I'll be going to Rome again this weekend. Mom wants me to buy a pair of sneakers while I'm there so I can walk, and Andy thinks it's a good idea. Maybe if the pair is more comfortable than my current one, I'll bring it home and take the current set back to Rome in October. I'm mostly waiting now for when we can afford to get some custom sneakers made by a man who specializes in shoes for diabetics. Yes, my case was caught very early and very little damage has been done, but I'd rather do what I can to prevent them. Besides, the thought of shoes which fit without needing to be broken in is nice.
Andy received something called a Zome system from his parents for Christmas. It consists of color-coded struts and multi-holed balls. The struts are set up such that blues have rectangle-shaped connectors, the reds have pentagons, and the yellows have triangles. There are three sizes of each color. The balls themselves are all identical and mathematically precise -- they have holes for the different shapes at the ends of the struts, and once you figure out the relative sizes, you can make complex structures.
He had mentioned several times that he'd love more, and today he got his wish. More to the point, he got a greenline expansion kit which has green struts that somehow or other fit where others don't (he hasn't opened the jar yet, so we're not sure), and blue-greens which have connectors like greens but are blue-sized. He also got what's called an advanced math kit, which is the biggest possible Zome kit plus greens and blues -- his comment was that he could make a living-room-sized structure with the 1306 pieces.
Finally, he got a kit which allowed him to make a super-scale model of a BuckyBall, which is 60 carbon atoms in the shape of a (drum roll please) ball. BuckyBalls are often used in computer graphics demos at UNC, and are cool for several reasons. One is that they were discovered in 1985 by mistake in a contaminated study. Another is that they're the most recently-discovered form of carbon, joining the older known forms of graphite, diamonds, and coal. Anyway, Andy put his BuckyBall together tonight, but is saving the rest for when he finishes his dissertation. I have pictures which I hope I can post before I head for Rome.
Andy's sister's birthday is on the tenth, and we'll be sending her gifts the day I leave for Rome. Andy made an origami peacock to go into the origami box which he initially made to hold the mosaic pin I made for her. Mosaic stones can look like quilts (this one does), and Erin is making a name for herself in quilting. I have no idea if she wears pins, but hopefully she'll like the stone at least. I gave a similar mosaic pin to Andy's Mom for her birthday, and she seemed to like it.