Monday, December 28, 2009

Like a Bicycle

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.

- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

For the Time Being

He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.

He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.

He is the Life.
Love Him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.

from: For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio
W. H. Auden (1942)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sets a Thing Significant

Death sets a Thing significant
The Eye had hurried by
Except a perished Creature
Entreat us tenderly

To ponder little Workmanships
In Crayon, or in Wool,
With "This was last Her fingers did"—
Industrious until—

The Thimble weighed too heavy—
The stitches stopped — by themselves—
And then 'twas put among the Dust
Upon the Closet shelves—

A Book I have — a friend gave—
Whose Pencil — here and there—
Had notched the place that pleased Him—
At Rest — His fingers are—

Now — when I read — I read not—
For interrupting Tears—
Obliterate the Etchings
Too Costly for Repairs.
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I love this quote and this comic, but somehow I think it applies more to my life than that of my teens!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend Edition Puzzle

While listening to NPR's Weekend Edition yesterday, I heard the following puzzle, which was created by Scott Kim:
Name five two-digit numbers that are evenly spaced out — like 32, 34, 36, 38 and 40 — in which all 10 digits from 0 to 9 are used once each. What numbers are these?
My son came up with one answer, which I thought was the only one, but when I gave it as extra credit to my students today as they were taking their exam I saw two other correct answers as well. Can you solve solve this puzzle? Can you come up with more than one answer?

After December 17 I will put the answers I am aware of in the comments section. No fair peeking until you've come up with a solution of your own! If you come up with one I do not have listed, please comment and let me know!

PS I've also posted this on my "Fun Math" blog. If you are interested in more things of this type, you might want to check it out at:

BY THE WAY, if you are reading this before noon on Thursday, December 17, you can still enter. Go to Weekend Edition at for details.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Though long (usually I have most appreciation for short poetry) this is one of my favorite poems. I find it very clever while at the same time very accessible, two characteristics I also like in poetry. Even if you, like me, are not a fan of long poetry, you might want to give this one a chance.

In my search for it online (so I didn't have to type it all out myself), I came across a wonderful post centered on this piece. It has some lovely positive thoughts on the ways in which we connect in our modern world - and it tells an interesting story that I enjoyed very much. How cool that as I looked for a poem to share on my blog I found a lovely story about connecting on someone else's site, which in itself was an interesting way to connect.
The Labyrinth

Anthropos apteros for days
Walked whistling round and round the Maze,
Relying happily upon
His temperament for getting on.

The hundredth time he sighted, though,
A bush he left an hour ago,
He halted where four alleys crossed,
And recognised that he was lost.

"Where am I? Metaphysics says
No question can be asked unless
It has an answer, so I can
Assume this maze has got a plan.

If theologians are correct,
A Plan implies an Architect:
A God-built maze would be, I'm sure,
The Universe in miniature.

Are data from the world of Sense,
In that case, valid evidence?
What in the universe I know
Can give directions how to go?

All Mathematics would suggest
A steady straight line as the best,
But left and right alternately
Is consonant with History.

Aesthetics, though, believes all Art
Intends to gratify the Heart:
Rejecting disciplines like these,
Must I, then, go the way I please?

Such reasoning is only true
If we accept the classic view,
Which we have no right to assert,
According to the Introvert.

His absolute pre-supposition
Is--Man creates his own condition:
This maze was not divinely built,
But is secreted by my guilt.

The centre that I cannot find
Is known to my Unconscious Mind;
I have no reason to despair
Because I am already there.

My problem is how not to will;
They move most quickly who stand still;
I'm only lost until I see
I'm lost because I want to be.

If this should fail, perhaps I should,
As certain educators would,
Content myself with the conclusion;
In theory there is no solution.

All statements about what I feel,
Like I-am-lost, are quite unreal:
My knowledge ends where it began;
A hedge is taller than a man."

Anthropos apteros, perplexed
To know which turning to take next,
Looked up and wished he were a bird
To whom such doubts must seem absurd.
W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Quote of the Day

Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

author unknown

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Day in the Life

We had a good day yesterday, and for some reason I was in the mood to capture it with images. It was a day of work and of fun, of getting things done and of enjoying each other.David made more progress in the garage by building MORE shelves to hold MORE stuff - a seemingly endless process!We got our first Christmas decorations put up for the year. For the first time ever we have a fireplace and mantle - a place to put stockings and a way for Santa to get in! :-)We even got our tree! YEA!! (I'm not sure when it will get decorated, but it's here and up at least!)I began preparing an extensive study guide for my calculus students to use as they prepare for the final exam in a week.The weather changed a lot over the course of the day, but was mostly cold and blustery . . . . . . but did cold, blustery weather stop the intrepid runners?!
No way!
Here they are warming up for their 5.75 mile run.Among other things Anthony took his SAT test today - here he is reading for relaxation after the SAT and before taking me on in Magic! And then some reading for school too! (Nice face Anthony!)Caleb and Jacob relaxing in their way.Time for dinner:Anthony preparing, happily, to take his first bite of his Dagwood-sized burger!We ended our day with a game of Life. I don't think I'd played this since I was a kid. What a hoot! All in all a good day - filled with many things!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

A Place of Abundance

David shared the following passage with me tonight. It was part of his reading last night and really struck him as describing our life over recent years and where we are now. He read it to me without telling me why, and it came across the same way to me. We are so grateful for the blessings of the present and the protection through the past!

From Psalm 66:

8 Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;

9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.

10 For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.

11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.

12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


It is not by driving away our brother that we can be alone with God.

George MacDonald (1824-1905)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Just Looking Round

We do not play on Graves—
Because there isn't Room—
Besides—it isn't even—it slants
And People come—

And put a Flower on it—
And hang their faces so—
We're fearing that their Hearts will drop—
And crush our pretty play—

And so we move as far
As Enemies—away—
Just looking round to see how far
It is—Occasionally—
Emily Dickinson 1830-1886