Friday, December 1, 2023


It was the last twenty or so minutes of first period on the Friday before Thanksgiving break. (I saved all my subbing stories for when school was back in session.) My class of six was working quietly. (We had spent the first half hour of class or so reading the current section in the textbook.)

An announcement was made to the whole school. "Teachers, lock your doors..."

Lovely. We were on lockdown.

I removed the blocker from the door as it was already closed. As no students were out using the restroom, it was just a matter of waiting. 

Because I am a sub, I don't get school-wide emails. I asked Ms. P (the instructional assistant who does get the emails) if something had come through. As she told me nothing had, a student informed us that she had learned (via her sister) that someone had hopped the fence onto campus. (The description was a male Hispanic not wearing a shirt.) 

We heard a helicopter overhead. From the classroom, I could see the front of the school. Deputy sheriffs arrived through the front gate. Ms. P got a photo from her daughter showing the outside of the school with police cars lining the curb. Another student got a message with the description of the incident posted somewhere. 

We waited. 

At about the point in class when the students usually clean up, a couple of them got up. 

"We're on lockdown. We're not going anywhere. Get comfortable."

They still put their stuff away, but the teacher had some games in his cabinet, so two girls got out an Uno deck. 

Then, at about two minutes before the bell would have rung, Alvin (who had clearly been not aware of anything) put on his backpack and headed for the door. I repeated my explanation that no one was going anywhere until the situation had been resolved. (Although I couched it as good news. I let them know that we were losing time in third period as they always give us the full break when something like this happens.)

Suddenly, Alvin was not happy. (He had been oblivious before. He also had had a restroom pass shortly before the lockdown was called.) He wanted to leave. Although, his complaints were mild, and they only lasted a short time.

The sound of the helicopter stopped. 

There was a knock on the classroom door. Because the room has windows, I saw a couple sheriff deputies outside. Before I could get to the door, security opened it from the outside. (That security person actually used to be a cop. He told me this on the day my car battery was stolen.) 

They were checking the room for anyone who wasn't supposed to be there. As no one had come in or out, I gave the all clear.

A couple minutes later, the principal made an announcement over the PA system.

A passing motorist had seen someone hopping the fence and called authorities. The individual was a student. A female student wearing a tan shirt. 

(Oh, you should have heard the howls during the following snack break. They were not pleased.)

The end of the period was called. They got a snack break (which is the usual after first period) and then they were on to third period (we have a block schedule). 

Students hopping the fence is a problem, but I am unclear as to why a student would hop the fence to get onto campus. (They usually are leaving.) Sure, they have to go through the office, but it's not like we don't know they're late anyway.

Ah well. We had to have some drama on the Friday before the break. It isn't a proper day before the break otherwise.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Walks Like a Duck

Thursday (before Thanksgiving break). Fourth period.

Onyx: "I'm not high. But my keyboard is moving."

The computer in question was sitting stationary on the table.

This is my second full week in the class. I have Onyx in two different classes. She's been pretty mellow. But on this day... 

Not high? I doubt it.

She started off by telling another student to back off. (He didn't want to listen. He felt it was his duty to not give up and help Onyx with whatever it was that was bothering her. In this I intervened letting him know that this was not the time to push.) So, to keep the peace, I had Onyx sit closer to me.

It was a drop drill day, so when Onyx got under her desk, she accused it of stabbing her in the back. (She fell on one of the table legs.) How one can fall when one is sitting on the floor... 

She spent the rest of the period listening to her music. There was a bit of seat dancing. But I don't think she got much of the actual work done.

Not high? Perhaps. But something was definitely going on with her.

And she can't understand why she has a D in the class. (I attempted to explain where the problem was, but she didn't quite grasp my explanation.) 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Caught Unprepared

Wednesday. (This was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving break.) It was the end of first period. And the kiddos were standing at the door, waiting for the bell.

Instead of itching to get out, they were looking outside in horror. It. Was. Raining.

Me: "You all remembered your umbrellas, right?"

They looked at me blankly.

Me: "This has been all over the news. They've been forecasting rain for today for a week. Do you ever check the weather on your phones?"

