Tuesday, May 31, 2016


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

Do you ever watch Masterpiece Classic? There are in the final season of Mr. Selfridge. By the time you read this, the season and the series will be over (although I bet you'll be able to find it on some streaming service eventually). In a recent episode, one of the characters did something that had me scratching my head. So, I thought I'd throw it out there...

What if a long time good friend died under suspicious circumstances? Something has made you suspect another friend of having something to do with it. How would you confront him/her? Would you confront him/her? What would make you think you'd be safe around that person now?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Unforeseen Complications

Last week, I showed you the trial glove for the request I had gotten... 

Today, I totally planned on having the final pair to show off. But things didn't go according to plan.

I bought snaps for the closure on the wrist as that's what the pattern called for. I had the bright idea to finish up both wrist bands and sew on the snaps before finishing off the rest of the glove. This was a brilliant move, but not for the reasons I expected.

See, the snaps did not work.

They looked sloppy...

And when you unsnap them, well, they work, but they feel like they're going to tear off.

It's really hard to show this in a picture, but if I could hand this to you and have you unsnap the snaps, you'd see what I mean.

I tried crocheting a bit more on the ends, but that didn't help. And while I started thinking about what to add to reinforce the snaps, I realized that this was way too much work for something that was supposed to be an afterthought at the end of the project.

This is why trying this now was brilliant. I would have lost my mind if I had finished two whole gloves and the snaps didn't work.

Using buttons was suggested. It meant I had to start over, because I would have to put a buttonhole in the wrist band. But as I hadn't gotten much further than the wrist band anyway...

Ah, much better! Of course, that means that I spent Saturday redoing wrist bands rather than finishing gloves. And that means I have no finished gloves to show you (as they haven't been finished yet). But there's always next week.

* * *

And finally, one month short of a year ago, I shared my sister-in-law's GoFundMe with you all. From that post:
Heather, my sister-in-law, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in April 2012. She has an aggressive form of MS, and she needs help for her best treatment option... (Go here for the full post.)
That took her to Panama in July of last year. Since then, I've been trying to get her to do another interview to update you all as to her progress, but with one thing and another...

The GoFundMe has been updated this weekend with what's going on right now...
Short version:
Heather’s health has rapidly declined over the past 4 months. She is currently back in Panama getting another round of stem cell treatments. She’s been there for a week and will be down there for a total of 3 weeks.  
Full update:
February was 6 months from the stem cell treatment in Panama. A routine MRI was scheduled to keep tabs on Heather’s progress. When she got a call from her doctor and was asked to come in for the results, we knew there was a problem.  
The MRI showed that she still only had the one lesion on her pituitary gland, but there were indications that something much worse was ahead. What her doctor saw was the precursor to something called Schilder’s disease. This is an extremely rare type of MS that has only been diagnosed in 99 people in 100 years. Heather became number 100... (Go here for the full update.)
If you could share Heather's story with your social networks, they would greatly appreciate it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Mess

I've seen these things on the campuses for a while. Most of this school year, in fact. It's a snack size plastic bag full of red goo. And the students eat this stuff. 

In class. 

I clamp down on them when I see them. Because it's food and they're not supposed to be eating in class. And, it's a big, gooey mess. 

(Students eating in class is generally a bad idea, because they tend to leave their trash everywhere. Add in sticky red goo...) 

So, of course, naturally, some boy managed to get a big red blob on a desk. I made him clean it up, which was difficult as there were no paper towels in the room. Luckily, it was passing period. (This was the only reason he had the mess out in the first place.) 

As I had a captive audience (as he took out a sheet of notebook paper to sub in for a paper towel), I finally had a chance to ask my burning question: What the heck is that stuff? 

It's gummy worms in a slightly moistened Kool-Aid mix. 

I looked it up. Apparently, it's a thing. You can find the recipe online... 

So, um, yeah. If you're into that sort of thing, try it out. Although, I wouldn't recommend it. Not unless you don't mind red sticky fingers and goo that gets everywhere.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Where You At?

Last week, I talked about Alec not being able to log into Odyssey to do his assignments. I thought it went without saying, but some of the comments made me rethink my position. Alec did not forget his birthday. He was trying to get out of doing anything by playing at not being able to log in. Little did he realize that I'm the type of sub who will find a way...

