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!)

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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.

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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.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nine weeks

That's how long I've been on this crazy elimination diet.

Yes, I chose not to write about the testing while it was ongoing -- it was life-consuming enough that I needed this space to think about other things, like what I've been examining through my most recent series of musings. I plan to continue adding to that, but more intermittently now that it's established (for me, as a commitment through habit of thought).

In the meantime, I'm beginning to get the much-wanted answers I'd been looking for. Preliminarily, we've determined that dairy products from cows do not love me, as much as I love them. Goat dairy is kinder, but ambiguously so. Eggs lie somewhere in between on that spectrum. Corn and soy are friendly.

Today I will complete one of three different gluten trials, and then we will suspend testing until our return from Hawaii. Our original plan was to be done with all the trials before the trip -- this Thursday! -- but because the dairy tests worked me over so thoroughly, I needed a lot of extra recovery time between each of them, which pushed our testing timeline much further into the fall than I'd anticipated.

I'm a mess of mixed feelings about it all. Relieved to have results at last, some of them quite definitive. Frustrated but resigned to the fact that more testing has to continue when we get back. Disappointed that the dietary limitations we've discovered so far will mean some significant changes to our original vacation plan.

I'd wanted a true getaway, where we'd have largely unstructured time to lie on the beach with a stack of books, bob around in the ocean, catch some tropical sunsets, feed ourselves on inexpensive local cuisine. We can still do plenty of all this -- but we'll have to be vigilant about what I eat that I haven't personally prepared (don't get me started on the pervasiveness of dairy in commercial foods, but do check out this site if you need guidelines for your own dairy sensitivities). And we'll need to cook some food as backup for moments when we're unable to find something that works at those mom-and-pop restaurants (or roadside stands) whose plate lunches or noodle bowls we were so looking forward to sampling. I guess it's the dream of being totally carefree -- not having to think so hard about what needs to be done ahead of time or what contingencies we ought to anticipate -- that is looking more and more unrealistic, and it makes me sad.

Still, I'm determined to be over this by the time we leave. This trip is meant to celebrate our surviving much, much worse. Like, say, all of 2010; the residual aftermath of an extended thesis year; the accumulated tension from the two-year commute that changed us both indelibly.

So I'm making a plan now, to minimize the mental effort we'll have to put in when we arrive. Grocery stores? Located. Cooking facilities? Secured, through our bed-and-breakfast hosts. Restaurant menus? Downloaded and vetted. Restaurant staff? Where practical, already contacted to ask if they can accommodate my dietary needs.

I hope, hope, hope that it all pays off. We may not get to throw caution to the wind, but at least these preparations will let us use the majority of our time to relax, rather than spend it on pesky logistics ...

3 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, Hawaii! how exciting. I love Hawaii. Who doesn't, really? I'm sorry you won't be quite as footloose as you'd like to be, but I hope things go smoothly. We might be facing dietary restrictions at Chez GEW as well. I posted about it, in part, today although I didn't even mention the Girl's stomach problems, which are a mystery.

So I sympathize and look to your as an inspiration as we, perhaps, move into similar territory.

I can't wait to hear about your trip. I hope you enjoy each other and Hawaii.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW, it is gorgeous here in Maui. Achingly so. We drove the Road to Hana yesterday and I almost couldn't keep myself in one piece because I was so verklempt from the beauty.

Vistas aside, I am replying to your comment in greater detail over at your place. Preliminarily: oh how I feel for you and the Boy and the rest of your family! As I imagine you're learning, dietary changes affect everyone, even if only one person is really under restriction. I hope testing goes efficiently -- celiac can be slow to confirm, from what I've learned in all of my questioning of the experts, but it sounds like you got more definitive results from the start. Hoping for as few pokes and prods as possible for the Boy.

BigLittleWolf said...

What a journey. I hope it all pays off for you too. (And have a blast - that other journey I mean - Hawaii!)

