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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, March 30, 2011

Alternatives

The hazards of heavy deadlines: a heavier Troubadour.

Not by much, but I can feel it in the way my clothes fit and I know exactly where it's coming from. I wish I could say it's just the excuse and abuse of a few irresistible restaurant menus from celebrating our birthdays earlier this month (both D and I had them). But really, it's days of an extra spoonful of this at lunch, an additional morsel of that at dinner, straight-up standing in the kitchen with one's head in the pantry in search of something to take the edge off all the stress, the kind that builds up in between those outings I wrote about last week. Salty or sweet, this girl has been going after snacks that sate her inner child who is long past tired of being told just one more page, hell, one more sentence ...

And I need to, um, scale that back.

But I also need alternatives. Because I still have a month to go before the defense -- Chapter 7 is heading off to my advisor tomorrow, after which we will do a broad assessment of the project for the purposes of revision -- and mental resources are running thin. I'm still five pages short. There are other unbloggable things going on that are making me crazy in my downtime. And my habit of medicating with food, while a tried-and-true (tried-and-false?) quick fix so I can get back to the so-called degree-finishing plan, is not working in my favor.

I'm holding myself to this by writing it here -- a plan to help me deal with my other plan. To wit, instead of sticking my head in the pantry, I will ...

  • stick my head in a book, even if only for fifteen minutes. And if I don't like the one I have on hand, I'll go find another one. Who says you have to read books one at a time? Different moods, different texts. To make this work, I'd better pile a few choice items in one place. It's ridiculous, but the endgame of thesis writing increases personal inertia some thirty fold. Don't ask me about the laundry that hasn't been done.

  • do something nice for somebody else. Small things that don't take a lot of time, like looking up and e-mailing a recipe that someone asked you about. Because if you're thinking about other people, you're not thinking about yourself, and that is EXACTLY what I need when I'm trying to get away from my own stress.

  • work on plans to go to Hawaii. Yes, travel preparations come with their own stress, but what's fifteen minutes of reading about where I might stay/sunbathe/swim in a lagoon fed by a natural waterfall/forget I ever thought this degree was a good idea/reward myself for getting done?

  • indulge in some TV via Hulu or Netflix. I usually save this exclusively for when I'm working out on the elliptical machine, but since January, I've been writing while on it (a funny picture, I'm sure, but it works). So I have a backlog of shows I keep telling myself I'll get to. Such entertainment without accompanying cardio may indeed lower my resting metabolism further, but at least it's not more calories in, just fewer calories out.

  • look up potential bike trails in our area. Summer is coming, and D and I want to try a few local outings once all of this thesis business is out of the way. It's not skiing, but we need an outdoor physical activity during non-snowy months that we enjoy together. We've figured out it's one of the better ways we bond.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. Take that, thesis! I will get done with you yet.

7 comments:

Sherlock said...

I like your plan. I do the book thing -- more than one going at a time. I'm also working on travel plans -- road trip to a destination 24 hours away and two weeks gone. I've been making a huge effort the past two weeks do stop snacking and lose a few pounds. 3 down in the last two weeks YAY! I've been on a plateau (and gaining) for 4 months now.

Good luck with it all! When's the Hawaii trip?

TKW said...

Definitely work on planning for Hawaii. Nothing beats the blahs like a trip to look forward to! What island?

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- 24 hours! That's quite the road trip. I'm guessing you'll take it in stints. The Hawaii trip is going to be in the fall, I think. We're still working on finding tickets.

Kitch -- we're looking at Maui as it seemed to have the most variety in what we might see and do. Good for first-timers to paradise, right? Now if I can just find a B&B that's affordable for a week ... :P

BigLittleWolf said...

Ah, the hazards of heavy stresses... a bigger Big little wolf...

It's so hard when you're under the gun. I'm trying to cut myself some slack over this issue. It ain't easy. I hope you can cut yourself some slack.

And enjoy Hawaii!

xoxo

C. Troubadour said...

I have been cutting myself some slack, BLW. That's the problem ... ;)

It's a fine balance for me. My relationship with food is deep-seated and, in the past, has been more than just a slip here or there. Getting too lax leads to relapses of old habits that make for serious problems. So yes, some leeway, but not quite so much as I've allowed recently. That's what I'm aiming for.

Julie said...

You can do it, you can do it, you can do it! I am just now catching up on all my blog reading after, I don't know, A MILLION YEARS, and I wanted to at least peek in and wish you the best in this stressful process. It's clear you've put so much of yourself in this thesis project, and you'll be rewarded for it (by Hawaii, no less!)

C. Troubadour said...

Hi Julie! Oh I know that feeling. A million years in the blink of an eye. Where did March go? Weren't we just talking about Valentine's Day over at your place?

Thank you for the encouragement. I know you know what the last thesis mile feels like!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Alternatives

The hazards of heavy deadlines: a heavier Troubadour.

