Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lemmens Fanfare in D Major

I was supposed to have played this in my church for postlude tonight but didn't get time enough in the midst of a busy semester to practice with the organ at my home church (and each organ is a unique instrument).  I wanted to capture the level I had gotten this to before I lose some facility with it - with end of semester and finals now approaching.  Hopefully I can pick this up again in the future and get more time on the other instrument  .  .  .

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Vast Expense

“The evening passes fast away.
’Tis almost time to rest;
What thoughts has left the vanished day,
What feelings in thy breast?

 “The vanished day? It leaves a sense
Of labour hardly done;
Of little gained with vast expense—
A sense of grief alone?

“Time stands before the door of Death,
Upbraiding bitterly
And Conscience, with exhaustless breath,
Pours black reproach on me:

“And though I’ve said that Conscience lies
And Time should Fate condemn;
Still, sad Repentance clouds my eyes,
And makes me yield to them!

“Then art thou glad to seek repose?
Art glad to leave the sea,
And anchor all thy weary woes
In calm Eternity?

“Nothing regrets to see thee go—
Not one voice sobs’ farewell;’
And where thy heart has suffered so,
Canst thou desire to dwell?”

“Alas! the countless links are strong
That bind us to our clay;
The loving spirit lingers long,
And would not pass away!

“And rest is sweet, when laurelled fame
Will crown the soldier’s crest;
But a brave heart, with a tarnished name,
Would rather fight than rest.

“Well, thou hast fought for many a year,
Hast fought thy whole life through,
Hast humbled Falsehood, trampled Fear;
What is there left to do?

“’Tis true, this arm has hotly striven,
Has dared what few would dare;
Much have I done, and freely given,
But little learnt to bear!

“Look on the grave where thou must sleep
Thy last, and strongest foe;
It is endurance not to weep,
If that repose seem woe.

“The long war closing in defeat—
Defeat serenely borne,—
Thy midnight rest may still be sweet,
And break in glorious morn!

~Emily Bronte (1818-1848)

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?   
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?   
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,   
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?   
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do   
To you and me; so take the lively air,   
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.   
What falls away is always. And is near.   
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   
I learn by going where I have to go.

~ Theodore Roethke

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

East and West

Edna St. Vincent Millay

“The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat—the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.”

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Thoreau somewhat paraphrased:

“  .  .  . I wished to live deliberately  .  .  .  and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life  .  .  .  as to put to rout all that was not life  .  .  . ”

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wedding Photos - Anthony and Brianna

Well, I've gotten really lazy with my blog. I'm finding it easier and easier and faster and faster to use facebook instead, but I have quite a number of  friends who are not on facebook and want to see wedding pictures, so here goes (a few of hundreds!)  I think you can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

Here is a professional photo of the bridal party before the wedding:

Here is the bridal party (including flower girls) in the church for photos before the wedding:

Here are my beautiful nieces Ava and Sierra who served as flower girls:

Here is the beautiful bride just before the wedding:

Grandpa Lambooy gives Anthony advice as Grandpa Fernandes and Grandma Meyer look on.  (Grandma Meyer was clearly concerned about Brianna's train, as she is holding it up in all the pictures we have during this time!)

Parents of the groom:

Parents of the bride:

I'm including the next two photos because people asked me about how my hair was done.  I'm a tomboy and can't do anything with hair or make-up, so HUGE thanks to Gaby for doing my hair and to Rohaizad for doing my make-up!!!!

Mom's lighting their candles:

Parental promises:

Vows and other wedding photos:

The get-away car - Brianna's Uncle Mark and Aunt Lisa's Woodie!

Professional shots of the "get away"

Reception time - best man toast:

So appreciative of our family and friends, all of whom on our side had to come from a distance - Northern California, Oregon, Michigan, Baltimore, Virginia and Illinois!

Everybody Dance Now!

(Wait - is that my son up in the air?  Why, yes, yes it is.)

Chinese lanterns:

A beautiful end to a beautiful day!

We love you, Anthony and Brianna!  All the best to you!!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Strange Illusion

“We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. I have heard others, and I have heard myself, recounting cruelties and falsehoods committed in boyhood as if they were no concern of the present speaker’s, and even with laughter. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. The guilt is washed out not by time but by repentance and the blood of Christ: if we have repented these early sins we should remember the price of our forgiveness and be humble.”
— from The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis

Monday, March 23, 2015

Algebra and a Mixed Convergence

The title probably makes no sense, but algebra has been in my face lately in a multi-faceted way.

FIRST I'm following a friend's post and comments on facebook about her experience wanting to be an RN or at least get an AA degree, but intermediate algebra is stopping her in her tracks.  She's in her forties; she's a bright, dedicated, mature person and very, very frustrated.  There is even more frustration in the comments of others to her post - about how algebra is from the devil and that no one ever uses it and how awful and how hard it is and that it is the one thing that keeps people from their educational and career goals.  (My first thoughts and feelings on this are that I am desperately sad for her - and that I both love and hate being a math teacher.  I love it that I am in a position to help people who have never liked or been successful with math before - it's quite a high to be part of helping someone succeed where they never thought they could! - but I hate it that I as a person am often disliked or even hated at face value because of the topic I teach.)

