Pi Day has one last small gift for us and this one is a gem.

Life ala mode

As promised, on Thursday I taught the regular visiting scholars from China about Pi Day in our English conversation class. We started by going over to pie phrases or sayings:

As American as apple pie.

Pie in the sky.

As simple as pie.

Pie ala mode.

I told them “ala mode” was French and I didn’t know what it means (sometimes in a second language it’s hard to know what to focus on and what to let go), but in English it means pie with ice cream.

One of the other volunteers looked up ala mode and guess what?!  It means fancy. You can have pie or you can have fancy pie. Either way, you’re having pie, what kind do you want?

In a year where practice celebration is my word for the year, I’ve been thinking since Thursday do I want to live Life or live Life ala mode?

Life or Fancy Life?

Life ala mode has an eye out for the small things and weaves joy and celebration in, knowing and understanding life is going to come as you with the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. It’s not about so-called fancy cars or clothes or vacations. Instead, it’s about noticing what’s going on around you. The smile of the cashier, the smell of changing seasons in the air, sending the funny text (not just intending to), calling a friend just to say “I like you.”

Niece #4 turned to me Saturday night as we gathered to eat pizza and pie in honor of pi day, and it might have been all the sugar coursing through her veins, though I’d prefer to think it was the love of math, and shrieked, “I’m so thankful I have a math nerd aunt and mom who let us celebrate Pi Day!”

Me too, dear one. Me too. We are living life ala mode.

Where have you had a Life Ala Mode moment this week?


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  1. Susan Gaines March 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Smiling. I have no doubt it wasn’t a sugar overload coursing through niece #4’s veins that prompted her outburst of joy & love. There’s nothing like a GREAT aunt. How novel to celebrate pi day with pizza pie!

  2. Suzanne O. March 17, 2015 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    à la mode /ˌɑːləˈmoʊd/ adjective
    Learner’s definition of À LA MODE
    not used before a noun
    US : topped with ice cream
    apple pie à la mode
    old-fashioned : stylish or fashionable
    a political movement that was once à la mode

  3. Mark Allman March 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    My daughter Jessi had us gather in a circle Saturday night 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 pm in celebration of pi. She is a middle school math teacher! I ran to the kitchen in the final seconds and came back with and threw in the center of our circle some Cool Whip topping! Made our fancy pie!

    And life… we should look for ways each day to enhance it’s fanciness! :)

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