String Theory

“A World Without String is Chaos”

The framed motto on the wall of the recently deceased father, Randolph Smuntz
“Mouse Hunt” (The Movie)

Liz – Circa 1987 – At (that time) The World’s Biggest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas

Barefoot, pregnant, pink plaid maternity top, black Hawaii print shorts

I am living proof that chaos exists on a single thread!

I’m convinced the physical laws that order our universe, are also the same laws set in motion in our own little universe– our puny little lives on this big green and blue marble we call home.  Scientists with brains bigger than cantaloupes have made some astonishing findings regarding string theory:  Allow me to be so bold as to compare myself with the universe:

The universe has quarks; I have quirks.

The strings of the universe have p-branes (among other membranes) and I’ve been known to have a pea-brain sometimes.

The strings of the universe contain flavor; I have a unique personality, understood not even by me on most days.   I guess the flavor of me could be described as a rich oak-like taste, with suggestions of almond, and strong hints of dark chocolate.

The universe’s strings contain charge.  I too charge bravely into the wide unknown most days with an energy that seems boundless when I’m tapping into the creative side; likewise, I feel depleted when I’m doing things I’d rather not.

The universe’s strings contain mass.  No kidding!  My mass is heavier than an ideal BMI chart suggests, but as long as I have particles, I can rest assured my mass is here to stay, and despite increased motion, growing stealthily I might add.

My favorite property regarding string theory?  The universe has spin!  Me too!  I spin my wheels everyday like a squirrel zippering around the yard on a frantic nut hunt.  I randomly flit from Facebook to mothering to cleaning to email purging to working a part time job to cooking to errand running to bill paying to writing when I really should be sleeping.  Whatever task I’m doing currently seems to rob from the other essential task that ought to be tended to, especially mothering.  Oh, there’s string theory in my world alright, but it’s more like a tangled ball of twine on most days.

String dynamics are governed by two things:  Tension and Kinetic Energy. Both of which I have an abundance of.  When I don’t know how to relieve my tension, I build up more kinetic energy and can’t sit still, focus, follow through, or proceed in an orderly fashion.  No, it’s not ADHD, it’s just Liz Logic at work.  Or as my dear friend Jana says, “Follow the bouncing ball!”  It all makes sense in the end–sort of.

There’s a bunch more information about string theory under said topic in Wikipedia…..yada, yada, yada, lots of science words, blah, blah, blah, and then this nugget:

“Einstein’s equations for general relativity mean that string theory is a quantum theory of gravity.    Since string theory is widely believed, to be mathematically consistent, many hope that it describes our universe, thus making it a Theory of Everything.

And there you have it folks!  We are all strings.  Pull us too tight—that is to say when too many hardships, or complex situations, or too much information to process, or too many feelings to deal with happen, our cosmological constant is thrown off.  It’s hard to put things in perspective (i.e. general relativity) when you can’t remember which way to plant your feet to find gravity.

Our internal universe can be as unstable and ever-changing as the universe around us.  Just like we can’t see it changing before us, sometimes others can’t see us changing right in front of them.  That’s because they’re lost too!  Why they’re busy  tripping the light fantastic in their “own little universe!”

So when life can be overwhelming with all we must process, what to do, you ask?

Start an on-line relationship with an astrophysicist?  Read your horoscope and then decide?  Buy a lottery ticket?   Increase your knowledge?

Perhaps.  Maybe it’s easier than that.  Try prayer!  Faith steps in when science quits explaining, is unable to explain, or is just too complex.   Prayer does something else:

  • It makes us get quiet.
  • It takes the focus off our self, the problems we have, and those of the world.
  • We can temporarily become unsuspended in time.
  • It helps us to unthink and unfeel.  It’s a chance to unwind and unload.

We can simply be.  We can rest all our quarks, concerns, atoms, shortcomings, electrons, anxieties, photons, problems, dualities, and thoughts.  We can lay it ALL down.    We are but a blip—a small micro-dot on a string in time and space.     But unlike theories, we are not merely relative, we are relevant.  We aren’t just matter; we matter.

And now you know Liz’s Theory of Everything!

Art on Display in American Tobacco Building – August 2012 – Durham, NC

Art Credit TBA (My Apologies—I didn’t write it down, but isn’t this amazing?)

