CAROL'S BLOG

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!
Sunday, August 12, 2018
It has been an excruciatingly slow start to getting my Calculus book online. I ended up getting GIMP to help with the image processing; there was a lot of bleed-through from scanning that looked horrible, and couldn't be fixed in Paint 3D. GIMP is incredibly powerful, but not simple to use for someone (like me) who isn't skilled with graphics programs. For example, it took me hours (total, over a couple days) just to figure out how to change the color of a paintbrush (sigh)! (You double-click on the foreground/background tool; trivial once you know how.) Then, there's the sheer massive time involved in scanning hundreds and hundreds of pages. We tried to use a paper feed feature, but the pages got rotated. I've decided to put my copyright and web site URL into the header directly in the TeX file, and let TeX load the images, so there will be very little processing needed on the final pdf files in Adobe. I've just about finished the second chapter, and now that I've got all my tools and systems in place, I'm hoping it will go much faster!

Thursday, August 9, 2018
I'm getting my Calculus book online! I wrote this (and taught from it) when I was fulfilling one of the requirements for my Doctor of Arts degree, at Idaho State University. Ray was successful in recovering the TeX files from my old floppy disks. I downloaded TeXWorks to process the TeX files and get the viewable pdf files. I scan the hand-drawn images from a printed copy of the book that I have from my ISU days. Then, I use my ‘snipping tool’ (desktop app) to cut out the desired images. I'm using Paint 3D (as needed) to clean up the images (if they're smudgy) or straighten them (if they need a slight rotation). Then, I insert each image in the correct place using Adobe Acrobat XI Standard. It took me a full day to get Chapter 1 (five sections) online, so I suspect it will take me a couple weeks to get the entire main text and the supplemental Student Solution Manual online. But, then I'll have a complete Calculus course online! (I think that) I'll eventually create the same sort of web pages (with unlimited online exercises and worksheets) like I have for Precalculus. But, for now, this will complete a full high school curriculum. Hooray!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Phew! I finished the concept discussion for polar coordinates. Check out the gorgeous graphics in this one—they took me a long time to get just right!

Thursday, August 4, 2018
I updated my monthly stats for July.

Thursday, August 2, 2018
Making good progress on polar coordinates. It's a pretty long one!

Thursday, July 26, 2018
A lot of time this month has been spent fine-tuning my headers, digital products, and mathematical cats. I want to make some money from my decades of work, and I also want my materials to be freely available to the world—unfortunately, these two goals can compete with each other.

Also, I've been working on an elaborate crewel embroidery piece that I discovered when I was cleaning out my parent's Nielsen Lane house—I believe I started it about four decades ago! It's a charming little cottage, so I decided to turn it into ‘Pebble: the house that Ray built’. I designed and made my own macrame/cardboard circular frame for it. I've also started my section on polar coordinates.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018
I updated my monthly stats for June (first month with my digital sales and book sales).

Sunday, July 1, 2018
I've finished the web exercises for Shifted Conics.
These took me a long time—lots of other stuff going on, and check out the variability in cases 4, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18! These took me a long time to code!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
I've finished putting in the code to support the ‘mathematical cats’ in all my lessons! Hooray!! As usual (whenever I have to step through all my lessons)—this was a BIG job! Makes me truly appreciate what I've accomplished over these last two decades.

Loading crossword puzzle . One moment please.

Saturday, June 23, 2018
I've now put the code to support the ‘mathematical cats’ into all my lessons through Algebra II. On to Precalculus (tomorrow)!

Friday, June 22, 2018
Well, I finally turned into Ms. Meanie. I made the image previews for my original cat book and algebra book sufficiently small that you can't read them online. I need to encourage people to buy either the printed or digital version—after 20 years of effort, it's important that I make a little bit of money from my over 11,000 hours of work. I've learned that people just won't pay for something that they can get (or read) for free.

Thursday, June 21, 2018
I've successfully published the algebra book, without the negative numbers. As per their recommendation, I also removed the negative numbers from the original cat book. Today, I wrote customer service again asking if I can include the negative numbers for preliminary pages as alternate numbers: have both (say) ‘i’ and ‘$\,-4\,$’. They said no—no negative page numbers, period. Sigh. Drat. A bunch of my users are bummed about this—and of course, I'm the saddest of all.