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nine weeks

That's how long I've been on this crazy elimination diet.

Yes, I chose not to write about the testing while it was ongoing -- it was life-consuming enough that I needed this space to think about other things, like what I've been examining through my most recent series of musings. I plan to continue adding to that, but more intermittently now that it's established (for me, as a commitment through habit of thought).

In the meantime, I'm beginning to get the much-wanted answers I'd been looking for. Preliminarily, we've determined that dairy products from cows do not love me, as much as I love them. Goat dairy is kinder, but ambiguously so. Eggs lie somewhere in between on that spectrum. Corn and soy are friendly.

Today I will complete one of three different gluten trials, and then we will suspend testing until our return from Hawaii. Our original plan was to be done with all the trials before the trip -- this Thursday! -- but because the dairy tests worked me over so thoroughly, I needed a lot of extra recovery time between each of them, which pushed our testing timeline much further into the fall than I'd anticipated.

I'm a mess of mixed feelings about it all. Relieved to have results at last, some of them quite definitive. Frustrated but resigned to the fact that more testing has to continue when we get back. Disappointed that the dietary limitations we've discovered so far will mean some significant changes to our original vacation plan.

I'd wanted a true getaway, where we'd have largely unstructured time to lie on the beach with a stack of books, bob around in the ocean, catch some tropical sunsets, feed ourselves on inexpensive local cuisine. We can still do plenty of all this -- but we'll have to be vigilant about what I eat that I haven't personally prepared (don't get me started on the pervasiveness of dairy in commercial foods, but do check out this site if you need guidelines for your own dairy sensitivities). And we'll need to cook some food as backup for moments when we're unable to find something that works at those mom-and-pop restaurants (or roadside stands) whose plate lunches or noodle bowls we were so looking forward to sampling. I guess it's the dream of being totally carefree -- not having to think so hard about what needs to be done ahead of time or what contingencies we ought to anticipate -- that is looking more and more unrealistic, and it makes me sad.

Still, I'm determined to be over this by the time we leave. This trip is meant to celebrate our surviving much, much worse. Like, say, all of 2010; the residual aftermath of an extended thesis year; the accumulated tension from the two-year commute that changed us both indelibly.

So I'm making a plan now, to minimize the mental effort we'll have to put in when we arrive. Grocery stores? Located. Cooking facilities? Secured, through our bed-and-breakfast hosts. Restaurant menus? Downloaded and vetted. Restaurant staff? Where practical, already contacted to ask if they can accommodate my dietary needs.

I hope, hope, hope that it all pays off. We may not get to throw caution to the wind, but at least these preparations will let us use the majority of our time to relax, rather than spend it on pesky logistics ...

3 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

CT, Hawaii! how exciting. I love Hawaii. Who doesn't, really? I'm sorry you won't be quite as footloose as you'd like to be, but I hope things go smoothly. We might be facing dietary restrictions at Chez GEW as well. I posted about it, in part, today although I didn't even mention the Girl's stomach problems, which are a mystery.

So I sympathize and look to your as an inspiration as we, perhaps, move into similar territory.

I can't wait to hear about your trip. I hope you enjoy each other and Hawaii.

C. Troubadour said...

GEW, it is gorgeous here in Maui. Achingly so. We drove the Road to Hana yesterday and I almost couldn't keep myself in one piece because I was so verklempt from the beauty.

Vistas aside, I am replying to your comment in greater detail over at your place. Preliminarily: oh how I feel for you and the Boy and the rest of your family! As I imagine you're learning, dietary changes affect everyone, even if only one person is really under restriction. I hope testing goes efficiently -- celiac can be slow to confirm, from what I've learned in all of my questioning of the experts, but it sounds like you got more definitive results from the start. Hoping for as few pokes and prods as possible for the Boy.

BigLittleWolf said...

What a journey. I hope it all pays off for you too. (And have a blast - that other journey I mean - Hawaii!)