A Prayer for the Strung Out, The Stretched-Too Thin, or in some other way Gravitationally-Impaired:

Thank you God for creating each one of us and for creating the universe, and for attending to all the problems each of us contains.  At any given moment, the world’s problems and our problems compete for first chair in our mind.   That’s because we live life under the physical law known as The Uncertainty Principle.  Since we have no choice but to trust that our immediate universe won’t fall out of orbit anytime soon, then maybe we can have faith just big enough to trust that you won’t let us fall completely out of orbit either.  May we find our stability and peace in you.   Amen.

The Cure for Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Yesterday was Friday the 13th.  For the third time this year!    I was suffering from a case of writer’s block.   Then I kept hearing all day long on the radio and TV about people that suffer from (hold on….let me go copy and paste):


Boom just like that!  After hearing about this for the thirteenth time, I got unblocked faster than you can say Ex-Lax!    Here are thirteen things in less than thirteen hundred words that may or may not have contributed to the way I am today.  Only those that know me, could say for sure:

  1. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska during a severe thunderstorm.  I heard the lights went out.   I’ve been fascinated by storms all my life and found safe haven in the middle of a tempest multiple times, both literally and figuratively.  Impending storms terrify me.  Once I’m in one,  things get crystal clear.
  2. Until I was two, I had curly hair like Shirley Temple.  Those were the good old days when I was wild and carefree.  Back then I still felt comfortable sunbathing topless.
  3. When I was three we moved to Raleigh from Washington State.  My mom always called it Washington state, so I was never unclear that we didn’t originally migrate from DC.  When my parents bought our first house in Raleigh, it had a full sized swimming pool.  It was like being the innkeeper at your very own Holiday Inn.  We moved to our second and last home of my childhood before I was old enough to invite friends over.
  4. I had two dogs before I turned four.  They were the only dogs I would ever have as a child.  One, a reddish spaniel named Rudy in Washington State and Muffin, a solid black puppy when I came to Raleigh.  I remember Muffin, but I don’t remember why I didn’t have Muffin when I was four or five.  I should ask my mom.  I hope this story doesn’t have a sad ending.
  5. I remember I had a doll named Miss Baird.  I’m not sure why I named her this.  She had short blond dreads long before I knew who Bob Marley was.
  6. When I was six, I met one of the Harlem Globetrotters at the airport.  I think it was the DC airport, but I’m not sure.  I remember I was eating oatmeal at the airport diner, and this tall, dark, and kind stranger sat down beside me and my mom and just starting talking to us.  He was real friendly.  Back then it wasn’t racist or politically incorrect of my mom to assume certain things so my mom said, “You must be a basketball player!”  He said he was.  He said he played for the Harlem Globetrotters.    He gave me his autograph, but what I remember most is he complimented me for making good choices and eating something as healthy as oatmeal for breakfast.  To this day, I usually eat oatmeal for breakfast; is this the reason why?
  7. When I was seven my dad built me a pair of stilts for Christmas.  I was so frustrated!!!  Then I got the hang of it on the same day.  Then I got really happy.  Because how many kids get a pair of homemade stilts for Christmas?  Plus now I could probably join the Circus one day.
  8.  I got a Polaroid Camera that year too.   A life long love affair with pictures began.  Once my own children were born, I became their personal stalking version of paparazzi.  Before my digital Canon, and 35mm Nikon, I snapped everything from cats to rocks with my Polaroid.  Until finally my parents quit buying me cartridge replacements.  Thus began my dark years, except for when I got to borrow my mom’s Kodak 110 instamatic.   My entire childhood is one big collage of fading yellow and green Instagram memories.
  9. My dad collected weird things.  I remember in our driveway we had two big metal barrels.  I don’t even know what  they were for.  Water containers ?  Fuel tanks  just in case because Jimmy Carter was President?  Anyway, one monstrosity was solid rust and was about 8 feet tall, the other was about 4 feet tall, silver, and non-rusted.  Both were about 4 feet in diameter, and they were just there.  This is one of those mysteries of childhood.  We had barrels of unknown origin and purpose in our driveway for  the longest time and then one day they’re just no longer there.  Childhood memory goes through weird time warps.  You grow up and wonder, “Hey!  I wonder whatever happened to those barrels?”
  10. When I was twelve, I remember I got a Coke-a-Cola AM radio.  It was an AM radio cleverly hidden  in an exact replica of a coke can.  I carried it with me on my way to play penny poker with the boys that lived at the top of our street.  I was just too cool for my own self.  “Hey, you wanna coke?” I’d say, and then I’d throw them a can of tunes!  I’m sure they were impressed for at least a nanosecond.
  11. Also in sixth grade I was good at foosball, I mean really really good.  My dad was in the restaurant business and he had an old foosball table from a pizza establishment that he was not using anymore.  He put it in our garage and I had foosball tournaments in the summer.  I could single-handedly take on two guys in high school any day of the week.   I still remember I’d get that ball, wedged up under the center forward, and then flick my wrist real hard as my ceramic man’s feet, which were really two feet that kicked as one,  positioned  backwards almost vertical with feet in the air,  and then like lightening I’d spin the handle and BULLSEYE!!   I’d have that ball in the goal faster than you could say “Bay City Rollers.”   The opposing goalie didn’t have a chance.  I had a word for it:  Snick It!  I’d take that ball and “snick it” into the goal over and over.  I still lust for the game whenever I see a foosball table.
  12. I never dated anyone who had a Ford Pinto in high school.   I didn’t have to spend my dating years worrying about whether or not I’d blow up, if I got rear-ended.   My now husband who was my then boyfriend had a yellow and primer painted Fiat X-19 that part of the key broke off in the ignition.  He just used a penny as the top part of the key or always parked it on a hill and let out the clutch.  I remember I thought that was so cool!  His brother drove an AMC Pacer, so together, they really rocked my block!  I knew as long as he owned that car, we’d always have at least one cent to our name.
  13. Thankfully I don’t suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia .  In fact I’m not sure I know anyone who does reroute their day on Friday the 13th, but I’m sure there are some somewhere.  In all my years of living, I don’t recall a Friday the 13th of any significance.  My youngest son was born on Thursday the 13th, so the following year he turned one on Friday the 13th.  How could I be afraid and still throw a big party?

