homepage: Dr. Carol JVF Burns

CAROL'S BLOG (archive, 2017)

Blog is short for weblog (weBLOG).
Check here to see the latest information about my site (and, occasionally, about my life in general).
It isn't a conventional blog—it just lets you know what I'm currently working on!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
I finished the concept discussion for Definition of a Hyperbola.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
I finished the exercises for the last of the ellipse sections, Summary: Equations of Ellipses in Standard Form. Hooray! I've been working on ellipses for a long time!

Friday, December 8, 2017
Well, the ellipse section just grew and grew and grew; I ended up breaking it into five different sections!
So, now I don't have to feel so bad about spending months on a ‘single’ lesson!
Here are the five new sections: Thursday, November 9, 2017
I completed the concept discussion for my ‘Equations of Ellipses in Standard Form’ lesson.
This took a long time, but I'm pleased with the result.

Monday, November 6, 2017
I finally created a captioned photo tour of Pebble , showing what it looks like now that we're mostly settled in.

Saturday, November 4, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for both September and October. Can't believe I missed a month. And, I haven't even posted a blog entry since September 20. Whoa. Where did October go? (October was ‘Art's teeth extractions and new dentures’ month!) Life is busy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
I added a ‘weak guy/strong guy’ example to my PEMDAS page, based on a math problem that was going around the internet.
And, looks like they might finish the driveway today!
Also, yesterday was (I believe) a new record, with 5258 page views reported by AdSense!

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Adsense reported over 5000 page views yesterday. (Awstats typically reports higher than Adsense; Adsense reported 5077!) I love the beginning of the school year!
Went to an Interfaith Gospel Choir last night at Las Quintas; only a handful of people came, but they were all strong singers, and it was great!
Yesterday was entirely an edge-cutting day for the driveway. Clearly, this is the extra-time-consuming part of laying on the diagonal!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Julia made this chocolate cake for my birthday, and it was the best cake I've ever had! Moist, cut beautifully, and absolutely scrumptious. So, I want to keep track of the recipe! (I'm also printing it out and putting it in my recipe book.)

Tip #8 for gathering (zig-zag over the bobbin thread) works FANTASTIC!!

Monday, September 11, 2017
I finished the web exercises for Reflecting Property of an Ellipse. They took a long time, primarily due to the several cases using dynamic JSXGraph.

As I write this, the driveway is almost completely (re-)done with the diagonal pattern. It now looks beautiful to me! (See the Friday, September 8, 2017 entry.)

Saturday, September 9, 2017
In October 2015, while packing up the Hill Cottage in Massachusetts, I had lost my wedding ring from Ray. We thought it might have come off while scrubbing under the refrigerator, but we searched to no avail. Also thought it might have come off while packing—but, after unpacking all of my own boxes after moving into Pebble, I had pretty much given up hope. Today, while helping Julia unpack her boxes (which had been stored at the Timrod house until they got settled into their new home in Tucson), I FOUND IT!!!! I was unpacking her very last box, which contained one of her Disney music/snow globes. I always shake the packing paper a bit before putting it in the recycling bin, to make sure I haven't missed anything, and something fell to the floor in front of me. I started to say ‘Hey Julia, there's a ring here...’ and Julia started to say ‘Mom, could it be your...’ and then there was this realization that it was my wedding ring! I am so very, very happy!!

Friday, September 8, 2017
Minor setback on the Pebble pavers driveway. Our driveway is so long and so straight, and the K-pattern is so regular, that when I looked down the driveway all I saw was stripes—it did not look beautiful. I was distraught—didn't want to cause problems, but also didn't want to live with a driveway I'm not satisfied with for the rest of my life. Robert Duran (Amazing Scapes) was wonderful, patient, kind, and fair. We're paying some more, which is totally reasonable, but we're undoing what was done, and using the same K-pattern, but at an angle. Both Ray and I feel like we made the best decision. Glad we caught it before the sand had ‘cemented’ it in place, and the cement border was put on!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
I wanted to keep track of these hamburger helper recipes.

I spent a large part of yesterday and today updating my ‘Rock House Story’. I'm putting the details of the pavers driveway construction in that document.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
A few links I don't want to lose; projects for using up fabric scraps: And I love this fabric-scrap bird/reindeer design; could just do black machine stitching for the antlers and feet:

Amazing Scapes started our driveway today! It will likely take close to two weeks. I want something physical to remember my Mom and Dad and the wonderful life and love they gave me, so I'm using some of my inheritance to put in a pavers driveway leading to Pebble.

