Mole Day, Russian Chauvinist


Mole Day! 

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.

I digress.

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

8 thoughts on “Mole Day, Russian Chauvinist

  1. When I was in high school I had a math teacher that use to celebrate Mole and Pi day every year. He was a bit of a geek but he really knew how to teach math and make it interesting and fun.
    Glad you set Cole straight so some women doesn’t hit him over the head. My son is constantly telling his sisters they talk too much!
    Bologna, I never buy it and I don’t eat it.

    • Can you offer a simpler explanation than I did? Sounds like a terrific math teacher. Yes, I do not want Cole’s future wife blaming me. . .
      I think we are 100% against Bologna.

  2. I’m going to need more than one evening to eat a 4 pound bag of smarties but I did snag one from the candy jar.
    I’m not saying I agree with Cole, but women do sometimes beat a dead horse.
    I’ll stop for Boston Creme donuts in the Morno.

    • Whoo Hoo—the hardest part is starting! I’m not agreeing with Cole would be an excellent place to put a period. Just sayin’.

  3. I remember Mole Day from when Domer was studying Chemistry in high school. I never “got” it then, and I’m sorry, but your explanation went right over my head now. My eyes glaze over when I see yucky figures like that!
    Ewww, bologna. Bad for you. Even drenched in French’s mustard.
    Interesting discussion with Cole. I’m convinced schools exist to educate parents, too!

    • I know. I need to ask someone to explain it really simple. That person is not me. But did your eyes light up a little when I spoke of smarties?
      Bologna is awful. Lucky for me my mother agreed with me and it never darkened our fridge.. Joe liked an Italian version of it but really it wasn’t much better.

  4. that’s right, cole, women were not happy back then. hell hath no fury…….
    too late for mole calculations. i’m tired. that’s my excuse & i’m sticking to it.
    boston creme pie is a winner! i won’t mention the other day it is. yuck.
    good night!

    • Thank goodness Joe was around long enough to teach him the correct answer when I ask, “does this make me look fat.”
      Have to stand for something or you will fall for anything.
      Sweet dreams!

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