They were all in long sleeves. Some had sweatshirts on. Some had hoodies. They weren't going to freeze. But they were going to get wet. 

Ah well. Maybe they'll learn.

We even got thunder and lightning.  The next period a lightning bolt struck so close that it knocked out the school WiFi for a bit.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

A Different Bible

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder. 

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news. 

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements 😉

What if something that you wrote ages ago was now being used as a foundational text for some religion you only just found out about? (I won't specify what you wrote. It could be a diary. It could be a story of some sort. Nor will I specify where this group is located. They could be here. They could be extraterrestrials.)

Monday, November 27, 2023

Starting Over

When I started crocheting the Ruffle Tree, I had an idea. I could take a picture each day after I finished bands for the tree, thereby documenting my progress. (I took pics of the first two bands, but not in place, a couple weeks ago.) 

Those first two bands: 

I had this idea after I had completed two more bands. So, I took the first picture, and then I placed the second two bands and took this second picture: 

You'd think me taking the two pictures in the same sitting would make the pictures look similar, but no. Sigh.

I took the project to work. I have one of those assignments where I have a lot of sit around and watch the kiddos work time, so I needed to keep my hands busy. The great thing about bringing crochet projects to work is that I can drop them in a second and help a student when they need it. Then I can pick the project right back up.

I was able to complete two bands a day. That's great progress.

Then, the Friday before Thanksgiving break, I took a look at the last band I completed, and I realized something. I made a mistake. 

(I omitted a round. In each band. Because rounds 2 and 3 are the same, somehow in my head I didn't realize I had to do it twice. I think I might have gotten it right initially, but by band 5, I was just omitting that one round as a matter of course. Until I stopped and looked at the pattern. Sigh.)

And, I decided that I was going to have to start over. 

It wasn't just the error that caused the decision. Missing that one round isn't terrible, although having that round does make the tree look better. (I've since this done them correctly, and I can see the difference.) As I was working those bands, I realized a couple other things.

First, I realized that there was a better way to cast on each band. Rather than using the usual chain and then doing a round of single crochet, foundation single crochet would work perfectly here. It's stretchier. And it makes it neater. (Although that round isn't really seen.) 

Once I discovered the mistake, I thought it would help me not make that mistake again. I was wrong.

Then, the other reason starting over was necessary, was that I was going to run out of yarn. The yarn I was using was vintage. And I could tell that I was going to run out of yarn before I could finish the project. There are ways to introduce a different yarn...

But, if I wanted to remake the cast on anyway, and I had so many that I had done wrong, I might as well start fresh.

So, I did.

I anticipate this not taking all that long to complete. I started my second try on Thanksgiving Day. And other than forgetting that one round (again!) it went pretty well. (My first try was practice. Kind of like swatching.) 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Best Laid Plans

Right around Halloween, I started thinking about Christmas. Planning. I even found some yarny things that sparked my interest

And I started my Christmas shopping. 

(I used to do way more making of Christmas gifts, and that'll happen again in the future, but for the last couple years I just haven't wanted to.) 

For the most part, it's not hard to keep things a surprise. I do most of my shopping online. Shipping things to me is not an issue.

The only time I need to be cautious is when I am ordering things for my roommates. 

I don't have to be cautious, per se. I tend to be the one that picks up the mail. And when packages are dropped at our front door, I get them unopened. 

I decided this year I'd get them pajamas. (I think the major influence on this was a pajamas sale I saw at one of my regular online shopping haunts. I gave them pajamas a couple years ago for Christmas, and they were a hit.) 

I put in the order. I even got myself something so I could show it off as what came in the package. (Not that they were likely to question it, but I was being especially sneaky.) 

I watched the online tracking, and I knew when the package would arrive. (The tracking said Tuesday, but it hit the L.A. area Sunday night, so I knew it would arrive Monday.)

I got home from work on Monday evening, and I did my usual. After getting inside, one of the first things I do is get the leash and take the roommate's dog for a walk. As Buttercup and I were heading out, I saw my package right outside. I tossed it inside as me and the dog continued on our way.

