Monday, March 30, 2020

Lemonade, Part 2

I finished the scarf/shawl that I've been working on since January.

My math turned out to be correct. I did finish off the third skein with a scarf about 66 inches (168 cm) long. So, as I explained last week, I used that fourth skein (with its color a little bit off) to do a little border thing on the top and bottom.

It's kind of hard to see that the edges are just a little bit different. So, success. I managed to make it all look deliberate.

Once I finished off the top and bottom, I single crocheted around the whole thing. In the above photo, you might be able to see how the edges are just a little bit different. But it looks good, and I'm happy with it.

And because it was requested, here I am wearing it, so you can get an idea of what it looks like on a person...

There you have it. My Christmas presents for 2019 are now all finished. All that's left is to get this into the mail and to my sister-in-law. Just in time for spring...

Friday, March 27, 2020

An Opposing View

The schools around here were closed last week, so this story is from the week before last, in the biology class.

This was the same day that I had to make that long hike across campus. The period before, second period, I showed that video to them about Darwin and Wallace.

Before I started the video, I passed out the video questions, and I read through them so they would know what to look out for as they watched the video.

From the back, I had a question. "What if you don't believe in the theory of evolution?"

Deep sigh.

I wish I could say that I made an impassioned plea to keep an open mind. I might have explained how scientific theories have to be rigorously tested before they gain general acceptance, and those studied in high school are pretty well recognized. I could have argued that it never hurts to study opposing viewpoints to make sure one's views are sound.

But from experience, I knew none of that would help in the moment.

I told Travis he had to do the assignment anyway.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Denied Late Entry

The schools were closed last week, so this story is from the geography class I covered the first week of March.

Freshman geography. Tuesday. Fourth period.

The two worst periods of the day were third and fifth. Second period was lovely. Fourth period fell somewhere in between. Most of the class was pretty good, but these were ninth graders (fourteen-year-olds). They're only nominally more mature than eighth graders. And I say eighth graders are evil for a reason.

Calvin was one of those who hadn't done much work on Monday. He did more playing around than class work. So, I was not terribly shocked and slightly grateful when he was late on Tuesday.

The school has a very clear tardy policy. There's a grace period for about ten minutes at the beginning of first period, but every other period if they are late, they are sent to tardy sweep.

There's a six minute passing period, and the classrooms are fairly close together, so there really is no reason for being late to class. If they're held up by another teacher, a hall pass allows them to enter late. And I'll always allow limping kiddos or kiddos on crutches to leave a class early or enter the class late.

Third period ended. During the passing period, the classroom door was open. Students arrived for fourth period. The bell rang to start fourth period. I went to the classroom door to close it.

Several yards away, Calvin was making his way to class. But he wasn't close. And he wasn't running. (And he wasn't injured.)

So, I closed the door.

I went to begin class.

That's when Calvin reached the door. When he found that it was locked, he kicked the door and pounded on it, too.

Usually, the locked door is enough of a hint for the students to know that they are to go to tardy sweep. Some may knock. But what Calvin did wasn't a knock. What Calvin did was assault against a door. However, the pounding was loud enough to disrupt class, so I went to open the door.

Calvin attempted to go around me and get into the classroom.

A big component of classroom control is having rules and sticking to the consequences of breaking them. I have let late students into class in the past. It rarely goes well. Usually, letting the tardy sweep policy slide is a cue to the kiddos that it's play day, and I have a hard time getting them to do anything other than disrupt class.

However, when I enforce tardy sweep, I have a much calmer day.

So, I blocked Calvin's attempt at entry, telling him, "Tardy sweep".

He was not happy. Some swear words were used. At me. That's not the way to make me rethink letting him into class. I felt no guilt at making him leave.

And then I went to start class.

Fourth period was much nicer than it had been on Monday with Calvin gone.

On Wednesday, Calvin was in class a good two minutes before the bell. He wasn't much better behaved than Monday, but at least he made it to class on time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Keeping On

I'm bored.

I know I'm not alone in this. And, in fact, I have been keeping busy as much as I can. I finally took my pile of shoes and made some order out of them. My blog is caught up.

But there are other projects I'm not doing. I find myself staring into space for no reason. I'm making monster progress on Candy Crush.

What is it about having time that makes us waste it?

I've been hearing that some people are putting out their Christmas lights again. Might as well, I guess. But I have yet to see this in person.

