Software wins and fails 2

As I get my very first sabbatical going, I’m working on some homework for the American Mathematical Society’s Math Research Community in Algebraic Statistics. So far, I’ve managed to calculate a few examples by hand. But now I’m down the software rabbit hole, and I find that it’s 4 hours later and I need to vent.


  • Got Singular installed *and* got my mac to shut up about “programs from the internet” every time I open it;
  • Ran an example in Singular with (almost) the expected output;
  • Ran the same example in Macaulay2 with the same output as Singular;
  • Installed Bertini and managed to get the Bertini.m2 package to work.
  • Installed 4ti2.


  • Can’t get my Aquamacs preferred theme (Solarized Dark) to stick despite hours of googling today and other days;
  • Can’t get Aquamacs to find and run Singular;
  • No clue what to do with 4ti2 now that it’s installed…

I’ve had a few other successes, though, unrelated to software:

  • Tracked down all the references for my homework (with the help of a librarian at Hamilton — thanks Glynis!)
  • Managed to remember some statistics.

Three More Years!

I’ve been officially reappointed! Corollary: I get to go (officially!) on sabbatical for the next academic year.


149879171_8e339d2fc0_bIn 2004, I adopted a cat who was about one year old and weaning her second litter of kittens.  Moo, named for the sound she made, was first rescued by friends Chad and Tiffany from a kill shelter.  When I met Moo, she dropped her kittens in my lap and took a nap while I looked after them.  Then, she came and gave me a headbutt.  It was love at first bonk.  Once her kittens were old enough to be adopted out, she came home with me and my partner at the time.

Moo is arguably the greatest cat in the world.  She’s fluffy, she purrs, she talks, she knows tricks.  I adore this cat.  In grad school, I had a dream that I physically gave birth to her (probably a product of the stress of grad school and the comfort she provided when I got home feeling bad every day).  Moo keeps me humble — every once in awhile, she places a hairball right where I’ll step in it.  Moo keeps me stylish — I find tasteful accents of cat fluff on every outfit.

For those doing the math, Moo’s about 13 years old.  She’s in excellent health; last year, she had a dental surgery to preempt future problems.  Other than that, she has never had a major medical procedure (aside from spaying).

Sometimes, things as a pre-tenure professor get a little overwhelming.  On the toughest of days, I know I can rely on Moo to sit on me and purr until I get out of my funk.

So, here’s to Moo!


The Definitive Guide to my Cats, part 1 1

For some reason, there is a growing segment of the campus population that is interested in my cats.  Far be it for me to deny the public what it wants.  Here’s a quick guide for those new to the craze.

Cats: Moo, Sophie, and Tipper
Ages: 13, 8, 1.5
Sexes: Female (spayed) × 3
Rescued: 2004 (Colorado), 2008 (Nebraska), 2015 (New York)

Follow the #cats tag for more information.  Coming up: Moo’s biography.


Milestone: Turning in my reappointment file after 5 semesters at Hamilton.

One of my friends called the process “self-irritation inducing.”

And now we wait…


The MAA knows how to throw a birthday party, that’s for sure. This year’s centenial MathFest was, ahem, badass.

I’m sure everyone has her favorites, but here are my top three:

  1. Seeing my people!
  2. Karen Smith’s invited lectures & the associated special session (see below)
  3. Minicourse 6: Flipping the Classroom

Anyway, I also had a wonderful time with the other speakers in the Concrete Computations in Algebra and Geometry session (organized by Karen and Sarah Mayes-Tang).  In case they’re useful, my slides are on the web: View Slides



Last day at Willamette

Today, we wrapped up the REU (on-site, anyway). Each group gave their final presentations, and then we had a final round of root beer floats and games.

It’s been a lot of work to be an REU mentor, but it’s been equally fun.

In the next week, I’ll wrap up a few thoughts about the REU and post a link to our final product.  But for now, it’s time to get to the airport and start my trip back to Hamilton.11796288_810594664931_1043389845773208963_n