Gratitude Sunday: Mathmagical Birthdays

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday Haiku
Raindrops rattle one
red leaf, shakes loose its fragile
connection to branch.

Sunday Musings
Not all birthdays are created equal. Or is it equally? Let us say some birthdays are more special than others. Birthdays track the number of years we’ve been alive so your first birthday means you’ve been alive one year. Certain birthdays have a mathmagical mystique around them. I was lucky to have my natural curiosity encouraged by my mother and to allow my imagination and thoughts to run their courses. I didn’t know I liked playing with numbers until I had the opportunity to go back to college when I was thirty-nine.

Math-phobes hang in here with me. Numbers can be fun when you are playing and we’re talking birthdays here; we don’t have to add anything up or take anything away or multiply or divide, though we could because, hwell, birthdays being what they are, the celebration of surviving another year and hopefully surviving another, contemplating our past and our future, what we added to our lives over the past year, what we might want to take away over the course of the next year. (That might be my best run-on sentence ever!)

All the first years are special, but one unique series of birthdays starts at age nine, which is your last single digit birthday. Ten is new because it is your first two digit birthday. Eleven follows as your first same digit birthday. Twelve is your last year of not being a teenager, and thirteen is your first teenage year.

Next series is eighteen, your first year as a legally responsible adult; then nineteen, your last year as a teenager. Twenty is your first year no longer being a teenager. Twenty-one is your first year being legally able to drink in many states (now, there’s a questionable landmark since one can be called to military service and vote at age eighteen! Note: I do NOT advocate lowering the drinking age.)

We could say twenty-two is significant as well. After all, it is your second same digit birthday. Let me jump back a half space. Eleven (11) is your first same digit birthday, in other words two of the same number, in this case two ones. Eleven is a prime number. A prime number cannot be divided by any number other than itself without the dividend being a decimal (aka a fraction, aka a percentage). Twenty-two (22) is not a prime number but it is built with prime numbers. Two is the only even prime number because it can only be divided by itself and one, so twenty-two is two times eleven, or one prime number multiplied by another prime number. Twenty-two is the most common and traditional age for people to graduate college.

This prime number pattern only continues through thirty-three (built from the prime numbers three and eleven), as the number four can be evenly divided by two. Thirty-three is the Christ year, the age of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. It feels significant to me to survive the thirty-third year. Forty-four seems to mark middle age (as if eighty-eight is the number to aim for?). Fifty-five is freeway speed in some states, we’re just cruising through life at that point. One gets to experience a same digit birthday every eleven years, so a prime number spans the years between same digit birthdays.

After celebrating my Beatles birthday (will you still need me, will you still feed me?), and my Medicare birthday (wait, what!?! I’m how old? And they are still charging me for poor quality health care after paying all my working life, sheesh!), I’m on my sixth same digit birthday. Sixty-six, one number short of the beast, and I don’t have personal knowledge of any one who lived more than six hundred and sixty years, though the premise might make a good fictional horror story.

I digress. I have survived sixty-six years on this planet earth during an interesting time in history. I was born the year Dwight D Eisenhower was inaugurated President of the United States of America and Queen Elizabeth was crowned as Queen of England. In early grade school, politics entered the living rooms of middle class American households in the form of television, and I remember the campaign between JFK and Nixon. Though I don’t recall hearing my parents discuss politics, I was pleased when JFK won. Their family seemed much like mine, a handsome dad, a beautiful mom, cute kids. So much one does not know about politics and wealth when one is young nor accustomed to wealth.

The Columbus Day Storm blew through our area, enough to scare us, cause some damage, and remind us Nature rules. Despite the best preparations of humans, She will and does prevail. We must care for the earth Her way, not our way.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of JFK’s assassination which happened on my mother’s birthday. I cried when I learned about the atrocities of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Holocaust, and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I protested the Vietnam war as the politics of an undeclared war killed my classmates, and sent the rest of them home damaged. If you served, thank you. If you live with or know someone who served, tell them thank you. They didn’t get thanked for their service when they came home.

I listened to the 1969 moon landing on a transistor radio while lying in the middle of a forest. The hubster now has the live NASA cameras at the International Space Station on his computer at all times and can flip it to his big screen when he wants. We used to beg for a longer cord on the family rotary dial phone so we could take the phone into the garage to giggle girl talk with our friends or whisper to our boyfriends. Now everybody has a phone in their pocket or purse. Science rules.

