Thursday, March 30, 2006

a good quote for a day like today

Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
you can look out of the window and see the blue sky -- or the
answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
and see how it comes out this time.

-Carl Sandburg

Friday, March 24, 2006

Mike says I should post about "The hunt for the bedroom set"

I won't put in a picture because Nate says they take too long to load.

But, generally speaking, I want to redecorate our bedroom to look like a room from here.

There's nothing wrong with that, is there?

In other news, combinatorics is going to be the death of me.

Also, Steve wants you to all know that he and Mike completely disagree with me about the Waldorf-Astoria look.

Also I cannot see anything out of my contacts. I'm going Monday to get new ones.

(Mike just yawned.)

Monday, March 06, 2006

recycled. still funny.... ?

I just did our federal taxes this year and was quite pleased to see that we owe less than $300!!! This is less than we've ever owed before. To celebrate, I'm digging up an email I wrote right after Tax Season 2003. Many of you received this three years ago, but, anyway, enjoy...

Hello All,

A quick trip to the post office Tuesday morning
finally brought an end to my Annual Two-Month
Mid-Life-Crisis/Nervous-Breakdown (aka Tax Season).
We're $1012 poorer- and that doesn't include my "tax
preparation expenses" [the amount I spent on flavored
coffee, aromatherapy candles, hair accessories,
long-distance phone bills (calling good friends while
hysterical :-D), brightly colored socks, "special"
bagels, photocopying, and psychotherapy bills (j/k
about that last one.)]

My accountant friend has suggested I should consider a
career in this field. I've noticed in the 1040
Instructions fine print ("Paperwork Reduction Act")
that the IRS supposedly "welcomes" my comments about
their forms. I'd like to institute a few (rather
drastic) changes to the 1040; if I send them this
guide, do you think they'd hire me? :-D


*2002 Federal Tax Return* (Neb's Edition)


*Name and Address* (Optional; there's nothing wrong
with anonymity)
*Filing Status* (Attitude)

How do you FEEL about your 2002 Federal Tax Return?
Check all that apply:

1) I am so greatful for the efficient, competent
operations of our federal bureaucracy, and happy to
contribute to its funding.
2) The IRS does a fantastic job of giving clear,
simple instructions; it's a joy to file my taxes!
3) I feel confident my tax dollars are used in the
most worthwhile and sensible manner possible.
4) All of those hard-working, courteous IRS agents
probably deserve a pay raise.
5) Other (including any commentary on options 1-4

1) Look out your back door and count the number of
children running around.
2) Estimate how many of the occupants in your yard
might actually belong to your neighbors.
3) Subtract Line 2 from Line 1. (If the result is
negative, see Federal Form 1040 Instructions, page 62,
line 39; you may be able to take the "My Neighbors
Have Alien Offspring" Credit.)
4) Add up the total of your: pets; houseplants; cars
(but only if named, with repair bills exceeding $100
monthly); alternate personalities; imaginary friends;
named appliances (including coffeemakers and sofas);
and disfuncional/co-dependent relatives. Multiply the
result by .987654321.
5) Add lines 3 and 4. These are your TOTAL DEPENDENTS.

Include the amounts shown on your W-2. If you're
resourceful and creative enough to be self-employed,
(especially if you're working hard to quell the rising
epidemic of Math Illiteracy in this country), don't
tell us about it. Also do not feel obligated to
include bribes, lemonade stand proceeds, babysitting
earnings, bake sale profits, or drug laundering money
(as long as said drug laundering inhibits importation
from Canadian internet sources).

