Friday, November 27, 2009

In a Flood of Remembrance


Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
to the old Sunday evenings at home, with the winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

D. H. Lawerence (1885-1930)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dinner Conversation at Our House

Dinner conversation Sunday, November 22,2009 (since family members don't always appreciate being identified in my blog, I have eliminated names.):
Speaker 1: It's nice that taking care of this big house isn't as time consuming as we feared it might be.

Speaker 2: Well, time is ALWAYS being consumed. The question is what are we choosing to have it consumed by?

Speaker 3: Time isn't consumed. Time is passing.

Speaker 4: What happens to time after it passes?

This is the environment by which I am surrounded!
(And I think it's cool :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

From Generation to Generation, We Will Remember

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

I just got the news that my great uncle Paul passed away this week. Now Grandpa is the only one left of the 10 siblings. It's hard to believe that nearly that whole generation has passed.Here are my Van Dyken Great Grandparents on their 45th anniversary. As I look at their eyes in this picture it just does seem hard to believe that they and 9 of their 10 kids have passed on to glory (though nearly all made it into their 90's, and Great Grandpa made it to 100).Here are Great Grandma and Great Grandpa just starting out with the first 4 of their ten kids: Anne, Dinah, Bert and Sadie. My grandpa was the next baby to come along.Here is the whole family - not sure of the year - in the 1950's maybe? Time like an ever rolling stream bears all her sons away --
-- very true, very true.

Psalm 90

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn men back to dust,
saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."

For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

You sweep men away in the sleep of death;
they are like the new grass of the morning-

though in the morning it springs up new,
by evening it is dry and withered.

The length of our days is seventy years—
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.

May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Long Time Coming

This is a milestone in my life, so, though it may be gauche I am going to post notes from my chalkboard today.
Today, for the first time in the 26 years since I learned it I had opportunity to teach
The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.
Here is the proof (literally and figuratively!):TWENTY-SIX years later, I have FINALLY taught this!!

I usually use the overhead projector, but this called for the boards - ALL of them!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plunge Downward

Grow not too high, grow not too far from home,
Green tree, whose roots are in the granite's face!
Taller than silver spire or golden dome
A tree may grow above its earthy place,
And taller than a cloud, but not so tall
The root may not be mother to the stem,
Lifting rich plenty, though the rivers fall,
To the cold sunny leaves to nourish them.
Have done with blossoms for a time, be bare;
Split rock; plunge downward; take heroic soil, ---
Deeper than bones, no pasture for you there:
Deeper than water, deeper than gold and oil:
Earth's fiery core alone can feed the bough
That blooms between Orion and the Plough.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fallen Giant

One of the giants of twentieth century mathematics fell last month at the age of 96. He was called "one of the last of the greatest who worked in nearly every field of mathematics." He was called by one student, "very unpredictable and very wise," and a colleague considered him the most interesting person he had ever known.

Gefland never finished high school and never attended college as an undergraduate student. He went to Moscow at age 16 or 17 and worked odd jobs but was always interested in mathematics, attended seminars, and at the age of 19 was admitted directly to graduate school of Moscow State University. He worked in extremely abstract areas of mathematics, which most people do not even know exist, but much of his work has profound application as well, and some medical imaging tests that most of us benefit from at some time in our lives (such as 3D images created by MRIs and CAT scans) are possible due to his work. It is said that he sought not just to teach the rules of math but also the beauty and exactness of his field (my kind of guy!). He also had a sense of humor and was quoted in a 2003 interview with the New York times as saying:
“Mathematics is a way of thinking in everyday life. It is important not to separate mathematics from life. You can explain fractions even to heavy drinkers. If you ask them, ‘Which is larger, 2/3 or 3/5?’ it is likely they will not know. But if you ask, ‘Which is better, two bottles of vodka for three people, or three bottles of vodka for five people?’ they will answer you immediately. They will say two for three, of course.”
His obituary (from which I took the information above) can be found at

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Chainless Soul

Riches I hold in light esteem
And Love I laugh to scorn
And lust of Fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn–

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is–"Leave the heart that now I bear
And give me liberty."

Yes, as my swift days near their goal
'Tis all that I implore
Through life and death, a chainless soul
With courage to endure!
Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Friday, November 06, 2009

His Own Words

David just let me know that he posted his reflections about being 2-years post-stroke on his website. I had posted mine below. If you'd like to check his out, click on DAVID at right.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Early Thanksgiving

We are so thankful to be where we are today and not where we were 2 years ago today.

Two years ago today I was sitting in the intensive care unit at David's side - not entirely sure he would make it through the night - and if he did, not sure whether or not he would ever walk again. He has come so far in these two years - not yet as far as he would like, but so far from where he was. We are so thankful!

(Here is the post I wrote that day asking for prayer, and I want to say "thank you" again to those who did and have upheld us in prayer. We have seen those prayers answered!)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Game Theory and National Policy

A friend sent me this link, and I found it to be one of the clearest explanations of The Prisoner's Dilemma I'd ever heard. As the speaker relates this to foreign policy and explains what it has to say about how we should most wisely interact with other nations, it seemed to me to be a piece of crystal clear logic. Who says you don't use math in everyday life?! Click here to go to the video you see pictured below.