The Math of Life
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I took a break from sorting through statements and receipts so I can do my taxes quickly and efficiently, in order that I might fill out the FAFSA in time so the kids can apply for scholarships before the deadlines. Yeah, it’s been a stretch of forms, but the taxes are done, earliest ever, and I’m feelin’ alright. I don’t mind paying taxes. Sometimes I don’t like how MUCH I have to pay, but I feel pretty lucky to live where I live and how I live and if it weren’t taxes there would be something else.
Thing is, I am not good with numbers. I’m just not. Letters and words, yes; numbers, no. They make me nervous, and they have always had a better chance of making me feel crappy than words might. Test scores, blood pressure, weight, IQ, the heating bill, credit scores, age, speed limit, calories, tuition. All numbers. And then there are numbers for the sake of numbers — trigonometry, algebra, geometry, calc. Thank the Lord I’m done with math as a requirement for graduation. Now I deal with the math of life, and that I can manage.
One of the beautiful things about growing older is that you gain the wisdom and insight to designate what is and is not important in your own productive, happy life. I do my taxes, pay my bills, and celebrate my birthday. I register for the census. I observe and generally obey the speed limit. But I haven’t weighed myself in years, and I’ve forgotten whatever number was assigned to my IQ. Oops.
Numbers are important, yes, and necessary, but words are what I love, and they can take the place of numbers quite nicely if you let them. I can tell you my blood pressure is low, my heating bill is high, and the number of calories I consume daily is enough. I passed the last test I took and I did alright. When the kids ask what time dinner will be ready, I reply, “A few minutes after you set the table” or “Sunset” or, on long days, “When it’s ready.”
Mr. Sundberg prefers words to numbers, too, I think. He has a few beers occasionally, and works enough hours a week to get the job done. When it’s below zero out there, numbers don’t matter: it’s “ass burn cold”, and if you ask him how long we’ve been married he’ll lean back in his chair, and smile, and say, “Well, not long enough.”
Here’s a recipe you might choose to be a bit creative with for Valentine’s Day, or St. Patrick’s Day, or for the next day the temperature rises enough to open a window. Simple ingredients, and a good amount of room for decorative license. A nod to Kathy Z. for sending it along. Nice to have the gift of a good recipe now and then.
2 sticks butter
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
Cream butter and sugar, add vinegar and vanilla. Mix flour and baking soda, and slowly add to butter mixture. Combine well. Roll by heaping teaspoons in to balls, and flatten a bit as you place on baking sheet (these cookies tend to spread out). Bake at 300 for 20 minutes.
You can decorate, if you so choose, with a pecan half in the middle before baking, or any type of sprinkles, or try M&Ms after they come out of the oven.