statistics is beautiful!

My first semester as a graduate student in mathematics has ended; I took my final exams yesterday and today.  While reviewing for these, I played with an infographic tool to make pretty study materials.  Over my break, I’ll try to put together a few more of these.  Meanwhile, here’s “Statistics is Beautiful #1” – Hypothesis Testing.


you know you have IC/PBS when…

Yesterday I had a stomach bug, so between waking up at 4am and going to bed at 9pm, I drank one 16-ounce bottle of ginger ale… and nothing more. I hoped this wasn’t going to send my bladder into spasm, because I normally drink a full glass of water each hour between breakfast and supper. Alas, it did cause a Painful Bladder Day, so to keep the mood light, I’ve been playing with this list throughout the day.

  1. You never go anywhere without an extra pad. Or ten.
  2. A colleague raises an eyebrow when you excuse yourself from a meeting for a bio-break.
  3. For the third time.
  4. In an hour.
  5. You get really good at not doing The Peepee Dance.
  6. Or you’ve had so much experience that you add artistic flourishes to your Peepee Dance, rendering it unrecognizable as such.
  7. Your underpants drawer has Nice Panties, Period Panties, and orange Pyridium Panties.
  8. For that matter, you buy all your towels and sheets in shades of orange.
  9. You never go more than 10 minutes without drinking some water.
  10. You keep your urology office’s number on speed dial.
  11. You can’t remember the last time you had OJ.
  12. You keep strategic stashes of towels. And wipes. And extra pads.
  13. You never ever let your pyridium run out. Or your prelief.
  14. You have expert knowledge on the acidity of foods and beverages.
  15. Your urologist’s nurses recognize you and call you by name.
  16. You reflect nostalgically on the days when you could eat Mexican food.
  17. You throw out all your pantyhose and leggings.
  18. ….

So what have I missed?  Let me know in the comments (or on social media)!

homework day

I am working on a master’s degree in math, taking only two classes per semester since I’m working full time. Interestingly, this program schedules the classes for 75 minutes, twice per week, rather than having one long class each week. I probably retain the information better this way, but it makes working on homework through the week problematic. Mondays and Wednesdays, I work and then take my class from 5 to 6:15, and then go home tired and not really wanting to hit the books.  Tuesdays and Thursdays, I get home from work around 5:30, eat dinner, and then have class from 7 to 8:15; that brief period between dinner and class doesn’t seem like enough time to get into homework in any meaningful way.  But I need to come up with a more effective way to spend 30 to 45 minutes each evening on schoolwork, even if it is reviewing my lecture notes against the textbook or something like that.

All of this means that Saturday is Homework Day for me. Kristin and I usually start the day by having an in-the-car picnic breakfast at a pretty little park, doing a little Pokemon-hunting, and then heading to my favorite library a couple blocks away. I’ll work until lunchtime; after lunch, I settle in to the couch to do more homework during the afternoon football games. It’s been a good rhythm, and even though I tend to dive completely into the work, I try to come up for air and spend some time with Kristin so that she knows I love her more than I love math.

Today, Kristin is at a conference, so it’s been an all-on-my-own Homework Day.  My Lyft to the library took me through the sbux drive-through, so I had coffee and pastry as I started homework. I got most of the way through it before getting another Lyft to a Panera, where I could have lunch while camping out on their wifi. Just finished the numerical analysis assignment (Euler’s Method – yay!), so now it’s on to my statistical modeling homework (ANOVA and corrections and contrasts – yay!)… and then a project in each class.

The mathing has gone pretty well for me today, so I’ve felt great. It feels like I’m starting to really get my feet under me this semester, and I feel a lot less out of control. This is good, because work is about to get insanely busy.

So that’s Homework Saturday. Nothing exceptional, just a sunny day, lots of mathing, and a great mood.

“yes, we will be programming”

“yes, we will be programming”

Yesterday was the first day of my graduate studies in mathematics. The class is Numerical Analysis, where we will have four programming assignments over the semester, plus some in-class work. The professor said in the rubric for the first assignment that we can use the language or math tool of our choice, and named C, C++, Java, Matlab, Mathematica, and one other.

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, 1840

Our first assignment has four problems. I soooooooo want to write them in Fortran, Lisp, Ada, and COBOL.

Lisp would be perfect for this class, since it, like numerical analysis, is all about iteration and recursion.

But then I’d have to use emacs.

And I may be a math nerd, but I’m not THAT crazy!

mystery worshipper report, week 5

mystery worshipper report, week 5

This particular weekend is a challenging one in terms of the church search. Summer Sundays aren’t the best reflection of most parishes here in Virginia, and adding holiday weekend on top of that doesn’t help. And the cherry on top? It was pouring rain this morning. We figured that wherever we ended up, we’d be about 10% of the congregation.

Thankfully, that was not our experience at all!

Continue reading “mystery worshipper report, week 5”

disability and shame

disability and shame

TIL that I have a substantial amount of shame all knotted up with my disability.

Shame. Photo by maureenml0521.

A disclaimer, before I tell the story: this came about because of a disappointment. Because I know that a couple of my colleagues follow me on social media and read this blog, I want to make my purpose for writing this post very clear.  This realization came about because of a disappointment. It’s a disappointment that was not intended in the slightest, a disappointment that I had the ability to turn around, a disappointment that I don’t blame on anybody because it’s just a thing that happened.  What I want to explore here is not the sequence of events, but my own internal response to them, the affect that I have felt and some of the sources of that pain. But to get to that, I kind of have to tell the story.


Last week, I was asked to help write a proposal. So I poured time and energy into it, and I had a lot of fun working on it, and I thought it was a kickass document. The sales team thought it was pretty kickass, too, because they not only said so publicly a few times (yay!), but they invited me to the presentation with the client.  I was so touched by this gesture. I hadn’t been invited to anything like this here before. How exciting–and flattering–that they wanted to include me!

Here’s where the disability piece comes in. I have vertigo. I have vertigo every day, severe enough that it causes me to fall, severe enough that I am on the edge of vomiting at least once a day, severe enough that I can count the number of times I’ve driven in the last three months on one hand. Continue reading “disability and shame”


This past weekend, I came across a quotation about migraine. A World Health Organization study had said that a person experiencing severe migraine is as disabled as a person experiencing dementia, active psychosis, or quadriplegia. I read it out loud and said, “Well, clearly mine have only been moderate.”

Then I realized that I’ve driven myself to work three or four times over the last three or four months. That’s pretty disabling.

Continue reading “disability”