Life!  It’s so RANDOM!  Or is it?  (Play Twilight Theme song in your head now)

The Silence of the Muse

Creator: Daeng Buasand – “Write Life”

Suggested Listening:

Grrrrrrr!  Today my muse is giving me the silent treatment!  I hate it when she does this.

It’s usually because we disagree over what’s deemed to be publish worthy.

“This isn’t quite right,” I say.  “It doesn’t flow.  You know, I’m just not feeling it.  How do you think the audience will?”

“Such a cop out,” says the muse, “the  truth of the matter is you’re just too chicken.  You’re more concerned with what people might think of you than being true to your work.”

“Excuse me?” I ask incredulously.  “The last time I checked work is a four letter word that has the concept of compensation attached to it at the end of a long day!”

“That’s your problem!  You always have to have things right now!  An ant has more courage than you!”

“Shut up!”  I mutter.  I ball up another one of her ideas and throw it in the trash.

“Fine then!  Sabotage yourself!” and POOF!  She’s gone.  Maybe what we were fleshing out together was better than I thought, now that I think about it.

It doesn’t matter now; she’s gone.  Invisible.   Maddeningly silent.   Fine then, indeed!  Pages get typed, edited, revised, and then filed again into an enlarging file titled “Unfinished”.    It could just as well be titled, “Unworthy”.

Hours pass.  Intermittent flashes of inspiration hit when I’m away from my desk and abruptly leave upon my return.  Now the day is over, and I’m mad that there isn’t anything I feel confident about publishing.    This is the divine torture of the artist:

Mistaking the value of the creation higher than the value of the creator.

The artist’s esteem can also be easily crushed by the future perception of an audience not yet known.    Artists insure the field of psychiatry will continue to stay prosperous.

I was about to cry, and then a little voice inside me rose up and let me know, just like my writing today, I am unfinished.  But that is a far cry from unworthy. 

Never mix up the two.    Even when your muse isn’t on speaking terms with you.

I know she’ll come back; she always does.

Oh look, she must have come back.  She just scampered across my playlist and left me this song as a peace offering.  I think we’re back together.  🙂

“Unwritten” by Natasha Beddingfield

The Ambiguity of Clarity (The Metaphysics of Taking Out the Garbage)

Metaphysics is a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse, strewn with many a philosophic wreck.  ~Immanuel Kant

“Let me be clear,” someone will say as they proceed to dole out specific instructions, demands, or an account regarding what happened, or what will happen.   Chances are, many of you will forget everything said after those first four words.

“Why didn’t you take out the trash?” I asked my husband as I toted the trash out to the bin for the ten hundredth time.   “I asked three times and you said you would,” I muttered resentfully.