I'm putting ‘mathematical cats’ at the top left of each of my concept sections, with the text floating to the right. (ALL of my lessons, so it's going to take me several days to finish.) Right now, I only have three ‘test’ cats (from the covers that Olga drew for me), but soon I'll have $\,70\,$ more! They'll load randomly as a page loads, and add interest/charm/color to my pages. I'm so excited about this!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
I'm sure they have their reasons, but I'm so bummed—Amazon KDP has disallowed negative page numbers, which I had used for my preliminary pages. They kept rejecting my algebra book, so I wrote to customer service, who then contacted technical support—and I got this verdict. They also told me that I should re-upload my original cat book, getting rid of the negative page numbers there, or it might be flagged and removed in the future. Sigh. It was one of the cool, original things in my books, and it makes so much logical sense. So, the people who bought the book right away now have a very special limited edition, with the preliminary pages being the way they were intended to be!

Monday, June 18, 2018
I finally finished databasing everything I own!! (My own stuff—that I brought into this marriage—plus some other things that I've acquired since then, or that I use regularly). This is a project I began in January, and have been chipping away at for about half a year. I'm SO HAPPY TO BE DONE!! Now, when I want to know where something is, I can just pull up my database (Excel), which I keep on my desktop, type in what I'm looking for, and know right where it is!

Saturday, June 16, 2018
Well, I clicked the ‘Publish’ button on my Algebra book at KDP Amazon! It's in review. I didn't bother getting an author's proof this time, because I now trust the reliability of the online preview, and I like the publishing quality. Now, users will have a choice for the language ideas—with algebra (the cat-in-hammock book), or not (the cat-on-swing book)!

Monday, June 11, 2018
The first two book purchases showed up on Amazon KDP; I believe these were the two purchased moments after I posted on Facebook (they were purchased by an Amazon Prime member, who gets free 2-day shipping). So, they can really get these printed and shipped quickly!

I've added watermarks and password protection to all my course materials pdf files. I'm discouraged (yet again), because since I put the ‘please click here to buy’ info at the top, I've still had hundreds of downloads, but not a single purchase. Sigh. I'm paying \$24/month to get the ‘buy now’ buttons, so I at least want to make enough digital sales each month to cover that cost!

Sunday, June 10, 2018
MY ORIGINAL CAT BOOK WENT LIVE ON AMAZON!! I'm so excited!! It's available in a world-wide market. You can ‘look inside’; they show part of the first chapter. I posted on Facebook, and on the header on every one of my pages. Ray bought the first copy!! We DID get free shipping (for orders over $25.00)!! SOOOOOO EXCITED!!

Saturday, June 9, 2018
I clicked the ‘Publish’ button! My original cat book is now under review (could take up to three days) before it goes ‘live’ on Amazon. I'm so excited! I'm so close to being a published author!

Thursday, June 7, 2018
I've finished the concept discussion for Shifted Conics.
I've also put some jazzier colors and a (random) welcoming message in my header.

Monday, June 4, 2018
I've made two sales of my Algebra book (single pdf file for \$10.00). So exciting!
I've finished the page that collects together all my Math Course Materials. This was a lot of work.
My author's proof copy of my original ‘cat’ book is on the way, from Amazon KDP self-publishing. Once I check that it looks good, it will ‘go live’! Also so exciting! I have an ISBN number!

Saturday, June 2, 2018
I updated my monthly stats for May.
I'm still continuing progress on attempts to gain some income from this site!
I'm compiling course materials (prerequisites/objectives/syllabi/sample final exam questions) that may be helpful to teachers as they prepare their math courses.
This has been a great opportunity for me to gather together course materials from over the years.
I've finished with Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II so far; on to Precalculus and Calculus!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
I'm continuing progress on attempts to gain some income from this site!
Here's where people can buy a pdf file of my Algebra I course.
Here's where people can buy a pdf file of the original ‘cat’ book.
I also took my cycling slides game and moved it to a separate page (and then link to this page from my header).

I discovered the other day that if you google ‘Geometry/Algebra II/Precalculus prerequisites’ then my pdf files (from back when I was teaching at Miss Hall's School) come up first (or very near the top)! I'm trying to take advantage of this. I've learned so much about editing pdf files with Adobe Acrobat! I've only got Geometry done so far, but I'll do the same for Algebra II and Precalculus over the next few days.

Also, my cover art for self-publishing the original ‘cat’ is back from Olga! It's gorgeous! I'll be getting an author's copy to check it before it ‘goes live’ on Amazon, but I'm really close to having that book for sale!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Working hard at adding some digital ecommerce to my site, to try and get some steady income.
I purchased DocuFreezer to turn my existing pdf files into jpegs, so I can post (pretty large) ‘thumbnails’ and then try to encourage people to download the pdf file for \$1.00, for the ease of reading/printing. Teachers have permission to make as many copies as needed for their students.