I’ve done all kinds of work, from having the privilege of washing other people’s toilets and pulling their weeds and taking care of their babies, to gas jockey, newspaper delivery, office assistant, and retail sales, and on through two careers in hairdressing and library work. I’m on to my next adventure, which I will not call my last, because who knows? Life is full of adventures. I remember the stories of hardship from my parents and theirs. I raised a child and supported a disabled hubster. I studied the works of Billie Holiday, and Janis Joplin, and Virginia Woolf, and David Bowie, and Maya Angelou. I voted for women who ran for president and lived through eleven presidents. I’ve been appalled at the errors of every president, yet I was never embarrassed to be an American until the current president. I’ve participated in interesting times and left my legacy. I’ve run this marathon called life and I’m still running.

My sixty-six years haven’t been easy, but they have been mine. As you know my mantras are “think beyond yourself” and “change is the only constant.” These historically significant times will change. My life will progress through more changes. I will be living my sixty-seventh (sixty-seven is a prime number) year with the designation of the last birthday: a mathmagical number. Maybe mathmagical things will happen this year as I move toward my next prime number birthday.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – The vibrant colors of autumn in the Pacific Northwest are most brilliant in October, either in rain or sun. Yellow.

Photo by Sherri Mead


Photo by Sherri Mead

Red and yellow together. Emerald green sorrel.

Photo by Sherri Mead

Lime green and lemon yellow together.

Photo by Sherri Mead

A multitude of oranges, reds, and purples.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} RBG (2018, rated PG), a documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and how she changed America in the name of equal rights. Recommended. * Binged through Cloudstreet (2011, not rated), a TV mini-series about two very different Australian families who end up sharing a house for twenty years. I’m old fashioned, I prefer my stories tidy with all threads and ends tied up. This story did not quite do so, so you get to make up your own endings, like those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. * Under the Silver Lake (2018, rated R), another story with unanswered questions. For a mystery story I’m prissy enough to think I shouldn’t have to find a website titled “under the silver lake explained” to figure out the story. Just give me enough story so I can figure out the mystery puzzle myself. * Binged season one of Netflix’s The A List (2018, rated “thriller”), a group of popular young people are at summer camp, but something is not right. Memories are skewed, somebody is not who you think she is, whatever can go wrong between people does go wrong, and just when you think you have it figured out the season ends with another twist. * In the Blink of an Eye (2009, not rated), listed as a mystery/fantasy thriller, I got this movie because of Eric Roberts. It was a Christian movie, and while I have nothing against that genre, this was the most boring movie I’ve seen in I don’t know how long. I kept thinking there was some sort of saving grace; I mean, I understand it was about experiencing the Rapture, and this one character’s path to figure out what is going on and how to get to be included in the Rapture, but I had to watch it on 1.5 speed to make it tolerable. Neither the characters nor the actors were compelling, the dialogue was stilted and poorly delivered, and the plot so painfully slow it was a relief to finish. There are much better Christian movies available.

Currently ReadingDark Sparkler (2015, poems) by Amber Tamblyn. Tamblyn gathers her words into the form of poems but it is the darkest poetry I’ve read. Each poem is about the violent death, murder, suicide, suspected foul play, drug overdose, neglect or bullying or early death of an actress, actresses of all ages, shapes, colors, and sizes, and the author captures each voice. If I were teaching women’s studies or literature, this would be on my required reading list. The “poem” from Sharon Tate’s baby left me nearly non-functional from the despair. * Finished On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017, history and political science) by Timothy Snyder. We’ve gone through two or three generations now who haven’t been taught history (this was done purposely by the wealth class subverting the curriculum of higher education for their own greedy desires). Elders will have to share their stories of resistance and not blame youth for not stepping up, and youngers will have to want to do their part in saving the world from tyranny and not blame elders for leaving a mess to clean up. Every generation has left a mess; every generation must work toward egalitarianism. We can became our own students of history by observing what is happening today and look for correlations in the past, or to save time we can read those who have put pieces of the puzzle together already. Read this book. Read history. Resist tyranny. Don’t stand by and watch tyranny destroy democracy.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Cocoons of sheets and blankets.
  • Getting several pieces of work done.
  • My regular exercise routine.
  • My ability to read, do my own research, and think for myself.
  • Being able to understand prime numbers, and having the wit to teach myself about deficient numbers when I discovered them (nothing like boggling the brain to make sure brain processing is in good working order).
  • The wonder of concepts that seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with living a decent honest life as I cannot perceive any practical application of deficient numbers.
  • Not being a math expert, but enjoying playing with numbers and concepts.
  • Being entertained when the hubster, armchair coach that he is, calls the plays and errors on the game seconds before the TV announcers do.
  • Remembering a birthday is just another day.
  • Fingernails long enough to scratch with.
  • Birthday surprises showing up at my door.
  • A bag of spicy crispy greens from a local farmer. Farmers who maintain hoop houses so we can have locally grown greens year round.
  • Maryhill peaches still coming out of cold storage to the farmers market.
  • Boxes of sweet figs, juicy and crunchy.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Entertainment, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Play Nice and Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.