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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Calling all savvy shoppers

I know, I know. I said I'd be more active now that I'm feeling better. It wasn't a total lie, but yes, much of the activity has been more elsewhere than here. I suppose if you could have seen the state of the Troubadour house at the end of 17 weeks, you too would have wanted me to deal with that mess first. So that's what I've been doing in the last month (when not also planning four major trips for weddings and holidays that all have to happen before we get to 36 weeks, but that's for another post).

Fortunately, I had some help with the cleanup. Our laundry room has a new resident -- a much-needed washer to replace the cantankerous 15-year-old one that came with the house, one that refused to drain every third use and would only take loads half its capacity because it was so badly unbalanced (broken ball bearings may have been the culprit). In one day, I did five rounds of serious laundry that would in the past have amounted to thirteen -- ten initial loads plus about three rewashes for the ones that didn't empty during the rinse cycle. And we wonder now why we didn't make the replacement sooner ... ! Forgive me for going on about this, but I'm in love.

The baby gear industry, I suspect, would like me to fall equally head over heels for about 10,000 other products it's been informing me of daily. (You don't want to see my inbox.) When the influx of ads and offers began, we'd already started the process of researching the items we'd need to have ready for February -- a place for baby to sleep and a car seat are the only large-scale absolute necessities -- but the lists of other stuff the industry would have us believe we can't live without are a bit overwhelming. I'm doing my best to ignore the propaganda, but I do take recommendations from anyone who's actually a parent. What did you find was really worth having around in those first months? What, in the fog of sleep-deprivation joys of new parenthood, did you love/swear by/thank yourself for buying?

Feel free to go into as much detail as you'd like. Of course, the name of the product with a simple thumbs-up like the one we got from our baby at Tuesday's doctor visit will also suffice.

6 comments:

Kristen @ Motherese said...

The four things that saved my life in the early months were:

1. a vibrating bouncy seat (in my experience, kids either love the swing, the sling, or the bouncy seat; mine all loved the seat);

2. the Snap N Go stroller (you can move the infant seat from the car directly into the stroller without waking the babe);

3. the My Breast Friend (if you're thinking of nursing); and

4. a glider with ottoman (I spent many an hour in mine...and I still do).

So exciting!!!

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, Kristen! Exciting indeed. Lucky you that all the kids loved the bouncy seat -- D's brothers responded very differently to various soothing tools so his parents had to reinvent their system each time around. (Not surprising, but still ...)

Good Enough Woman said...

Yes to the glider and ottoman. We just passed ours along a couple of months ago. It was kind of sad to see it go.

Video monitor: They didn't have these yet when my kids were born, but I've seen parents with them and they are so cool. I would have been great to have one.

Moses basket: Instead of a full-on co-sleeper thing, we used a moses basket with a stand. It was easy to move it around from room to room. This was key since I liked to put the baby down during its naps (so he/she wouldn't be dependent on my body for sleeping), but I like to have the baby sleep in whatever room was best.

Combi stroller: I think my favorite stroller was a combi. It was kind of convertible since I could either have the baby sitting in it, lying in it, or I could snap the car seat into it. I really liked this brand because it was light and the wheels had great action! But I also imagine strollers have come a long way in the past decade.

For You: nursing bras and button up shirts (if you plan to nurse)

For the hospital: nail scissors or baby socks. The Boy was born with fairly long nails, and he kept scratching himself. The nurses said they weren't allowed to cut his nails (?), and I wished we'd had nail scissors (these little baby nail scissors are better than clippers). As it was, cut up a onesie and used tape to cover his hands. Baby socks might have worked, too.

Baby sleep sacks with drawstrings at the bottom so middle of the night changes are easy.

:) If I think of more I'll let you know!

C. Troubadour said...

Terrific list, GEW. I've seen those video monitors too. D, being the tech junkie he is, is considering how to wire something up himself with inexpensive cameras rather than buying the monitors on the market ($300 in some cases!).

We are also lucky enough to have D's dad, who is a basket weaver in his spare time. He's making us a basket just as you described. How did you keep yours stain-protected?

As for nail scissors or mitts for wayward hands, good call, especially if we don't get the swaddling thing figured out right off. And sleep sacks with drawstrings at the bottom -- would never have thought of that!

Good Enough Woman said...

Swaddling! That reminds me of the "Miracle Blanket"! We never got swaddling down very well for the Boy. But we got a "Miracle Blanket" for the Girl, and it was awesome! She loved it! Well, she loved it until she was a few months old and, no matter, what was strong enough to get an arm out. She would get so pissed off about the flailing arm that, at that point, we stopped swaddling. But for the first few months? She was a perfectly swaddled baby burrito in her Miracle Blanket.

And I just remembered some thing actually called a sleep sack. It goes great with the drawstring thingys or any jammies. We used it with the Boy to keep him warm, and we used it with the Girl once we weren't swaddling. Look up "HALO Sleep Sac." It's great since they can't have loose bedding and we live somewhere cool (as do you!). :)

C. Troubadour said...

I am all about simplified swaddling! Receiving blankets are great, but I don't trust myself to tuck them in tightly enough. The Miracle Blanket sounds like a great option.

