? ThisisFemaleReceptionisthowmayIhelpyou?"

Contemporary Troubadour: "Hi. This is Contemporary Troubadour; I called --"

F. Receptionist: "Hold on." Click.

A slight hiss is just audible from the phone, indicating that the connection is still intact. Many minutes later ...

F. Receptionist: "Hello?"

C. Troubadour: "Hi. This is Contemporary Troubadour; I called just under two weeks ago to set up an appointment with Dr. Specialist. You and I spoke about having my records sent to him for a consult --"

F. Receptionist: "What's your name?"

C. Troubadour: "Contemporary Troubadour."

F. Receptionist: "Mm hold on." [Sounds of typing.] "How do you spell that?"

C. Troubadour: "First name Contemporary, last name T-R-O-U-B-A-D-O-U-R."

F. Receptionist: "Hold on." [Several more minutes pass.] "I'm not finding you in the system. What was it you had faxed?"

C. Troubadour: "Well, there were records from my GI doctor and my endocrinol--"

F. Receptionist: "Who's the referring doctor?"

C. Troubadour: "Er -- I don't have one; my sister is a student at Medical University who contacted Dr. Senior Specialist to ask whom I should see, and he e-mailed her Dr. Specialist's name."

F. Receptionist: "Oh, okay, Dr. Senior Specialist ... and what was your name?"

C. Troubadour: "Contemporary Troubadour."

F. Receptionist: "Could you spell that?"

Contemporary Troubadour takes a deep breath and obliges. Glances at clock. Ten minutes have passed since she first dialed the doctor's office.

F. Receptionist: "Yeah, we don't have anything for you. Well, wait, there are some lab results from Seattle Business --"

C. Troubadour: "Yes! My husband faxed those from his office."

F. Receptionist: "Oh, well then we've just got those two sheets! They don't have any patient information on them."

C. Troubadour: "But -- I'm sorry, what now?"

F. Receptionist: "We haven't got anything. No date of birth or social security number; these are just lab results. But while I've got you on the phone, let me ask you --" [Ruffles papers.] "Okay, okay, who is this D. Troubadour on the cover sheet?"

C. Troubadour: "That's my husband."

F. Receptionist: "Oh, see we thought that was the patient. Now how do you spell your name so I can put it in the computer?"

C. Troubadour: "Contemporary. T-R-O-U-B-A-D-O-U-R."

F. Receptionist: "Mmkay, now how about your address?"

C. Troubadour: "1234 555th Way --"

F. Receptionist: "Hang on, 1234 555?"

C. Troubadour: "House number 1234. Then the street is called 555th Way."

F. Receptionist: "Way? Like W-A-Y?"

C. Troubadour: "Yes."

F. Receptionist: "And 555 with a T-H?"

C. Troubadour: "Mm hm."

F. Receptionist: "Okay, 1234 555th Way. Man, you must not get a lot of mail with that address."

C. Troubadour: "?!?"

F. Receptionist: "All right. Got it in the system. You'll be contacted shortly by someone now that you're there."

C. Troubadour: "Okay, but --"

F. Receptionist: "Have a nice day." Click.

Thirty seconds later, the phone rings.

F. Receptionist: "Hi, could I speak with Contemporary?"

C. Troubadour: "This is Contemporary."

F. Receptionist: "Hi, this is Female Receptionist; we just spoke a minute ago. Could you give me your date of birth and social?"


Aaaaaaand scene.

6 comments:

TKW said...

My blood pressure just shot up reading this! What a moron!!!!!

On another note, when and IF you get the results, shoot me a line, okay? xoxo

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Will do, TKW!

And yeeees ... I was sort of speechless by the time the whole conversation (if we can call it that) was over. The worst part is that all scheduling has to go through her. I think I've officially gotten a taste of the tenth circle of hell :P

Good Enough Woman said...

These aren't TAX forms, for God's sakes. They are reports about someone's insides! Let's have a little reverence here!

Sheesh.

Anyhoo, thanks for the entertainment, CT. And let us know when you wrangle with F. Receptionist again.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh man, GEW, I sense a comedy (tragedy?) in three acts coming out of this.

Totally opposite experience this morning: I called one of the places here that has to put together the records to send, and the person I spoke with was so with-it and personable that I nearly had to order her a singing thank-you telegram. Or something like it to make sure other people would hear it proclaimed that she was appreciated. I refrained, though. Some people are embarrassed by such public displays of gratitude ... ;)

French Fancy said...

Isn't it amazing the gratitude we feel when we encounter someone doing their job and helping us to the best of their ability - when in fact it should be the norm. I felt for you during this dialogue and you did well - thank goodness nobody was monitoring your vitals whilst you were trying not to explode.

As for my specialist appointment which was at 4.30 this aft - we are still snowed up around here and I didn't want my m-i-l to have to drive back in the dark and potential black ice. It's been postponed for about three week's time.

...and I'm thinking of you :)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I know, FF; I had the thought too about how it ought to be the norm. Saddening that this isn't the state of things and that we eventually give up on those expectations after so many negative experiences!

Oh dear, postponed appointments aren't fun. I hope you'll be able not to think about it too much in the next few weeks. Us and limbo. Sigh.

Thinking of you too! :)

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For the record

Twenty minutes of my life I will never get back. May the following phone conversation at least provide entertainment (or something else?) here.


