What do you get when you divide the sun’s circumference by its diameter?
Pi in the sky.
Happy Pi Day, Y’all.
Every math nerd knows we round pi to 3.14, and the digits behind the 4 appear in a completely random, non-repeating order. Pi is an irrational number, which means it cannot be represented as a fraction. But boy, does it taste delicious. Mixed berry Pi is my favorite, and it always makes me smile.
I would love to share Pi with you, but since the transporters are not functional, maybe these Pi jokes will do the trick.
3.14% of sailors are pi-rates.
Never talk to Pi. He’ll go on forever.
The mathematician says, “Pi r squared.” The baker replies, “No, pies are round. Cakes are square.”
Even though I know they have overruled my objection, I object. No, I strenuously object. Today is the start of Daylight Saving Time, and I want no part of it.
Today our clocks decided to “spring forward” an hour at 2 a.m., which means we got one less hour of sleep. A proposal in Congress called the Sunshine Protection Act would end the madness. The bill would make Daylight Saving Time the official time year-round. Senator Marco Rubio introduced the bill on March 06, 2019, and it doesn’t look like it will pass anytime soon.
I refuse to relinquish my precious hour of sleep, so I intend to complete my daily writing session and then head back to bed.
Can someone tell me how you only plant one flower? A single rose is lovely, but dozens of fragrant blossoms blooming on the bushes in my garden are heavenly. Sadly, nothing is growing in my garden today. Snow and ice cover the ground, and Spring has not officially arrived. In my area, the last Spring Frost Date is May 19, but I can never wait that long to plant out my garden.
I like to start my seedlings indoors, and I set a target date of May 1 to transplant everything into the garden. Most seedlings need 6-8 weeks to germinate and gain enough hardiness to survive a transplant, and so I am sowing my seed this weekend. I have it all planned. The first things on my planting list are an heirloom tomato (Costoluto Genovese) and my favorite Romas. Both varieties will find new a new home in a raised bed. Next up is half a flat of Sweet Genovese Basil. Tomatoes and Basil are great companion plants, and the Basil will go in the same raised bed.
Another brilliant companion for tomatoes is Marigold. Personally, I detest the smell of Marigolds, but the odor I dislike also helps deter some common garden pests. Marigold fragrance annoys rabbits, deer, and cats, and they can also repel moths. They are practically adept at repelling the moth that begins its life as a caterpillar named the Tomato Hornworm. I definitely don’t want those monsters of destruction anywhere near my tomatoes. While I may not like the flowers’ aroma, they are pretty, and their benefits compensate for their smelly flaw. I am planting out an entire flat.
This year I also plan to expand my herb garden. Mint and Thyme already grow on my windowsill, and Oregano, Rosemary, and Chamomile will soon join them. The tiny patch of Chives I planted a few years ago has taken over an outdoor bed like a bunch of weeds. After I thin them back, I will sow a patch of Boc Choy and perhaps see how carrots like that location.
A flat of Mixed Color Zinnias will add a nice splash to that green spot. I can already see them blooming. They will create a beautiful backdrop as I sit outside and write.
I try to keep my promises, especially those I make to myself. This morning I made a tough decision. I planned to restart my daily walks after my winter hibernation, and I had promised to walk for four out of the seven days this week. Monday, it snowed. Tuesday, the sidewalks were treacherous, and the temperatures were frigid. Wednesday was warmer, so I walked, and my muscles informed me of their whole-hearted displeasure with the day’s activity. They demanded a day of rest. Mother Nature had other plans.
The forecast called for more snow on Friday. A high temperature of 27 degrees on Saturday meant it was unlikely any of Friday’s snowfall would melt. If I marked Friday and Saturday off my schedule, I would not make my four-day goal. Time to suck it up, Buttercup.
I donned my winter weather walking attire consisting of thick pants, heavy woolen socks, and my favorite walking shoes, followed by a cotton T-shirt, a wool base layer, and a hoodie. Gloves, a ball cap, sunglasses, and the all-important earbuds for my mandatory playlist, completed my stylish ensemble. My phone registered the current temperature at a breath-stealing 24 degrees.
Was I really doing this?
I opened the door and stepped outside. Yep, I’m doing this. It won’t be that bad.
2:30 minutes. It’s freezing out here, and if I were smart, I would turn around and go home. But it’s going to snow tomorrow, so I pulled my hood up over my ball cap and kept walking.
5:10 minutes. I turned the corner and prepared for the blast of wind I’ve come to expect on this leg of the route, but today it didn’t come. There was no wind today — a small blessing.
7:00 minutes. My playlist isn’t playing, and I continue walking as I fiddle with my phone. In my distraction, I blow past a turn and my opportunity to walk only one mile instead of two and a half.
