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.

Monday, December 20, 2010

To the guy at the Johnston & Murphy store

It's been a few unbloggable weeks. The outcome of all that will be good things in the nearish future, but the reality of December has been a lot of tension between D and me. So we weren't in the best of moods Monday when we decided a last-minute trip to replace his formal footwear was necessary. We leave this morning for sixteen days with the family (both sides as usual).

In a break with tradition, my parents decided they wanted to do New Year's Eve in New York City. At Lincoln Center. Which will be amazing and novel and likely a very good time. But we haven't been to any event that posh in years and D was feeling a bit self-conscious about the not-really-formal loafers he'd been wearing with his suit to the last few dress events (weddings where no one would really care what was on his feet). The pair of shoes he bought for our own wedding was destroyed in the Great Deluge of 2008, and we hadn't found the motivation or justification to invest in another. But the upcoming trip seemed like good reason to D. So we headed out, damaged leather in hand, to see if we could find a similar pair from the company that had sold us the first.

The guy behind the counter was chatting with another customer on the way out the door when we arrived, but as soon as he saw our Trader Joe's bag (clearly containing something other than groceries), he asked how he could be of help. We pulled out the shoes and told him what had happened to them.

"You've got to be effing kidding me," he said, turning them over in his hands. We both smiled at his candor. He seemed a bit older than we were, closer to our parents' age, but not quite there yet.

"Can they be repaired?" D asked, with a hopeful look.

The guy inspected the tear by one toe, the creases and abrasions from three days of water-logging. "You hadn't even had them for very long," he clucked. He tapped for a few seconds on his computer keyboard. "What's your address?"

We gave him the information. He hummed a little as he tapped some more, clicked through a screen or two, examined the labeling inside the shoes. At last, the machine spit out a foot of paper, which he folded carefully before handing it across the counter.

"I like you," he said, with an extremely pleased look on his face. "And no, the shoes can't be fixed. But because you are such nice people, a man in brown shorts is going to appear on your doorstep in three days with a brand-new pair of these."

D and I gaped. As far as we were concerned, we had not been very nice people for most of the day. But, it seemed, the universe had decided at that moment to send us some love anyway.

We thanked the man profusely. "No, no," he said, "I'm happy to do it. I figure the last thing you need to worry about replacing after an ordeal like that is a pair of shoes."

He couldn't have known that the incident in question had happened two years prior. And he couldn't have known what these last weeks had actually been like, bloggable or otherwise. But his wanting so much to give us a bright spot in our day was what touched me. It couldn't have come at a better time, refreshing my view on life when I needed that most.

So thank you again, sir. You did more than I think you realized. Or maybe you knew. Either way, I'll have this memory as I head off into the holiday. Despite what this month has largely been, I can say, because of your kindness, that I feel more optimistic about what remains.

7 comments:

Kristen @ Motherese said...

That guy deserves a big Christmas bonus! (And I bet he made D a customer for life with his kind gesture.)

Best wishes for safe, happy, and easy travels these next few weeks.

xo

Bev said...

<3

BigLittleWolf said...

These bright spots - random kindness - are often what keep us afloat. Ain't life grand - at times, when you least expect?

I hope you have a wonderful few weeks away. Relax and enjoy.

SuziCate said...

Ah yes, waht a fabulous start to a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season! I hope you guys have a great time at your posh event and safe travels!

C. Troubadour said...

Kristen -- he did make D a customer for life. We bought a bunch of very nice socks from the place that night as we didn't feel right just walking out of there. So now D has very pretty feet :)

Bev -- hiiiiiiiiii <3

BLW -- the kindness certainly came at an incredible time. Life does have its grand moments too. I love the ones that disarm us when we have our shields up.

SuziCate -- we're crossing our fingers that the weather will cooperate! I hear a rather large snowstorm is headed for the east ...

Good Enough Woman said...

I hope that you, D, and D's feet enjoyed your trip and that thinks are looking up, so far, in 2011!