Friday, September 1, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for August.

Monday, August 29, 2017
I finished the concept discussion for Reflecting Property of an Ellipse.
This took me a long time to write, but I'm finally pleased with the result.

Monday, August 14, 2017
I finished the ‘skirting’ around the base of Pebble about a week ago. It is a wall of assorted bricks, pavers, cement blocks—all from Art's ‘upper stash’. I worked in the wee morning hours (before it got too hot), driving the truck to the materials, loading it up, unloading here, setting the blocks/bricks in place. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Now, I've started lining Ray's new irrigation ditches (to channel water away from our new driveway) with stones. All good exercise for me!

Sunday, August 13, 2017
Big weekend for Ray and Bethany! The Tucson LDS Temple was dedicated today, and yesterday was the Cultural Celebration in Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium. There were 2,100 youth (ages 12 to 18) performing songs and dances that they had been preparing since April, and Bethany was one of them—it was impressive! Ray was the dance teacher for several of the wards. It was a beautiful celebration of Arizona history and the new temple.

Friday, August 11, 2017
The mortgage on the Hill Cottage is completely finished, legal, done! Karl ‘bought back’ my half-interest on the Hill Cottage, via a mortgage to me. It has been legally recorded. This process that began in October 2015 is finally finished. Hooray!

Ray has prepared the base for our paver driveway at Pebble, that will be put in by Amazing Scapes. He rented a backhoe to dig ditches to change the water flow. He ordered 60 cubic yards of AB Ideal Mix to level and raise the height of the road, and used it all. He rented a vibrating compactor and a loader with a box spreader to spread and compact the fill. He also hired and worked with a person who has experience doing paver driveways, just to be safe. The road looks beautiful, even before the paver driveway is installed! Ray worked incredibly hard on this project, with many hours out in the summer Arizona sun, but he had lots of fun running the big machinery. Big accomplishment!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
I finished the web exercises for Definition of an Ellipse.

Monday, August 7, 2017
Ray and I have both worked hard on all the Sentence Shuffles. We made a good team—I got the concept started and roughly-working with my inexperienced coding. Then, he corrected/improved, and made both the output and the code beautiful and reliable. He could have made things even more compact and efficient, but he wanted to keep the code mostly within my level of understanding. This (and lots of variations) will eventually be used for active reading exercises for my math lessons.

Also, Bethany is off to the first day of eighth grade today!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Got my first Book of Mormon Sentence Shuffle up! [edit on 8/7/17: this first attempt has been removed from the server, since it is now greatly improved] I posted it on Facebook, to try and get some feedback from my Facebook friends who are LDS.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for July.
I had some serious page hits from the Netherlands on July 21–23, which greatly increased my average # pages/visit for this month. Not a clue where this came from!

Also, I'm making great progress on my JSXGraph ‘sentence shuffle’ concept, for ‘active reading’ exercises for my web site. I've tried on-and-off for years, but have never been successful. This time around, I discovered that I needed a newer version of JSXGraph than what I have on my server, for some of the things to work. (JSXGraph now has a CDN, which I'm using for concept testing. Eventually, I'll likely get a new version on my server.) Perhaps this is why I couldn't get things to work in the past!

Friday, July 28, 2017
I finished the concept discussion for Definition of an Ellipse.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
I've finally finished the exercises for Finding the Equation of a Parabola . It always takes considerably longer when I've got dynamic JSXGraph stuff in the exercises/worksheets.

Saturday, July 8, 2017
I finished the concept discussion for Finding the Equation of a Parabola . Exercises still to go.

I've been working on (mostly) closing off the trailer base for Pebble, using assorted concrete pavers/blocks and bricks. (We're not going all the way up, since we don't want termites climbing the wall and reaching the wood. Also, we want ventilation beneath the house.) Load the truck, unload, repeat. I'm getting strong! I do this between 5AM and 9AM, before it gets way too hot to work outside.

I'm also cleaning up the area around Pebble of leftover building and demolition materials—relocate, throw away, give away. Craigslist ‘free’ is great for getting things to people who can use them. It's looking good around here!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for June.

Thursday, June 29, 2017
I've finished the web exercises for Parabolas: Geometric Definition, Reflectors/Collectors, Derivation of Equations .

My daughter and her husband are moving into their first home today! Exciting times!

