Blogroll

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!)

Archives

For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

To search this blog, type in the field at the top left of the page and hit enter.

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, February 18, 2010

A word, sir


Airline food: expensive for what it is and generally not blood-sugar friendly. Solution: bring your own. Seems fairly logical -- I pack whatever works for me into a reasonably sized bag or, alternatively, I buy something from an airport vendor. Either way, I board the aircraft with my meal. Shouldn't be difficult.

About 5:45 a.m. Monday, I approached the gate for my flight out of Seattle as I have many times before. On my person: one rolling suitcase of appropriate carry-on size, extender zipper properly closed; backpack containing toiletries, medications, laptop, and other TSA inspectables; and one meal-sized bag. I'll admit it up front -- the contents of the bag were not to be consumed on this flight, but they were readily identifiable food: two boxes of crackers that Almost Dr. Sis can't get easily where she lives (see above). They were a gift for her.

Gate Agent: (as he scans CT's ticket) "Have a good flight."

CT: "Thanks." CT starts walking toward jet bridge with her luggage. Gate Agent takes the next passenger's ticket then notices that his machine is indicating something from the previous scan.

Gate Agent: (to CT) "Wait, you're in an exit row. Are you willing to assist?"

CT: (turning from jet bridge door) "Yes."

Gate Agent: (notices paper bag in CT's hand) "Oh, you can't have three bags."

CT: (raises paper bag such that contents are visible): "This is food."

Gate Agent: (with a withering look) "Yeah, but you're not really going to eat all those crackers, are you?"

Now, at that moment, I have to say I was a bit taken aback. First of all, if I'd been carrying, say, a McDonald's bag of the same size, would you, Mr. Gate Agent, have bothered to question me about my baggage count? Secondly, what business was it of yours whether I was going to eat the entirety of what was in said bag? Food is food is food. As far as I know, your airline allows people to bring their own meals onto the plane and doesn't limit the type of food they purchase in any way. Sure, Manchu Wok is kind of gross to contemplate at 6 a.m., but you're operating a flight that lands in a time zone two hours ahead of this one. If I wanted lunch at 11:00 CST to adjust to the switch, it wouldn't be strange for me to have containers of General Tso's Chicken and Black Mushroom Tofu on hand since your flight doesn't reach its destination until nearly 12:30. But oh right, if I'd been holding a bag from a commercial food vendor, you wouldn't have blinked.

So, Mr. Gate Agent. I don't appreciate your rolling your eyes at me one little bit. For the record, not one of the flight attendants had any problem with the bag in question as it fit under the seat in front of me anyway, along with my backpack.

Just because I had my camera handy once I did manage to get myself some lunch at O'Hare, allow me to offer you a visual aid:

McDonald's sack containing a salad and a small cup of water.

Same McDonald's sack vs. bag containing two boxes of crackers.

Tell me, Mr. Gate Agent -- what, besides your attitude, is wrong here?

12 comments:

A Life Long Scholar said...

You must be flying nice airlines--I've gotten used to the budget airlines here in Europe which will not let you even pass through security with more than one carry on bag, total. Your purse, your lunch, your toiletries, your computer, anything you might possibly need on the flight (even medicine if you need it) has to fit into one bag. They also limit the bag not just by volume, but they also say that it must be less than 10kg. I haven't yet had them actually stop to check if my bag is within that mass requirement, but other people I know have.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh my -- I had read about the tight restrictions in Europe not too long ago. You must be very creative at suitcase space management!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Good Enough Woman said...

And as far as he knew, you were going to eat it in the GATE! And what business of his is it whether or not you eat all of those crackers? I'm sitting here trying to think of witty/alarming comebacks about crackers, eating, binging, etc. Maybe something like, "As a matter of fact, to deal with the frustrations of air travel, I must have something on which to grind my teeth. Therefore, I'll be eating two crackers per minute until they are gone."

TKW said...

Whaaaa? Assholery! Brazen Assholery! How dare he question your crackers? grrrr.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW -- ha! I love it! And those crackers would actually be perfect for tooth-grinding. They're full of tasty seeds and hold up to hummus or peanut butter better than anything I've ever tried.

TKW -- assholery indeed!!! After I'd landed, I considered for a split second whether I should open the boxes and pull out the sealed packets they were in to send the empty cardboard portions back to Seattle on a returning plane with an unsuspecting flight attendant. "Hey, would you mind giving these to the gate agent at A9? It's a private joke we've got going -- he'll get a kick out of it when he gets these ... "

suzicate said...

