Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Short update

I've got lots of good pictures of lots of adventures the past few months, but busy days continue and it's hard to find to assemble posts. So here's just a short message until I get the time to get caught up:

The new business is off to a good start with projects running in many positive directions. We've been to Germany for Easter vacation. Maggie is currently in Austria on a class trip. Kids are gearing up for a circus show. We've had good parties, good food, good friends. It is light all the time, but it is cold (two days ago I could see my breath in the afternoon). I've been on many trips, giving lectures for national courses and a national math prize award ceremony. Today I taught math-art lessons to two groups of 1st graders.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maggie to Austria

Maggie left for a week to Austria on a school trip. They'll join kids from all over Europe at a campground for a week of diplomacy activities and a tour of Vienna. They're pretty excited. God tur, Maggie!

Friday, May 27, 2011

World's Largest Snowflake

Anna asked if she could tape together a whole bunch of sheets of paper to make a giant snowflake. My boring adult brain immediately thought "That's a waste of a whole lot of paper." Then my real brain took over and thought "That's an excellent use of a whole lot of paper!"

"Okay," I said, "but only if I can help!"

What a project! First we had to tape together dozens of sheets to fill as much floor space as possible. Maggie came to watch and we had a conversation of European paper sizes. One sheet is A4, a double sheet is A3, double that to get A2, double again for A1, and one more double gives A0 which has area exactly one square meter. Ours was larger than A0, "Anegative1" Maggie suggested. As we got near the end, Anna and I had a good discussion about whether we needed to add one more row or one more column to get it as square-like as possible. We pulled out a tape measure and figured out the dimensions as it was and how it would be with one more row or with one more column.

Then the folding and cutting (with some more good math to measure 60° – precision is important with so large a model). After each cut we needed to retape parts that had come loose, because we didn't tape the complete edges of the paper together, that would have used too much tape.

Finally, the unfolding and a beautiful thing. Now if only we had a window large enough to hang it...

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Off to Wisconsin to surprise my mother for her 70th birthday. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a surprise because Bill had a surgery rescheduled and we've had to change locations, so my sisters had to spill the beans that I was coming.

It was a great visit with my Mom and Bill and my sisters, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. We were in the tiny farming town of Luxemburg outside of Green Bay where my brother-in-law owns and operates a good size dairy farm. We took a trip to Algoma for a birthday lunch. Algoma is an up-and-coming artistic town on the shore of Lake Michigan.

I had company on the trip: Peter sent his favorite stuffed animal with me. I took good care of Snow Kitty. Here's Snow Kitty ready for the big flight, and a few pictures from the trip.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Here's Mom, my oldest sister and her two kids.

Here's a photo of a photo of my two oldest sisters:

 Judi demonstrate sword dancing, her latest dancing obsession!

Rachel, Judi, Mark, and my youngest sister Hez at a cafe in Algoma.

Mark wheeled in a new-born calf. He has 2-3 births every week, it was amazing to see how quickly he could pick up a calf and set it up in its own baby cow hut and then hustle off to return to farm duties. With over 200 cows on his dairy farm, he wastes no time taking care of business!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cook out

It's been a very busy stretch. I have a lot of catching up to do on the blog.

Tonight we had the first cookout of the year. Beautiful weather...