Osmometers

Dante forgot to include that the inmates of the inner circles of hell had to construct osmometers constantly.

Osmometers are awesome. They really are. They measure osmotic pressure, as I’m sure you all inferred from the title. That is not why I believe osmometers belong in an inner ring of hell. It is because of how they are created that makes them a torture device of untold proportions.

One must take a small piece of dialysis tubing, fit it over a rubber stopper that contains a long glass pipe, fill the tubing with a solution, clip the bottom of the tubing, then flip the whole contraption over and suspend it in a beaker of distilled water. This allows the free water in the beaker to diffuse into the bag of solution, forcing water up the glass pipe. By measuring the height and speed of that increase, you can track the osmotic rate of particular solutions. What that description FAILS to make clear is the following:

1. Dialysis tubing is about as easy to work with as a cranky, unregenerated, sleep-deprived two-year old that’s been given too much sugar. It’s slippery, won’t stay open, won’t fit over the rubber stopper, flops over while you’re filling it, and generally makes a nuisance of itself.

2. The rubber stopper is a joke. One must make blood oaths to dark gods to make sure the tubing actually fits over the stopper (this is nearly a miracle and took me nearly twenty minutes at one point), and then getting it to stay there by some mystical twisting of a rubber band requires the promised sacrifice of your first born.

3. Filling the (floppy) (non-cooperative) (dingity dang) tubing with solution requires three hands: one to pipette, one to keep the glass tube clogged, and one to keep the tubing upright. I currently only possess two. You do the math.

All that to say, it took me about an hour and half to set up a simple experiment. These are the nights that make me question my future. And my intelligence. We’re talking uber basic lab skills, people. Not rocket surgery.

So I biked 4.5 miles indoors and then ate french fries and a fried chicken patty. That soothed my wounded spirit a bit. Not enough. But a bit.

Highlights

High point of the day: Getting a box full of cardboard in the mail. Yes. I was excited about that.

Out of routine moment: Going to the Den to study Greek, to meet friends, instead of taking a nap.

Low point of the day: My alarm going off. But I was in the middle of a nightmare, so I guess the alarm paid off a little.

Scariest point of the day: Nearly passing out after running on the treadmill only to discover I was horrifically dizzy and discombobulated now that the world no longer consisted of a rotating, rubber belt.

Most productive moment: Going to bed. Right now. Because I have somehow managed to cram all of my responsibilities and assignments into this short, 24 hour period.

Smell of Chalk

Writing on a chalkboard is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. Knowing that other people’s lives, grades, GPAs, careers all rely on your deft strokes of chalk is invigorating. Master of futures, dispenser of wisdom.

 

Okay.

So I only wrote a set of simple math equations for a help class. But I got to use one of those clicking chalk pencils and a big ole eraser, so that was pretty great.

Grand, Rosy Romance

Dusky, rosy twilight. The kind of evening made for romance. I smile at the breeze that gently ruffles the trees tinted purple by the odd sunset. Atmospheric conditions and other such pragmatic explanations account for such pervasive twilight colorings, but what really matters is that they exist. I almost feel like I am dancing, waiting for that perfect moment to happen that justifies this glorious, mysterious, colored evening.

I pass a couple and the moment is instantly ruined by her turpentiney perfume. I also realize with a twinge of disappointment that I am carrying a white styrofoam to go box. I am walking in practical, rather worn, black shoes. I look tired and rumpled. I do not and my life does not fit this twilight.

Returning to my tiny, crowded room at the end of an institutionally drab hall, I sit down to eat my prosaic and slightly depressing dinner. Being young and poor and alone is supposedly romantic, although I have yet to see any evidence of this. I am completely shut away from the beautiful outdoors that holds the perfect scene.

It’s the color that could make a simple unhappiness a tragedy that revels in its mourning: justified, inconsolable, perfect. It’s the color that makes a simple smile full of promise and mystery.

 

As I eat my drab dinner in my drab room, alone, pouring over Greek, I allow myself to drift into daydream. He’s there. Dashing adventures. Intrigue. Fog. Long, thin skirts with kitten heels. Fedoras. The smell of newspaper. Anger. Regret. A bridge. Just enough rain to make it perfect. The smell of a shirt collar.

 

And then I wake up. I grab my books. I head outside. It is already dark. The rosiness, the mystery has faded. It is now only black. I hurry away in the cold to the next blase appointment, the next thing that keeps me busy. Distracted. From mourning that violet pale too much.

From missing that romance.

Tree Shower

I walk out of lab. It’s about 9:30 in the morning. Still very brisk outside, almost painfully, but the sun has taken the sharpest bite out of the wind. I look up, trying to see the sky, because I know if I can see the sky, I’ll feel better and regret being awake just a little bit less. The sky holds a lot of promise for me. It’s the first beautiful thing I saw after I woke up, out of the blackness. And it’s so vividly, painfully, loudly bright and existent that it will not be ignored. It forces itself into my brain and makes me accept how blue and shining and present it is. So unconsciously, I tend to look up as soon as I walk outdoors. It’s like a recharging measure for my soul and mental health.

Today, I look up, and because I’m under a canopy of trees, I don’t see the sky right away, but I don’t really mind. I love trees, and it’s autumn, and there are many wonderful colors and that is just as happy as the sky. And then a little breeze came. I love its smell. But shockingly, the breeze does not just affect me. I don’t know why I’m so surprised, but when leaves start rustling down in this huge leaf storm of beautiful, crinkly wonderfulness, I’m breathless. And I walk through a shower of leaves. The sound is intoxicating. I can’t inhale enough of its scent. I can feel the inside of my head opening, uncramping, brightening.

