Möbius Strip

Beginnings, middles, ends. Where to start?

mobius strip

This is a Mobius strip. They’re way cool.*

Stories usually start with the inciting incident, unless you’re from the South, in which case they start with a genealogy lesson.

I think the best stories are like Mobius strips– they have a plot twist and although you follow the same character(s) throughout the story, they’re different in the end.

This article by the Smithsonian does a way better job explaining one-sided topology than I can:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/mathematical-madness-mobius-strips-and-other-one-sided-objects-180970394/

 

 

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That Time My Resolve Held

Today’s writing prompt is to write about resolutions kept. My problem with that is that several years ago I gave up resolutions for Lent and haven’t looked back.

lent giving up

In addition to resolutions, I also gave up sanctimony: https://oldhwysixwest.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/its-1313/

If resolutions are paper to-do lists, then I killed a forest conquering a PhD program, which isn’t interesting, entertaining, or enlightening, but maybe profitable for those with tree farms. However, I do remember a resolution from my first stint in LSU’s graduate school.

One of my Louisiana College besties, Cindy Poston, was in law school and she stayed with me a couple nights a week instead of commuting back to New Orleans. We’d played basketball against each other in high school, back when neither of our home ‘towns’ had traffic lights. In fact you could travel between Hornbeck and Negreet (about an hour) and not encounter anything more than some deer, log trucks, and a stop sign.

We grew up without cable tv or a chain grocery store within 13 miles, which left us plenty of time after school for going to church (Baptist) and the gym. And we found ourselves, two North Louisiana country girls in the Capitol City, getting our higher education on, getting invited to wine and cheese soirees. We decided that our palates also needed an education.

Growing up in my house, we had 2 kinds of cheese: rat cheese & sliced cheese. Imagine my surprise to discover pepperjack, colby, swiss, gouda, and edom cheeses at the 1990’s Government Street Winn Dixie. (I get light-headed when I pass the Whole Foods cheese cooler).

I’d pretty much only seen people drink beer or bourbon, but Bartyles & James wine coolers made inroads with the Bayview Yacht Club crowd. After trying cabernet souvignon, merlot, zinfendel, and pinot noir, pinot grigio, chardonnay, and some reisling (we were dedicated), it should come as no surprise that 2 redneck, country girls preferred the Franzia white zinfendel in a box.

box of wine

Paired with some PepperJack cheese and Ritz Crackers. Mmmm, delicious.

Way back in the 90’s I started trying new things and I haven’t stopped. I don’t always enjoy the new experiences, but I do learn from them (red wine gives me a headache)  and expand my horizons (and my bluejeans).

 

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10 Rules for Surviving 2019

I signed up with https://writerswrite.co.za/ and they send me a daily prompt, which I am going to use for my blog. These prompts come at the crack of midnight, so I should be able to do one daily. Yippee!

Here are my 10 rules (in random order) for surviving 2019:

  1. Keep breathing. Yoga breath, dog breath, or dragon breath. Just. Keep. Breathing.

    breathing

    Not you, Lyle! You keep swimming (YOBO).

  2. Eat (before you leave the house). Food is necessary to living, but everybody knows what happens when you go to the grocery store hungry. Just. Eat. Food.

    nutella

    Leah can attest to the fact that this is ALMOST true. I will throw in some ice cream & key lime pie, just to get a few more of the essential snack food groups.

  3. Walk around. Get some exercise. Just. Keep. Moving.
    walking
    Outfits are Optional. Maybe don’t dress like a slab of bacon if you walk in a neighborhood with lots of dogs.
  4. Follow Hippocrates: First do no harm. Be nice to people, yourself included. Just. Keep. Smiling.hippocrates
  5. Sing a Song. Karen Carpenter, Ray Stephens, KC & the Sunshine Band, Jerry Jeff Walker. Just. Keep. Grooving.singing
  6. Lower back stretches. Trust me on this. If you don’t need to do them now, it won’t be long. Just. Keep. Flexing.
    Stretches-for-Lower-Back-Pain-and-Tight-Hips-Pin
    You’re probably gonna want to vacumn or get a yoga mat or both before doing these.
  7. Have some fun. Laughter’s the best medicine. Find some rib-cracking humor and guffaw until your belly hurts. Just. Keep. Laughing.

    laughter

    Apparently this Jack Handy dude is a comedian.

  8. Learn something new. It doesn’t have to be a foreign language or salsa dancing. If you can’t think of anything on your own, go to the local library. They’re always having events and speakers (for free). Read the label on the back of a can of soup or bag of chips or a bottle of shampoo and look some of that stuff up. Just. Keep. Learning.

    maltodextrin

    On 2nd thought, maybe don’t look at the food labels.

  9. Foster an attitude of gratitude. Give thanks every day and you will soon notice how much you have to be grateful for. Just. Be. Thankful.piglet_gratitude_winnie_the_pooh
  10. Join a group. Become a Lauritarian. Our basic tenent is that we don’t need no stinkin’ rules! Make your own list. Just. Be. You.
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Made With Love (and Real Butter)

Way back in 2011, I put my family through the torture of trying to replicate my sister-in-law’s chocolate chip cookies (https://oldhwysixwest.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/the-cookie-quest-2/).

