Monday, November 11, 2019

Dropping a Lifeline

I started this scarf one year ago today. Aannndddd... I'm just about finished. I think.

It's almost wide enough. Although, what is wide enough? It's probably okay right now...

But I could do another pattern repeat. Maybe. Possibly.

Does it look like I have enough yarn for another pattern repeat?

If I had been thinking and planning ahead, I would have weighed the yarn before and after a pattern repeat. Then I could determine if I have enough yarn left.

But no. I didn't. So, I'm eyeballing this, and I'm notoriously bad at that.

I'm going to go for it. I might make it.

But, I'm hedging my bets. I've dropped a lifeline.

What's a lifeline? It's a strand of yarn strung through all the stitches of one round. So, if it turns out I don't have enough yarn to complete the pattern repeat, I can frog it back to the lifeline and bind off.

I may have enough yarn, though. In that case, all I have to do is pull the lifeline out.

Wish me luck. By the time you read this, I might already know if I made it. The next time you see this scarf, it will be finished one way or the other.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Grading Me?

It was Friday. Twelfth grade English. The school is starting a study hall period, and this was the day all the teachers were to explain the concept via PowerPoint to the students.

This is new to me, too. We did not have study hall when I was in school. I have heard of it, but I've never experienced it first hand.

Of course, I was informed about all of this when I checked in that morning.

My job is pretty much winging things with no prep whatsoever, so I wasn't too concerned. I had access to the PowerPoint slides. I know how to work the in class projector and computer. 

Yes, reading the slides to the students is dreadfully dull, but what else could I do?

So, the class came in, the slides were loaded, and the projector worked. I even had a group that sat quietly while I droned on. Success!

I was about five minutes into it when the door opened. In walked an assistant principal and a counselor.

Administrators walk in from time to time. They may be doing a dress code check or they may be looking to talk to a student for some reason. But this time they just stood in the doorway and watched.

Eeek. I didn't know I was getting graded.

I tried to up my game, but I was doing the presentation cold. And the slides were pretty detailed. There was nothing for me to add to make things more interesting.

The administrators were there for a couple minutes before they left. That's when I breathed a sigh of relief.

It is likely that they were making sure everything was working. But in my mind, I felt as if they were watching and judging. And I was sorely lacking.

We always judge ourselves way more harshly than the world sees us.

The administrators said nothing to me. So, I'm sure it was fine. It must have been fine, right?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Dancing AP

Some days are just strange.

It was Thursday. Halloween. I ended up covering Spanish. (The teacher had taken the Spanish club to Olvera Street for Day of the Dead celebrations.)

Fifth period was an AP (advanced placement) class. The lesson plans had them "joining" their class on the CollegeBoard website (which, of course, hit some technical glitches) and then going outside to practice their song.

Luckily, the smell of wildfires wasn't as bad as it had been earlier in the day. And the winds had died down somewhat.

When I saw "practice their song", I assumed they'd be singing. But when I finally joined them outside, I discovered it was a dance they were doing.

A couple students got stuck "joining" the class. First, most of them had to create an account, and they had the usual issues with the log in then not working. You'd think kids that age would know all the tricks, but they had the same issues we all do with these things.

This dance? They were really bad at it.

Apparently, they were to perform it the next day. So, they badly needed the rehearsal. Things did not go so well.

They were not in sync with each other. A third were at any given time not doing what the others were doing. And until someone started calling out the steps, most kinda stumbled through the whole thing.

Deep sigh. At least they were aware of how not ready they were.

What dance were they doing? I bet most of you are familiar with it...

And in this video? They're way more in sync than period 5 ever got. (The first minute and a half is what they did. At the two minute mark, they switch into the fast version. Period 5 attempted the fast version. Train. Wreck.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Change of Plans

"Oh good. You're here."

This was a rather strange greeting from the secretary, especially as I was pretty early.

She explained that I was listed as there for a half day in the afternoon for a teacher who had no idea she was out. But before I had a chance to freak out, the secretary said she had another gig for me.

A biology teacher had called in sick that morning.

Considering that my job is filling in for absent teachers, you'd think that I covered classes for sick teachers all the time. Not really. But it does happen occasionally.

Since Mr. E had called out that morning, he left no lesson plans in the classroom. Nor had he emailed them. Luckily, I know who his wife is. Her classroom is directly across from his.

Alas, he had not sent lesson plans in with her either. But after a couple phone calls, I was set for the day.

I kind of hate bothering a teacher when he isn't feeling well and could really use the rest. But, I walk into these classes cold. I have no idea what they're doing. And I'd like to not have it be a wasted day for them.

Luckily, the students were finishing up lab work and such, so it was a pretty easy day, once I knew what to instruct them to do.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


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. 😉

One day I sat down to write a bunch of "what if?" questions to get a bit ahead on the blog. A theme emerged...

What if extra terrestrials were to reveal themselves to us tomorrow? What if they revealed that they had just arrived to our world? (That is, all the previous sightings of UFOs and Area 51 and such were proven to be hoaxes--or at least not done by them.)

Monday, November 4, 2019

An Old Crocheted Friend

Last week I got a special request via my Etsy shop for a water bottle carrier. Remember my water bottle carrier? I wouldn't be surprised if you don't as I haven't talked about it here in years.

She asked for orange (so I was stoked), and it turned out like this...

It's been so long since I made one that I had to look up the pattern. I could not find it in my notebooks anywhere. Luckily, I had posted it to the blog. It may still be the top post over in the sidebar under "Popular Posts". It's been in the top position for ages now.

I have a couple of these of my own that I pull out for special occasions. Most of the time I keep my water bottle in my bag, but if I don't want to carry my bag... So, it is a useful thing.

And it doesn't take too long to finish one up. Unlike infinity scarves that I've been working on for ages...

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Hall Pass

Seventh grade history. They had bookwork.

It was second period. A student grabbed a huge trophy and headed for the door...


"That's our hall pass," another student informed me.

The thing was massive...

I've covered this teacher's classes before. There used to be something way more reasonable. I recall a shoe.

"Someone lost the last pass, so now this is what we use," the student continued the explanation.

Um, okay then...

Once I was up to speed, I found the whole thing rather funny. And totally in the wheelhouse for this teacher. In fact, the trophy says it's a hall pass...

Mr. F's Hall Pass

(The sticky note was my addition as I don't reveal real names on the blog.)

So, for the rest of the day, when a student asked to use the restroom, they wrestled this unwieldy thing out the door (the closed door, which is hard to open while lugging this), and then returned in a similar manner. The thing is taller than most of the kiddos!

There is a certain genius to this. They can't go gallivanting around campus with this behemoth in tow. And it's not like it's going to get misplaced.

I may have to tell other teachers this idea.

Generally, when kiddos ask to leave class, we write them a pass on a specific official pass paper. Some teachers have created reusable options so they don't have to continually write them. They are generally small enough to be easily carried. (Some teachers have a sense of humor about it. One teacher has a toilet seat. Another has them carry a toilet brush.) This trophy was unusual enough to merit a blog mention.