Mary Beth Writes

3/14/2022  Pi Day

The following info is from this site and I’ll italicize the info taken from the website.

Pi is an irrational number (a decimal with no end and no repeating pattern) that is most often approximated with the decimal 3.14 or the fraction 22/7.  

3.141592654 is what we tend to see (if we see it at all) because most calculator display windows are 10 digits. 

In 1767, Swiss mathematician Johann Heinrich Lambert proved pi is irrational and in 1882 Ferdinand von Lindemann proved pi is transcendental.  This is significant because, until this point, it was believed that one could construct a square and a circle with equal area, known as “squaring the circle”. Proving the transcendence of pi showed this is not possible and the phrase “squaring the circle” is now used as a metaphor for trying to do something that is impossible.

Did you see the name of that first mathematician? Lambert? One letter off from Lamberg? Means absolutely nothing except from my vantage point of having been married to one Lamberg for 40 years and given birth to some more of them – I have been just that close to the awe and the humor.

Also, I would like to lift out those claims - that Pi is both irrational AND transcendent. Isn’t this just about a perfect description of how you know when you are close to truth?  Like loving a 2-year-old or staying committed to one person over a couple epochs or leaving a perfectly decent partner because neither irrationality nor transcendence ever arrived on the scene. Or the way it feels when you weren’t thinking about anything at all and then spring sunshine comes through your March window and you realize you have made it another trip around the sun?

Irrational and transcendent!

With modern technological advances, pi has now been calculated to 31 trillion digits.  However, only the first 39 or so are needed to be able to perform all calculations in our observable universe with virtually no error.

“Only the first 39 or so…”  I just wrote this on a piece of paper and taped it to the wall next to me because I think this is hilarious and also a clue.  I have no idea what it is a clue to. I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

“We are looking for the appearance of some rules that will distinguish the digits of pi from other numbers. If you see a Russian sentence that extends for a whole page, with hardly a comma, it is definitely Tolstoy. If someone gave you a million digits from somewhere in pi, could you tell it was from pi? We don’t really look for patterns; we look for rules”

Whoa! What do you look for in your life? Patterns or rules?  What an excellent question.

I was certainly raised on rules. There is a lot to be said for raising little kids with rules so that they feel secure and so that you mimic to them what life ought to feel like. Then as they grow up they discover you were making all that up and there aren’t many rules. So now one looks for patterns.  Such as brushing one’s teeth regularly will serve us better in the long run. So will committed relationships, a healthy regard for nutrition, and working to enfranchise the vote to all citizens of any realm.

Go ahead and read the rest of the website about Pi. There’s a lot of cool science stuff in there.

On Saturday (two days ago, when it was winter) our son and his son came here for the day. This boy and his sister are new to us; the desire and plan is that they will be adopted but time will tell, so that’s all I trust to say right now. Other than mentioning the powerful way you love a grandchild is irrational and transcendent.

Anyways, my son has been telling his kid about playing “ingredients” with Grandma. This pastime arose out of ‘Mom is trying to finish supper’ and ‘Mom doesn’t want the kids to watch the evening news’ and ‘Mom really wishes the kids would not dump MORE toys out in our small house’ because it’s the end of the day and she is losing her ever-loving mojo.  

Ingredients started when I gave a kid still in her highchair a plastic bowl of flour and a measuring cup of water and a spoon.  As the kids got older, other ingredients would show up. Leftover rice and mashed potatoes. Cereal so healthy no one would eat it. The couscous no kid would touch. Dry beans in interesting colors. Sprinkles. Anything that was a food stuff that was not outright rotten. Stale was good. 

The kids would mix this with water. (Always a good idea to put large trays underneath.)  As they got older I gave them cupcake papers to make ‘muffins’ for the squirrels.

Saturday  our grandson made an ‘ingredients pie’ and now you see where I’m going. When he was done this pie pan was filled with gloppy flour and cornmeal dough infused with split peas and doused with many sprinkles.  We put it outside for the squirrels.

This is what’s left today.

Happy Pie Day.

And while I was outside - Look what else I found!

Newborn iris!

Crocuses! Croci? 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Apparently don't like peas
Mary Beth's picture

Made me laugh. Looks like it. Or maybe their itty bitty teeth can't chew into something that little?

What a delightful essay -- diverting, different, unique. It was a bright spot in my day. Many days I think of the lovely evening we had together when you visited New Mexico and it always brings a smile to my heart. Thanks for that memory and thanks for your writing.
Mary Beth's picture

Thank you so much! I think of that evening also. Warm, breezy, delicious food, good conversation. And I miss that red salsa.
Leonard's picture

All my life, that one letter "g" has been the bane of my existence. Kids don't get many chances to assert themselves to adults; I date the spark of my standing up for myself when I started saying, "With a G at the end." Also, I just read that Lambert invented the humidity meter. As Lambert himself (apparently) said, "This is all to which weak and limited beings can pretend, beings who occupy a point and last but a moment in this mighty edifice built for eternity."

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A-Z Danger

Years ago Len took this photo of a lone coyote. 

2/7/2023 

I just finished rereading Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News. Boy oh boy do I love her writing.

The story asks this. How do people who were damaged by their childhoods find purpose, meaning, and love as adults? Good question, huh?

A-Z Cats

This is Lil Girl hanging out while I wrote this. 

...

2/2/2023

Cats

 “Every family needs a cat so there is someone to blame everything on who won’t actually care.” Quote attributed to Len. 

I was 21 when I got my first cat through the fraught circumstance of someone dropping him off on a highway. He made his way to the backstep of my brother’s house where Sebastian the dog began to bark his head off. Paul went to the door to discover a kitten hanging by its wee claws to the screen door.

A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska

1/25/2023 

I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z

1/25/2023

I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?

1/22/2023 

Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

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