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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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A quiet night


D is out for a coworker's birthday celebration this evening. So right now, it's just me and my thoughts and the soft weight of one of the foster kitties against the backs of my knees. Both of our guests got adopted last week, and the new parents plan to pick them up tomorrow. I'm glad -- it happens to be convenient that the cats are going, given our uncertain travel plans, but it's also wonderful to know they'll be in loving hands, even if I'm losing their companionship.

Speaking of company, I'm grateful for the kind words so many of you have left here in the last few days. I know the blogosphere's been extra busy of late, so it means even more that you've stopped by. Thank you -- I can't say it enough.

This week and most of the last has been a lot of going through the motions -- waiting and trying not to think about the inevitable. My mother's family has decided to transfer my grandmother to palliative care, which means there will be no more trips to the hospital. We've had word that my grandmother is still eating, but only minuscule amounts from a syringe, not unlike the kind we've had to use to force-feed sick cats. Swallowing is a challenge.

I've managed to keep working on my thesis, in spite of everything. Just a few fresh pages that have ultimately been whittled down -- my editing eye seems to take over two days out of three. It is slow, but not as slow as I imagine time must feel when it's measured in drops of food.

There's plenty else I'm sure I could do. There are still two curtains that need hemming, and there's laundry. We've got trips, planned ones, coming up very soon, and I ought to take care of the end-of-month bills. And -- wasn't there more? I can't remember. None of it feels important.

But I'll do them, these things and whatever else I happen to think of. Like the sometimes mechanical act of sitting down before this screen, laying fingers on the keys, hoping habit will lead me through the slowdowns of thought that are also inevitable. I'm hoping the mundane will make time feel less present.

Or, like writing, allow me to slip out of the present for a little while.

13 comments:

French Fancy said...

Oh dear, I just popped into my blog to do an update and saw your entry top of the list and came to say hello. I'm sorry bad things seem to have happened and I'm about to work backwards to find out what they are (although have got a good idea).

((you))

TKW said...

I'm glad the kitties have new homes, and I'm hoping that some of the challenges you're facing abate soon. ((hugs))

suzicate said...

Sorry about your grandmother. But that is awesome that the kitties got adopted. And most importantly, even though you have so much on your mind and keeping your hands busy, you are still working on your thesis...that is a big YAY for you!

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Hi CT - I hope that your grandmother's move to palliative care helps ease her pain and, eventually, that of your family. Like you, I look to simple, task-oriented routines at upsetting, rudderless times to help keep me going. You and yours will continue to be in my thoughts.

xoxooo

C. Troubadour said...

FF -- been thinking about you and that last creative piece you're working on. Heading to your next comment (working backwards) to reply ...

TKW -- they're waiting patiently to be picked up as I type this. By which I mean one is conked out in a kitty bed and the other is head-butting me and the laptop. I know your relationship with Harryboy is more of a detente than a love affair, but methinks laptop kitty over here thinks you're sweet :)

SuziCate -- I agree! I rarely get to give myself a yay about that thesis. So YAY indeed. Thanks for the extra cheer.

Kristen -- thanks for thinking of me and my family. Those routines are comforting, no? An apt description, rudderless.

Corinne said...

Glad your foster kitties have new homes :)
Will still be keeping your family in my thoughts. Hang in there!!

Sherlock said...

I'm just now catching up and so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Good news about the kitties and thesis. You have a lot on your mind at the moment and routine mindless tasks provide a temporary escape. My thoughts are with you and will look for updates.

Anil P said...

Never easy to see suffering of old age, more so when juxtaposed with times from before. Sorry about your grandmother.

Good Enough Woman said...

Despite all that's going on, I hope the soft weight of the kitty outdoes the heavy weight of your thoughts.

Sending you some virtual port and chocolate (or something else if you can't have those) and a light, funny movie.

C. Troubadour said...

Corinne -- hangin' I am. A change of scene this weekend will be good, I think. We may have ocean in our near future (not the same one you take pictures of, but its cousin on the opposite coast).

