Hello my friend! How are you? How has you week been? On Wednesday, my aunt went to the emergency room after a seemingly minor tumble. Within twelve hours, she was in the intensive care unit with a diagnosis of Stage 4 brain cancer. Less than two weeks ago, on Easter, she seemed as healthy and sharp as ever; today, she’s in hospice for palliative care. I feel gutted. It’s been sad and sudden and I can’t find the right words.
Prior to the terrible news, I had spent the week mulling over an idea for a short story. It’s been awhile since I’ve written fiction, so I need to work on transforming the big theme into a slice of life narrative. I had been excited, and hopefully that enthusiasm will return once I’ve processed my aunt’s prognosis.
What are your plans for the week ahead? I’m planning to stay indoors and get lost in a book or two. The Phoenix summer is upon us and the heat is already unbearable. As an introvert, I didn’t mind the lock-downs, but today I miss my family and could really go for a hug.
I hope that your weekend and the week ahead are grounding, and that you and your loved ones continue to stay safe and healthy. Here are a few links from around the web. Feel free to share anything interesting you’ve stumbled upon in the comments.
- Food for thought: “Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.” ― Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor
- From the archives: “The older I get, the more I see people moving towards the ‘small mind’ behavior and away from discussing meaningful and world-shifting ideas. We go to work and discuss Donald Trump’s latest tweet with a co-worker. When we get home from work, we tell our honey about our asshole boss and his latest rant. We log onto social media and post adorable pictures of our children and our pets, paired with the perfect caption. Then, we call our mother to tell her what her sister posted online. And the same pattern repeats, day after day.” From Great Minds Discuss Ideas.
- Interesting marriage statistics: More than a third of marriages between 2005 and 2012 began online, according to new research at the University of Chicago, which also found that online couples have happier, longer marriages. I met my boyfriend through online dating in 2013. Recently, my boyfriend has been helping out female friend filter out the riffraff and, I must say, the platforms (choose from these 32 genders, list your favorite show even if you don’t watch TV, and then incessantly scroll through decade-old pictures of people pretending not to be short with rotting teeth) and the people suck (I rent my own place and drive a truck… that’s about it). If you have any dating site recommendations, I’ll pass them along.
- On chronic pain & nutrition: “Diet affects the level of inflammation in the body, and this plays a key role in chronic pain. When inflammation is temporary, it’s healthy and helpful: when bodily tissue is damaged, inflammation kicks into action, releasing a stream of chemical messengers to remove or repair damaged cells… The problem is when inflammation becomes sustained – when these chemicals are continually released at a low level over a long time” I’ve been working closely with a dietician for the past two years, refining my nutrition to reduce inflammation and alleviate chronic fatigue. I still have a journey ahead, but I now believe fully that food is medicine.
- Bitcoin as quiet protest: “Bitcoin is a radical shift in thinking that is infecting the planet faster than any pandemic. Bitcoin isn’t an investment. Bitcoin isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Bitcoin is a different way of thinking.” After seven years of pestering by my better half, the argument that finally won me over was viewing Bitcoin as freedom… as a vote for change and as hope for the future. Our financial system is broken, wealth inequality is growing, and decisions are made by those with preexisting power. Buying Bitcoin is my quiet protest, my vote for the decentralization of finance, my support for the empowerment of the individual.
- On biotech bugs: This spring, the biotechnology company Oxitec plans to release genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes in the Florida Keys. Some scientists and locals want to halt the deployment. I’ve probably just read too much sci-fi, but I can’t help but wonder the long-term implication of tampering with nature and evolution.
- A lesson in bridge types: Educator and structural engineer Nehemiah Mabry sat down with Wired to talk about all the different kinds of bridges in the world (cable-stayed, suspension, arch, truss) and which types are used in which situations. I have had a lifelong fascination with bridges and I am absolutely nerding out over this lesson in structural engineering.