SECOND In my Math for Liberal Arts Majors class today my students were giving presentations on mathematicians as part of a math history unit.  One person presented on Rene Descartes whom we have to thank for the Cartesian Coordinate System on which we do most of our graphing.  The student mentioned how by creating this system Descartes put geometry and algebra together, thus making algebra EASIER.  (Yeah, of course, because now you can make a picture of your equation, and you can see how it behaves and where the maximum and minimum points are and so on.)

THIRD In my position as liaison to the tutoring center I was in the center evaluating tutors today.  One thing I observed was multiple tutors trying to help a student who was working on finding graphical information about a quadratic equation.  He needed to find such things as the axis of symmetry and the vertex.  It was an uphill battle to say the least, and it just struck me how this thing (graphing) that was supposed to make things easier (according to my student earlier in the day) had now become its own intense struggle.  The contradiction between seeing and hearing these two things in the same day really struck me!

So I have a lot of thoughts roiling in my mind tonight about all this.  Partly it confirms me in my desire to pursue the history of mathematics.  I think that if we could teach math in a more historical context in order to show students how and why concepts were developed and how each additional topic makes the quest easier rather than harder - that perhaps this would be a good way to go.  I think it would help too for students to understand what the big question that was being answered was back in the day when each new tool was developed, because it would shine light on the meaning and use.

It seems that if the student in the tutoring center had been given a real-life question about a business owner wanting to maximize his profits and an equation that related to that and then the student was allowed to struggle with that for a while - trying to make his way in to the problem - plugging in numbers, trying to find the biggest value, wondering if he had found the largest for sure or not, figuring out how to be certain - and THEN the student was introduced to the idea of graphing, which would give him a picture of the equation - a picture that would allow him to see where the highest point on the graph was, which would also be where profit was greatest - that then a graph,which is a picture of what's happening, would be seen as the help it is rather than as just another topic that was thrown at him.

If I didn't need to earn a living I think I'd like to take a few years off and try my hand at writing a textbook that would allow students to see the benefit of what they are learning and how all of it relates to all the other topics they are learning - where it fits in the scheme of things - what it's good for - and why and when and how it was developed.

Maybe in my next life  .  .  .

For now I'll just do the best I can to help those who come my way and try to change their worlds, one student at a time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Super Pi Day 3.14.15

Tomorrow is Super Pi Day - The Pi Day of the Century.  Since the year is 2015 the date (American version, anyway) is 3.14.15.  Of course, if you're a real stickler you'll celebrate at 9:26am and 9:26pm.  And then that's it - for another century.

I co-hosted (with a lot of great help) a Pi Day event at my school yesterday - because, exciting as this is we weren't sure students would return to campus on Saturday - but given the great turn-out for this event, maybe we were wrong about that.  Below are some pictures of the event and the activities involved.

 Opening announcements

Great turnout!!

Food is a big draw - especially for college students!

Lining up and chowing down!

Pi Chain activity

Buffon's Needle activity


Digits of Pi Memorization Competition (The winner - below - made it to 202 digits!)

Tutor volunteers manning the stations - here finding pi and seeing pi.

 A great opportunity to wear cool math t-shirts!!!

MJC's newly formed e.T.E.C.H. put together a mini-computer cluster built out of Raspberry Pi computers. Here it is calculating the digits of Pi. (Yes, those ARE Legos!)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Looking Forward

Well, this is probably the longest I've gone between posts.  In terms of social media I've been distracted by facebook, and in terms of time I've been distracted by planning what it is I'm looking forward to, and that is my sabbatical, which will take place in spring 2016.

I wrote up my proposal in September (2014) and just within the past couple of weeks have gotten final approvals, but throughout all that time I've been planning and dreaming.  And the closer I look the more this morphs.  The focus is mathematical history from The Renaissance to the present in northern Europe.

It's been a long journey already, even though I won't be boarding a plane for more than a year!

At the moment I'm rediscovering Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780-1872), whom I had never known much about before - other than the fact that she was one of the few female mathematicians of her time and had all the struggles of other women desiring education at that time.

Through my researches into travel I have come across a biography of her by her daughter using excerpts of Mary's own writing and correspondence.  It has been fascinating to learn of her own life in her own words.

I had planned only to be in Scotland for a couple of days, only looking into the life of John Napier (especially Merchiston Castle Tower above, which was his home), but I am finding I'll need to spend more time in Scotland - in and around Edinburgh - especially in Jedburgh, where Mary was born, and in Burntisland where she lived.  John Playfair taught at the University in Edinbrugh, and even Girolamo Cardano (of Milan), author of Ars Magna, spent time there in the 1500s when he was summoned by Archbishop Hamilton to treat his health issues (Cardano being one of the best doctors of his day as well a the most prominent mathematician of the time).  And then, of course, there's James Clerk Maxwell  .  .  .  and  .  .  .

Other anticipated highlights include visiting Oxford and Cambridge, Woolsthorpe Manor (Newton's home), Paris (with emphasis on the lives of Sophie Germain and Evariste Galois), Heidelberg University, Gottingen and Halle (home not only of mathematician Georg Cantor but also of George Friedrich Handel).

I'm so excited that I can barely think of anything else!  So whether my posts be many or few over the next year and a half, most will probably include content involving how the planning is coming along and what new things I'm discovering as I look into this - and then, I imagine, a lot of looking back as well!