Friday, June 23, 2017
I've finished the concept discussion for Parabolas: Geometric Definition, Reflectors/Collectors, Derivation of Equations .

I also added an alternate approach to Intersecting an Infinite Double Cone and a Plane: Looking at the Equations , based on insights from my genius husband Ray!

Saturday, June 17, 2017
I've finished the second optional section, How is it that the Conic Discriminant tells us the Type of Conic?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
I've finished the exercises in Identifying Conics by the Discriminant . There are $\,27\,$ different cases—I'm pleased with the variety and level of randomness. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 11, 2017
I added a JSXGraph dynamic graph to Identifying Conics by the Discriminant , so you can change the parameters on the equation $\,Ax^2 + Bxy + Cy^2 + Dx + Ey + F = 0\,$ using sliders, and immediately see the results. So cool!

Thursday, June 8, 2017
I finished an optional section in the Precalculus course, Intersecting an Infinite Double Cone and a Plane: Looking at the Equations .
There are no exercises in this section.

Friday, June 2, 2017
I finished the concept discussion for Identifying Conics by the Discriminant .
I updated my monthly stats for May.

Saturday, May 27, 2017
I finished the web exercises for Introduction to Conic Sections .

Friday, May 26, 2017
Bethany finished seventh grade yesterday, and today is the first day of her summer vacation!

I finished the concept discussion for Introduction to Conic Sections (web exercises still to go). This begins the study of ellipses, parabolas, and hyperbolas.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Ray found the extra ‘ ' ’ in my auxiliary file that was causing console errors that were driving me crazy! I had spent hours trying to figure out what was going wrong; it took him a couple minutes. I am SO LUCKY to have this incredible husband!

I've finished the web exercises for Partial Fraction Expansion: Irreducible Quadratic Factors . This completes partial fraction expansion; on to conic sections!

Monday, May 22, 2017
I've spent the day beginning to learn about D3.js (Data-Driven Documents). I'm excited! I'm hoping to use it to create some fun interactive animated exercises. So far, it seems very easy to use and lightning fast!

Friday, May 19, 2017
Finally back to Precalculus again! I've finished the concept discussion for the last section on PFE: Partial Fraction Expansion: Irreducible Quadratic Factors .

My two cherry tomato plants are thriving in the genuine EarthBox. Everything else I've planted from seed has died, despite my loving care. Perhaps I loved them to death? Over-watered? Over-fertilized? Over-garlic-sprayed? Too much talking encouragement? Sigh!

We've dug a trench to divert the water from our parking area and driveway near Pebble. We'll get a chance to see if it will work, before putting in our new pavers driveway!

I had some back-and-forth correspondence with Beyond Textbooks, which is a curriculum used by lots of schools in Arizona. I offered to map their math curriculum to my lessons (for free), to make it easier for teachers and students to use my lessons. They were very professional and polite, but in the end declined my offer, even though I was willing to give them the file to post on their own server. I wasn't able to put it on my own server, because (I quote) ‘mainly us wanting to make sure to have people come to one site, not multiple sites, and the vast amount of Intellectual Property and Copyrights we [BT] have in place.’ I'm disappointed, because I know my site is massive, and it can be daunting for teachers to find appropriate lessons—this would have made it much easier to locate relevant materials. Ah well! All I can do is try! I guess the good news is that it would likely have taken me a few weeks to create a good mapping, and now I can put that time towards my Precalc lessons!

Monday, May 8, 2017
Here are some good FAQs for the Earthbox.

Monday, May 1, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for both March 2017 and April 2017. With the busy-ness of moving into Pebble, guess I forgot last month!

Sunday, April 30, 2017
So, yet another miracle by my computer-genius husband, Ray! I had been working on a problem for close to six hours—two of my pages were loading MathJax in precisely the same say (because I cut-and-pasted, just to be sure), yet one of them was rendering the math using image fonts (yuck) and the other was using the web TeX fonts (beautiful). It actually took Ray an eternity (for him) to figure it out—about ten minutes. What happened was that one of the web-page URLs had a www in it, and the link to load MathJax (actually by mistake) didn't have the www. So, ‘cross-site scripting protections’ were protecting me from certain hacks, by rendering the image fonts instead of going to my directory to get the correct TeX fonts. What made this even more impressive is that my browser obscures the part of the URL that was different (you know, to make things less scary and ugly for users). So, once again, MY HUSBAND RAY IS A COMPUTER GURU!!!!

