GOLD, BLOOD, & STRUGGLE

Rhnull is the rarest blood on earth.  With only 43 people in history having such blood— and only nine active donors— every drop is so precious that doctors call it “golden blood.” For someone with this blood type in crisis, it becomes a global race against the clock. First, there are limits to how often those with rare blood can donate. Some countries pay donors, but many don’t— which means that donors often have to pay their own way to break through the red-tape of blood crossing borders. And of course, these donations have a shelf-life: frozen blood lasts 48 hours; fresh blood lasts 4-6 weeks. How ironic, the short longevity of that which increases longevity. 

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Silent hypoxia is an unexpected but pervasive feature of COVID-19; that is, the body and blood are starved of oxygen before shortness of breath occurs. Oxygen levels in the blood are so low, doctors would expect these patients to be in shock; yet they sit calmly, smiling with blue-tinged lips. While many respiratory diseases use breathlessness as an emergency siren to the brain, this alarm has often been silent— the horror film with no soundtrack. 

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Robert Frost’s famous poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” included in the Pulitzer-winning collection New Hampshire, calls out to the once-perfect garden of creation. Some scholars find fortune here though— a dawn succumbing to day being nothing to mourn. Felix culpa— a blessed fall. An hour of perfection, but a lifetime of meaning.

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New guidelines from the London Bullion Market Association are well-intentioned: safe, environmentally friendly, and crime-free mining of gold, especially from big refineries. But for small-scale artisanal miners, these standards are impossible, meaning some of their spoils could be classified as “blood gold” due to their lack of protective clothing, ventilation, or other safety measures. The punishment of David, which was meant for Goliath.

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Life is satire, but who is laughing?

This Week

I’ve been drowning in panic all week. Yes, it’s a big, busy, important week (new students move onto campus), but it’s also exciting and rewarding and I STILL FEEL LIKE I’M DROWNING. Then I scratched my eye, so everything feels foggy, and all I do is sleep. On Monday, I slept like 4 hours plus all night. Yesterday, 3-hour nap, then all night. Then all day today. This weird panic + the heat is just blazing through my spoons like they are matchsticks. I feel poor, out of control, and I cannot source this panic.

Okay, dear Body, I am listening. What do you need to feel safe? I can see my pillow, the phone screen with the blue light filter on, my wriggling fingers, the red numbers on the clock, the outside light coming through the space between my shades. I can touch the CPAP mask, it’s tubing, the felt against my cheeks, the air that vents. I can hear the cerebrospinal fluid in my head, the dull hum of the fan, the Trashcan Sinatras singing. I can smell shampoo on my pillow, smoke from outside. I can taste the sharp fizz of Listerine.

Bread, Moon, & Gravity

Bread, Moon, & Gravity

Early astronomers, mistaking the basaltic plains of the Moon for water, named them maria, Latin for seas. There’s Mare Crisium, Sea of Crises; Mare Ingenii, Sea of Cleverness; and Mare Cogitum, profoundly, the Sea that has Become Known. There are also lunar “lakes”—Lake of Summer, Lake of Autumn, but also Lakes of Sorrow, of Softness, of Forgetfulness—not to mention Bay of Roughness and Marsh of Epidemics and Lands of Manna. 

Manna on the Moon. Like an island wafer amidst these raging seas. 

Bread of heaven indeed. 

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Turns out, whole grains are a thorn in a baker’s side. Germ and bran soak up water, add weight to a dough, hinder its rising capacity, and sometimes result in a loaf too dense to enjoy.

So water content is key. With white flour, the agreed-upon “baker’s percentage” of water to flour is 60%. With whole grain flour, it’s more like 105%– though sometimes up to 130%. 

In the words of legendary baker and grain expert Dave Miller: “You’re always fighting gravity with whole grain.”

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The Moon’s gravitational field is full of anomalies, bullseye craters hiding an excess distribution of mass, altering local gravity above and around them. In 2012, twin probes Ebb and Flow orbited the Moon in tandem, mapping variations in the gravitational field and giving precise measurements of the lunar crust. Imagine ancient blows resulting all these years later in the Moon’s should-I-shouldn’t-I discretion, the way wounds make us wary.

