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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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A return to ordinary

Sometimes after a trip, I welcome that. Home, with its familiar spaces and smells and schedules, can be a relief after living out of a suitcase, not knowing what time the next meal will be.

Then there’s post-trip disorientation. What was the plan for the day after the return? Oh, right -- there wasn’t one. But there’s laundry and mail to sort and groceries to buy and the rhythms of the week to relearn.

Monday was one of those days-after where I couldn’t get my bearings.

Trip photos! Let’s look at those, said one voice.

Deadline coming up for thesis work, said another. You haven’t touched your writing since early last week.

Anniversary !!! -- don’t let that evaporate, a third voice chimed in. Blog already, before the high is too far into the past. Not that you won’t have fond memories of it all, but writing about it won’t be the same.

What are you making for dinner, asked a fourth. Ugh, there’s nothing in the fridge, and D’s going to be home in a little while, and then you’ll have to go to the store, and you’ve done nothing all day.

Shut UP, I wanted to say.

Ultimately, I’m glad I saved the details of the weekend getaway for a separate post -- I think I need the boost to help me through the wall of current reality. (Have I really done nothing but laundry this week? No, but that’s all that really feels like a measurable accomplishment!) So, a virtual escape is in order. To ...


Victoria! Specifically, Butchart Gardens. This was one of our few planned destinations for the trip. To give ourselves maximum exploration time, we left Seattle at noon on Friday and arrived for a mid-evening dinner (after a little bit of driving and two ferry rides). Which allowed us to get to the gardens early Saturday morning.

It was, as you can see, VERY sunny. It was pleasant in the shade with a breeze, but wandering the big open beds left us quite warm.

The enclosed butterfly garden down the street was amazingly cooler, despite the temperature and humidity that have to be maintained for its winged tenants. We managed to snap some pictures of several beauties that posed for us. An identification guide is available here.






We had trouble capturing the elusive Blue Morpho –- the brilliant sapphire color on its wings is only visible when they’re open, and this species tends to keep them folded while feeding. (These guys below are licking up some tasty banana juices.) But D managed to sneak a peek at an angle.


And this one, newly hatched from its chrysalis, had to let its wings dry -- so it couldn’t fly away.


After a day of flora and fauna, we were ready for dinner at a darling spot in old town Victoria. Bonus !!! –- a corner booth that gave us extra privacy (see, that’s the corner):


And from another angle:


To the left, you can see part of the beautiful antique door that was repurposed as a wall to enclose the bench seat. I thought it made for a special little nook.

The next morning was an early one, as we wanted to fit in a bit more sightseeing before catching the ferry back home. Major !!! for my own personal pot of coffee at the hotel restaurant:


Properly caffeinated, we set off on a tour of the harbor via one of these cute little pickle boats.


They have impressive maneuverability –- so much so that the captains perform a “water ballet” with them, set to the Blue Danube waltz, on Sunday mornings. Naturally, we timed our tour to end just before the performance so we could watch. (I did get video -- but the patience to edit it requires some sleep first.)

Then it was off to a nearby castle for some history on a man who came to Victoria as an indentured miner and died the richest man in British Columbia. (The photos on the website are better than any I could take in the lighting there.)

And finally, on our way to the ferry, a side jaunt to the Fisgard lighthouse.


I figured I’d gotten to see a lighthouse on the eastern coast of Canada exactly a year ago, but (very sadly) without D -- why not make up for it with one on the west?

Now I’m home, and the week is nearly over. Still dealing with post-vacation inertia? Oh, yes. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We actually did quite a lot in those 48 hours away -- all very much worth it.

6 comments:

Corinne said...

That looks gorgeous!
And that post trip... anxiety almost... is so difficult to beat! Good luck :)

medieval woman said...

That looks like you guys had so much fun - such amazing butterflies!!!

C. Troubadour said...

Corinne -- anxiety and sluggishness, paradoxical but real! Fortunately, the coming weekend is a stay-at-home one.

MW -- the butterflies were pretty cool, probably the top sight in the trip for me :). We picked this up as a future addition to the bedroom we want to turn into a nursery. No concrete plans yet, but it was a baby step, so to speak ...

Sherlock said...

Love the photos and so glad to see the update. Getting back into the routine sucks - the thing I hate the most is dealing with the mail. UGH! Have a good weekend!

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, So glad you had a wonderful trip. And I think it's so cute that you took your !!! sign with you. :)

And I totally know what you mean about the "wall of current reality," esp. post-trip. Usually, we spent most of our summers on the road. This year we stayed home to get house work done, but each day I find myself casting about, trying to make decisions about whether I need to do garden variety cleaning, deep-down organizing, or dissertation writing. As a result, I often feel as if I haven't done much of anything.

P.S. Do I spy an Atlas Moth in your photos?

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- oh, the mail, electronic and otherwise! I think unpacking is the most annoying chore for me.

GEW -- I'm having exactly that experience. Big cleaning jobs or little ones? And yes, that is an Atlas Moth! (I totally thought of you and the kiddies when I was looking through all those pictures, trying to decide which to post.)

