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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.

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.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I just wanted a trim, really

Next Tuesday, I will get on a plane and head for the Other Washington, where I'll be attending a conference. It promises to be lively -- hundreds of writers talking about what they do, how they do it, and why. So I'm excited. Mostly. After all, it's also intimidating to wander among the well-published or -- gulp -- their agents.

I'm in prep mode, trying to get all my ducks in order before I leave. Bills paid? Check. Clothes washed? Almost check. Toiletries packed? Check, and check. How about a haircut? Check ... please.

I present, for your amusement, a conversation (sort of) that transpired when I went for a trim this week. Let's just say that the small talk the stylist tried to engage me in was not what I'd expected.

Scene: a local bargain-basement hair salon (conveniently advertising half-price cuts). The service in the past has been hit-or-miss because of the rotating staff. But the long layers our protagonist usually requests are a fairly straightforward job, and even a few misplaced snips disappear within two weeks as her hair grows out. For $7.99, it's still a deal.

Hairdresser: [Draping her client in a smock] "What would you like today?"

C. Troubadour: "Just a clean-up on the ends, please."

H: "No problem."

She begins combing and snipping. CT watches in the mirror but stays quiet so as not to disturb the woman's concentration.

H: [As she runs her fingers through a section on one side] "Love that Asian hair. So thick and strong. When I was younger and wore extensions, that's what I would get."

CT: "Oh?" [Looks up at the woman's longish chestnut-colored pixie cut.]

H: "Yep, I loved it because you could bleach it but the pigment in it was so strong that it would turn orange -- I liked that look."

Unsure what else to say, CT nods.

H: "I still dye my hair now -- do it myself." [Smiles proudly.] "But it's to hide all the gray."

CT: [Relieved to find something to respond to, swiping at trimmings gathering on her face] "I've got some of that coming in at the crown."

H: "You do!" [Continues snipping.] "Mine's at the temples. I always thought that looked so good on a man. But on me? It sticks out all over the place like little wires. As if I needed pubic hair coming out of my head."

CT pauses mid-swipe.

H: [Gesturing with her scissors at random points around her head] "I mean, it's like sproing! sproing! sproing! sproing! sproing! -- "

CT's eyes widen.

H: "So that's why I dye it. You know, I wonder why armpit hair doesn't turn gray. I mean, don't you?"

CT is speechless.

H: "I wonder too sometimes if my eyebrows are graying as well. It looked like they were getting lighter, but I couldn't tell for sure since I started coloring them to match. What a nuisance, eh?"

A pause. CT flounders for something, anything to say --

CT: "Well ... at least you know what you're doing?"

End scene.

7 comments:

Sherlock said...

LOLOL It's like I was there listening from the next chair over. What a hoot!

Bev said...

YIKES.

TKW said...

Talk about oversharing!

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- I think there WAS someone in the next chair. I wonder what she thought!

Bev -- right??? RIGHT???

TKW -- it was one of those moments I couldn't make up even if I'd wanted to. (Heaven forbid that I should want to ...)

BigLittleWolf said...

OHMYGOD. (Just tell me your hair looks okay...)

And I'm guessing you weren't be returning to her friendly little chair, n'est-ce pas?

Good Enough Woman said...

I have so many images going through my head right now. Sproing! Sproing!

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- yes, the hair still looks okay! (I knew it would since she'd done it before, so that wasn't a concern.) It would be nice, though, if someone else could do the trim next time for the sake of my ears ...

GEW -- I know! It was both hilarious and horrifying. Almost cartoonishly so with the sound effects.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

I just wanted a trim, really

Next Tuesday, I will get on a plane and head for the Other Washington, where I'll be attending a conference. It promises to be lively -- hundreds of writers talking about what they do, how they do it, and why. So I'm excited. Mostly. After all, it's also intimidating to wander among the well-published or -- gulp -- their agents.

I'm in prep mode, trying to get all my ducks in order before I leave. Bills paid? Check. Clothes washed? Almost check. Toiletries packed? Check, and check. How about a haircut? Check ... please.

I present, for your amusement, a conversation (sort of) that transpired when I went for a trim this week. Let's just say that the small talk the stylist tried to engage me in was not what I'd expected.

Scene: a local bargain-basement hair salon (conveniently advertising half-price cuts). The service in the past has been hit-or-miss because of the rotating staff. But the long layers our protagonist usually requests are a fairly straightforward job, and even a few misplaced snips disappear within two weeks as her hair grows out. For $7.99, it's still a deal.

Hairdresser: [Draping her client in a smock] "What would you like today?"

C. Troubadour: "Just a clean-up on the ends, please."

H: "No problem."

She begins combing and snipping. CT watches in the mirror but stays quiet so as not to disturb the woman's concentration.

H: [As she runs her fingers through a section on one side] "Love that Asian hair. So thick and strong. When I was younger and wore extensions, that's what I would get."

CT: "Oh?" [Looks up at the woman's longish chestnut-colored pixie cut.]

H: "Yep, I loved it because you could bleach it but the pigment in it was so strong that it would turn orange -- I liked that look."

Unsure what else to say, CT nods.

H: "I still dye my hair now -- do it myself." [Smiles proudly.] "But it's to hide all the gray."

CT: [Relieved to find something to respond to, swiping at trimmings gathering on her face] "I've got some of that coming in at the crown."

H: "You do!" [Continues snipping.] "Mine's at the temples. I always thought that looked so good on a man. But on me? It sticks out all over the place like little wires. As if I needed pubic hair coming out of my head."

CT pauses mid-swipe.

H: [Gesturing with her scissors at random points around her head] "I mean, it's like sproing! sproing! sproing! sproing! sproing! -- "

CT's eyes widen.

H: "So that's why I dye it. You know, I wonder why armpit hair doesn't turn gray. I mean, don't you?"

CT is speechless.

H: "I wonder too sometimes if my eyebrows are graying as well. It looked like they were getting lighter, but I couldn't tell for sure since I started coloring them to match. What a nuisance, eh?"

A pause. CT flounders for something, anything to say --

CT: "Well ... at least you know what you're doing?"

End scene.

7 comments:

Sherlock said...

LOLOL It's like I was there listening from the next chair over. What a hoot!

Bev said...

YIKES.

TKW said...

Talk about oversharing!

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- I think there WAS someone in the next chair. I wonder what she thought!

Bev -- right??? RIGHT???

TKW -- it was one of those moments I couldn't make up even if I'd wanted to. (Heaven forbid that I should want to ...)

BigLittleWolf said...

OHMYGOD. (Just tell me your hair looks okay...)

And I'm guessing you weren't be returning to her friendly little chair, n'est-ce pas?

Good Enough Woman said...

I have so many images going through my head right now. Sproing! Sproing!

C. Troubadour said...

BLW -- yes, the hair still looks okay! (I knew it would since she'd done it before, so that wasn't a concern.) It would be nice, though, if someone else could do the trim next time for the sake of my ears ...

GEW -- I know! It was both hilarious and horrifying. Almost cartoonishly so with the sound effects.