Saturday, April 29, 2017
Ray got MathJax 2.7.1 up on my server, so I've switched over all my auxiliary files to load that version. Thank you, Ray!! Just in time, with the MathJax CDN stopping its service tomorrow!

Friday, April 28, 2017
I want to keep track of these links: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
I returned to my local version of MathJax 2.3, since MathJax is discontinuing the CDN on April 30, 2017. At some point, I may upgrade to the newest version of MathJax, but for now, I'll just return to the version I was using before I started loading from the CDN.

Saturday, April 22, 2017
I'm having trouble with my seeds sprouting and then the seedlings shriveling up and dying. This is evidently called ‘damping off’. Here are two good articles on damping off: Here are things I'll try: Also, I want to keep track of this seed ball youtube video. I might make some and throw them out into the desert, and see what happens!!
Lots of the seed ball videos don't show the results, leading me to wonder if they actually work. However, this seed ball video shows the results, and it also mentions possibly adding some pest deterrents to the seed balls to deter predators once the balls have gotten wet and started to dissolve. They mention these four: red chili pepper, catnip, pennyroyal, and peppermint. They also mention a minimum density of one ball per square foot.

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Based on my work with Paul and Ryan, I added a "clear all" button to the Sentence Shuffle activity in Work Problems. They had so much fun choosing names and seeing the names randomly appear!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Because I haven't been there in a while, I zipped up to MathJax yesterday. Good thing that I did! I learned that the MathJax CDN (Content Distribution Network) is shutting down on April 30, 2017. Please spread the word to anyone who might be serving up their math web pages with the MathJax CDN!

My entire web site uses this CDN, so I'll now need a different approach. There may be some downtime while I transition to a new delivery solution over the next few weeks.

Also, I just learned that rabbit droppings are great for both the garden and the compost pile. (By the way, we do have a rabbit right now—and the droppings are small, dry, mess-free and odorless.)

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Happy Easter, everyone! I don't want to lose track of this collection of ultra-cute Easter treats!

Friday, April 14, 2017
I added new material to Rate Problems, based on my work with Paul and Ryan.

I plan to go to POWWOW (Produce On Wheels With-Out Waste) tomorrow morning, and get 60 pounds of produce for \$10. This will be my first time (my daughter brought this to my attention)—I'm excited to see how it works!

I thought the email address on my homepage was sufficiently disguised to be spam-proof, but Ray said that spammers could see right through it. So, now, we've created a table containing a mixture of text and graphics to present the email. We'll see how this one works in keeping the junk email down!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
I added new material to Multi-Step Conversions, based on my work with Paul and Ryan.

Friday, April 7, 2017
I put Google's reCaptcha on my homepage, to cut down on spam I'm getting from my contact form. We'll see if it works! [Update: It ended up requiring server-side processing, which I don't do. So, I removed my entire contact form and put spam-safe instructions for users to contact me instead.]

Monday, March 27, 2017
I've finished several fabric/cardboard bookshelf dust shields , and I'm pleased with the result. Now that I've made a few, they're quick and easy to make. Again, I'm just using up pieces of fabric from my stash, so they're all different.

Friday, March 24, 2017
I finished modifying the cover for our hauling trailer, so the wind (hopefully) won't be able to get underneath, lift it up, and rip it to pieces. It was massive sewing—about 4-5 hours of steady sewing machine use (because the trailer is BIG). Now my sewing machine is making a horrible noise, although it's still sewing great. Hopefully it just needs a rest! The cover now has four sides with velcro closures. We'll see if it works!

I also started a rock enclosure for a compost pile, and I'm working on getting rid of the pile of sticks in front of the Holiday Trailer. Good exercise day!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017
I've finished the web exercises for Partial Fraction Expansion: Linear Factors. These were tough ones! I'm particularly pleased with case 6.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Happy Pi Day, everyone!
WolframAlpha offers this cool Find Your Personal Pi Day.
I start at digit 17,347.
Ray is a lot further in: he has 2,025,366.

I've finished the concept discussion for Partial Fraction Expansion: Linear Factors. It feels good to be back doing some math!

Thursday, March 2, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for February 2017.

This has been moving month! We gave notice on our rental (Stepping Stone) at the end of January. We were there for 2-1/2 years, from 8/28/14 to 3/1/17. We had a year lease, then a six-month lease, then (highly-expensive) month-to-month rental, each time thinking that ‘Pebble is almost done’. But, it IS now done, and was definitely worth the wait! Awesome things take time!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it here!!!