7 years (and no kidnappings) later, I’m close enough for the big reveal… it’s what Aarin said:  “I just use the recipe on the back of the yellow (Nestle’s) package.”

warning

WARNING! Be prepared to disregard almost all of the baking lessons you learned in home economics. Except for preheating the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. You’ll still need to do that.

  1. SALTY, sweet cream butter. Usually Land O’Lakes. Soften 2 sticks. Try not to use the microwave for this– it makes it too melty.
  2. Cream butter with 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar (DO NOT PACK THE BROWN SUGAR!!! Sorry, Mrs. Cheatwood). I use a Kitchen Aid hand mixer.
  3. In separate bowl, sift 2 and 1/4 cups of Gold Medal all-purpose flour (do not level these off, but don’t heap them up, either), 1 teaspoon iodized salt in the blue box, and 1 rounded teaspoon Arm & Hammer baking soda.
  4. Add 2 eggs, shells off, to the butter and sugar. I start the mixer slow, work up to about 3/4 max speed and beat until it’s the consistency of toddler snot.
  5. Add the vanilla. Mexican is best. I usually let a little extra overflow the teaspoon. Mostly because I’m not paying attention.

    I’m not sure what the chicken has to do with Danney Vainilla. But it’s labelled pure. Has a cinnamon taste to it. I’ll probably run out in 30 years and not be able to recreate my own cookies. 

  6.  Add the flour a heaping spoonful at a time, or until the oven is preheated, which is usually about 4 spoons in, then dump the rest of the flour in the bowl.
  7. Add 2 packages of chocolate chips and mix by hand.
  8. Pecans optional if your kid has braces. Or makes a 33 on her ACT– in the 9th grade. Then, and only then, can you skip the pecans.
  9. And finally, the piece de resistance, the ultimo techniquo, the secret technique for perfect cookies is … the COOKIE SCOOP!
    COOKIE SCOOP

    Uniform cookies bake uniformly, resulting in all cookies being the same level of doneness. You burn one, you burn ’em all.

     

  10. Cool cookies on wire racks.
  11. Makes about 4 dozen.
  12. Takes about an hour to make and 2 weeks in the gym to recover.
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Alternality

Several people rent space in my head and at least one of them spends a lot of time thinking, “What If….”

Disaster Recovery Laura is a little paranoid and wonders about the availability of toilet paper and instant grits during a Zombie Apocolypse

Entrepeneur Laura wonders what if food trucks sold boudin AND ice cream? ShakeYourBoudin, baby!!

Fantasy Dreamer Laura spends some time with TSA and wonders what flying would be like if Disney & Chick-Fil-A were in charge.

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Obsolescence

It all started, as it often does, with the talk of change.

Accounting changes. Changes in estimates. Changes like inventory obsolescence. It’s a riveting subject that glues students in their chairs. Or maybe that’s gravity. Regardless, it’s a subject up for discussion in Chapter 22.

I gave the example of the losing SuperBowl team’s pre-printed “championship” t-shirts, which are obsolete the minute that team loses the game. These shirts are apparently donated to countries such as Haiti (after the earthquake), Armenia, or Zambia (https://www.businessinsider.com/what-happens-to-super-bowl-losers-shirts-2014-1)

superbowl2

World Vision is the charity that supervises the donation of these t-shirts.

And I could imagine an immigrant from one of these countries, here to pursue an education. I could imagine him/her/them/zem playing a trivia game with friends, or getting a spot on Jeapardy, and being asked the question:

Who was the 2013 SuperBowl XLVII Champion?

And I can see the Zambia native flushing with excitement, going all in, doubling down, certain of the answer. Certain because every member of  his/her/their/zeir entire village was the lucky recipient of a t-shirt clearly stating that:

 The San Fransisco 49ers won the 2013 SuperBowl XLVII World Championship. Not the Baltimore Ravens.

rickandmorty-2-625x350

I live in parallel universii with Rick and Morty.

And then it’s down the rabbit hole of parallel universes, but only for a few seconds, because class must go on.

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Just Because

I wasn’t around when the cold war started. Half of me may or not have been around, depending on whether or not a woman’s ovaries make new eggs after she’s born.

How would we know? Science.

In this article, scientists experiment on mice and hope to use their findings to improve womens’ health and fertility: (https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/02/120229-women-health-ovaries-eggs-reproduction-science/)

experiment

Tell me something I don’t know!

Experiments like the race to the moon, don’t have such tangible, obvious benefits. But we benefit all the same.  An iPhone 6 had more computing power than all of NASA when it put the men on the moon (https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a25655/nasa-computer-iphone-comparison/).

So when physicists do some kind of nerdy stuff like create a new form of matter (https://www.livescience.com/63999-fifth-form-of-matter-created.html), people want to know what it’s gonna do for them.

The answer is maybe nothing. Or maybe it will open up a whole new world of fantastical things.

Consider how video graphics development advanced when the mathematical theories of Benoit Mandelbrot were incorporated. Our visual experience in movies is enhanced because of MATH.

Sometimes learning has a purpose, e.g. to cure cancer or to prove a theory.  And sometimes, it’s just because.

Just because you want to.

Just because you can.

Just. Because.

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