Sunday, May 28, 2006

Patchouli, turtles, and almost summertime

One more week to go and the term is over. Graduation is Saturday, June 3. After graduation there's still quite a bit of work to do. Not only is there grading to do and evaluations to write, but I'll have a lot of administrative work. I'll need to help write the academic annual report, and there are a lot of other administrative tasks that I've let slide that I'll have to start paying attention to again: re-writing the academic portion of our website and helping draft some documents for our re-accreditation.

But this weekend I haven't been thinking about any of this. Although it's late May, summer seems to have arrived. Both Saturday and Sunday the high temperature was around 80. The air was heavy and humid and still, as it often is in the summer. I went for relatively long bike rides yesterday and today. I probably should have been doing other things, but the weather was just too nice. One of the highlights was seeing three painted turtles hanging out on one of the carriage roads near Aunt Betty's Pond. I like turtles. They're cool.

I did a bunch of gardening this weekend, as well. I dug up a new flower bed and then went to various nurseries to get flowers to plant. In the process, I learned something amazing. Patchouli is a plant! Who knew? I just assumed it was a scent that someone cooked up a while ago and which then became inexplicably popular with certain segments of the population. Well, it turns out that Patchouli is not a human invention, but is a product of nature. Golly. This doesn't explain why this scent is so popular, but at least now I know where it comes from.

Anyway, I got two patchouli plants and planted them in the herb garden by our front deck. They're smallish -- less than a foot tall, and have roundish, shiny leaves. Rub the leaves a little bit and your fingers will smell like Patchouli. Amazing.

So, just one more week of classes. Chaos and Fractals is mostly student presentations. And in Calculus IV we've finished the material we need to cover, so I've been presenting semi-random special topics the last week. Tuesday I'll talk about countable and uncountable infinities, and will go through the demonstration that the real numbers are uncountable. Seems like a fun way to end the year.

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