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All Things Wondrous

Obviously there is still so much to be concerned about. 2020 keeps throwing those curveballs. Disaster upon disaster. The latest? California’s raging wildfires are presenting significant dangers for farmworkers, the incarcerated, and firefighters. Many of whom are prison laborers. And there’s a shortage of incarcerated firefighters because so many are sick from COVID-19. Not that “incarcerated firefighters” should even be a thing. What an utter hellscape. Closer to home, a lot of people seem to be hitting a wall. This idea of surge capacity that makes a lot of sense:

Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters. But natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different — the disaster itself stretches out indefinitely.

Helpful takeaways from that article:

  • Accept that life is different right now
  • Expect less from yourself
  • Recognize the different aspects of grief

This has been working for me. I’ve been going to bed earlier when I need it, which seems to be more often. Last weekend involved more napping than usual (and less laundry). We receive our CSA half-share box every other Thursday. We got another one last night so this weekend I will be doing a lot of cooking. There are SO MANY RADISHES. But I look forward to that particular challenge.

Other things that have been bringing me joy:

  • J. Zunz, of Lorelle Meets the Obsolete, has a new release out today called Hibiscus. I’ve listened to it a few times through already and love it. There’s a video out for one of the tracks with an intense story behind it:
    ‘Four Women And Darkness’ is a story from my grandmother’s childhood. She told me that once during wartime in México in the late 1920’s, she and her sisters were hidden by her grandmother in a little, cold secret room. She hid them there because the militia wanted to search the house. Soldiers used to look for women or girls to rape them or to kidnap them. My grandmother and her sisters stayed there in the dark room for hours until the soldiers left.

  • This week’s Radiolab episode was particularly powerful for me:

    This is a story of a road trip. After a particularly traumatic Valentine’s Day, Fadi Boukaram was surfing google maps and noticed that there was a town called Lebanon… in Oregon. Being Lebanese himself, he wondered, how many Lebanons exist in the US? The answer: 47. Thus began his journey to visit them all and find an America he’d never expected, and the homeland he’d been searching for all along.

  • That Radiolab episode was based on one originally aired by the Kerning Cultures podcast. Which, somehow, I’d never heard about despite being described as This American Life for the Middle East. Sold! I plan to check out some episodes over the weekend.
  • Also Radiolab related - I started watching Latif Nasser’s Connected: The Hidden Science of Everything on Netflix last night and it is delightful.
  • Random interesting tidbit: Your Old Radiator Is a Pandemic-Fighting Weapon: “Turn-of-the-century faith in ventilation to combat disease pushed engineers to design steam heating systems that still overheat apartments today.” Glad to hear it! This old condo I bought still has radiators.

Monday my son’s college classes resume. Remotely. I wouldn’t be comfortable sending him off to in-person classes anywhere right now. My Fall semester doesn’t begin for a few more weeks yet. I still need to revamp my slides. Then I will be juggling my day job while teaching, also remotely, two evenings per week. But it’s not like I have anywhere to be at night. And I’m grateful to be over-employed in a pandemic, unlike so many others.

Rainbow at Lake Harriet

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