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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All the time in the world

The little red barn we're looking for is tucked within an industrial park just outside Portland.

"Huh," I say, peering at the GPS to make sure it hasn't led us astray. For two midwesterners, the idea of a barn brings up images of rolling fields and long gravel drives under great expanses of sky with hardly another structure in sight. Instead, this building sits on a tidy asphalt parking lot -- a small one at that -- minutes off a local highway lined with warehouses and strip malls. But this is the place: Bob's Red Mill, an intermediate destination on our way to Oregon wine country. We're at the beginning of a much anticipated getaway weekend that happens almost to coincide with our dating anniversary -- 13 years.

Our first date isn't exactly at the front of my mind as D pulls into the parking lot. That night, three weeks before our high school graduation, we caught an early movie and dinner at a diner in the same plaza. Then, arms around each other, we stood on the sidewalk -- rather, I balanced on the curb, D on the blacktop one step down -- for 45 minutes while other restaurant patrons came and went. We'd hugged, but neither of us quite wanted to let go afterward. So there we were, arms loosely draped over shoulders and waist, as if we'd been doing this forever and could keep right on going until time ceased to exist.

Time is on my radar so many years later on our way into Bob's. We've gotten a late start from Seattle, and the wineries we're hoping to visit, still some 40 minutes away, will close soon. I don't want D to miss out for what is really just a grocery trip, but it is our only chance to stop here this weekend before we continue on to the B&B we've booked.

"There's no hurry," D says, reading the worry in my eyes as I check my watch. "Let's go find you some goodies, okay?"

The cherry-bright storefront trimmed in white and the honey-colored timber bracing the roof from within gives the entry a quaint feel. I expect checkered tablecloths and butter churns, ladies in big aprons, hay bales. But instead, there are aisles of shelves lined with dry goods packaged in colorfully labeled cellophane or brown paper. All of the store's grains are ground and packed in the company mill down the street -- hence the industrial park. I scan the hanging signs. Gluten free, one of them reads in clean-lined capitals. This is why we've come here.

I've been experimenting for months with alternative baking since the end of the elimination diet, sifting through allergy-friendly cookbooks from the library for recipes I can adapt to my new normal. Our new normal. D's gone almost completely gluten-free at home to help keep our kitchen a clean zone. Among other replacements for conventional flour, ground garbanzo beans have been an excellent discovery, but the bags at our local grocery store are tiny, enough for two or three little loaves of bread at best. Enter Bob's, which sells in bulk. Normally, we'd order from the company by mail, but since we're passing within such a short distance this weekend, we can't argue with the savings in shipping by picking the goods up ourselves.

We find the bean flour. And the brown rice flour and gluten-free rolled oats, items that have become staples in our pantry. D pulls the largest sacks from the shelves and hefts them into a cart with ease; each lands with a satisfying thump. Our cargo may be on the order of cents per ounce, but I feel suddenly rich. In this space, I'm a baker with options again rather than somebody who has little reason to walk down the flour aisle at our local grocery. We peruse the other nearby novelties: amaranth, teff, sorghum, tapioca. Corresponding recipes from my recent research dance through my head, better than any sugar-plum visions.

I catch D watching me, a tender happiness in his brown-eyed gaze. I know he knows this stop is a treat for me, but to see how much it pleases him to give me time here makes my heart flutter. The look in his eyes is the same he wore so many years ago, standing on the sidewalk as the sun began to sink and we pulled a little closer to each other to ward off the dusky chill. "Seventy-five pounds," I whisper, my eyes on the flour but my mind suddenly taken over by the memory. "Pretty amazing."

And, as if on cue, D slips his arms around me, perfectly content that we are hugging in the middle of a grocery store while other customers come and go. "I know, sweetie," he says. "I know."

2 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

You two were high school sweethearts?! Did we already *know* this? That's so awesome. And that shop looks fantastic--little gluten-free paradise. Like Eden before The Fall.

And that is so cool that D really *gets* you like that and is totally endeared by your happiness. It sounds as if you very very known and very loved in that moment.

Yay, D!
Yay, CT!
Yay, Bob!

P.S. I swear I commented a long time ago on the previous post. I must have messed up my word verification process. :(

C. Troubadour said...

We were indeed high school sweethearts, GEW :). I probably buried that information in an early post waaaaay back when I first started writing this blog. The short version of how we met is here.

These moments always take me by surprise whenever they happen. And then I wonder, how could I forget how it all started and why I fell in love in the first place? This was a timely reminder :).

As for your lost comment -- it's possible Blogger just ate it too. This new format has me a little turned around! Glad you stopped by all the same.