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During the Apollo 11’s radio blackout, aboard the Eagle lunar lander, Buzz Aldrin said a prayer and took communion— a small piece of bread, a small vial of wine. 

“In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup,” Aldrin wrote. The sacred crumb of God’s body rested on his tongue in a moment where man reached back toward heaven.

Summer Lessons 2021

Usually, as vacation winds down to its end, I find myself agitated and antsy, let down because I didn’t accomplish X, Y, or Z (to be clear, my vacations always have a long list of goals!!).

But today was great. I felt accomplished. I felt satisfied. I felt eager.

I’m objectively smart, and yet sometimes the most obvious things hit me like choruses from angels.

Today’s lesson/reminder was twofold:

1) You don’t have to keep doing things the same way if it’s not working anymore. So simple, yet sooooo freeing. I have all the permission in the world to try out new systems. Why was this so stunning and brilliant to me? IDK, but I’m sharing in case it is helpful for anyone else. I keep trying to force revisions of Yes Novel into the same format (a syllabus, deadlines, word counts, a narrative summary that feels like I’m banging my head against the wall) that worked for Salt Novel. It worked last summer, but it is not working this summer. OK. I’m going to try something else.

2) When I was younger, I believed I was capable of almost anything (*almost*… the WNBA was never a possibility). So the question was, “What would you do if you knew you’d never fail?” Now I’m a little older and am better acquainted with my own limits, the question is “What would you do EVEN IF you knew you’d fail?” There’s so much beauty in one’s calling.

Balance is an Illusion (in my life)

I get paralyzed with all the things I want to do. I wish I could find a routine and rotation for more balance, but instead I’m like WRITEWRITEWRITE, then OH GOSH I HAVEN’T CLEANED MY HOUSE IN FOREVER (clean clean clean), then HOW COME I HAVEN’T READ IN AGES (dives into TBR), then I HAVE NEGLECTED ALL MY PEOPLE (touches base with everyone and makes 100 plans, of which I will have to cancel 99 because…), I’VE DONE TOO MUCH AND NOW I MUST SLEEP FOR THREE DAYS IN ORDER TO FUNCTION.

I wonder what it would be like to be someone who read a little, wrote a little, cleaned a little, chatted with friends a little, etc. every day.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPPZFPKH5Df/?utm_medium=share_sheet

Overwhelmed, Both Good & Bad

I know my fellow #enneagram4 peeps will probably understand this. I am just so OVERWHELMED.

Some of it is not even BAD overwhelmedness. I feel overwhelmed by how much I want to do, by how many projects I want to tackle, by how many books I want to read, things I’d like to explore, people I’d love to meet. I want to know how to upholstery. I want to learn embroidery. I would love to have a beautiful front yard garden. I want to invest in people and fall in love and be kinder to my body. I want to write write write. I want ice cream.

I am also overwhelmed by the hard, scary, broken things, though I feel less inclined to list them. Finances and broken hearts and enduring shame and work stress and really, truly wanting to be the best possible version of myself NOW, RIGHT NOW, despite knowing this is a lifelong journey.

Tonight I can read, text a few dear friends to check up on them, get some great rest.

Tomorrow, ice cream.

One step at a time, right?

https://www.instagram.com/p/COO4SKbncnL/?igshid=vtjvrnbf0qdz

OCD, OCPD, & Perfectionism

Here’s a great article about where OCD and perfectionism differ and where they intersect.

It begins:

“The terms obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and perfectionism tend to be used interchangeably to describe an individual who desires order, is goal-oriented, and has high personal standards. However, there are several important distinctions. To start, OCD is a diagnosable mental health condition, whereas perfectionism is a personality trait. That said, perfectionism can be a trait seen in OCD.”

I encourage you to read the rest of the article at https://www.choosingtherapy.com/perfectionism-and-ocd!