Not by much, but I can feel it in the way my clothes fit and I know exactly where it's coming from. I wish I could say it's just the excuse and abuse of a few irresistible restaurant menus from celebrating our birthdays earlier this month (both D and I had them). But really, it's days of an extra spoonful of this at lunch, an additional morsel of that at dinner, straight-up standing in the kitchen with one's head in the pantry in search of something to take the edge off all the stress, the kind that builds up in between those outings I wrote about last week. Salty or sweet, this girl has been going after snacks that sate her inner child who is long past tired of being told just one more page, hell, one more sentence ...

And I need to, um, scale that back.

But I also need alternatives. Because I still have a month to go before the defense -- Chapter 7 is heading off to my advisor tomorrow, after which we will do a broad assessment of the project for the purposes of revision -- and mental resources are running thin. I'm still five pages short. There are other unbloggable things going on that are making me crazy in my downtime. And my habit of medicating with food, while a tried-and-true (tried-and-false?) quick fix so I can get back to the so-called degree-finishing plan, is not working in my favor.

I'm holding myself to this by writing it here -- a plan to help me deal with my other plan. To wit, instead of sticking my head in the pantry, I will ...

  • stick my head in a book, even if only for fifteen minutes. And if I don't like the one I have on hand, I'll go find another one. Who says you have to read books one at a time? Different moods, different texts. To make this work, I'd better pile a few choice items in one place. It's ridiculous, but the endgame of thesis writing increases personal inertia some thirty fold. Don't ask me about the laundry that hasn't been done.

  • do something nice for somebody else. Small things that don't take a lot of time, like looking up and e-mailing a recipe that someone asked you about. Because if you're thinking about other people, you're not thinking about yourself, and that is EXACTLY what I need when I'm trying to get away from my own stress.

  • work on plans to go to Hawaii. Yes, travel preparations come with their own stress, but what's fifteen minutes of reading about where I might stay/sunbathe/swim in a lagoon fed by a natural waterfall/forget I ever thought this degree was a good idea/reward myself for getting done?

  • indulge in some TV via Hulu or Netflix. I usually save this exclusively for when I'm working out on the elliptical machine, but since January, I've been writing while on it (a funny picture, I'm sure, but it works). So I have a backlog of shows I keep telling myself I'll get to. Such entertainment without accompanying cardio may indeed lower my resting metabolism further, but at least it's not more calories in, just fewer calories out.

  • look up potential bike trails in our area. Summer is coming, and D and I want to try a few local outings once all of this thesis business is out of the way. It's not skiing, but we need an outdoor physical activity during non-snowy months that we enjoy together. We've figured out it's one of the better ways we bond.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. Take that, thesis! I will get done with you yet.

7 comments:

Sherlock said...

I like your plan. I do the book thing -- more than one going at a time. I'm also working on travel plans -- road trip to a destination 24 hours away and two weeks gone. I've been making a huge effort the past two weeks do stop snacking and lose a few pounds. 3 down in the last two weeks YAY! I've been on a plateau (and gaining) for 4 months now.

Good luck with it all! When's the Hawaii trip?

TKW said...

Definitely work on planning for Hawaii. Nothing beats the blahs like a trip to look forward to! What island?

C. Troubadour said...

Sherlock -- 24 hours! That's quite the road trip. I'm guessing you'll take it in stints. The Hawaii trip is going to be in the fall, I think. We're still working on finding tickets.

Kitch -- we're looking at Maui as it seemed to have the most variety in what we might see and do. Good for first-timers to paradise, right? Now if I can just find a B&B that's affordable for a week ... :P

BigLittleWolf said...

Ah, the hazards of heavy stresses... a bigger Big little wolf...

It's so hard when you're under the gun. I'm trying to cut myself some slack over this issue. It ain't easy. I hope you can cut yourself some slack.

And enjoy Hawaii!

xoxo

C. Troubadour said...

I have been cutting myself some slack, BLW. That's the problem ... ;)

It's a fine balance for me. My relationship with food is deep-seated and, in the past, has been more than just a slip here or there. Getting too lax leads to relapses of old habits that make for serious problems. So yes, some leeway, but not quite so much as I've allowed recently. That's what I'm aiming for.

Julie said...

You can do it, you can do it, you can do it! I am just now catching up on all my blog reading after, I don't know, A MILLION YEARS, and I wanted to at least peek in and wish you the best in this stressful process. It's clear you've put so much of yourself in this thesis project, and you'll be rewarded for it (by Hawaii, no less!)

C. Troubadour said...

Hi Julie! Oh I know that feeling. A million years in the blink of an eye. Where did March go? Weren't we just talking about Valentine's Day over at your place?

Thank you for the encouragement. I know you know what the last thesis mile feels like!