I'm learning how to edit pdf files in Adobe Acrobat XI. The pdf files I have were created with $\,\TeX\,$ a long time ago. I have the ability to take text and make it into a hyperlink, but nothing visible is showing to indicate it's a link. New feature not supported by browsers yet, perhaps?

I found a free online resource where I can combine several pdf files into a single file, so I can (say) bundle together my sections and solutions into one file to sell.

I did quite a bit of research, and decided on SendOwl to handle the selling part. It's not free, but it's a reasonable cost; I'm on their 30-day free trial right now. The human interface is exceptionally good.

There has been a caching issue with my computer which is really annoying. When I create/edit/upload in Visual Studio, my changes often don't show, sometimes not until hours later. Makes it really hard to edit things! Pressing F12/clear cache/refresh works, but it's rough to have to do that frequently (over and over and over again).

Saturday, May 19, 2018
Had fun writing up a new (optional) section: Laurel, Yanny, Cookies, Bananas, and Clocks. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
I just finished what I'm calling the ‘color wave’ quilt! Made from 2" x 2" scraps for Julia and Tony; it has ‘waves’ of red/pink, orange/yellow, green, blue, and purple. First quilt with my new sewing machine! First quilt ever in my life that I've actually quilted; I used a wave ruler. In the past, I've done tying, stitch-in-the-ditch, and quilting individual squares (using my embroidery machine), but I've never had the equipment to do any real patterned quilting before. It came out great! Also, my entire fabric collection has now been processed—everything has been sorted by color into neatly-stacked big pieces, 2" squares, and two shoe boxes of neatly-stacked small scraps for mini-landscape quilts. Hooray!!!

Monday, May 7, 2018
I (finally!) finished the web exercises for Reflecting Property of a Hyperbola.
They took a long time... and, I've been distracted by my new sewing machine!

Thursday, May 3, 2018
I updated my monthly stats for April.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
I finished the concept discussion for Reflecting Property of a Hyperbola.

Monday, April 16, 2018
I don't want to lose track of these life-size lego blocks. So cool!!
I've started the concept discussion for Reflecting Property of a Hyperbola.

Saturday, April 14, 2018
A couple of the sewing projects I've been working on with my new machine:

A ‘tutorial cover’ for my
Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400QCP sewing machine

fabric toilet paper roll covers
(I like to leave a few rolls
on the bathroom floor in Pebble.)

The correct table insert for the Janome universal sewing table is on order.

I'm having a ball learning all this machine can do! It's incredible! I bought a circle attachment that makes the big circles on the tops of the toilet paper roll covers—as long as I use stabilizer, it works like a dream!

Yesterday, I finally got back to work on math! (I've been away wayyyyy too long.) I'm working on the concept discussion for the Reflecting Property of Hyperbolas section. Should be soon now!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
I updated my monthly stats for March.

Monday, April 2, 2018
I bought a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400 QCP sewing machine from Cathey's Sew and Vac in Tucson. Got a fantastic deal with Janome's spring sale (and then Cathey's making it even better)—30% off the MSRP, a free utility table (\$599 value), and a free 9400 upgrade package (with four utility feet, \$99 value). I researched for about 1.5 weeks to decide on the best machine for me. So begins an entirely new era in sewing for me!! I'm so excited!!

Saturday, March 31, 2018
I spent the week cleaning/organizing Art's trailer. Ray did (and is still doing) loads of work on it, too. Now, Art has good heat and air conditioning, toilet, shower, water (hot water on the way), refrigerator. I made him all new curtains (the old ones disintegrated when I tried to wash them). It is clean, clean, clean; it was completely emptied out and only necessary things brought back in and organized. I'll go in once/week and provide ‘maid service’ as we move forward, so it will stay nice. Hooray!!!

I want to keep track of this link for embroidery designs: Anita Goodesign. She has some beautiful designs (pricey, though).

Saturday, March 17, 2018
I completely finished organizing and databasing the Holiday Trailer!

Also, in my never-ending quest to find useful things to do with my cardboard boxes and fabric scraps, I made some fabric-covered cardboard blocks. They came out great!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
I finished the exercises for Graphing Hyperbolas.
There are 32 different cases, so this took me a long time!

