~thankful thursday~ exponential

Saturday 4-25

Grateful for coffee…. biscuits and gravy… lounging and talking. A gray and overcast morning drive to pick up veggie box; a meander home along the bay road, no tail gating, no rushing, fog and vibrant greenery, rhodies starting to bloom along the way. A bayou walk, then some weeding. Always grateful for a nacho dinner.

Sunday 4-26

Another beautiful day; most of which was spent in the garden. With all of the extra light Rich has enabled to enter the garden, I can expand the dahlia habitat across the whole rainbow terrace bed. He studies the angles of light; at one point today he had to go outside at a certain time of day to “research” whether the garden would be in the path of light by this time if he rents a man-lift for a day to reach the next level of branches of the cedar so he can remove a few more. He concluded this plan is good, that it will result in even more light for flowers.

I am thankful for my husband’s patience with me when I overthink all things. He lets in the light to my garden and does the same thing to my mind, and finally the butterflies can find their way in.

Monday 4-27

I am grateful for Rich’s hugs; “I was giving you lots of energy.”

A gray drizzly day in which to wander around the yard yelling at deer and murdering slugs.

I am grateful to feel like I am back in the groove with routine. Attending to the little things. Not trying to solve the big ones.

As we climb into bed I ask Rich, “should I clench my jaw? Should I hold my breath?” And let him tell me I should let it all go. I am grateful he knows the answers to these questions.

Tuesday 4-28

I had a laugh at Glennon’s morning meeting ditty, “Jesus loves me this I know, for he gave me lexapro.” I’ve certainly been finding lovejoy’s “herbal rescue remedy” to be a gift from the goddess right now.

Work from home struggles: typing with a 20 pound cat lying across my arms. Both cats are sitting on me.

Chapter infinity of zero is read, and I mentioned quintessence theory to Quinn, as the final chapters were all about the universe’s end, but the book was twenty years old and I wanted Quinn to know the theories have expanded maybe as much as the universe itself during that time. Quintessence has such a nice ring to it, and feels hopeful to me, the idea of a fifth dynamic fundamental force, an unknown mystery exerting itself in the cosmos whose impact on the speed of the expansion of the universe is an open question. Open questions in physics feel like hope, like that little thing with feathers can fly right into the opening. Also, for obvious reasons, one of my sources of hope in the universe goes by a name starting with the same letters. Quinn told me his ideas about black holes, wormholes, and time travel, and I will save the details for a lifelong learner post, but he is the quintessence of the human race, in my opinion.

One of the memes I particularly enjoyed in the early stages of the pandemic was the graph with “month of 2020” on the x axis and “time spent looking at exponential graphs” on the y-axis. The relationship was…. exponential, of course. This doesn’t hold true for me, as a person who works in a microbiology lab at least sometimes, I actually looked at them a lot before 2020. One way that I am keeping science alive for myself is that I began my very first sourdough starter a little over a week ago, which means that I am just about ready to use it to make some bread. Culturing a wild yeast is something I’ve done before (I’ve made things like blackberry wine and apple cider vinegar) but I have baked bread with store bought yeast all along. I am reaching the end of the 2-pound package of yeast I bought several years ago, which has lived in a plastic tub in my freezer. I am down to about 3 teaspoons and the baking aisle is as bleak as the toilet paper aisle now, so it was time to start a new experiment. The first few rounds of the culture get mostly thrown away, as you capture wild yeast (in my case off the surface of dried apples, apricots, cherries and raisins I had lying around my cupboard), and feed them on water-flour paste in a jar. After a day or two, it’s time for another feeding, but you only bring over a small portion of the original mixture, seeding a new jar of paste with just a half teaspoon of the live bubbling culture you began. After the third round of this, you’ve diluted any impurities out, while nurturing a healthy culture, and it’s time to build it up. Now instead of throwing away most of the material each time, you’re just feeding it, and it doubles in size with each feeding. Fast-growing organisms with short life-cycles grow in this manner – exponentially. You start with just a few tablespoons of flour and water, but just two days later, you have a quart jar full of bubbling flour paste. If you don’t cut away some of that and bake with it, a few more days of feedings would start to take over your kitchen!

Some more nefarious organisms exhibit exponential growth much like my jar full of wild yeast, but I’m trying to stay focused on the growth curves of things that are beneficial and life-giving: the love I see and feel around me grows and expands much like my dough, given the proper ingredients and conditions, sweetened with honey and kneaded well. Quinn’s maturity level, how he is finding new ways for us to be together, his expressions of love in new ways, these are seeing rapid, vigorous growth and I’m so grateful. I have fears about him wanting to stay at his Dad’s forever and never return to me, but when I can return to what I know within me, it’s that we cannot be separated. There is no undoing that. It’s baked in.

1 comment to ~thankful thursday~ exponential

  • Holly

    Thank your for the explanation on making yeast. It inspires me to explain how I make fish and chips.

    First, open the bag of potato chips. Be careful not to smell it or you’ll begin eating the chips and soon they will all be gone and thus useless to the recipe. Pour the chips into a medium sized bowl. Next, open the bag of goldfish crackers. It may be a good idea to open this away from the wide eyes and grubby hands of toddlers and teens. If you think you have enough self-control, you may want to pop a couple in your mouth before pouring the bag of fish crackers in the bowl with the potato chips. Lastly, using your hands, carefully mix the contents of the bowl. Once the ingredients are mixed equally throughout, crumple the empty bags and throw them away. Serve with malt vinegar and a newspaper. Note: any medium sized bowl will work, but I recommend a glass bowl to showcase the artistic elements of this recipe. Enjoy!

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