10:00 minutes. The cold is uncomfortable, but I know it won’t last. “You could still turn back and take the shorter route.” The devil’s voice tempts me, but the lyrics in my ears whine with an answer. “There are so many reasons to quit.” My footstep hit the pavement with the beat of the music.
15:00 minutes. The sweating has commenced. The cold is not as noticeable now, but I know better than to start de-layering. No matter how hot I am, this temperature can do a number on unprotected skin, and I stay the course.
25:00 minutes. I’m dying. Who thought this was a good idea? But I am at the halfway mark, and there is no turning back. The only way is forward. I lean into the defiant lyrics. “I am the walking dead. Zombified.” Getting home might be a million miles away, and there is no way I’m going to make it. I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and I picked up the pace so I would get home sooner.
“There’s a battle to survive. I’ve got my eyes on the golden prize.”
“You’re not breaking me down; I won’t let you win.”
I don’t meet any other walkers today.
“I’m not crazy. I’m just a little unwell. I know you can’t tell.”
The sane people are at home, or they are whizzing past me at 50 MPH in their climate-controlled cars.
It would be nice not to feel sweaty and cold at the same time.
“Cold enough to chill my bones. I can’t take the in-between.”
I turn the corner, and home is only half a block away.
“Hell couldn’t hold me… I’m back from the dead alive.”
I know Future Me, with thank me for today’s effort. It seems there are many similarities between walking and writing. It always feels better when you’ve finished.
Ah, I suppose now you are asking, “What’s the question?” Easy. It’s “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.” Don’t believe me? Ask Google. Go ahead, copy, and paste the phrase and see what Google says. I’ll wait.
I’m a big The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fan. In one scene, aliens create a supercomputer named Deep Thought and ask it to answer the question of life, the universe, and everything. Deep Thought says it will take seven and a half million years to get the Ultimate Answer. So, seven and a half million years pass, and the aliens return to get the answer. Deep Thought says the answer is 42.
I wonder if Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski were aware of the Ultimate Answer when they wrote their 2019 book, Burnout: The Secret To Solving The Stress Cycle. In their book, they talk about the 42% Law of Rest. This law maintains the human body and brain need 42% of the day or 10 hours of rest. You don’t need to hit the 10-hours of rest mark every day. You can average it over a weekly or monthly basis.
I freaked out — a little. Ok, maybe more than a little. Exactly where was I supposed to conjure another 10 hours for rest? I relaxed when I realized the ladies included sleep in the calculation. They also suggested four other categories to consider when calculating the 10 hours. The only problem was they assumed the recommended 8 hours, and I seldom hit that benchmark. My average is 6 hours and 42 minutes. I double-checked. One hundred ninety-eight minutes left to relax.
Category Number 2 — 30 minutes of stress-relieving conversations. Are you joking? Damn it, Jim, I’m an introvert, not a conversationalist. Maybe I can count the 20 minutes hiding out in the bathroom where I avoid having to talk to other people. One hundred seventy-eight minutes. Next.
Exercise. It keeps getting worse. I hate exercising, sweating, smelly gym stuff, and I never confuse exercising with resting. Exercise is resting? What am I missing? The 42% law notes that exercise improves sleep quality (so they keep telling me), breaks the stress cycle (I doubt it), and helps ease the body into rest mode (uh-huh). I call it collapsing from exhaustion. But I’m behind, so I’m adding in my 45 minutes of daily torture. One hundred thirty-three minutes left to assign.
Food/Meals. This bucket includes the time you spend eating as well as cooking and shopping, along with a caveat. Eating while engaged in another activity, such as watching TV or listening to a podcast, doesn’t count. I’m confused. I don’t live to eat. I eat to live, which means feeding my face is always performed while doing something else. We are down to the wire with one hundred thirty-three minutes and one last category.
Wildcard — 30-minutes devoted to your most relaxing activity. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. There is one thing I look forward to doing every day — my daily writing session. But based on the 42% Law of Rest, I am renaming it as my 133-minute rest session. Go away and leave me alone I’m resting. And you better believe I intend to I meet my recommended 10 hours of rest every day.
Between my 9-5 and my daily writing sessions, I log too many hours with my butt in a chair. During work hours, I squeeze breaks into the few minutes between meetings. I even set timers to remind myself to move. But it is often not enough. Studies suggest we need “at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.”
That works out to 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. While it doesn’t sound unreasonable, hitting even the minimum recommendations can be a challenge, especially during the winter months when everyone wants to stay home.
Thank goodness it is March. Spring arrives in eleven days, and the weather is getting better. Mostly. Last week, Mother Nature cooperated with me, and I walked on three separate days for 45 minutes each day. I was closer to where I should be, but I still missed the mark. So far this week, things look much worse.