Posts by date

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All the time in the world

The little red barn we're looking for is tucked within an industrial park just outside Portland.

"Huh," I say, peering at the GPS to make sure it hasn't led us astray. For two midwesterners, the idea of a barn brings up images of rolling fields and long gravel drives under great expanses of sky with hardly another structure in sight. Instead, this building sits on a tidy asphalt parking lot -- a small one at that -- minutes off a local highway lined with warehouses and strip malls. But this is the place: Bob's Red Mill, an intermediate destination on our way to Oregon wine country. We're at the beginning of a much anticipated getaway weekend that happens almost to coincide with our dating anniversary -- 13 years.

Our first date isn't exactly at the front of my mind as D pulls into the parking lot. That night, three weeks before our high school graduation, we caught an early movie and dinner at a diner in the same plaza. Then, arms around each other, we stood on the sidewalk -- rather, I balanced on the curb, D on the blacktop one step down -- for 45 minutes while other restaurant patrons came and went. We'd hugged, but neither of us quite wanted to let go afterward. So there we were, arms loosely draped over shoulders and waist, as if we'd been doing this forever and could keep right on going until time ceased to exist.

Time is on my radar so many years later on our way into Bob's. We've gotten a late start from Seattle, and the wineries we're hoping to visit, still some 40 minutes away, will close soon. I don't want D to miss out for what is really just a grocery trip, but it is our only chance to stop here this weekend before we continue on to the B&B we've booked.

"There's no hurry," D says, reading the worry in my eyes as I check my watch. "Let's go find you some goodies, okay?"

The cherry-bright storefront trimmed in white and the honey-colored timber bracing the roof from within gives the entry a quaint feel. I expect checkered tablecloths and butter churns, ladies in big aprons, hay bales. But instead, there are aisles of shelves lined with dry goods packaged in colorfully labeled cellophane or brown paper. All of the store's grains are ground and packed in the company mill down the street -- hence the industrial park. I scan the hanging signs. Gluten free, one of them reads in clean-lined capitals. This is why we've come here.

I've been experimenting for months with alternative baking since the end of the elimination diet, sifting through allergy-friendly cookbooks from the library for recipes I can adapt to my new normal. Our new normal. D's gone almost completely gluten-free at home to help keep our kitchen a clean zone. Among other replacements for conventional flour, ground garbanzo beans have been an excellent discovery, but the bags at our local grocery store are tiny, enough for two or three little loaves of bread at best. Enter Bob's, which sells in bulk. Normally, we'd order from the company by mail, but since we're passing within such a short distance this weekend, we can't argue with the savings in shipping by picking the goods up ourselves.

We find the bean flour. And the brown rice flour and gluten-free rolled oats, items that have become staples in our pantry. D pulls the largest sacks from the shelves and hefts them into a cart with ease; each lands with a satisfying thump. Our cargo may be on the order of cents per ounce, but I feel suddenly rich. In this space, I'm a baker with options again rather than somebody who has little reason to walk down the flour aisle at our local grocery. We peruse the other nearby novelties: amaranth, teff, sorghum, tapioca. Corresponding recipes from my recent research dance through my head, better than any sugar-plum visions.

I catch D watching me, a tender happiness in his brown-eyed gaze. I know he knows this stop is a treat for me, but to see how much it pleases him to give me time here makes my heart flutter. The look in his eyes is the same he wore so many years ago, standing on the sidewalk as the sun began to sink and we pulled a little closer to each other to ward off the dusky chill. "Seventy-five pounds," I whisper, my eyes on the flour but my mind suddenly taken over by the memory. "Pretty amazing."

And, as if on cue, D slips his arms around me, perfectly content that we are hugging in the middle of a grocery store while other customers come and go. "I know, sweetie," he says. "I know."

2 comments:

Good Enough Woman said...

You two were high school sweethearts?! Did we already *know* this? That's so awesome. And that shop looks fantastic--little gluten-free paradise. Like Eden before The Fall.

And that is so cool that D really *gets* you like that and is totally endeared by your happiness. It sounds as if you very very known and very loved in that moment.

Yay, D!
Yay, CT!
Yay, Bob!

P.S. I swear I commented a long time ago on the previous post. I must have messed up my word verification process. :(

C. Troubadour said...

We were indeed high school sweethearts, GEW :). I probably buried that information in an early post waaaaay back when I first started writing this blog. The short version of how we met is here.

These moments always take me by surprise whenever they happen. And then I wonder, how could I forget how it all started and why I fell in love in the first place? This was a timely reminder :).

As for your lost comment -- it's possible Blogger just ate it too. This new format has me a little turned around! Glad you stopped by all the same.