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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, April 8, 2010

I knew it wasn't time yet

Remember that little rose plant we saved from near death back in November? It was touch-and-go for a while, even after it started putting out new leaves. Some curled up and fell off; others started out looking fine but became slightly deformed as they grew. We couldn't tell if it was planning to stay or go.

Well, last week it bloomed.

There was a bud when I got back from my February trip, but I didn't know if it would survive -- the plant had put out buds before but couldn't sustain the energy to bring them to full flower. So I watched and watered very carefully, sneaking some photos when it thought I wasn't looking.




I almost decided to plant this outside after its blossom was spent. When I picked up the gerberas two weeks ago, the florist at the grocery store tried to sell me another miniature rose. "They do wonderfully in our climate," she said -- which is true. I've seen many a happy rose in our neighborhood in summer. But I wasn't so sure about mine, given its rough start. How I understand those.

It's not so much the individual stressors -- an aphid here, a chillier night there, a few too many cloudy days in a row. It's all of them at once, too many things to react to, that would keep it stunted, possibly preventing it from ever making a full recovery. So my rose and I are staying indoors until we're ready.

Good thing, too, because it snowed today.

15 comments:

Sherlock said...

How gorgeous! You'll know when it's time (for both of you!).

suzicate said...

Very pretty! I wish I had a green thumb.

Good Enough Woman said...

So pretty! I'm impressed by your attentive and protective care-taking.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- I'm hoping so :). Listening to my instincts as best I can.

SuziCate -- I definitely do not have a green thumb! Or at least, I didn't start off having one. I think I'm slowly trying to turn it green. Hence the container gardening and bulbs that don't need a lot of attention once you put them in the ground ...

GEW -- it's therapeutic for both of us, I think. Kitty fostering works a little bit the same way. (But don't tell our two guests I said so as they think they're just having a spa getaway from the shelter!)

BigLittleWolf said...

Beautiful. And I love that you were able to nurture this bud into blossoming.

(No green thumb here either, but it's delightful when something grows in spite of it.)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, BLW. It was funny -- I think I was actually proud of that little plant for finally rallying. It's petite but scrappy.

Corinne said...

What beautiful photos! That rose is breathtaking.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Corinne. It's nice that both camera and flower like the light in that room :)

French Fancy said...

That is such a beautiful bloom, CT. I know exactly what you mean by this plant watch you have been on. I've never been lucky with miniature roses over here. One season and they are spent - and yet other gardens nearby seem to have the same plant coming up year after year (unless they uproot the dead ones and plant new ones when I'm not looking).

I am glad you didn't take a chance on putting it outside yet.

TKW said...

What a beautiful sign of spring!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF -- you know, in some places (like the landscaped areas around our former apartment), they really do uproot plants as soon as they're spent and replace them with new ones! I'm guessing our property manager had to keep the place looking "fresh" for potential tenants, but I do wonder what happens to the old bulbs. I have a bad feeling about where they end up.

TKW -- indeed. Helpful for chasing the Winter Uglies away.

theycallmejane said...

So very, very beautiful. The pictures have such a serene quality. Just gorgeous.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Serene, what a lovely word, Jane. It does have a sanctuary-like quality in there. It's the only space with a skylight.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

I love the struggling rose as a metaphor for life in a world of too much-ness. May you, your rose, and all of us avoid the aphids - literal and existential!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Kristen! Oh those existential aphids. Hope you're keeping them at bay too :)

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

I knew it wasn't time yet

Remember that little rose plant we saved from near death back in November? It was touch-and-go for a while, even after it started putting out new leaves. Some curled up and fell off; others started out looking fine but became slightly deformed as they grew. We couldn't tell if it was planning to stay or go.

Well, last week it bloomed.

There was a bud when I got back from my February trip, but I didn't know if it would survive -- the plant had put out buds before but couldn't sustain the energy to bring them to full flower. So I watched and watered very carefully, sneaking some photos when it thought I wasn't looking.




I almost decided to plant this outside after its blossom was spent. When I picked up the gerberas two weeks ago, the florist at the grocery store tried to sell me another miniature rose. "They do wonderfully in our climate," she said -- which is true. I've seen many a happy rose in our neighborhood in summer. But I wasn't so sure about mine, given its rough start. How I understand those.

It's not so much the individual stressors -- an aphid here, a chillier night there, a few too many cloudy days in a row. It's all of them at once, too many things to react to, that would keep it stunted, possibly preventing it from ever making a full recovery. So my rose and I are staying indoors until we're ready.

Good thing, too, because it snowed today.

15 comments:

Sherlock said...

How gorgeous! You'll know when it's time (for both of you!).

suzicate said...

Very pretty! I wish I had a green thumb.

Good Enough Woman said...

So pretty! I'm impressed by your attentive and protective care-taking.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- I'm hoping so :). Listening to my instincts as best I can.

SuziCate -- I definitely do not have a green thumb! Or at least, I didn't start off having one. I think I'm slowly trying to turn it green. Hence the container gardening and bulbs that don't need a lot of attention once you put them in the ground ...

GEW -- it's therapeutic for both of us, I think. Kitty fostering works a little bit the same way. (But don't tell our two guests I said so as they think they're just having a spa getaway from the shelter!)

BigLittleWolf said...

Beautiful. And I love that you were able to nurture this bud into blossoming.

(No green thumb here either, but it's delightful when something grows in spite of it.)

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, BLW. It was funny -- I think I was actually proud of that little plant for finally rallying. It's petite but scrappy.

Corinne said...

What beautiful photos! That rose is breathtaking.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Corinne. It's nice that both camera and flower like the light in that room :)

French Fancy said...

That is such a beautiful bloom, CT. I know exactly what you mean by this plant watch you have been on. I've never been lucky with miniature roses over here. One season and they are spent - and yet other gardens nearby seem to have the same plant coming up year after year (unless they uproot the dead ones and plant new ones when I'm not looking).

I am glad you didn't take a chance on putting it outside yet.

TKW said...

What a beautiful sign of spring!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

FF -- you know, in some places (like the landscaped areas around our former apartment), they really do uproot plants as soon as they're spent and replace them with new ones! I'm guessing our property manager had to keep the place looking "fresh" for potential tenants, but I do wonder what happens to the old bulbs. I have a bad feeling about where they end up.

TKW -- indeed. Helpful for chasing the Winter Uglies away.

theycallmejane said...

So very, very beautiful. The pictures have such a serene quality. Just gorgeous.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Serene, what a lovely word, Jane. It does have a sanctuary-like quality in there. It's the only space with a skylight.

Kristen @ Motherese said...

I love the struggling rose as a metaphor for life in a world of too much-ness. May you, your rose, and all of us avoid the aphids - literal and existential!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Thanks, Kristen! Oh those existential aphids. Hope you're keeping them at bay too :)