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Friday, July 16, 2010

A return to ordinary

Sometimes after a trip, I welcome that. Home, with its familiar spaces and smells and schedules, can be a relief after living out of a suitcase, not knowing what time the next meal will be.

Then there’s post-trip disorientation. What was the plan for the day after the return? Oh, right -- there wasn’t one. But there’s laundry and mail to sort and groceries to buy and the rhythms of the week to relearn.

Monday was one of those days-after where I couldn’t get my bearings.

Trip photos! Let’s look at those, said one voice.

Deadline coming up for thesis work, said another. You haven’t touched your writing since early last week.

Anniversary !!! -- don’t let that evaporate, a third voice chimed in. Blog already, before the high is too far into the past. Not that you won’t have fond memories of it all, but writing about it won’t be the same.

What are you making for dinner, asked a fourth. Ugh, there’s nothing in the fridge, and D’s going to be home in a little while, and then you’ll have to go to the store, and you’ve done nothing all day.

Shut UP, I wanted to say.

Ultimately, I’m glad I saved the details of the weekend getaway for a separate post -- I think I need the boost to help me through the wall of current reality. (Have I really done nothing but laundry this week? No, but that’s all that really feels like a measurable accomplishment!) So, a virtual escape is in order. To ...


Victoria! Specifically, Butchart Gardens. This was one of our few planned destinations for the trip. To give ourselves maximum exploration time, we left Seattle at noon on Friday and arrived for a mid-evening dinner (after a little bit of driving and two ferry rides). Which allowed us to get to the gardens early Saturday morning.

It was, as you can see, VERY sunny. It was pleasant in the shade with a breeze, but wandering the big open beds left us quite warm.

The enclosed butterfly garden down the street was amazingly cooler, despite the temperature and humidity that have to be maintained for its winged tenants. We managed to snap some pictures of several beauties that posed for us. An identification guide is available here.






We had trouble capturing the elusive Blue Morpho –- the brilliant sapphire color on its wings is only visible when they’re open, and this species tends to keep them folded while feeding. (These guys below are licking up some tasty banana juices.) But D managed to sneak a peek at an angle.


And this one, newly hatched from its chrysalis, had to let its wings dry -- so it couldn’t fly away.


After a day of flora and fauna, we were ready for dinner at a darling spot in old town Victoria. Bonus !!! –- a corner booth that gave us extra privacy (see, that’s the corner):


And from another angle:


To the left, you can see part of the beautiful antique door that was repurposed as a wall to enclose the bench seat. I thought it made for a special little nook.

The next morning was an early one, as we wanted to fit in a bit more sightseeing before catching the ferry back home. Major !!! for my own personal pot of coffee at the hotel restaurant:


Properly caffeinated, we set off on a tour of the harbor via one of these cute little pickle boats.


They have impressive maneuverability –- so much so that the captains perform a “water ballet” with them, set to the Blue Danube waltz, on Sunday mornings. Naturally, we timed our tour to end just before the performance so we could watch. (I did get video -- but the patience to edit it requires some sleep first.)

Then it was off to a nearby castle for some history on a man who came to Victoria as an indentured miner and died the richest man in British Columbia. (The photos on the website are better than any I could take in the lighting there.)

And finally, on our way to the ferry, a side jaunt to the Fisgard lighthouse.


I figured I’d gotten to see a lighthouse on the eastern coast of Canada exactly a year ago, but (very sadly) without D -- why not make up for it with one on the west?

Now I’m home, and the week is nearly over. Still dealing with post-vacation inertia? Oh, yes. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. We actually did quite a lot in those 48 hours away -- all very much worth it.

6 comments:

Corinne said...

That looks gorgeous!
And that post trip... anxiety almost... is so difficult to beat! Good luck :)

medieval woman said...

That looks like you guys had so much fun - such amazing butterflies!!!

C. Troubadour said...

Corinne -- anxiety and sluggishness, paradoxical but real! Fortunately, the coming weekend is a stay-at-home one.

MW -- the butterflies were pretty cool, probably the top sight in the trip for me :). We picked this up as a future addition to the bedroom we want to turn into a nursery. No concrete plans yet, but it was a baby step, so to speak ...

Sherlock said...

Love the photos and so glad to see the update. Getting back into the routine sucks - the thing I hate the most is dealing with the mail. UGH! Have a good weekend!

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, So glad you had a wonderful trip. And I think it's so cute that you took your !!! sign with you. :)

And I totally know what you mean about the "wall of current reality," esp. post-trip. Usually, we spent most of our summers on the road. This year we stayed home to get house work done, but each day I find myself casting about, trying to make decisions about whether I need to do garden variety cleaning, deep-down organizing, or dissertation writing. As a result, I often feel as if I haven't done much of anything.

P.S. Do I spy an Atlas Moth in your photos?

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- oh, the mail, electronic and otherwise! I think unpacking is the most annoying chore for me.

GEW -- I'm having exactly that experience. Big cleaning jobs or little ones? And yes, that is an Atlas Moth! (I totally thought of you and the kiddies when I was looking through all those pictures, trying to decide which to post.)