I haven't flown for a while...things sure have gotten strict! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I had childhood issues as well...forgiveness and acceptance are the first steps to allowing yourself to find your own self worth...then you're able to love yourself and others and there you will find peace. I'm not saying that it is a short and easy process. It has taken me time, but I wouldn't trade this feeling to go back to who I was for anything.You'll reach it.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi, SuziCate -- thanks for coming by too. I appreciate the encouragement, am looking forward to getting where you've gotten. And to reading more of your writing :)

Kristen @ Motherese said...

I think that some TSA agents use their position of relative, situational power to laud it over the travelers who pass through their checkpoints. I recently saw a TSA agent berate a mother traveling with two kids because she hadn't taken the booties off of her baby before going through the metal detector. Nice. (Of course, most TSA agents I've encountered are extremely kind and helpful, but there are always the exceptions that make for good writing fodder!)

I love your blog and the concept behind it. So glad to find your writing through your comment on TKW's guest post at my place.

Thanks!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi, Kristen -- thanks for visiting. You are so right about that special kind of TSA agent; it's an unfortunate power trip thing. That poor mother!

Glad you like the blog :). I'm slowly expanding my circle of writers I follow, and TKW has been instrumental in introducing me to some lovely people (thanks again, TKW!). I'm looking forward to catching up on the goings-on at Motherese.

French Fancy said...

Put good tasty crackers in a rubbish food bag and it's just fine and dandy, eh? We call people like that 'jobsworths' over in the UK (as in, 'it's more than my job's worth to let you do etc etc').

Glad you got them through though.

Oh - and it's March 2nd. You?

x

French Fancy said...

p.s - silly me not realising the recipe had a link (which I've just printed out, It sounds lovely and I'm going to get a cauli tomorrow.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Yay, FF! The capers are essential.

Posts by date

Posts by label

Air travel Airline food Allergic reactions Astoria Awards Bacteremia Bacterial overgrowth Baggage beefs Bed and breakfast Betrayal Blues Body Boston Breastfeeding British Columbia California Canada Cape Spear Clam-digging Colonoscopy Commuter marriage Cooking CT scans Delays Diagnoses Dietitians Doctor-patient relationships Doctors Eating while traveling Editing Endocrine Endoscopy ER False starts Family dynamics Feedback Food anxiety Food sensitivities Gate agent guff GI Halifax Heart Home-making House hunting Hypoglycemia In-laws Intentional happiness Iowa Journaling Kidney stones Knitting Lab tests Little U. on the Prairie Liver function tests Long Beach Making friends in new places Malabsorption Massachusetts Medical records Medication Mentorship MFA programs Miami Monterey Motivation Moving Narrative New York Newark Newfoundland Nova Scotia Olympic Peninsula Ontario Ophthalmology Oregon Oxalates Pancreatic function tests Parenting Parents Paris Pets Photography Portland Prediabetes Pregnancy Process Professors Publishing Reproductive endocrine Research Revision Rewriting Rheumatology San Francisco Scenes from a graduation series Scenes from around the table series Seattle Sisters Skiing St. John's Striped-up paisley Teaching Texas Thesis Toronto Travel Travel fears Traveling while sick Ultrasound Urology Vancouver Victoria Voice Washington Washington D.C. Weight When words won't stick Whidbey Island Why we write Workshops Writers on writing Writing Writing friends Writing in odd places Writing jobs Yakima

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A word, sir


Airline food: expensive for what it is and generally not blood-sugar friendly. Solution: bring your own. Seems fairly logical -- I pack whatever works for me into a reasonably sized bag or, alternatively, I buy something from an airport vendor. Either way, I board the aircraft with my meal. Shouldn't be difficult.

About 5:45 a.m. Monday, I approached the gate for my flight out of Seattle as I have many times before. On my person: one rolling suitcase of appropriate carry-on size, extender zipper properly closed; backpack containing toiletries, medications, laptop, and other TSA inspectables; and one meal-sized bag. I'll admit it up front -- the contents of the bag were not to be consumed on this flight, but they were readily identifiable food: two boxes of crackers that Almost Dr. Sis can't get easily where she lives (see above). They were a gift for her.

Gate Agent: (as he scans CT's ticket) "Have a good flight."

CT: "Thanks." CT starts walking toward jet bridge with her luggage. Gate Agent takes the next passenger's ticket then notices that his machine is indicating something from the previous scan.

Gate Agent: (to CT) "Wait, you're in an exit row. Are you willing to assist?"

CT: (turning from jet bridge door) "Yes."

Gate Agent: (notices paper bag in CT's hand) "Oh, you can't have three bags."

CT: (raises paper bag such that contents are visible): "This is food."

Gate Agent: (with a withering look) "Yeah, but you're not really going to eat all those crackers, are you?"

