Thursday, August 30, 2012


The end of our SAT prep...the most challenging I think...but since you're not 16 anymore, and you've probably tiled a bathroom or bought a rug or put up wallpaper, it may be a snap!

What is the minimum number of rectangular tiles, 12" x 18" needed to completely cover five flat rectangular surfaces, each 60" x 180"?
a)50 b)100 c)150 d)200 e)250 Hints and answer below.

Vacation week continues on the east coast. Here is a beautiful bridge that we traveled over. Just a gorgeous and stunning engineering feat. We are getting a little bit of the tail end of Isaac, too. Last year I was in my first gas line, trying to get off of the Atlantic coast as Hurricane Irene came north. After over an hour we were able to get gas and proceeded out of town for the weekend---returning in a couple days.

This year it is another "I" hurricane and this one brought me my first experience of rain that came so fast and furious that whole streets were impassable and large pools of water developed everywhere. We've had flash floods in Erie, of course, but they are nothing like the coast lands get. Must be very scary in the Gulf towns today. The high tide/water/waves just keep coming and coming and coming.

Now back to our tile problem. Here are some hints/help I would give: Draw a large rectangle and label it 60" on the side and 180" for the length. Then draw a few tiny 12" x 18" boxes in it until you catch on to how many fill a width and maybe even a length.

Another way to think about it is with the formula for the area of a rectangle which most kids know by heart A=LW. The big rectangle has an area of 10,800 and the tiny tiles each have an area of 216. Dividing gives you 50 little ones to fill the larger one. Notice that one of the answers is 50, although that is wrong unfortunately!

A huge thing to master on these "tricky" standard tests is to remember to go back and read the question---because 90% of the time after you've done some calculations you've forgotten what they asked! And in multiple choice questions they always have the most popular wrong answer included. This one asks the number of tiles to cover FIVE surfaces, not just ONE...tricky, yes...very! So the answer is e.

A friend who thinks she's terrible in math wants me to stop these, so this is the last---for now. Who knows, if I find an exciting or interesting one I may pop it in anytime!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Shore world

High school math revisited:

5 liters of water are poured from tank A into tank B. 10 liters of water were then poured from tank A into tank C. If tank A originally had 10 more liters of water than tank C, how many more liters of water does tank C now have than tank A?
a)0 b)5 c)10 d)15 e)20 Answer below.

Spending a week on the east coast, courtesy of a cousin and her home there. Two shots from the area. Schools here are back in session already so it's really a quieter week because most family vacations are over.

Don't miss on our community site the story and link to our local newspaper that published an article on three local communities and their experience with the LCWR visitation and assembly earlier this month.

The answer is d)15. If you didn't get it, one way is to start with sample numbers and the last sentence, "If tank A originally had 10 more liters of water than tank C..." Let A have 100 and C 90 at the beginning. Now read the first two sentences and do what they say.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

On the Bay

Here's our math. problem for the day, for those of you who like such:

Marty has 5 blue pens, 6 black pens and 4 red pens in his backpack. If he pulls out one pen without looking, what is the probability that the pen is either red or black?
a) 11/15
b) 2/3
c) 1/2
d) 1/3
e) 1/5 Answer at bottom.

Our newspaper carried a front page story today on the beautiful hot and sunny summer we've had and the effects on the local economy. In a word, everyone did "great" this year. Percentage gains, over 2011, ranged from +2% to +20%---hotels, amusement parks, summer eateries and on and on. Good news for all who rely on seasonal trade.

In that same summer vein, we were treated to a sail on Presque Isle Bay recently. And sure enough: a warm, sunny and beautiful evening. Here are a few shots I took from the sailboat: The Erie Yacht Club, a concert at the bayshore's amphitheater, and the sun setting over the peninsula. It just doesn't get much better than this. WOW!

For most adults this may not be overly difficult. If you've played dice and card games, bet at casinos or on the Kentucky Derby or just been around others who talk about odds and probability--even casually--you'll get this rather easily. The challenge is, I guess, that most 16-year-olds haven't done a lot of those things.

The answer is 10 out of 15 or b)2/3.

Monday, August 20, 2012

School's coming

Though I've officially been out of schools for nearly 20 years, I still have an internal clock for the school year, so I know that this coming week most of the teachers in our area will be starting back with their beginning of the year meetings and classroom time. Next week most of the local students start.

This also brings the early fall SAT and ACT college level tests that most seniors take---and to that end I've begun tutoring a local girl who wants to improve her scores from last spring. She doesn't have much of a problem with actual calculations, it's determining what to do (aka deciphering the reading of the problem) that is her challenge. Here's an example from our last session:

A factory supervisor inspected 6 of 30 products to see if there were any defects. This will give them an idea of the number of defective ones they are producing. What is the ratio of inspected products to uninspected products?
a) 1:4
b) 1:5
c) 1:10
d) 1:6
e) 1:2

See bottom of blog for answer!

