Pi Day Surprises

I haven’t posted much over the last year or so.  Life’s been busy, there  have been changes and health challenges for family members, my time and energy have been focused in other ways. And today I feel like writing.

One of my current challenges regards my father.  He turned 90 in January, and his health is good in some ways and not so good in others. One of the not so goods is his cognitive function. He has memory issues.  I first noticed them when he had a “small” stroke some years ago.  He lost some sense of direction and the names of his grandkids, among other things. As time as gone on, his memory has worsened, and certain functions are disappearing.  He doesn’t do much if anything online, for example, and somedays he can write a check just fine, and others it doesn’t happen.  He’s a retired physics professor, so computer and number stuff was once a strength.  Now, anything  that requires him to hold and compare is a struggle.  With time, and lots of rereading and patience, he can often figure things out. Not always, but sometimes.

Yesterday, March 14, was pi day.  Pi is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is an irrational number (meaning you can’t write it as a simple fraction), and it just keeps going. 3.14159265 and so on. So March 14, or 3.14 is pi day. And since there’s nothing many nerds like better than a pun, what better way to celebrate than with a pie.  I’m not much of a pie eater or baker (I only like good pies, and I figured out a long time ago that mastering pie crust would not lead to improved health on my part). However, there have been a few recipes that we’ve seen on America’s Test Kitchen that have been tempting over the years.

Yesterday was the day.  I made North Carolina Lemon Pie. As advertised, it was easy to make. BA and I both like lemon, and the crust made with saltines seemed promising, an interesting alternative. By early afternoon, the pie was made and ready to eat.  BA and I each had a small piece after lunch and found it tasty.

Of course, the other big thing going on these days is Covid-19, the illness caused by a novel coronavirus. Colorado is getting hit just now, and lots of protective measures are going into effect. About a year ago, Dad and my stepmother moved into a local retirement community. They live independently in a very nice two-bedroom apartment.  Their unit is on the ground floor, with a sliding door opening directly outside. Like many senior complexes, theirs has been proactive with measures designed to minimize exposure and spread in this high risk and vulnerable population.  A few weeks ago, the soup and salad bars in their dining room went away.  Soup has been a staple for them, often one night’s soup goes home with them for the next day’s lunch. I’ve tried to step up a bit by supplying them with some homemade soup for their fridge. Yesterday, their restrictions expanded to no visitors allowed (although there is an allowance for health care providers, and I do keep an eye on my dad that way).

So yesterday afternoon, BA and I went over with a few pieces of pie and some soup.  Entering their apartment through the back door, we delivered the goods.  (We didn’t go into any common spaces, and residents are allowed to come and go freely, so it was no more exposure to the community than if they had come to my house–and its easier for me to drive to their place).  I wasn’t sure how Dad would do with the pi day concept.  He has a hard time remembering why they have all these restrictions with the virus.  But I’d written down a little about pi day, and he exclaimed oh pi, and rattled it off to about 10 digits.  He remembers pi better than I do.  That’s one of the confusing and challenging things about dementia, its unpredictability. How to warm his coffee in the microwave oven is overwhelming, and he knows pi to at least 10 places. Go figure.

I hope my family enjoyed the pie and the soup.  I had fun making it, and the rest of the pie went to some neighbors who also enjoyed it. One slice each. Who knows what kind I’ll make next year?

And now I get to figure out this virus thing. We’re pretty settled and well supplied at our house. And I’m getting emails from the state health department saying that my services may be needed if the epidemic gets intense and the additional healthcare providers are needed.  Would I like to come out of retirement?  Hmmm.  Maybe more on that later.


13 thoughts on “Pi Day Surprises

  1. This is so sad and so beautiful. My dad was a mathematician and his way of getting me occupied when he wanted to do something and I was bugging him was to say, “MAK, go divide Pi.” I got very good at long division.

    All my best wishes and hopes for all of you to stay healthy. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to hear from you, Steph. That pie looks delicious. Is that meringue on the top? If so, we call that lemon meringue pie in Oz. It is the pie of my childhood. I bet your parents and their neighbours enjoyed it.

    I imagine being “recalled” to work might be a tad tricky, especially for those like you already caring for vulnerable family members. Stay well. One can only do so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, it’s whipped cream. We have lemon meringue pie here, too. Hope you’re well, too. And yes, exposure and caretaking responsibility will indeed play into decision making. You stay well, too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This little plague must be making us bake. I made banana bread for the first time in a very long time … at least a year, maybe longer … last night. I think I’ll make gingerbread tomorrow. Baking is comforting, I suppose. And it’s something to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice to read you again! Sometimes life’s realities require our full attention. I have only praise for health care professionals especially these days. Hopefully, the measures being put in place will decrease the need to recall retired folks like yourself. Keep well!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice to read you again, Steph! It is nice that you get to see your dad and stepmother while taking precautions against the spread of the virus. We love Pi Day around my house; my daughters and I used to make several pies every March 14, and read books such as “Sir Cumference and the Knights of the Round Table” hehe, good times. This year it was just my husband and I, so we got a take-out pizza pie instead.

    Liked by 1 person

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