One of the issues with Odyssey is that it "locks out" the students periodically. It's either the "test" assignment or the student has to redo something before they can move on. This is not a big deal for the teacher, as she can just go in and fix the issue so the students can continue working.

However, when there's a sub who doesn't have access, the students can get "locked out" and be stuck. For an entire period (or, in this case, two). Which is bad news for the sub, as the students tend to get into mischief when they have nothing to occupy their time.

Earlier this school year, Ms. R taught me how to override many of the lockouts. So, when the students actually got to work and found the usual issues, I went to work making sure they could continue (and not slip onto slither.io).

In the second hour (they have her for two periods), the lockouts started to mysteriously disappear. Ms. R, in her lesson plan, had said she'd clear things from home, but when she wasn't doing that in the first hour, I did. When I realized that she was doing that, I logged off.

Alec was flummoxed, though. It was clear Ms. R was doing this, as she was sending all the students messages (telling them what they got wrong so they could fix it).

Alec demanded to know where she was. I told him to ask her. So, he typed in: wya

Me: Does she know what that means?

Alec: Probably not.

Me: Then you'd better explain.

Alec (typing): where you at

Ms. R (message): At home. Sick.

The next day, I saw Ms. R, and we discussed the class. She told me she had planned on clearing out the Odyssey lockouts, but she fell asleep and didn't wake until the second hour. Then we got to Alec.

I was right. She had no idea what "wya" meant. She only responded because he clarified. For some reason, she was impressed that I had been standing over him during that whole exchange.

This is when she told me that Alec had turned in a lot of assignments that day. So, apparently once he gets started, he makes progress.

I learned something important that day (for the next time I cover these classes): the password to log them into Odyssey is the same password they use to log them onto the computer. (So, since Alec could get on the computer, he was totally faking not knowing his password for Odyssey.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Two Weeks Later

Remember "More Non-Readers"? I was scheduled to cover the same class. Again, we were on block schedule, so I again had second period for two hours.

Oh, you should have seen the look on their faces when I got there... Priceless. (This is good. It means they know I'll enforce rules. Ernesto groaned. "We won't be allowed to talk.")

The assignment: write book reports for the books they were reading last time.

We went over the book report form. I gave them some time to "discuss". Then, just as I was about to call for silence, the fire alarm went off.


"Fire alarm? We have to evacuate." Ernesto was eager to go. In fact, in less than a minute, the entire class was gone.

I lingered. First, I needed to grab the class roster and the evacuation envelope. Second, most of the classes in my immediate vicinity weren't evacuating. This wasn't the school with the fire alarm glitch, but I recognized the lack of movement. Sure enough, other teachers were urging everyone to get back inside.

(The PA speaker in the classroom was broken. A neighboring teacher told me the "do not evacuate" announcement had been made.)

It wasn't long before kiddos returned. All of them. There's a point when it's obvious that the alarm was false.

Ernesto: "Why are you angry? It wasn't our fault..."

Funny that he would think me angry. At that point, I was just trying to get their attention back so that I could get them back to the task at hand.

At least they got a bit of a break before they had to buckle down and get to work.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Talking to Gravity

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

On The Flash a couple weeks ago, Barry Allen ended up "inside" the "speed force"... Okay, it's kind of a long story, especially if you don't watch the show.

At one point, Barry talked to this personification of the "speed force" and likens the idea to talking to light or gravity. And that got me thinking...

What if some of the fundamental forces and phenomena were like modern gods? Like, there was a Light or a Gravity that one could find? (I was trying to think of some others. Sound? Magnetism? The strong or weak atomic forces?) What would they be like? How would they interact with us? With each other?

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Request

At the last farmers market I attended (on Mother's Day)...

I received a request. One of the other vendors had seen something on Pinterest that she just had to have.

So, after some searching, I found the pattern on Etsy. (I wouldn't recommend this pattern, by the way.) I just finished the first one on Saturday...

And I let her try it on on Sunday...

I need to make a couple modifications, and then it'll be done. (So, I'll be making two more in addition to the one I made just to try out the pattern.)

I never would have even looked twice at this if she hadn't requested it. It was kind of fun once I got the hang of it.