So, we've been moving out, cleaning, and moving in all month. I started by thoroughly cleaning the Holiday Trailer (our ‘Pebble overflow area’) while Ray finished some final items on Pebble. Then, I thoroughly cleaned Pebble (it wasn't bad—Ray had been cleaning regularly) and started moving in. Bring a car-load, settle those items in, repeat. The only big items here are the dining room table, our mattress, a twin mattress, the double rocker, and the electronic keyboard. The final move-out inspection at Stepping Stone was today (yesterday was a no-show). Stepping Stone is clean, clean, clean—I keep places very clean all the time, so ‘move-out’ cleaning is really fine-tuning. We should get the entire security deposit back (hooray).

I still have lots of things to do to feel fully settled in, so I probably won't start back on math for a few more weeks. Currently, I'm making cardboard/fabric shelf liners (using up lots of odds-and-ends fabric).

Thursday, February 2, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for January 2017, and did the archive for 2016.

I also did my blog archive for 2016.

And, I completely finished my Georgetown quilt! The batting was attached to each square individually, using a ‘bramble’ pattern on my embroidery machine. At the end, I just did straight-line stitching to frame the squares and hold the front/batting/backing together.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017
I had a lot of trouble with puckering when trying to quilt my Georgetown quilt. I suspect part of the issue is that because it is composed of so many tiny pieces, there is some irregularity from square-to-square. Finally came up with a successful technique; I'll document it here for future reference. This is for a block quilt, so I just used straight-line stitching to hold the layers together. Tuesday, January 31, 2017
I used this youtube video to make the mitered corners on my Georgetown quilt. Came out great! I want to keep track of this link. Also, this is a great resource for binding a quilt. I've used the continuous strip binding, and sewing it to the back of the quilt with no hand sewing.

Friday, January 27, 2017
We did it!  We gave our official one-month notice on our rental home in Rancho Sahuarita.  As of March 1, 2017, we will be ‘one house down’—no longer renting Stepping Stone!! The move is on!! Ray has been working around-the-clock (with only like 4 hours sleep) to finish things up in Pebble. He's a Superman!! HOORAY!!!!!

Also, I finished the last quilt square on my Georgetown quilt; now, the border and backing. It's sized for our on-the-floor-of-the-loft bed in Pebble. I'm pushing to finish it here in Stepping Stone—since Pebble is so small, it would be difficult to work on something this big there.

Thursday, January 19, 2017
I've finished the exercises for Partial Fraction Expansion/Decomposition (PFE).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017
I've expanded the concept discussion for Partial Fraction Expansion/Decomposition (PFE), and finished the first 18 exercises. Lots more to go, though!

Friday, January 13, 2017
I've finished the concept discussion for Partial Fraction Expansion/Decomposition (PFE).

I'm making homemade appliance covers for the appliances I'll keep out on the counter in Pebble. Finished the Instant Pot and Magic Bullet covers; now working on my breadmaker cover.

Thursday, January 12, 2017
I've started the concept discussion for a new section, Partial Fraction Expansion/Decomposition (PFE).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
I want to keep track of this acceptance speech by Meryl Streep. I've always loved and respected her, and this is why.

Thursday, January 5, 2017
I updated my monthly stats for December.

I changed the formatting for the three approaches, to simplify the presentation in Vector Application: Forces Acting On an Object in Equilibrium.

I used an old bedspread to make a draw-string table cover, to protect our Amish-made wood table as we move and settle into Pebble.

I'm extending my ‘boxes system’ to include all of my non-closet-hanging clothes (again, in preparation for the move into Pebble).

I've finished three of eight rows of my Georgetown quilt (which will be a bedspread for Ray/Carol's bed in Pebble). It's made almost entirely from my stash of scraps! I'm quilting-as-I-go: make a square, place batting on the back, join with the ‘bramble’ pattern on my embroidery machine.

After seventeen years, I sent out a Christmas letter! It was a wonderful opportunity to contact many people from my earlier life.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Happy New Year, everyone! 2017 is a prime number!

I haven't used my Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl for a long time, so I need to remember how it works. Here are some good youtube videos: Blog Archive, 2016
Blog Archive, 2015
Blog Archive, 2014
Blog Archive, 2013
Blog Archive, 2012
Blog Archive, 2011
Blog Archive, 2010
Blog Archive, 2009
Blog Archive, 2008
Blog Archive, 2007
Blog Archive, 2006
Blog Archive, 2005