Usually Luisa is not home yet, but she had stayed home sick. The other roommate is usually home (she's retired) as she was at that time. 

When Buttercup and I returned from the walk, my roommate admitted to an oops. And it was the last oops I wanted to hear.

Luisa had opened my package. 


The one time it made a difference.

The other roommate had asked Luisa if she was expecting something. She was. No one bothered to look at the name on the package. Mine. 


As soon as Luisa realized it wasn't what she was expecting, the package was put in my room. And considering how clothes are folded and packaged, I doubt that either of them even paid attention to what was inside.

So, I tried to hide my horror and hope that they didn't catch on. They didn't seem to, but we'll see. 

I mean, this is not usually an issue. Ever. The one time...

I just had to share this with someone. Because I can't tell them, at least until we exchange gifts. Then it'll be a funny story. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thankful 13

As this is a vacation week for me, I am on my "summer schedule". (Subbing posts return next week.) I spent way too much time trying to come up with a topic for the Thursday 13, but then the obvious choice occurred to me. 

I mean, Thanksgiving? (Sometimes I wonder about myself.)

So, yeah, 13 things I am thankful for, in no particular order:

1. Vaccines. While I did get Covid (for Christmas last year), I was very fortunate to get what felt like a cold. Have you had your flu shot? Your updated Covid booster?

2. Time off. It's so nice to have a week off of work every so often. And it's only four weeks after this until winter break.

3. Streaming services. I've been lamenting the lack of ideas on what to watch on TV, but that's a me problem. There are so many things I could watch. It's just a matter of choosing. Currently, I'm working through Doom Patrol. I'm open to suggestions on what I should watch after I finish this.

4. Hulu got PBS. I accidentally stumbled upon this a week or so ago. One thing I missed when cutting the cord was PBS. I love NOVA. And the Ken Burns documentaries. There are a couple other series that I like to catch. (Miss Scarlet and the Duke.) There's even a knitting show that shows up from time to time. But I had to use the app, and that was awkward. But now, it's streaming along side all the other channels on Hulu, and that's just wonderful. I'm so thrilled.

5. I'm caught up at work. Well, for the moment. That could change. (I must say these things so the universe doesn't get any ideas...) Normally when I'm doing a long-term subbing gig, I would be using any time off to try to get caught up with things (lesson planning, grading, etc.). But when I left school Friday afternoon, the Monday we return was ready to go. The grading is up to date (except for the kiddo who turned in a packet just before the end of the last period, but that's a problem for next Monday). And anything I need to do can get done on the Monday we return.

6. Ice cream. Yeah, ice cream. I'm grateful it exists. 

7. Chocolate chip cookies. Okay, now I'm just making myself hungry. But if ice cream doesn't appeal, I can turn to chocolate chip cookies.

8. A cool fall. We've had years where it's still blazing hot in October. We've cooled off nicely this year. Sure, we had a bit of a rain scare last week. (Rain's not necessarily scary, but they were promising days of rain. We got one day.) But I've put away the Capri length pants and I'm almost ready to change out my bedding to winter sheets. 

9. I have someplace to go for Thanksgiving. It would not be fun to just cook for me, and I really do enjoy a turkey feast. (I probably won't be around the internet today, but I'll likely be back tomorrow.) 

10. Scheduled blog posts. I write these usually on Sundays (although most of this week's posts were completed earlier). Then I set them to post through the week. It simplifies a lot to not have to write blog posts all week long. 

11. Knitting/crochet projects I've started. I'm glad to have something in progress. Starting things just takes so much mental energy. It's nice to have things to work on.

12. My water tumbler. I have this insulated tumbler I bought from Target a couple years back. I have it constantly beside me at home. It's filled with water. I like how it keeps my water cool all day long.

13. Today's topic. I really, really had no idea what to write about today until what I'm thankful for popped up. This is the last blog post for this week that I needed to complete, and now it's done. I'm quite happy about that. 

(Yes, I have a post scheduled for tomorrow, but I wrote it several days ago.)

What are you thankful for?