Monday morning. Contemporary Troubadour dials the number of her future doctor's office at Almost Dr. Sis's medical school and places the phone to her ear. After three or four rings, someone answers.

Female Receptionist: [Laughing loudly at something] "Hello? ThisisFemaleReceptionisthowmayIhelpyou?"

Contemporary Troubadour: "Hi. This is Contemporary Troubadour; I called --"

F. Receptionist: "Hold on." Click.

A slight hiss is just audible from the phone, indicating that the connection is still intact. Many minutes later ...

F. Receptionist: "Hello?"

C. Troubadour: "Hi. This is Contemporary Troubadour; I called just under two weeks ago to set up an appointment with Dr. Specialist. You and I spoke about having my records sent to him for a consult --"

F. Receptionist: "What's your name?"

C. Troubadour: "Contemporary Troubadour."

F. Receptionist: "Mm hold on." [Sounds of typing.] "How do you spell that?"

C. Troubadour: "First name Contemporary, last name T-R-O-U-B-A-D-O-U-R."

F. Receptionist: "Hold on." [Several more minutes pass.] "I'm not finding you in the system. What was it you had faxed?"

C. Troubadour: "Well, there were records from my GI doctor and my endocrinol--"

F. Receptionist: "Who's the referring doctor?"

C. Troubadour: "Er -- I don't have one; my sister is a student at Medical University who contacted Dr. Senior Specialist to ask whom I should see, and he e-mailed her Dr. Specialist's name."

F. Receptionist: "Oh, okay, Dr. Senior Specialist ... and what was your name?"

C. Troubadour: "Contemporary Troubadour."

F. Receptionist: "Could you spell that?"

Contemporary Troubadour takes a deep breath and obliges. Glances at clock. Ten minutes have passed since she first dialed the doctor's office.

F. Receptionist: "Yeah, we don't have anything for you. Well, wait, there are some lab results from Seattle Business --"

C. Troubadour: "Yes! My husband faxed those from his office."

F. Receptionist: "Oh, well then we've just got those two sheets! They don't have any patient information on them."

C. Troubadour: "But -- I'm sorry, what now?"

F. Receptionist: "We haven't got anything. No date of birth or social security number; these are just lab results. But while I've got you on the phone, let me ask you --" [Ruffles papers.] "Okay, okay, who is this D. Troubadour on the cover sheet?"

C. Troubadour: "That's my husband."

F. Receptionist: "Oh, see we thought that was the patient. Now how do you spell your name so I can put it in the computer?"

C. Troubadour: "Contemporary. T-R-O-U-B-A-D-O-U-R."

F. Receptionist: "Mmkay, now how about your address?"

C. Troubadour: "1234 555th Way --"

F. Receptionist: "Hang on, 1234 555?"

C. Troubadour: "House number 1234. Then the street is called 555th Way."

F. Receptionist: "Way? Like W-A-Y?"

C. Troubadour: "Yes."

F. Receptionist: "And 555 with a T-H?"

C. Troubadour: "Mm hm."

F. Receptionist: "Okay, 1234 555th Way. Man, you must not get a lot of mail with that address."

C. Troubadour: "?!?"

F. Receptionist: "All right. Got it in the system. You'll be contacted shortly by someone now that you're there."

C. Troubadour: "Okay, but --"

F. Receptionist: "Have a nice day." Click.

Thirty seconds later, the phone rings.

F. Receptionist: "Hi, could I speak with Contemporary?"

C. Troubadour: "This is Contemporary."

F. Receptionist: "Hi, this is Female Receptionist; we just spoke a minute ago. Could you give me your date of birth and social?"


Aaaaaaand scene.

6 comments:

TKW said...

My blood pressure just shot up reading this! What a moron!!!!!

On another note, when and IF you get the results, shoot me a line, okay? xoxo

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Will do, TKW!

And yeeees ... I was sort of speechless by the time the whole conversation (if we can call it that) was over. The worst part is that all scheduling has to go through her. I think I've officially gotten a taste of the tenth circle of hell :P

Good Enough Woman said...

These aren't TAX forms, for God's sakes. They are reports about someone's insides! Let's have a little reverence here!

Sheesh.

Anyhoo, thanks for the entertainment, CT. And let us know when you wrangle with F. Receptionist again.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh man, GEW, I sense a comedy (tragedy?) in three acts coming out of this.

Totally opposite experience this morning: I called one of the places here that has to put together the records to send, and the person I spoke with was so with-it and personable that I nearly had to order her a singing thank-you telegram. Or something like it to make sure other people would hear it proclaimed that she was appreciated. I refrained, though. Some people are embarrassed by such public displays of gratitude ... ;)

French Fancy said...

Isn't it amazing the gratitude we feel when we encounter someone doing their job and helping us to the best of their ability - when in fact it should be the norm. I felt for you during this dialogue and you did well - thank goodness nobody was monitoring your vitals whilst you were trying not to explode.

As for my specialist appointment which was at 4.30 this aft - we are still snowed up around here and I didn't want my m-i-l to have to drive back in the dark and potential black ice. It's been postponed for about three week's time.

...and I'm thinking of you :)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

I know, FF; I had the thought too about how it ought to be the norm. Saddening that this isn't the state of things and that we eventually give up on those expectations after so many negative experiences!

Oh dear, postponed appointments aren't fun. I hope you'll be able not to think about it too much in the next few weeks. Us and limbo. Sigh.

Thinking of you too! :)