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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.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little reminders

So you now know about the significance of curlicues for me and D. It's funny -- when I was writing that post, I didn't really expect it to have relevance to anything beyond the cracked glasses. But a few days into my visit with Almost Dr. Sis, we went to a concert where I saw this:


And when I gave the stage a closer look, I realized the walls were embellished with these:



Which reminded me of -- who else? -- D.

That's how curlicues used to operate for us in our long-distance relationship, as a reminder of the other person. Whenever curlicue sightings happened to occur, we'd report them to each other. "I thought of you today when I saw ___________," it went.

I had forgotten about that. But it was nice to remember during my two weeks away from D, especially when I was wishing he could be there.


I got back just in time to celebrate our birthdays together. We'd recently discovered a low-carb flour, so we decided why not test it out on a cake? (Neither of us had enjoyed such a novelty since D's hypoglycemia diagnosis in 2006.) It turned out all right, especially with chocolate cream cheese icing and whipped cream filling.


What we put on it to make it extra special:

9 comments:

French Fancy said...

Those special things that link us to our favourite person in the world have such significance. I know exactly what you mean - for us it is any mention of the aurora borealis. I won't say why - I've got to learn to be slightly discreet (yes, I am under orders).

The birthday cake looks glorious. You can't find much that is low-fat or low-carb here. It's amazing how slim the French are really - but then they don't stuff themselves (like me)

xx

Sherlock said...

Great to be home to celebrate the birthdays together. Cake looks good - any idea how many carbs per slice? I miss cake more than just about anything else! Did you use almond flour by any chance? I'm thinking about getting some of that for the baking that I gave up a little over a year ago.

suzicate said...

curlique cake candles...priceless! I love that you guys have that special symbol between you.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Like SuziCate, I love the presence of this symbol in your relationship. Ever since your first curlicue post, I have been thinking about what symbol could represent my relationship with Husband. I suppose it doesn't really count, does it, if I force the issue? :)

Happy belated birthdays!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF -- the aurora borealis! That has romance written all over it. You're such a tease; now I'm dying to hear the story behind this, but I completely understand your sticking to your orders :)

Sherlock -- I haven't done the math on the carbs, but I will post the recipe soon. Glad to spread some low-carb happiness! The flour, which is enzyme-treated to make it blood-sugar friendly, is available here.

SuziCate -- the candles were an addition in a moment of whimsy. Once we'd iced the cake, it seemed lacking as something for a birthday. Then we found the candles buried in a cabinet and thought, "Hey, why not?"

Kristen -- I'm willing to bet you actually have a symbol and just haven't remembered it yet :). Anything you and your husband take note of or are amused by that isn't necessarily what other people would notice or smile over when you're out and about? I imagine there's a wealth of random objects or images or places or sounds that figure into your history with him. Perhaps from these, something will strike you. (Easier than picking a symbol from scratch -- at least, it would be for me!)

Thanks for the birthday wishes.

theycallmejane said...

Happy birthday to both of you. And what a beautifully "symbolic" post. Punctuated with the perfect pictures, too!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Jane! :)

becca said...

i also love that you have a symbol that brings you together even if you aren't together. I'm now trying to figure out what my husband and I may have that is similar. I think anything that reminds us of our days running around the reservoir in nyc would be a symbol of our relationship... days of feeling free and peaceful with one another. Not as simple as a curl but still a symbol!

Happy birthdays to you!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

The 1.6! Loved the reservoir around sundown when I was living in Manhattan -- it's nice that you have it as a symbol of a particular time in your life. You've got me wondering what my husband and I will choose in ten years to represent our life together now :)

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little reminders

So you now know about the significance of curlicues for me and D. It's funny -- when I was writing that post, I didn't really expect it to have relevance to anything beyond the cracked glasses. But a few days into my visit with Almost Dr. Sis, we went to a concert where I saw this:


And when I gave the stage a closer look, I realized the walls were embellished with these:



Which reminded me of -- who else? -- D.

That's how curlicues used to operate for us in our long-distance relationship, as a reminder of the other person. Whenever curlicue sightings happened to occur, we'd report them to each other. "I thought of you today when I saw ___________," it went.

I had forgotten about that. But it was nice to remember during my two weeks away from D, especially when I was wishing he could be there.


I got back just in time to celebrate our birthdays together. We'd recently discovered a low-carb flour, so we decided why not test it out on a cake? (Neither of us had enjoyed such a novelty since D's hypoglycemia diagnosis in 2006.) It turned out all right, especially with chocolate cream cheese icing and whipped cream filling.


What we put on it to make it extra special:

9 comments:

French Fancy said...

Those special things that link us to our favourite person in the world have such significance. I know exactly what you mean - for us it is any mention of the aurora borealis. I won't say why - I've got to learn to be slightly discreet (yes, I am under orders).

The birthday cake looks glorious. You can't find much that is low-fat or low-carb here. It's amazing how slim the French are really - but then they don't stuff themselves (like me)

xx

Sherlock said...

Great to be home to celebrate the birthdays together. Cake looks good - any idea how many carbs per slice? I miss cake more than just about anything else! Did you use almond flour by any chance? I'm thinking about getting some of that for the baking that I gave up a little over a year ago.

suzicate said...

curlique cake candles...priceless! I love that you guys have that special symbol between you.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Like SuziCate, I love the presence of this symbol in your relationship. Ever since your first curlicue post, I have been thinking about what symbol could represent my relationship with Husband. I suppose it doesn't really count, does it, if I force the issue? :)

Happy belated birthdays!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF -- the aurora borealis! That has romance written all over it. You're such a tease; now I'm dying to hear the story behind this, but I completely understand your sticking to your orders :)

Sherlock -- I haven't done the math on the carbs, but I will post the recipe soon. Glad to spread some low-carb happiness! The flour, which is enzyme-treated to make it blood-sugar friendly, is available here.

SuziCate -- the candles were an addition in a moment of whimsy. Once we'd iced the cake, it seemed lacking as something for a birthday. Then we found the candles buried in a cabinet and thought, "Hey, why not?"

Kristen -- I'm willing to bet you actually have a symbol and just haven't remembered it yet :). Anything you and your husband take note of or are amused by that isn't necessarily what other people would notice or smile over when you're out and about? I imagine there's a wealth of random objects or images or places or sounds that figure into your history with him. Perhaps from these, something will strike you. (Easier than picking a symbol from scratch -- at least, it would be for me!)

Thanks for the birthday wishes.

theycallmejane said...

Happy birthday to both of you. And what a beautifully "symbolic" post. Punctuated with the perfect pictures, too!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Jane! :)

becca said...

i also love that you have a symbol that brings you together even if you aren't together. I'm now trying to figure out what my husband and I may have that is similar. I think anything that reminds us of our days running around the reservoir in nyc would be a symbol of our relationship... days of feeling free and peaceful with one another. Not as simple as a curl but still a symbol!

Happy birthdays to you!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

The 1.6! Loved the reservoir around sundown when I was living in Manhattan -- it's nice that you have it as a symbol of a particular time in your life. You've got me wondering what my husband and I will choose in ten years to represent our life together now :)