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I've never been particularly brainy when it comes to numbers. The best thing about arithmetic for me as a child, was that to remember how to spell it, you said "A rat in the house may eat the ice cream." This illustrates perfectly how my brain works. As far as I know there was nothing unusual about my mathematical abilities up until 5th grade, at which point I ended up with a severe mental block due to story problems and my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, who gave me much abuse about being out of school for 3 months with strep throat.

Algebra I just about finished me off. I was so lost! Thank goodness I had Geometry next which redeemed my sense of self-confidence, since I had no problem with visualizing spatial relationships and loved solving the proofs. A friend of mine tutored me through it and through Algebra II and that was where my math education ended. I chose my first major in college, Art, partly because I didn't have to take any math classes. When I switched to English, for many other reasons, still not having to take math was a big bonus. Thank god for calculators. Kitchen math is about the best I can do without one, and I've had to memorize all sorts of little tricks to do even that quickly. Anders says that when he's explaining something math-related to me, he can almost see the wall go up.

Ironic considering that I'm the one who handles the bills in our household. I think it's more because I'm anal-retentive well-organized and have a good memory than that I can keep our accounts straight. Internet banking takes care of a lot of that for me, I just have to press buttons and worry about the bottom line.

I've always loved the pattens of math, and the beauty of numbers, however. I remember being thrilled upon seeing the pattern that multiplication tables create and have always had a special love for the 9x table with its ladder-like beauty up and down:


A favorite book of mine, Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn, also introduced me to many of math's beautiful games, puzzles, patterns and riches. I was delighted to discover that someone has coined a term for people like me: people who basically suck at math itself, but like the things that numbers produce. "Someone who loves the aesthetics of numbers, the art one can create with them, the patterns that can be produced." Thanks to lonita, I now have a way to describe myself in relation to the world of numbers: a maesthematician. One who appreciates the aesthetics of math, without necessarily being able to comprehend the numerics.
mood: happy
music: Glenn Yarbrough—Baby the Rain Must Fall


I'm the exact same way. I love math, but I'm not particularly good at it. Except for multiplication tables since I wouldn't shut-up in class and had to sit inside during recess and write them over and over. Did you ever know chisenbop? I moved from a poor school district when I was in 2nd grade to a really nice one and was very behind in math. The teacher taught me chisenbop. I'm too lazy to make an actual link, but here's the explanation for those who haven't heard of it:

How fascinating! I've never heard of that. Did it take you a long time to get it down or was it really easy?

That's really cool. It's like having your own personal abacus. But I've seen schools where kids aren't allowed to use their fingers to count during math tests and such. (Which is SO stupid!)


Wow. That is really cool. I had never heard of it. It looks like a really good system. Thanks

Not only do the 9's go in steps, but the digits when added together always equal 9 when you're looking at the answers.

Maybe guy-brains just have trouble comprehending words. Thats why they can look directly at you and say "what"? after a 15 minute dissertation. They're too busy calculating all those numbers in their heads while we just push the "summation" key at the bottom of the spreadsheet ;)

Most people think you have to have one or the other: a numbers brain or a words brain, but that's too depressing. I think we just have varying degrees of each side.

Yes! I have that book somewhere back in Idaho. And I too, can now happily label myself as a maesthematician! YAY!

You do?! I've never met anyone that has even HEARD of it, much less read it! I KNEW I liked you! :D

Oh yes. I've read it three or four times, growing up. I always like to remember where he finds her, sitting on the warm air vent. :) See? I am way cool!

You ARE the way coolest! My favorite part was when they are out at night playing with flashlights on the wall. :)

To me it's slightly funny that you don't like algebra but do appreciate the patterns in maths because I really like the patterns too and it was that kind of logical problem solving / pattern / rule focus that made me love algebra, I always thought :) I loved maths at school, did two subjects of it in my final year in fact with a mere five of us in the class :) but now I can't cope with numbers at all. But I still love algebra :) I think what I can't cope with is the application of numbers to real life: tax, finances, proportions, conversions, stats, probabilities ... erch. And I know I must have touched on a few of those at school but they've been wiped from my mind because I'm definitely allergic to it all now :)

I think it was just because geometry gave me visually applicable formulas and algebra was just a mass of numbers/symbols confusion. I couldn't relate it to anything! Anders has to deal with everything to do with taxes, the mortgage, etc. I just pay bills! :)

I feel the same way about math...nice to know theres a word for it. I seem to have a strange relationship with math as well. One of the pluses of my current studies is that it has nothing more than basic math skills. No algebra or trig yay!! I had this trig teacher that was mean to me...put me down for not understanding. That was when I really started to hate math and just had a bad attitude about most things involving math. On the other hand I loved my accounting class.

My statistics class this term was strange..I actually found myself loving to sit there and put the numbers into a formula and then calculating...coming up with a number that then signified something..whether a relationship between two things was significant or not. It was weird...I think Im one of the few in the class that wasnt absolutely terrified of adding or multiplying..haha. But if someone were to ask me to EXPLAIN math...forget it. I just dont get it.

I've never taken stats but I remember the hell my college roommates went through with it...made me want to keep my distance :)

Cool word and it applies to me as well. I'll never forget my sense of betrayal when I found out the major I picked primarily because it didn't require math did indeed require algebra. And actually, I wasn't that bad at it, just not something that held my interest. I saw a book in the QPC that you would like. It's called The Meaning of Everything and it's like the biography of how the OED was created.

It's on my books-to-buy list since travelertrish sent me a copy of one of the chapters. MAN, I MISS the QPC!!!

Yea, it's a bummer, I thought you might not have it over there. I love it. But I'm always owing them money! But I do have some free points available. Maybe I could use them to get it...are you being good?

Being good? *laugh* in what way?

Haha, in any way? When are coming to the usa?

I'm ALWAYS good. >:P

We're flying to Michigan on July 17. Then I'll be in Oregon from August 4-9, and then we're flying home to Sweden on August 16th.

In grade school, I used to be "good" at math. And on up into highschool. I even helped tutor other students with their homework the latter part of my freshman year.
In my sophomore year I got a nasty teaching team. My interest waned. I never took math again after that.

It was simple enough to teach basic math to homeschool students and my own children, and then something happened. I'm not sure what, but thank goodness for calculators, and fingers, and other tricks and tables.

Real life math is still ok, like doubling recipes, or dividing them. Paying the bills works, it's taxing for other reasons.

But I just cannot think mathematically. Geometry in nature I can see and appreciate, but geeze... anything abstract has me sweating or with that dull look upon my face.
You describe it well here. Maesthematician is a new word to me, but I can tell I'm going to like it.

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