Sunday, May 21, 2006

The home stretch

Week nine of our ten-week term begins tomorrow. I think things are basically under control, although I have an enormous amount of work to do. I'm behind in a number of tasks, but not more than usual, which I consider a small victory.

This weekend was absolutely beautiful. Spring in Maine requires a lot of faith -- one just has to believe, against all evidence, that summer will come, even though there is much to convince one otherwise. Then, seemingly all of a sudden, we get a weekend like this: warm, sunny, and every shade of green imaginable. Finally one remembers what summer is like. The blossoms on the lilacs in our yard are almost open, the apple trees are more or less in bloom, and there are multiple hummingbirds vying for our feeder.

Saturday I forced myself to not go on campus. It was the first time in a couple of weeks that I did so, and it surely will be the last time I'll spend an entire day away until after graduation. It wasn't a day off, though, as I still did around four hours of grading. I also did much satisfying work around the house: I mowed and raked the lawn, did some laundry, and did lots of dishes. I realize that this probably doesn't sound very exciting, but it was just what I needed.

Student presentations start tomorrow in Chaos and Fractals. I have a few more things to do in class, but it's mostly the students' show from here on out. And Calculus IV is winding down nicely. We've finished what we needed to cover. So now I'm just picking some fun topics. Last Friday was Lagrange multipliers. Next Tuesday -- who knows? -- maybe some numerical optimization techniques or applications of Gauss' law in electrostatics.

As the term winds down, I hope to post more frequently. The first part of this week will be busy and hectic, but I think things will gradually start to calm down after Wednesday.

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