Now, at that moment, I have to say I was a bit taken aback. First of all, if I'd been carrying, say, a McDonald's bag of the same size, would you, Mr. Gate Agent, have bothered to question me about my baggage count? Secondly, what business was it of yours whether I was going to eat the entirety of what was in said bag? Food is food is food. As far as I know, your airline allows people to bring their own meals onto the plane and doesn't limit the type of food they purchase in any way. Sure, Manchu Wok is kind of gross to contemplate at 6 a.m., but you're operating a flight that lands in a time zone two hours ahead of this one. If I wanted lunch at 11:00 CST to adjust to the switch, it wouldn't be strange for me to have containers of General Tso's Chicken and Black Mushroom Tofu on hand since your flight doesn't reach its destination until nearly 12:30. But oh right, if I'd been holding a bag from a commercial food vendor, you wouldn't have blinked.

So, Mr. Gate Agent. I don't appreciate your rolling your eyes at me one little bit. For the record, not one of the flight attendants had any problem with the bag in question as it fit under the seat in front of me anyway, along with my backpack.

Just because I had my camera handy once I did manage to get myself some lunch at O'Hare, allow me to offer you a visual aid:

McDonald's sack containing a salad and a small cup of water.

Same McDonald's sack vs. bag containing two boxes of crackers.

Tell me, Mr. Gate Agent -- what, besides your attitude, is wrong here?

12 comments:

A Life Long Scholar said...

You must be flying nice airlines--I've gotten used to the budget airlines here in Europe which will not let you even pass through security with more than one carry on bag, total. Your purse, your lunch, your toiletries, your computer, anything you might possibly need on the flight (even medicine if you need it) has to fit into one bag. They also limit the bag not just by volume, but they also say that it must be less than 10kg. I haven't yet had them actually stop to check if my bag is within that mass requirement, but other people I know have.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Oh my -- I had read about the tight restrictions in Europe not too long ago. You must be very creative at suitcase space management!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Good Enough Woman said...

And as far as he knew, you were going to eat it in the GATE! And what business of his is it whether or not you eat all of those crackers? I'm sitting here trying to think of witty/alarming comebacks about crackers, eating, binging, etc. Maybe something like, "As a matter of fact, to deal with the frustrations of air travel, I must have something on which to grind my teeth. Therefore, I'll be eating two crackers per minute until they are gone."

TKW said...

Whaaaa? Assholery! Brazen Assholery! How dare he question your crackers? grrrr.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW -- ha! I love it! And those crackers would actually be perfect for tooth-grinding. They're full of tasty seeds and hold up to hummus or peanut butter better than anything I've ever tried.

TKW -- assholery indeed!!! After I'd landed, I considered for a split second whether I should open the boxes and pull out the sealed packets they were in to send the empty cardboard portions back to Seattle on a returning plane with an unsuspecting flight attendant. "Hey, would you mind giving these to the gate agent at A9? It's a private joke we've got going -- he'll get a kick out of it when he gets these ... "

suzicate said...

I haven't flown for a while...things sure have gotten strict! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I had childhood issues as well...forgiveness and acceptance are the first steps to allowing yourself to find your own self worth...then you're able to love yourself and others and there you will find peace. I'm not saying that it is a short and easy process. It has taken me time, but I wouldn't trade this feeling to go back to who I was for anything.You'll reach it.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi, SuziCate -- thanks for coming by too. I appreciate the encouragement, am looking forward to getting where you've gotten. And to reading more of your writing :)

Kristen @ Motherese said...

I think that some TSA agents use their position of relative, situational power to laud it over the travelers who pass through their checkpoints. I recently saw a TSA agent berate a mother traveling with two kids because she hadn't taken the booties off of her baby before going through the metal detector. Nice. (Of course, most TSA agents I've encountered are extremely kind and helpful, but there are always the exceptions that make for good writing fodder!)

I love your blog and the concept behind it. So glad to find your writing through your comment on TKW's guest post at my place.

Thanks!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Hi, Kristen -- thanks for visiting. You are so right about that special kind of TSA agent; it's an unfortunate power trip thing. That poor mother!

Glad you like the blog :). I'm slowly expanding my circle of writers I follow, and TKW has been instrumental in introducing me to some lovely people (thanks again, TKW!). I'm looking forward to catching up on the goings-on at Motherese.

French Fancy said...

Put good tasty crackers in a rubbish food bag and it's just fine and dandy, eh? We call people like that 'jobsworths' over in the UK (as in, 'it's more than my job's worth to let you do etc etc').

Glad you got them through though.

Oh - and it's March 2nd. You?

x

French Fancy said...

p.s - silly me not realising the recipe had a link (which I've just printed out, It sounds lovely and I'm going to get a cauli tomorrow.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Yay, FF! The capers are essential.