After all I’m tired too!  I worked today, and have slightly more to do each morning than simply put my wallet in my back pocket and go. Did I feed the cats?  Are all the beds made?  Is the house cleaning itself as much as it can before I walk out, that is are the dishwasher and washer and dryer all going?  Did I check the back pack?  Is homework done?  Are notes from teachers replied to?  Is snack packed?  Did I write the lunch money check so my child won’t have vegetables only for the third day in a row?  Did I gather  all my necessary work supplies, cell phone (is it charged I pray?), IPODS, car charger cord?  Did I grab the grocery list of staples to cram in after work, but before my son gets off the bus?  And as I slam the locked door, and look down at my arms full of supplies, child, and breakfast on the run, I prayerfully beg God that once again, I made it out alive without forgetting the car keys and grateful I have an automatic shut off on my curling iron.

“I got a phone call.  Joey told me his next door neighbor is going to jail,” my husband says, as if this is a legitimate excuse for forgetting the trash.  What?  Joey who?  And this so called Joey’s next door neighbor has exactly WHAT to do with our lives?    “You know Joey–my brother’s friend,” he replies.  Then he’ll just stand there and tell me all about his brother’s friend’s neighbor’s sins as I have now moved on from re-bagging the trashcan to emptying the dishwasher, feeding the cats, and pulling out a can of whatever it is I deem is dinner worthy.

The story will drag on.  My husband will continue standing  there repeating the second-hand drama of someone I didn’t even know existed when my trash first started cascading over the brim.

I get it.  He’s tired.  He finds this story interesting.  But frankly, well, I care about it as much as he wants to read what I write, or hear about the lives of my friends, or best of all, talk “relationship” talk.  That hobby died many moons ago, probably our early thirties is my best guess.

The point is this.  I was so crystal clear.  I packaged my request in as few words as I possibly am capable of:  PLEASE TAKE OUT THE TRASH.  I tried to speak cohesively, coherently, and effectively:  DID YOU TAKE OUT THE TRASH YET?  And one final attempt, as I race upstairs to transfer another load of wet washed clothes to the dryer, before remotes are powered on, and brains check out, “YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH ALREADY,  RIGHT?!?!”     Which part of my words were obscure or incomprehensible?

I race downstairs, after quickly folding a small basket of dry clothes, mentally choosing a dinner plan, eagerly hoping to get the family fed, kitchen cleaned, and spend a little quality time with our 6 year old son.   Then, hopefully if the planets of the universe line up exactly right, and all my chores are finished, maybe, just maybe, I can start on some writing before midnight.  One can hope, anyway.

In the grand scheme of marriage and of life, it’s not a big deal.  Deep down, I know this.  But on the surface of life, those repeating annoyances of everyday life, I’m sorry, but as Vice President Joe Biden would say, “it’s one BFD!” only for me, it’s not a blunder, but reality!  What is it about me I think that with pin point accuracy, often causes me to verbally hit the hubster’s aural blind spot?

Lest you think he’s a really terrible ogre, let me be clear; he’s not.  He’s worked over twenty five years, ten to twelve hour days bent over fixing cars so that our three kids were always able to do every sport, activity, group or team event they ever wanted to, send two of them to college, and every expense related to owning a home.  Now, nearing fifty, he goes to work enthusiastically each morning, knowing we still have at least a good twelve to sixteen years to go, counting college with our littlest one.  My husband took the brunt of the work load, so I could have the benefit of staying home when we could afford it, and working part time when we couldn’t.

In the department of selective hearing loss-impaired husbands, I take comfort in knowing I have a million moms as my sister wives.  I also know the problem is not me.    I state things clearly.  It’s just that men sometimes hear things ambiguously, another words, they hear things vaguely.  Their brain may process more than one interpretation.  Possibly, my husband thought I meant to take out the trash whenever he gets around to it, or one of these days, or just thought I was fleshing out an idea for a blog topic.

You see, marriage is built upon the foundation of The Uncertainty Principle.  Yes, it’s quantum physics, but trust me, you’ll clearly understand the dynamics here.  Basically, whenever the position of something is a known factor, it’s corresponding momentum becomes an unknown factor; and vice versa.  You see your spouse standing there.  You see the trash.  But will a movement occur here that will change the fundamental dynamics of your kitchen?  Or conversely, you see the trash can is now empty, but where in the world did my wife disappear to?

Yes, in marriage and in life, it’s about making our desires strategically clear.  Hopefully, there’s flexibility and forgiveness to see the big picture and enough faith to survive all that is ambiguous and uncertain from moments of inconvenience to disasters of epic proportions.  Clearly, you will have them, if you move or stand still long enough!

To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do.  ~Bertrand Russell

Related Reading:  Transcendental Algebra and The Uncertainty Principle:

Also I have read (it’s easy and fun!)and LOVE this very colorfully illustrated book:

The Principles Of Uncertainty