On Saturday, I went to a park for a walk. We are still allowed to go out for walks, and a lot of people are taking advantage of the time. I mean, it's good for us to get a bit of exercise (especially since the gyms are closed), and fresh air helps after being cooped up.

The park was fairly busy, although we did keep our distance from other groups. And on this walk, I noticed something interesting. Someone (or probably a family judging from the differing handwriting) had taken sidewalk chalk and wrote messages every few yards along the path.

These were encouraging messages, such as "Stay Calm" and "Breathe Deliberately". I, of course, did not have my phone with me, so I didn't take any pictures. (Mental note: bring phone on walks for pictures.)

I wonder at this group that did this. Are they writing messages all over town? Were they just bored? Or was it just a bit of nice to unleash in these uncertain times?

It's totally something others can duplicate. Feel free to steal the idea for your town. (That is, if you can get sidewalk chalk. If you don't have it on hand, you'll have to find a store that sells it that's still open. Probably doable, and you probably have the time to search.)

This photo wasn't in the park, but it was the same idea. (And I didn't think to take the photo until after dark, so apologies for the quality.)

Those are my shoes peeking in from the edge. I was going to crop them out, and then I thought I rather liked that they were there.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

To See

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. 😉

What if your vision suddenly changed?

(The Tuesday "what if?" posts were all scheduled back in February. But I'm going to let them run to remind me of more carefree times from before the plague.)

Monday, March 23, 2020


As of Thursday, L.A. County is officially "safer at home" and the state of California is "shelter in place". And this is in effect until April something. (I won't believe an end date until they tell us it's ending tomorrow.)

I finished the periwinkle beanie in time for last week's post, and it made it to my niece on Wednesday. So, at the moment I only have one 2019 Christmas present still outstanding, and that's the huge scarf I'm making for my sister-in-law.

I originally bought two skeins. At the end of the first, I measured and calculated, and I figured I'd need two more skeins (four total) to make it the length that SIL wanted. I went out and bought one more skein.

Why not two? Well, the shortfall was going to be about six or seven inches, and I thought that'd be close enough.

But then I got to thinking. I could crochet a border around the whole thing. That would give it more of a finished look, and I'd have enough yarn with another skein to do that, as I'd only need just a bit of the skein to finish the full length.

This all occurred to me at about the time they closed the schools.

I ventured out on Wednesday to procure another skein of the yarn. Just in the nick of time, it turned out. Yarn stores are not "essential businesses", and they're now closed for the duration. (I knew it was going to happen eventually, so it was a priority to me to get that done sooner rather than later.)

Alas, while they had the right colorway in stock, there was a noticeable difference.

(This is why we're always urged to purchase enough of the same dye lot to complete the project.)

The one on the left is the skein that's attached to the project. The one on the right is what the store had in stock. (And yes, I dug through to try to find another that looked more like the one on the left.)

What to do? I have an idea. I'll show it off once it's done. Hopefully it'll look deliberate and will work. Time will tell.

Has anybody got any good projects going?

Friday, March 20, 2020


Last week I covered a biology class Tuesday through Thursday. On Wednesday, I was sent to cover a math class on the prep period.

I have covered this teacher's classes before. Mr. D is a special ed. co-teacher, so I was working with Mr. R (who I've written about before) for that period.

As soon as class began, Mr. R asked who had been absent the day before. They had had a test, and the absent students needed to make it up.

One of the students who had been absent the previous day was a special ed. student who takes his tests in a different room. (It's a common accommodation.) As I was covering for the special ed. teacher, I got to go with him.

The testing room was being used for an IEP meeting (which was the reason Mr. D was missing class, as he was the special ed. teacher in it), so the student had to go elsewhere.

As we were on our way to the library, I realized I knew a classroom that wasn't being used that period. And I had a key to it.

I asked Martin if he wanted to go to the library or if he'd rather take the test in an empty classroom. He asked if I was sure it was empty. In fact, once we got there, he was still hesitant to enter until he saw for sure there were no other students there.

Turned out, I had Martin in my sixth period class, although neither of us realized this as he had been absent Tuesday. So, he was familiar with the room.

He took a seat and got to work. And I proceeded to do the things I would normally do on a prep period. I had some stuff to pick up off the students' desks. I updated my note to the teacher. I read some blogs...

Oh, hey, I was keeping an eye on Martin. It was a test, so there wasn't much help I could provide. He was working. There was no one to bother him. He had a couple questions that I answered. But mostly I left him to it.

But still, it felt like cheating. I basically had the whole room to myself, and it felt like a prep period. But I was paid for having worked it.