 

I realize a few minutes later that my face is still cracked in a grin too wide to make sense.

And I don’t care.

I Have a Fantasy…

No. Not that kind of fantasy.

I have a fantasy. A dream and a day dream and constant, hopeful desire that has no bitterness at all. And it’s a pure fantasy, because it will never, ever happen. But I’ve had this fantasy for so long, it doesn’t matter that it will never happen, because I’ve imagined it, felt it, lived it so many times, it’s more vivid that reality.

I want to fly.

I’ve never enjoyed the act of dreaming while I’m sleeping. I have too many night terrors and stress dreams to make that truly enjoyable. But the few times I’ve had good dreams, they always include flying.

I feel the heavy, burning mace that fills my chest vanish. Instead, I’m filled with a bright ball of light: glowing, calming, fresh…It makes me weigh less, so that I can just float off the ground. The spines that cover my back fall away. The fetal position I constantly inhabit relaxes, allowing me to roll back my shoulders and look up.

Sometimes flying takes work, like it does to tread water. But it’s so much easier than treading water, more intuitive, more free. Often, I soar, although I am content when my flying skills are nothing more than glorified gliding. I am still happy even when I can manage to hover a few inches off the floor.

The freedom, lightness, joyful quality of flying is everything that my mind is not. In dreams, day or otherwise, there are no boundaries for where I can go or be or see. I can see fabulous landscapes, admire the stars twinkling into the sea while I barely skim the waves, or float through misty clouds.

Each time, I’ll tell myself I’ll remember how to fly when I wake up. I’ve mastered the trick, I know how to rise, I know which muscles to use and how to breathe and it’ll work this time.

And then I open my eyes and as if life wasn’t hard enough, I remember that I can’t fly. I can’t escape whenever I want. I can’t light into trees. I can’t disappear from here, to be free and above and free. Free. Light. Not hurting. Not trapped.

Just free.

Lyrics I Love: Starbucks Reruns

As much as I love Starbucks, their playlist can be a tad repetitive. In my short, five hour stays there, I’ve actually heard the playlist start over. Sometimes more than once. All that is great, except when you can’t get the mariachi, rap, indie guitar fests out of your head. Including this little gem:

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last
Look here

Persecution you must bear
Win or lose you’ve got to get your share
Got your mind set on a dream
You can get it, though harder they seem now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last
I know it, listen

Rome was not built in a day
Opposition will come your way
But the hotter the battle you see
It’s the sweeter the victory, now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want
(I know it)
You can get it if you really want
(Don’t I show it?)
You can get it if you really want
(So don’t give up now)
You can get it if you really want
(Keep on trying)

Think on that a bit, America. That’s some profundity if ever I heard any.

Good Day

When your alarm goes off, you question how on earth it can be a good day. But when you finally manage to open your eyes and see sunlight softly glinting on the ceiling, even though it’s 7 am, you think, there might be hope for today. And then you sit up and immediately doubt it.

But when you eat a breakfast of oats ‘n’ honey granola topped with craisins, you think, I’m going to try and let this be a good day.

When you haveĀ a very, very, VERY long lab where you had to redo a part of the process and are going to have to book it to make it to chapel on time, you question how good of a day it will be. But when after that lab, you step outside to make it to chapel on time and you smell the wet, crushed leaves, you realize it might not be quite so bad.

And when you get really, really, really good sushi and General Tso’s chicken for lunch (and maybe it was that good because you were ravenous enough to eat bark), you begin to think the stars are singing the background music of your life. And you’re pretty certain it’s a good day. And when you have leftovers for dinner, to boot, you think you might have gotten a good day in spades.

When you get to work and are immediately greeted with, “We’re going to QT!”, you know it’s going to be a good day. Even though it’s already 2:30 in the afternoon. And when you get an ever so tiny but oh, so fulfilling pumpkin spice milkshake at QT, your suspicions of it being a good day are confirmed.

And even though there’s nothing much to do at work, you get to study some for that Biology test tomorrow that’s going to kill your soul, you’re thankful for the extra day before that test takes place. And you’re bored, but it’s better to be bored than frantic, you tell yourself, and remind yourself of the great things that happened today.

Maybe the sponsor staying in your room is nice and friendly and likes doTERRA as much as you do and only adds to the layers of smells in your room (Lavendar and Oregano, anyone?), you remind yourself that not even High School Festival can get the best of God in giving me a good day.

With the promise of Starbucks and those Chinese leftovers looming on the horizon, you’re excited that it will still be a good day. But with the uncertainties of much homework, and busy weekend, and possibly not finishing a friend’s present in time, you forget that it’s been a good day. So you choose to write a blog post to concretely remind yourself that, it has, in fact, been a good day.

Remembering…

In chapel, while singing, I was suddenly swept backwards into my freshman year. Only two years ago. Despite the cliche, I can’t tell you how little I ever expected to get this far. This, my senior year, my grades, my health, are all a miracle and a half, considering the wreck I was. The wreck I am. The wreck God saved.

 

I still struggle with the same few issues.

And that’s okay. Because I struggle with more tools. And I know that God is good. And that’s what matters.

 

Okay. Enough smarm for today. Move on with your lives.

Lyrics I Love: 10,000 Reasons

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

 

When I wake up: I must praise Him. This has no bearing on whether I’m a morning person, whether I slept, whether I want to praise Him or not. I must praise Him. He is worthy.

When I lay down to go to bed: I must praise Him. Whether there is promise of sleep or not. Whether I was happy with the day or not. I must praise Him. Because He is worthy.