1) "You May Be a Redneck" Sympathy Exemption
Add up the number of underfed children, empty alchohol
containers, expired welfare checks, and unregistered
firearms on your property. If the result is more than
your gross annual income, STOP; you do not owe any
2) "Lifelong Learning" Credit (aka, Career Student
If the number of years you've spent in school is
greater than your gross annual income (in thousands),
STOP; you do not owe any tax.
3) "Low Emissions" Credit
If your personal hygiene habits are of a sufficient
nature as to not cause displeasure to those in your
immediate vicinity, multiply the annual amount you
spend on toothpaste, soap, and deoderant by 10.624 and
subtract from your income.
4) "Fiscally Responsible Citizen" Deduction
If you do not receive welfare or public assistance of
any kind, you may subtract from your income the annual
amount you spend on: housing, utilties, food,
clothing, transportation, healthcare, education, IRA
contributions, and charitable donations.
5) "Good Clean Fun" Deduction
If you have not been arrested for loitering,
vandalism, theft, assault, or DUI in the past 12
months, you may subtract from your income the annual
amount you spent on: movie tickets, sports events,
concert attendance, hobbies, vacations, or any other
legal forms of recreation.
*Tax Owed*

1) Subtract your total adjustments from your income.
2) Write your current checking account balance HERE.
3) Dig through your sofa and see how much loose change
you can come up with; write the result HERE.
4) Write the SMALLER of lines 2 or 3 HERE. This is

If the IRS sends you lemons... deduct your lemonade.

;-) NEB

Friday, March 03, 2006

Spring Break!!!!!!!!!!

If I could go anywhere for Spring Break, you know where I would go? I would go here:

And do you know what I would do there? I would NOT COUNT THINGS.

I would NOT COUNT the number of ways to make a meal using only ingredients native to the island.

I would NOT COUNT the number of ways to cross all the bridges between my island and the adjoining islands without crossing any bridge more than once.

I would NOT COUNT all the ways to partition the coconut trees into groups of two.

I would NOT COUNT the number of ways to choose a committee of size k of my pet goats and then select a subcommittee of size l from amongst the committee.

I would NOT COUNT the number of possible paths that an insect could take to go from one corner of my hammock to the opposite diagonal corner by walking along the little pieces of netting.

I would NOT COUNT the grains of sand on the beach, the drops of water in the ocean, or the stars in the night sky. I would just assume that there are Enough, and move on...

:-) Neb

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Better :-)

Thanks to all of y'all for your loving comments on my last post. :-D They did indeed make me feel better. I know everyone struggles with "doing it all" on some level or another- I'm not alone. The weird thing is, you meet different people who have different parts of their act together and then feel deficient in those areas, while losing sight of the Big Picture in life. For example, some people have clean houses (like my friend Judy), but other things are missing in their life (like mathematics.) (If Judy's reading this, she's cracking up at the thought that mathematics is "missing" from her life. :-D I don't think she misses it much.) The point is, 1) no one really has it all together, and 2) (much more importantly) we're not supposed to be comparing ourselves to others anyway. (That's much harder for me to put into practice than it is to say.) God wants us to do the things He is calling us to do individually, and our callings are all different. He gave us 24 hours in a day and bodies that need rest for a reason.

Anyway, this morning I took my combinatorics test, and I am WAY relieved that it's over. I believe I did allright- not spectacular, but well enough, which is all I was really hoping for. Today is a day of "wintry mix," which is a delightful-sounding phrase that is actually rather dreary and icy and dangerous; so last night I was much afraid that there would be a repeat of the Great Algebra Final Exam Weather\Car\Test Problem Extraveganza of Fall 2005, but God, in His mercy, made the storm delay a bit so that I could go in and take my exam and get home before it got really bad. Spring break starts Monday. :-D

I was thinking in the car on the way home how greatful I am for all the miracles God has done in my life this year. Before I started back to school, my life was generally less stressful and I felt that I had more time open to spend with God. I was more relaxed, and because my thought life was not devoted to mathematics for so much of every day, I had more time to dwell on God and look for ways to grow spiritually. Now it just seems that my mind is occupied so much with the work that I do, and it makes me sad because honestly I can't say that this stage of my life is a time of feeling the passion and closeness I've had at times in the past. But on the other hand, since I've started school, there have been so many things that have happened that are nothing other than Miracles, and those are things that I pray about and thank God for, even though my mind isn't as totally focused on Him as I'd like it to be. Every time I pass a test, or make it through another week, or sometimes just make it through another problem, I think that God has worked a miracle. Over and over again things go so much better than I expect them to- and He alone is to thank for it.

God is good when you're just hanging out in your little cabin on the prairie, and good when you start climbing mountains.