After many years thinking about this idea, I finally made a ‘pi’ mini-quilt (it's only about 10 inches on each side).
Each fabric type is a different digit; it goes top to bottom, left to right.
I used buttons for the decimal point and the ‘dot, dot, dot’ at the end.
Notice the first appearance of the digit zero in row six, column four:
this is the smallest square configuration that displays all the digits (zero through nine) at least once.
I'm pleased with how it came out!
Eventually, I'll do other numbers, too!


Thursday, March 1, 2018
I updated my monthly stats for February.
I've now finished databasing both the office/craft room and the kid's loft.
I've already had many opportunities to use the new system, and it's working great!
Had a wonderful family birthday dinner for Joshua (age 23) yesterday!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
I had a week with my daughter Julia at the Viva Fest circus competition in Las Vegas—her lyra routine was incredible!
It was wonderful to catch up on ‘easy’ visiting time. Hooray for long car rides!

I've almost finished making seat covers for our chairs (the original upholstery was wearing through).
I'm pleased with how they've turned out.

Monday, February 5, 2018
I finished the concept discussion for Graphing Hyperbolas.
I've removed the chat feature, due to lack of interest from users and difficulty in responding to math questions via email (with text-only formatting). Also, the few questions I did get looked like homework problems, and doing homework for users was not my intention. My hope had been that users would comment on what was working and not working for them on a given page, which would help me to improve the exposition for my audience. Ah, well! It was worth a try.

Thursday, February 1, 2018
I updated my monthly stats for January.
I've also archived my blog for 2017.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
I used the free version of MyLiveChat to add a chat feature to each of my lessons! I was very discouraged with my short test of me being available in real time—had to ban users and abort chats due to inappropriate (X-rated) content. Even a question I thought was legitimate ended up with me being called a very bad name. Based on this experience, I changed the chat tab to read ‘Have a question?’ and I'll reply to questions via email.

Over the last few days, I've added several things to my ‘header cycle’: info about me (with Fun Facts link), Pebble tour, Sentence Shuffle as a prototype for active reading exercises, a link for Doug and Shay's CD, more products. In the nine days since posting this new header, I haven't had a single purchase of any highlighted Amazon product, but my Amazon sales do seem to be up a little (hard to tell), so I may be being successful in getting more people to Amazon.

Friday, January 26, 2018
Well, I've got my first mobile test up! Check out this section and notice the buttons at top where you can switch between MOBILE (text/images only) and DESKTOP (full functionality). This is my most popular page; I'll see if I get any positive/negative comments from users, or if this seems to affect my stats at all, before implementing it on any other pages. I'm trying to make it easier for users on mobile devices to use my content.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
I finished going through all my pages, to check that my new header design didn't inadvertently ‘break’ anything.
Made some good edits along the way.
I added a Google AdSense ad just above the footer on all my pages.
I know it won't be as effective as at the top, but this way it isn't a distraction while people are reading,
and I like knowing what the top of each of my pages is going to look like!

Also—exciting, exciting!!—I got our first egg from the chickens today!
I suspect it was Hermione; she seems to be exhibiting more egg-laying behaviors.
It was in the nesting box, just where it was ‘supposed’ to be!
Four of us shared the single egg (scrambled) at dinner (as an appetizer).
It tasted like ... a good egg! Hooray!

Sunday, January 21, 2018
BIG DAY!!!!
I got my new header design up.
I'll be adding more products to my scrollable ads over the coming weeks.
For a few days, I won't have Google AdSense at all, while I'm checking all my pages.
I'm also trying a new donation policy.
Fingers crossed that this new header will help to increase my revenue!

Thursday, January 18, 2018
I finished the web exercises for Equations of Hyperbolas in Standard Form.

I'm creating a database for all my possessions, and improving organization/storage at the same time. It's fun going through everything I own, but it is taking a lot of time!

Thursday, January 11, 2018
I finished the concept discussion for Equations of Hyperbolas in Standard Form.
I decided to have separate sections for graphing hyperbolas (where I talk about asymptotes and the ‘box’) and the reflecting property of hyperbolas.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Happy New Year, everyone!
I updated my monthly stats for December, and for all of 2017.
Julia and Tony came over for a game day recently, and we played ‘Roll For The Galaxy’. Strategic board games are not something I typically do—it felt like a big mish-mosh of random behaviors—I was overwhelmed and clueless! So, I searched for help, and found this fantastic Roll For the Galaxy Tutorial. I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. Although frustrating, I figure that anything that exercises my brain is good for me!

Also, I finished the web exercises for Definition of a Hyperbola.

Blog Archive, 2017
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Blog Archive, 2013
Blog Archive, 2012
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