On Monday, we had freezing rain followed by four inches of snow. The wind howled and promised to knock me off my feet if I ventured outside. I elected to stay inside. Tuesday, the bright sunshine made it seem like a perfect day for a walk until I checked the temperature. Twenty-five degrees and light wind gusts were a little too brisk for my taste. The remainder of the week doesn’t get much better.
I’m going to suck it up and walk despite the predicted below-freezing temps. The best parts of my walks are the birdsongs, the squirrel sightings, and a brain filled with ideas that make my writing session fly by in no time flat.
My desk is a mess. I thrive in a well-organized, clean, and sparse environment, and the chaos is driving me crazy. The madness is unacceptable, and I need to end it now. Of course, I turned to my friend Google and asked for suggestions on workspace optimization. Google did not disappoint. I stumbled upon a YouTube video from The Huberman Lab Podcast. The host, Dr. Andrew Huberman, is a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine, and his podcast focuses on science-backed strategies for improving different aspects of the human experience.
The description for this podcast entitled “Optimizing Workspace for Productivity, Focus, & Creativity” states:
“This episode covers quality peer-reviewed findings practical tools anyone can use, regardless of budget, in order to optimize their workspace to achieve heightened levels of productivity, increased alertness and focus, and creativity.”
The title alone got my undivided attention. After watching the content, not only am I implementing some of the suggestions, but I’ve also added a couple more episodes to my “Must-Watch” list.
Take a look and let me know what you think. FYI the actual content begins after the sponsor section at timestamp 7:58.
I’ve been waiting for almost three months, and today is the day. You can’t imagine how excited, annoyed, and thrilled I am. Give me a minute. Let me back up and tell you the entire story.
My trusty laptop is past its prime. It started exhibiting a few red flags last year. When I purchased this machine back in 2010, it was state-of-the-art. But now, the updates won’t update unless I update the bios and a bios upgrade is no longer available. As much as I loathe the process, it was time to bite the bullet and buy a new machine. So, in December, the selection process began.
I poured over reviews, talked to my friends in the know, visited stores to touch and feel and evaluate the contenders. I made my decision. It surprised no one to learn that my best option required a special, made-to-order machine. The website showed an expected ship date of February 14. I crossed my fingers and hit the “Buy” button.
True to form, February 14 was not the actual ship date. Nope, it shipped last week. I have watched its steady progress from Shanghai to Anchorage, Alaska, where it sat for a couple of days. Clearing customs can take a while. Then it preceded to Ft. Worth, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, and then to Chicago. FedEx says it will be delivered by noon today.
Assuming everything is in working order, I can begin the set-up process and migrate everything to the new machine. Wee, doesn’t that sound like fun? Not. There is a reason I perform this exercise only once every decade. I’ll be lucky if I fully finish before next Christmas.
Why do I feel like I am behind? Wait, don’t answer that question. I know the reason. My actual writing output is lagging, and my total looks dismal compared to my plan. Yes, January and February were lackluster months, but March is a different animal.
This month, my muse whispers in my ear. Perhaps she pitied my lack of progress during those dismal months, and this is my reward for writing anyway. I am grateful for her assistance and ecstatic to play her faithful transcriptionist. So, while the sun shines, I developed a new plan. I intend to compensate for my less productive days and launch a stellar comeback story. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing the underdog win?
My muse thrives when confronted by a do-or-die scenario. When the odds appear insurmountable, when others urge her to quit and go home, she rallies to defy the nay-sayers and critics who dared to label her as beaten. Today, I’m challenging her to a duel. I have declared today as Double Down Day. The challenge is to exceed my best word count day this week by a factor of two. I can’t wait to see what happens.
Today, my daily tarot reading landed a clear-cut explanation of my mind’s inner workings.
Your overactive imagination gives you have so many ideas that you are in danger of scattering yourself in all directions. The World opens new horizons. Find a few minutes and take time to reflect on your thoughts and decide how you want to direct your energy.
I have spent the day filling notebooks with details and ideas I don’t want to forget and writing as fast as possible while channeling my energy towards advancing my writing goals. The words are flowing fast and furious, and I valiantly attempt to make the most of this phase while it lasts. I find my exuberance breaks down into a predictable pattern.
First, I do my utmost to record the explosion of words spewing from my fingertips. Correct spelling, proper grammar, and adding back skipped words are luxuries I cannot afford. When the eruption ebbs, I allow myself a brief break to stretch and massage stiff muscles. When I re-read the pages, I marvel that I wrote them. I make notations of things to fix, alter, or augment, and before too long, the dam breaks again, and I return to my role as the inundated transcriptionist.
Do not believe for one second I am complaining. Who would? When offered a choice between feast or famine, I will opt for the frenzied pace, the excitement, and the feelings of extreme overwhelm any day of the week.