Sherlock -- thanks. Hope you're continuing to mend after that fall!

Anil -- welcome, and thanks for your kind words. It's true; the juxtaposition of better times with the present ones makes my grandmother's suffering particularly painful to witness. More because she is aware of that difference too.

GEW -- I'm going to miss the kitties! They've been good company for the last few weeks. Mmmm, port and chocolate sounds lovely right about now. I think I can get away with a little of the latter (a square or two). Funny movie all queued up as well. Actually, it's a stand-up routine we haven't finished since we keep trying to watch it late at night. After 30 minutes, D and I are both too tired to keep following along, even though the comedian is a hoot. Ever watch any Eddie Izzard?

BigLittleWolf@gmail.com said...

Slipping out of the present for a bit. Yes. We all need that.

And yes, I think we're a little hungover post-5-4-10. But still here.

Still with you.

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, I haven't watched Eddie Izzard, but his name has popped up on my radar a couple of times in the past six months. Should I check him out?

And guess what. As of this weekend, we have a permanent kitty residents at our house. Post and pictures to come soon. :)

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- thanks. I knew I wasn't in a frame of mind to join in 5-4-10 this time around, but maybe next year. Pretty amazing event.

GEW -- KITTY! I can't wait to see! I know you've wanted one for a while. So happy about your new addition to the family. As for Eddie Izzard, he's fun. His type of humor is smart -- ironic fast-paced commentaries mixed with pantomime gags. Energetic but not frenetic. He's available on streaming download from Netflix, so if you decide he's not what you care for, you can just stop watching without having to feel like you wasted a disc-mailing cycle :). We're finishing up Glorious at the moment. Dress to Kill was our first try a few months back -- the opening bit that pokes fun at San Francisco and its residents was slightly confusing because we weren't sure if the whole film was going to be just him doing voiceover to shots of the city, but it eventually takes you to a live recording from the stage.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A quiet night


D is out for a coworker's birthday celebration this evening. So right now, it's just me and my thoughts and the soft weight of one of the foster kitties against the backs of my knees. Both of our guests got adopted last week, and the new parents plan to pick them up tomorrow. I'm glad -- it happens to be convenient that the cats are going, given our uncertain travel plans, but it's also wonderful to know they'll be in loving hands, even if I'm losing their companionship.

Speaking of company, I'm grateful for the kind words so many of you have left here in the last few days. I know the blogosphere's been extra busy of late, so it means even more that you've stopped by. Thank you -- I can't say it enough.

This week and most of the last has been a lot of going through the motions -- waiting and trying not to think about the inevitable. My mother's family has decided to transfer my grandmother to palliative care, which means there will be no more trips to the hospital. We've had word that my grandmother is still eating, but only minuscule amounts from a syringe, not unlike the kind we've had to use to force-feed sick cats. Swallowing is a challenge.

I've managed to keep working on my thesis, in spite of everything. Just a few fresh pages that have ultimately been whittled down -- my editing eye seems to take over two days out of three. It is slow, but not as slow as I imagine time must feel when it's measured in drops of food.

There's plenty else I'm sure I could do. There are still two curtains that need hemming, and there's laundry. We've got trips, planned ones, coming up very soon, and I ought to take care of the end-of-month bills. And -- wasn't there more? I can't remember. None of it feels important.

But I'll do them, these things and whatever else I happen to think of. Like the sometimes mechanical act of sitting down before this screen, laying fingers on the keys, hoping habit will lead me through the slowdowns of thought that are also inevitable. I'm hoping the mundane will make time feel less present.

Or, like writing, allow me to slip out of the present for a little while.

13 comments:

French Fancy said...

Oh dear, I just popped into my blog to do an update and saw your entry top of the list and came to say hello. I'm sorry bad things seem to have happened and I'm about to work backwards to find out what they are (although have got a good idea).

((you))

TKW said...

