things I have done

One thing about UD that I'm pretty sure I like is Christmas break. We don't just get the last half of December off; I'm still not back in school. I don't start until this coming Monday. The reason for this absurdly long break is that UD offers a 5-week winter session, much like a summer session at any other school. For graduate students, that adds up to either an opportunity to teach a short class or a 5 week break after Christmas. Let's just say I'm not teaching this winter.

So what does a(n almost) mathematician do with so much free time? I'm not going to lie to you, it's definitely a lot more free time than I would have during classes, but I am trying to be as productive as I can. I may have mentioned at some point some slightly important and possibly terrifying exams that I need to pass this spring to remain a candidate for a PhD in this program. I've been trying as hard as I can to spend as much time as possible studying for that. Since most of my classwork this semester will be in Combinatorics, I've been spending most of that time in this Algebra book, which is as useful as the book description on that page implies. However, it's a pretty dense book. I can't spend all my time there, or I'd go insane, probably. Thus I must fill the time with something else.

One of my favorite things this break has been playing the new Zelda game with Sharayah, but as she's mentioned she is now working full time, so this is mostly an evening activity (when we're not playing random old board games from the box my mom brought up from Texas). Still, we've spent a good amount of time on it, and it's been very enjoyable. It's a 1-player game, so we alternate. Sharayah plays the fun, care-free parts and I fight the scary bosses. It's a good arrangement for us. Sometimes the bosses can be pretty tough, though, especially since to defeat them you usually have to use some new weapon that you've recently acquired and have been practicing with briefly while fighting your way through the level, but since I wasn't the one fighting my way through, I have to defeat the boss having only watched someone else use the weapon. Sometimes it's not so bad; if the dungeon is difficult enough, Sharayah will let me play the parts leading up to the boss as well, so I get a little more practice. It sounds like I'm complaining but I'm only trying to give Sharayah a hard time (and hopefully elicit a giggle from her).

Since Sharayah is working during the day, that's when I try to do as much of my studying as possible. I can't study for as many hours as she can work, though, so I take breaks to read. My wonderful parents got me a Kindle Touch for Christmas, and I've read several free ebooks on it, from those in the Kindle store which are in public domain to some checked out from the library. I still think it's pretty cool to be able to check out an ebook from a library. So far I've been very pleased with the Kindle. It really does feel like I'm looking at ink on paper. The only difference is that I turn the page with a swipe or tap instead of physically turning the page. I've also been reading my way through the Lost Books, which Shawn got me for Christmas. I had already read the first few but never made it to the end, so I'm hoping to get most of the way done with that before school starts up. As with anything in the Dekker Circle universe, it's quite gripping.

Other than that I've had indoor soccer, being sick for about a week, helping around the house while Sharayah gets used to her work hours, and trying to thwart Puma's ever-growing curiosity to keep me busy. Speaking of Puma, his curiosity combined with his new fear of knocks at our door (which we believe he acquired from Panther, since he used to like knocks at the door) has led him to discover some previously unknown locations in our little apartment (one unknown to him, and one unknown to all of us). First, he has figured out how to open the cabinets and crawl inside. To top it off, he figured out that if he only opens it enough to squeeze in, then it will close again behind him making it a much more effective hiding place. Second, apparently if you somehow pull back that liner thing between the floor and the cabinets, you can crawl under said cabinets and find a whole world of hiding space. He disappeared under there for several minutes one day and we've been trying to keep it blocked since then. Now, Puma is not allowed in the kitchen, and he's gotten to dislike the consequences of entering (having us clap at him, stomp on the floor, or spray water at him), all of which serve to scare him away from there pretty well. Still, he's found the time to get in there and explore enough to find some pretty good places to hide. We probably will never cure him of going in there. We're thinking about baby-proofing our cabinets, but we don't want a situation like Joey had on Friends. We'll think of something.

Well, I'm sure I've been doing other things, but they escape me right now so you're in luck, you can finally stop reading. Until next time. Wait, no! You must stay and read one more sentence. I have been listening obsessively to three Owl City CDs which I received for Christmas from my parents (I liked Owl City and had heard a few songs, but had never owned or listened through an entire CD). If you are reading beyond the one additionally required sentence, then you must buy his CDs and listen to them until your ears fall off. That is all.

I was terribly lost

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