33, 44, 55, 66, 77 … Kate’s Sequence (or, what’s in a number?)

I used to be really good at math … when I was thirteen.  So good, they allowed me to skip a class and take Algebra II when I was a freshman in high school.  But by the next year, in Advanced Geometry, I had had it … my little brother (now an engineer) was two years ahead of his class, sat right behind me, and beat me out on every single test.

Being one of those shallow narcissists who can’t stand being bad at things, I dropped out of math and science before I ever took Calculus or Physics.  (Thankfully, lawyers don’t have to be good at math …)

But this hasn’t stopped me from being fascinated with numbers.  In fact, I noticed just this morning while getting my overdue Botox fix that a strange number pattern has emerged in my life this year:  33, 44, 55, 66, 77 …

I call it Kate’s Sequence.  The numbers represent the age of my (bratty beautiful) younger sister, my own age, my best Newport girlfriend’s age, my mother’s age, and my mother-in-law’s age as I type this in 2012.

But one of the most important women of my life doesn’t fit the Sequence:  Grandma turned 94 on Tuesday, as did Grandpa a couple of weeks earlier.  They are still married, still have their hair, still have their minds, and are utterly disgusting to the rest of us impressive:

My grandparents' 93rd birthdays in 2011

If you haven’t noticed, Grandma bears a distinct resemblance to Betty White.  And not just because she’s tiny, cute, and Norwegian … it’s because she still has that lust for life and sense of humor that keeps a person young forever.  Even (especially) without the Botox.

I owe Grandma a lot.  She was the one who bought me the all important Calvin Klein, Jordache, and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in grade school … and later, Guess, Bon-Jour, and (when slumming it) Lee jeans in high school.

Grandma would have really enjoyed being a Real Orange County Housewife.  Not because she ever had plastic surgery or hair extensions, but because to this day, she is the only woman I know who has never washed her own hair.  (I’m not kidding!)

She also taught me to hide my credit card statements from Hubby. 

So what’s my point here?

I started this blog because I was afraid the world was going to end in six months.  How was I going to make the most of the scant time I have left?  And how was I going to cope with turning 45 in the high maintenance capital of the world?

Grandma is 50 years older than I am.  If I have her genes (and I must have at least some of them), I’m not even half way there yet.

So my Sequence (the ages of various beautiful women I know) is not so different from the Fibonacci sequence.  In that famous pattern, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987 … The higher up in the sequence, the closer two consecutive of the sequence divided by each other will approach the Golden Ratio (approximately 1 : 1.618 or 0.618 : 1).

Why does this matter?

Because the golden ratio (also called  “phi” and depicted by the Greek symbol Φ) is in everything.  It represents no less than what constitutes BEAUTY in the world – both in nature and in art.  It’s the ratio used to design the Parthenon and the Pyramids of Giza. It’s the number expressed in spirals, snowflakes, flowers, fractals, and our own DNA.   It’s the ratio between a perfectly fertile woman’s waist and her hips.

It’s the closest thing to spirituality a scientist can believe in.

The golden ratio is also expressed in this ancient fossil I discovered last week in New Mexico:

ammolite & ravens

The photo isn’t great, but it’s a picture of an ammonite fossil affixed to a gold bracelet I bought last week in Taos.  (The background pic is just a notebook with ravens on it — the birds are considered to be messengers between this world and the next, a fitting totem for a writers’ journal?)

I realize I’m rambling here.  But heck, Grandma has been here for 94 years, and that ammonite fossil has hung on for 35-million years

And if Fibonacci’s number and the golden mean are found in everything beautiful from nature, to art, to music, then certainly there is beauty in women of all ages.

Suddenly, I feel like I have time.

And that’s not a bad thing.  Even at the end of time …


Questions:  Do you find time to be elastic?  What state of mind are you in when time just flows effortlessly?  What are you doing?  And when does time drag?  Are you a chronic clock watcher?  If so, might it be time for a change?