I'm glad the kitties have new homes, and I'm hoping that some of the challenges you're facing abate soon. ((hugs))

suzicate said...

Sorry about your grandmother. But that is awesome that the kitties got adopted. And most importantly, even though you have so much on your mind and keeping your hands busy, you are still working on your thesis...that is a big YAY for you!

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Hi CT - I hope that your grandmother's move to palliative care helps ease her pain and, eventually, that of your family. Like you, I look to simple, task-oriented routines at upsetting, rudderless times to help keep me going. You and yours will continue to be in my thoughts.

xoxooo

C. Troubadour said...

FF -- been thinking about you and that last creative piece you're working on. Heading to your next comment (working backwards) to reply ...

TKW -- they're waiting patiently to be picked up as I type this. By which I mean one is conked out in a kitty bed and the other is head-butting me and the laptop. I know your relationship with Harryboy is more of a detente than a love affair, but methinks laptop kitty over here thinks you're sweet :)

SuziCate -- I agree! I rarely get to give myself a yay about that thesis. So YAY indeed. Thanks for the extra cheer.

Kristen -- thanks for thinking of me and my family. Those routines are comforting, no? An apt description, rudderless.

Corinne said...

Glad your foster kitties have new homes :)
Will still be keeping your family in my thoughts. Hang in there!!

Sherlock said...

I'm just now catching up and so sorry to hear about your grandmother. Good news about the kitties and thesis. You have a lot on your mind at the moment and routine mindless tasks provide a temporary escape. My thoughts are with you and will look for updates.

Anil P said...

Never easy to see suffering of old age, more so when juxtaposed with times from before. Sorry about your grandmother.

Good Enough Woman said...

Despite all that's going on, I hope the soft weight of the kitty outdoes the heavy weight of your thoughts.

Sending you some virtual port and chocolate (or something else if you can't have those) and a light, funny movie.

C. Troubadour said...

Corinne -- hangin' I am. A change of scene this weekend will be good, I think. We may have ocean in our near future (not the same one you take pictures of, but its cousin on the opposite coast).

Sherlock -- thanks. Hope you're continuing to mend after that fall!

Anil -- welcome, and thanks for your kind words. It's true; the juxtaposition of better times with the present ones makes my grandmother's suffering particularly painful to witness. More because she is aware of that difference too.

GEW -- I'm going to miss the kitties! They've been good company for the last few weeks. Mmmm, port and chocolate sounds lovely right about now. I think I can get away with a little of the latter (a square or two). Funny movie all queued up as well. Actually, it's a stand-up routine we haven't finished since we keep trying to watch it late at night. After 30 minutes, D and I are both too tired to keep following along, even though the comedian is a hoot. Ever watch any Eddie Izzard?

BigLittleWolf@gmail.com said...

Slipping out of the present for a bit. Yes. We all need that.

And yes, I think we're a little hungover post-5-4-10. But still here.

Still with you.

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, I haven't watched Eddie Izzard, but his name has popped up on my radar a couple of times in the past six months. Should I check him out?

And guess what. As of this weekend, we have a permanent kitty residents at our house. Post and pictures to come soon. :)

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- thanks. I knew I wasn't in a frame of mind to join in 5-4-10 this time around, but maybe next year. Pretty amazing event.

GEW -- KITTY! I can't wait to see! I know you've wanted one for a while. So happy about your new addition to the family. As for Eddie Izzard, he's fun. His type of humor is smart -- ironic fast-paced commentaries mixed with pantomime gags. Energetic but not frenetic. He's available on streaming download from Netflix, so if you decide he's not what you care for, you can just stop watching without having to feel like you wasted a disc-mailing cycle :). We're finishing up Glorious at the moment. Dress to Kill was our first try a few months back -- the opening bit that pokes fun at San Francisco and its residents was slightly confusing because we weren't sure if the whole film was going to be just him doing voiceover to shots of the city, but it eventually takes you to a live recording from the stage.