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Calling all savvy shoppers

I know, I know. I said I'd be more active now that I'm feeling better. It wasn't a total lie, but yes, much of the activity has been more elsewhere than here. I suppose if you could have seen the state of the Troubadour house at the end of 17 weeks, you too would have wanted me to deal with that mess first. So that's what I've been doing in the last month (when not also planning four major trips for weddings and holidays that all have to happen before we get to 36 weeks, but that's for another post).

Fortunately, I had some help with the cleanup. Our laundry room has a new resident -- a much-needed washer to replace the cantankerous 15-year-old one that came with the house, one that refused to drain every third use and would only take loads half its capacity because it was so badly unbalanced (broken ball bearings may have been the culprit). In one day, I did five rounds of serious laundry that would in the past have amounted to thirteen -- ten initial loads plus about three rewashes for the ones that didn't empty during the rinse cycle. And we wonder now why we didn't make the replacement sooner ... ! Forgive me for going on about this, but I'm in love.

The baby gear industry, I suspect, would like me to fall equally head over heels for about 10,000 other products it's been informing me of daily. (You don't want to see my inbox.) When the influx of ads and offers began, we'd already started the process of researching the items we'd need to have ready for February -- a place for baby to sleep and a car seat are the only large-scale absolute necessities -- but the lists of other stuff the industry would have us believe we can't live without are a bit overwhelming. I'm doing my best to ignore the propaganda, but I do take recommendations from anyone who's actually a parent. What did you find was really worth having around in those first months? What, in the fog of sleep-deprivation joys of new parenthood, did you love/swear by/thank yourself for buying?

Feel free to go into as much detail as you'd like. Of course, the name of the product with a simple thumbs-up like the one we got from our baby at Tuesday's doctor visit will also suffice.

6 comments:

Kristen @ Motherese said...

The four things that saved my life in the early months were:

1. a vibrating bouncy seat (in my experience, kids either love the swing, the sling, or the bouncy seat; mine all loved the seat);

2. the Snap N Go stroller (you can move the infant seat from the car directly into the stroller without waking the babe);

3. the My Breast Friend (if you're thinking of nursing); and

4. a glider with ottoman (I spent many an hour in mine...and I still do).

So exciting!!!

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, Kristen! Exciting indeed. Lucky you that all the kids loved the bouncy seat -- D's brothers responded very differently to various soothing tools so his parents had to reinvent their system each time around. (Not surprising, but still ...)

Good Enough Woman said...

Yes to the glider and ottoman. We just passed ours along a couple of months ago. It was kind of sad to see it go.

Video monitor: They didn't have these yet when my kids were born, but I've seen parents with them and they are so cool. I would have been great to have one.

Moses basket: Instead of a full-on co-sleeper thing, we used a moses basket with a stand. It was easy to move it around from room to room. This was key since I liked to put the baby down during its naps (so he/she wouldn't be dependent on my body for sleeping), but I like to have the baby sleep in whatever room was best.

Combi stroller: I think my favorite stroller was a combi. It was kind of convertible since I could either have the baby sitting in it, lying in it, or I could snap the car seat into it. I really liked this brand because it was light and the wheels had great action! But I also imagine strollers have come a long way in the past decade.

For You: nursing bras and button up shirts (if you plan to nurse)

For the hospital: nail scissors or baby socks. The Boy was born with fairly long nails, and he kept scratching himself. The nurses said they weren't allowed to cut his nails (?), and I wished we'd had nail scissors (these little baby nail scissors are better than clippers). As it was, cut up a onesie and used tape to cover his hands. Baby socks might have worked, too.

Baby sleep sacks with drawstrings at the bottom so middle of the night changes are easy.

:) If I think of more I'll let you know!

C. Troubadour said...

Terrific list, GEW. I've seen those video monitors too. D, being the tech junkie he is, is considering how to wire something up himself with inexpensive cameras rather than buying the monitors on the market ($300 in some cases!).

We are also lucky enough to have D's dad, who is a basket weaver in his spare time. He's making us a basket just as you described. How did you keep yours stain-protected?

As for nail scissors or mitts for wayward hands, good call, especially if we don't get the swaddling thing figured out right off. And sleep sacks with drawstrings at the bottom -- would never have thought of that!

Good Enough Woman said...

Swaddling! That reminds me of the "Miracle Blanket"! We never got swaddling down very well for the Boy. But we got a "Miracle Blanket" for the Girl, and it was awesome! She loved it! Well, she loved it until she was a few months old and, no matter, what was strong enough to get an arm out. She would get so pissed off about the flailing arm that, at that point, we stopped swaddling. But for the first few months? She was a perfectly swaddled baby burrito in her Miracle Blanket.

And I just remembered some thing actually called a sleep sack. It goes great with the drawstring thingys or any jammies. We used it with the Boy to keep him warm, and we used it with the Girl once we weren't swaddling. Look up "HALO Sleep Sac." It's great since they can't have loose bedding and we live somewhere cool (as do you!). :)

C. Troubadour said...

I am all about simplified swaddling! Receiving blankets are great, but I don't trust myself to tuck them in tightly enough. The Miracle Blanket sounds like a great option.