This is a mildly tricky question believe it or not. They want the kids to just see the numbers 6 and 30 and choose b) 1:5 which is the reduction of the fraction 6/30.
The whole problem is really much more about reading than about the arithmetic needed. Congratulations if you chose a) 1:4. Six are inspected, twenty-four are not inspected. So the ratio of inspected to uninspected...which is what was asked, is 6/24 or 1/4.

They get a little more complicated than this for sure, but the bottom line is reading, drawing figures and understanding the words as much as doing the actual algebra/geometry involved.

I'll give you another one on Thursday--as in, Here's a chance to understand all the math. you didn't quite get in high school!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The last ones

Update: our apple trees are finally producing, as are the grape vineyards around North East, so the deer are out in full. Saw both sets of twins tonight--I didn't even know we had two sets! One pair still has their spots, the other's are gone. All total, eight passed through our backyard about 7:30 pm.

The night-blooming evening primroses are still blooming at about 75 a night--but now at 8:30 instead of 9:00 pm. Hummingbirds are still passing through Erie but the black-eyed Susans that have been a staple the last couple of weeks are fading away.

Our beaches will be open for swimming through Labor Day, although they've closed about half of them because many of the college-attending lifeguards are leaving this week.

All of these signs mean mid-August is here, rushing quickly to September and the very last weeks of summertime and the very first weeks of autumn. How are things in "your neck of the woods"?

And now the grand finale: it's been great fun sharing this portrait of East Lake Road with you. How could I end with anything but this iconic quote and my two favorite mailboxes!

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night
stays these couriers from the swift completion
of their appointed rounds."

And this one is from a blog reader in California--it's right down her street, she said--a special Air Mail box!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Memories of St. Louis

The photos here give a visual of some of the memories from our week in St. Louis. The articles and columns here will give you a montage of thoughts on the LCWR assembly itself. The full press release from the LCWR is here. A full array of articles can be found by googling LCWR under Google News.

It was amazing, awesome and somewhat overwhelming to be part of an event that will indeed have some significance in the Catholic Church and certainly in the life of Catholic religious women in the United States. Over the next few months/years we shall surely see---we shall surely see.

The Gateway Arch from our hotel.

The view from the top of the Gateway Arch.

A rally Friday night in support of US Sisters. It was held in the park of the Gateway Arch--
right across from our hotel and drew 200+ people.

The hour-long rally was organized by Future Church, Call To Action and other supporters
in and around St. Louis.

If I haven't hooked you on Google Doodles yet this might do it: not only did they continue their daily Olympic events google mastheads, but the last few days they embedded little games you could play in that sport!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet me in St. Louie

Writing from St. Louis, MO while attending the 2012 LCWR Assembly. The opening evening and first day have been very fine, with two more days to come. The last few years have averaged 600 participants, this year there are 900 in attendance.

The hotel is located right on the Mississippi, across the street from the Gateway Arch. In between sessions we took a couple hours to go over to the Arch, which is located in Jefferson National Park. We viewed two great movies, one on the building of the Arch itself, finished in 1965, and the other on the Lewis and Clark expedition which began here in Missouri: American History 101. Then we took the cable car-like ride to the top of it: WOW!

And right around the corner is Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. Big cities: great places to visit!

The NCR is doing an almost continual reporting on the LCWR event. See their homepage for articles.

Don't miss our community homepage this week--lots of news items and a review of our LLL Days last week.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fun on the lake

Our just-completed summer community days were a nice blend of learning, legislation and leisure, thus their name: LLL days. They included great sessions and workshops on Hildegard of Bingen, 12th century Benedictine abbess who will become a Doctor of the Church on October 7th. Here is part of our leisure, a noontime cruise on our bay aboard the Victorian Princess paddle boat. Great fun in the sun!

The mailboxes photos are winding down. Here are two good ones--the lion isn't really on top of the box, the long driveway up to this house has two of them right at the entrance--next to their mailboxes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Googling the Olympics

In between Olympic evenings we've squeezed in our annual Summer Community Days for four days this week. I am writing this at the end of Day #1, and what a great day it was. Just a quick overview: the morning and early afternoon was spent on updating information on community policies. By that title it sounds rather tedious and corporate, but it was far from that due to an informative, interesting and dynamic speaker. In the afternoon we had a beautiful and inspiring introduction and presentation, in the context of Evening Praise, of our sessions on Hildegard of Bingen the 12th century Benedictine abbess/saint and soon-to-be Doctor of the Church. Again, the ideas and creativity of our sisters are amazing to me.

And while in the creative mode, the Google logos are so cute this week. Every day the logo features a different Olympic sport--incorporating the word GOOGLE. Take a look here.