C. Troubadour said...

The trip was a good one, GEW. Hope you too are having a lovely start to the new year :)

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 Technological snafus 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

Monday, December 20, 2010

To the guy at the Johnston & Murphy store

It's been a few unbloggable weeks. The outcome of all that will be good things in the nearish future, but the reality of December has been a lot of tension between D and me. So we weren't in the best of moods Monday when we decided a last-minute trip to replace his formal footwear was necessary. We leave this morning for sixteen days with the family (both sides as usual).

In a break with tradition, my parents decided they wanted to do New Year's Eve in New York City. At Lincoln Center. Which will be amazing and novel and likely a very good time. But we haven't been to any event that posh in years and D was feeling a bit self-conscious about the not-really-formal loafers he'd been wearing with his suit to the last few dress events (weddings where no one would really care what was on his feet). The pair of shoes he bought for our own wedding was destroyed in the Great Deluge of 2008, and we hadn't found the motivation or justification to invest in another. But the upcoming trip seemed like good reason to D. So we headed out, damaged leather in hand, to see if we could find a similar pair from the company that had sold us the first.

The guy behind the counter was chatting with another customer on the way out the door when we arrived, but as soon as he saw our Trader Joe's bag (clearly containing something other than groceries), he asked how he could be of help. We pulled out the shoes and told him what had happened to them.

"You've got to be effing kidding me," he said, turning them over in his hands. We both smiled at his candor. He seemed a bit older than we were, closer to our parents' age, but not quite there yet.

"Can they be repaired?" D asked, with a hopeful look.

The guy inspected the tear by one toe, the creases and abrasions from three days of water-logging. "You hadn't even had them for very long," he clucked. He tapped for a few seconds on his computer keyboard. "What's your address?"

We gave him the information. He hummed a little as he tapped some more, clicked through a screen or two, examined the labeling inside the shoes. At last, the machine spit out a foot of paper, which he folded carefully before handing it across the counter.

"I like you," he said, with an extremely pleased look on his face. "And no, the shoes can't be fixed. But because you are such nice people, a man in brown shorts is going to appear on your doorstep in three days with a brand-new pair of these."

D and I gaped. As far as we were concerned, we had not been very nice people for most of the day. But, it seemed, the universe had decided at that moment to send us some love anyway.

We thanked the man profusely. "No, no," he said, "I'm happy to do it. I figure the last thing you need to worry about replacing after an ordeal like that is a pair of shoes."

He couldn't have known that the incident in question had happened two years prior. And he couldn't have known what these last weeks had actually been like, bloggable or otherwise. But his wanting so much to give us a bright spot in our day was what touched me. It couldn't have come at a better time, refreshing my view on life when I needed that most.

So thank you again, sir. You did more than I think you realized. Or maybe you knew. Either way, I'll have this memory as I head off into the holiday. Despite what this month has largely been, I can say, because of your kindness, that I feel more optimistic about what remains.

7 comments:

Kristen @ Motherese said...

That guy deserves a big Christmas bonus! (And I bet he made D a customer for life with his kind gesture.)

Best wishes for safe, happy, and easy travels these next few weeks.

xo

Bev said...

<3

BigLittleWolf said...

These bright spots - random kindness - are often what keep us afloat. Ain't life grand - at times, when you least expect?

I hope you have a wonderful few weeks away. Relax and enjoy.

SuziCate said...

Ah yes, waht a fabulous start to a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season! I hope you guys have a great time at your posh event and safe travels!

C. Troubadour said...

Kristen -- he did make D a customer for life. We bought a bunch of very nice socks from the place that night as we didn't feel right just walking out of there. So now D has very pretty feet :)

Bev -- hiiiiiiiiii <3

BLW -- the kindness certainly came at an incredible time. Life does have its grand moments too. I love the ones that disarm us when we have our shields up.

SuziCate -- we're crossing our fingers that the weather will cooperate! I hear a rather large snowstorm is headed for the east ...

Good Enough Woman said...

I hope that you, D, and D's feet enjoyed your trip and that thinks are looking up, so far, in 2011!

C. Troubadour said...

The trip was a good one, GEW. Hope you too are having a lovely start to the new year :)