If you are reading this before 6:02 p.m. in your time zone, you still have time to celebrate Mole Day. Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry: For a given molecule, one mole is a mass (in grams) whose number is equal to the atomic mass of the molecule. For example, the water molecule has an atomic mass of 18; therefore, one mole of water weighs 18 grams. Another example is that an atom of neon has an atomic mass of 20; therefore, one mole of neon weighs 20 grams. In general, one mole of any substance contains Avogadro’s number of molecules or atoms of that substance. As you may have guessed from the name, this relationship was first discovered by Amadeo Avogadro (1776-1858).
There are two ways that I can think of to celebrate Mole Day:
1) Make guacamole. (Get it? ‘MOLE?)
2) Eat a lot of Smarties. Smarties are about .5 grams each and are almost all dextrose. Dextrose’s formula is C6H12O6, and so that’s about 180 grams per mole. So 10 moles of Smarties equals 1,800 grams—or about a four-pound bag of Smarties.
Cole has been studying Russian literature—or rather, Cole and I have been studying Russian literature. Cole likes to organize his essays out loud with me, and I enjoy the discussion because we all know that the time we have together is going faster…and faster…and soon he will be gone forever…or so I am told over and over again.
Last night, we were discussing an early poem written by Anna Akhmatova titled “He Loved Three Things.”
He loved three things above all else—
White peacocks, evensong
And faded maps of America.
He hated it when children cried,
He hated tea with raspberry jam, and female hysterics
… And I was his wife.
Our conversation eventually worked itself around to feminism in the early 1900s. Cole asked me what the divorce rate was during the first part of the century. I told him that while I did not speak from personal experience, I would guess it was pretty low and suggested he visit his good friend Google. A little while later, he came back with this observation:
Cole: Mom, the divorce rate was less than 5 percent in the early 1900s and almost unheard of in Russia.
Me: Why do you think that was?
Cole: Roles were clearly defined. Men went out and worked, traveled and sometimes even had mistresses. Women stayed home took care of the kids, cooked, cleaned house and waited for their husbands to come home. It is just how it was. When women started talking about being dissatisfied, the divorce rate went way up. Maybe not talking worked better.
Me: Yes, but women were unhappy and felt taken advantage of.
Cole True. But when they didn’t complain, their marriage worked better. That’s a fact.
I sent him to his room.
In case you were wondering, Anna Akhmatova was by all accounts a feminist, divorced her husband, and became one of Russia most acclaimed modernist writers. And she did it all with without a man. Imagine that! In the end, Cole’s essay reflected that information. I may have influenced his male brain.
The food of the day is Boston cream pie. Feel free to indulge anytime over the next 24 hours because bologna is tomorrow’s food of the day. I know, right? Bologna.
Odd Loves Company