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*Muffins and Mayhem, Recipes for a Happy (if disorderly) Life*

Dear Reader,

When I mentioned to my husband the other day that I just couldn't seem to shake thinking about bad stuff, he suggested that I try solving some math problems in my head.

Yeah, right, that's what I want to think about--math. I didn't even want to think about math when I was in a math class. Math was never a friendly subject for me. I struggled through Algebra, ended up getting an A, but only because my teacher was a never-ending cheerleader. To this day, when I see too many numbers in one place, instantly my head hurts.

Besides, math takes away from my creative side. 2 + 2 = 4 and 16 x 12 = 192, those are facts. There's no room for any adverbs or descriptive explanations, no room for creativity. 16 x 12 doesn't "frequently" equal 192, or only on rainy days, or whenever I'm wearing blue jeans. Nope, 16 x 12 = 192 each and every time. But my husband explained that's exactly why math is such a great deterrent; math keeps your mind from thinking about personal problems. At least that's what the article he read the other day suggested.

Apparently when I'm thinking about numerical calculations, no matter how elementary, a different part of my brain kicks in and instantly math problems supersede personal problems. So what the heck, I gave it a try. And you know what? It worked.

My husband says it doesn't matter even if he thinks about the same math problem over and over again, the concept still works for him. Then again my husband likes to keep things simple. For instance, he only likes chocolate ice cream--me--I'm a Neapolitan fan: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Ice cream? Now, there's a thought.

I wonder if multiplying scoops of ice cream in my mind would work just as good as simple numbers. 12 scoops x 18 scoops = 216 scoops of ice cream. But on second thought, if I think about ice cream too often, I'll probably start eating more ice cream, gain weight, get depressed, obsess about my weight problem and then the "thinking about bad stuff" cycle will start all over again.

Back to basics, 2 x 2 is 4 and 3 x 4 is 12...

Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.

Suzanne Beecher **[email protected]** **http://www.muffinsandmayhem.com/**

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It was so funny to read your email today - I LOVE math exactly for the same reasons you don't. I find it comforting to know that 1 + 1 will ALWAYS be 2. History changes when new facts are exposed, science changes with each new discovery, our language changes with every new invention that brings its own new terminology (think computers) - even geography changes - there are countries in Europe that didn't exist 20 years ago and other that are now gone. I'll take math any day and know that 1 + 1 is still 2....and I'll take you any day because you will still be you. Thanks Suzanne - you always start my day off with a smile.

Posted by: JF | March 22, 2011 at 09:03 AM

Your husband is correct. Not only does it take your mind off your troubles it keeps another part of your brain active. Much like completing a cross word puzzle or reading a good book, these tasks keep our brain in shape. I recommend solving square roots to my husband and daughters. Initially they return looks of shock and disdain since I am a math teacher making such a disgusting suggestion. Slowly we work through easy square numbers.

2 x 2 = 4 3 x 3 =9 4 x 4 = 16 The square root of 4 is 2, 9 is 3, 16 is 4 etc.

Then the fun begins. What is the square root of 12? They puzzle it must be between 3 and 4 but can't know exactly. Then they start guessing. Is it 3.5 or 3.4? We never did know the answer for sure since we were driving at the time but 3.45 was the agreed upon answer of the moment. Then when I suggested the square root of 70 everyone was in the game. Numbers were flying fast to be the first to guess the right answer. Somewhere between 8 and 9 came quickly but the joy of "less than 8.5" was apparent in my daughter's voice. Closer to 64 than 81 was the explanation. Aaahh, the joy of the last puzzle piece, except these pieces were floating in the air!

Play with numbers! It is fun!

Posted by: WM | March 22, 2011 at 09:04 AM

I think ice cream math would have me out of bed and into the kitchen...

Posted by: MG | March 22, 2011 at 09:05 AM

No math problems, Suzanne! Sudoku is the perfect alternative--no addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division needed. It's a great distraction and really helps take my mind off whatever might be troubling me at the moment.

Posted by: DT | March 22, 2011 at 04:56 PM

Oh Suzanne..... I LOVE how your mind works! :)

Posted by: WM | March 22, 2011 at 05:04 PM