Sunday, March 07, 2010

Upstate New York Beach Party!

I am on spring break. I was pretty shocked that the attendance in my afternoon class on the Friday before spring break was not much worse than my usual Friday attendance. As an aside, I also discovered that the reason that Friday attendance is so low in math classes is that we are one of the few departments that sticks to the official rules and offers Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes. Seems that a lot of departments stick exclusively to Tuesday-Thursday (legit) or else bend the rules to offer classes in non-standard times that exclude Fridays. I did one of my usual Friday before spring break teaching strategies (useful on any day when you expect substantial absenteeism in a low-level course): I put together a review worksheet of everything we'd worked on recently, and after the students worked on the problems and I went over the ones that they had questions about I let them vote on which one(s) they want to see appear on the next midterm.

And then I departed for spring break.

Last night I arrived in Ithaca, NY. As you know, Ithaca is the place to be for sun and fun in the month of March!

The place has changed a lot since I left. I moved out in 2003, just as the first wave of big-box retail was appearing along Route 13. Now there is a Starbucks in Ithaca! And a Walmart! And all of the other crap that was clearly missing from the place. It's sort of upsetting and shocking. The Salvation Army is now huge, so I may need to go shopping there, as Ithaca has one of the best Salvation Army stores ever (I think because it is constantly restocked as emeritus professors die off).

Today my parents are coming to see me, as they live about three hours away. I wasn't up for driving another three hours, so they are coming here. I need to check to see if the yarn and fabric stores are still here, as I need to find something to entertain my mother. I'm handing off a pile of books to my dad (high school math books that I will never use but that he hopes to use to inspire his question-writing for the high stakes exams he helps write), and I'm afraid that the spot in my luggage will end up more than replaced with yarn, fabric, and quilting supplies (wool batting!).