Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back from Christmas Break

Wow, that was definitely my longest break from blogging - almost 2 weeks. I really enjoyed my break from teaching, tutoring, etc., and I had a good time up North with friends and family. It's good to be back, though, and in the rhythm of things. It was also refreshing to take a pseudo-break from blogs. I've still occasionally kept up on other blogs these past 2 weeks, even though I haven't posted on mine.

We had a nice time in Indiana with family. We drove to Indianapolis on Christmas Eve, which is comparatively late for us, as we normally drive to southern Indiana first, at least a few days before Christmas. Indianapolis afforded us a white Christmas this year, although mild enough so driving conditions were not dangerous. Last year in southern Indiana we had 15 inches of snow, paralyzing pretty much all activity and leaving us snowbound. This year's offering was much more managable :).

We spent Christmas morning at church with one of my dad's brothers. We've been to his church a few times and it's always an interesting experience, as we more than double the number of white people in the church :). Our church, which some have jokingly dubbed The Church of the Aryan Race, is predominantly white, although we do have various ethnic backgounds in small numbers. My uncle's church is mainly black and a different style than I am used to, but it's good for me to see other people of God serving Him. It's obvious the people from the church sincerely love the Lord, and in many ways they put me to shame. It's sad that something as simple as skin color so often separates the bride of Christ.

Christmas evening we spent with my dad's parents and his brothers that live nearby. My dad grew up with 5 brothers in a very small house, so it's always a challenge to squeeze all the brothers, wives, and grandkids back into Grandma and Grandpa's house for the evening. My dad describes it as one of those handheld games with tiles, like a 5x5 grid, where one tile is missing and you move the other tiles one by one to try to form a picture. Each tile can't be moved until the one before it is moved :). We had a good time, though, despite cramped conditions. The cousins had a white elephant gift exchange, and my brother won the pink George Foreman grill :). It will look lovely with his Barbie decor. . . j/k My cousin Chris brought a video karaoke game, and the cousins and aunts (and occasionally others) had a great time taking turns. There were 1000's of songs to choose from, which was good for this pop-culture-challenged girl :), as the selection was numerous enough to include songs that even I knew. I've had the Carpenters' song Close to You stuck in my head for days!

We spent a few days after Christmas with my mom's family in Hanover, IN, overlooking the Ohio River. Talk about a breathtaking view! Hannah and I had a good time teaching cousins to play Mau, a game that everyone seems to either enthusiastically love or vehemently hate :). I am a pretty tough Mau master (although not as tough as some), and one of my cousins said, referring to my strictness, "It's obvious you're a teacher!"

After spending a few days in Hanover we drove down to southern Kentucky to spend the night with our long-time friends the Trues, who have 5 girls, age 20 on down. We had fun talking over plans for the the wedding of the oldest, Lydia, who is getting married in March. We spent a lot of our time scouring the web for bridesmaid dresses, but finally resigned ourselves to making them ourselves. It shouldn't be that hard to find a decent bridesmaid dress! Sheesh. I love the pattern we chose (with a raised neckline), and the lilac color of the fabric. I'm probably going to drive up to KY for a 3-day weekend in a few weeks, so we can try to tackle the dresses. We have five to make, so we'll see how many we get done. I'm also going to be busy for the next 2 months rushing to get Lydia's wedding quilt done. Gulp. I am just now finishing my parents' anniversary quilt - only the binding to go!

I resumed teaching today, although my tutoring schedule will not normalize for another few weeks probably. I have to admit I did miss my students over the break, even if I did enjoy time off. We had weekly homework help on Monday, and one of my students, Sarah, carpooled with me for the 1+ hour roundtrip. It was fun to get to talk with her about more than just math and neat to get to know her a little better. Sometimes I feel like I'm a math-calculating machine during lectures, since they are so jam-packed - one week of lecture in 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Although I do try to incorporate personal experience, life stories, etc. into my lectures, sometimes I still feel rushed and impersonal to my students. I like it when I have a chance to really sit down and talk with my students.

Today before lecture, one of my geometry students got to class early, as he often does. Patrick is such a neat guy to talk to and has such a fascination for knowledge, math and otherwise. It's too bad all students aren't equipped with his brains and enthusiasm. Today when he came in he said, "So, is infinite a number or is it just a concept?" We then proceeded to discuss the difference between the two, the idea of "approaching" something, and even the very basics of limits. Fun stuff. He also showed me a proof he had just seen for proving that .99999 repeating is exactly 1, and he enjoyed an alternate proof I showed him. The funniest part was when the other two students walked in as class was about to start, just as Patrick and I were discussing proofs of repeating numbers. I heard exclamations of "Cool. That's neat," which made me think, "Wow, this stuff interests them too." Come to find out they were admiring my braided bun, not the proof on the board :). Ah well.


Samara said...

That dress pattern is very pretty!

Did you see in the news that the newest & largest Mersenne prime has been reported? I just finished reading this book & all the chapter titles are prime numbers. It reminded me of you!

Jessie said...

I like the pattern too! Oh that sounds so much fun. A lot of work, but it's worth it!! I've visited Lydia's family's site before and have admired their hopechests. I just never imagined I would "meet" a friend of her's : )
Glad to hear your back!

Adrian C. Keister said...

A fun post. Glad you're back.

However, due to my background in playing M**, and the rules I've learned (which I could tell you, but then of course I would have to kill you), it is my duty to tell you that according to the rules I learned, the game of M** is not allowed to be spelled. ;-)

In Christ.

Helen said...

Well, braided buns are cool! But thinking about infinity and math are a whole lot more interesting. :-)

Glad to see you back around and posting. I just showed my math-loving sister some of your posts on math, and she enjoyed them. (My other sister was looking over our shoulders saying...WHAT? why do you like that?! We're all different...)

Oh, what's Mau?

Ashley said...

Ah, so there are five bridesmaids now? I liked the pattern, I can't wait to see pictures of the finish products! I hope you're not sewed-out when you go up there to make them. :-)

Susan said...

No, I didn't see the news about the largest discovered Mersenne prime. That's neat. I like the idea of chapter titles being all prime :). Thanks for sharing.

That's neat that you've visited the Trues' website before. Lydia's dad's work is so good. He made my cedar hopechest in the waterfall design.

Hadn't heard that rule for Mau. Hehe, I spelled it. I've heard the rules can vary quite a bit.

Mau (see there I spelled it again) is a game where you learn the rules as you go along. It's fun to teach to new people :).

You have a good memory! Yes, there are now 5 bridesmaids. Lydia's third oldest sister agreed to be a bridesmaid too now, as we're going to put sleeves on this dress (semi-long story). We're going to find a pattern with flutter sleeves to add to the dress. The sleeves will be made with matching purple lace, as will the overlay for the dress.

Esther said... must be so excited to see your friend marrying! Is Lydia the one I met at a race years ago?

That's so neat you're helping make the dresses. I want to see pictures! :) When's the wedding?

I tell you, it seems like everyone is getting married this year. ;)

Susan said...

Yes, you met Lydia at a track meet about 4 years ago. I will definitely have to post pictures of the dresses sometime :). Who else do you know that is getting married? Anyone I know?

Anonymous said...

Are you one of the bridesmaids...and whats the story with the sleeves??? :)