Thursday, January 31, 2008

Still Hands

I must be getting better. My knitting is calling to me.

I haven't knit a stitch in nearly two weeks. For someone whose hands tend to itch when inactive, two weeks of stillness is notable. But I haven't felt the loss. In fact, I've barely noticed it at all.

But yesterday I started to notice. I picked up one of my projects just to touch it. I felt the soft yarn under my fingers. And then I put it right back down. I got busy with other things.

Right now I'm watching a senior English class take its final, and I'm imagining a strand of yarn weaving in and out of my left hand. And I'm remembering that since I got this cold (flu?) I have not knit anything.

I miss it. Finally. I must be on the mend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No Seating Charts

I don't think full time teachers realize how much we subs actually do need seating charts. I understand why they might not. They know the kids. But if we're walking in completely fresh, how are we supposed to know who is supposed to sit where?

Yesterday I had a chance to talk with the teacher before the day. She was going to be on campus all day. She apologized for not having a seating chart, and I was obliged to wing it.

She walked into class at some point during the day, and sure enough, a couple students were not in their proper seats. (This got them into trouble, not me. Hey, they were warned that she might stop by.) And when two boys attempted to later switch seats (blatantly in front of me), I made sure that the teacher knew of it. (I wouldn't want to be either of them today.)

Kids always try to get away with something with a substitute teacher. We need all the tools that we can get to combat this.

Monday, January 28, 2008


It's been a while. I know. I've been sick.

Last week I only worked two days (Thursday and Friday). This week I'm hoping to take it easy. This cold/flu thing hit me pretty hard. And the weather hasn't helped. It's been cold and rainy the whole time.

At least I've been getting easy assignments. I really need them. I haven't had the strength to battle classes lately.

It's nice when you get just what you can handle.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Substitute Torture

This morning I was at the mercy of the early morning wake up call. So, I was happy when the phone rang at 5:50 AM. The sub caller asked if I was available. I said I was. Then the sub caller told me who she wanted me to cover.

I've been subbing a while. So, I know of many of the teachers. The name I heard this morning? I audibly groaned. (I would have turned the assignment down if this month wasn't as light as it has been.)

Middle school band.

I came in to find what I expected--no lesson plans and only a video tape sitting on the teacher's desk. (Insert scream here.)

The video was boring. I can usually find something to interest me in most education-related videos, so for me to say that this one is boring is to say that the thing was really dry. So, my job was to keep order when I couldn't even keep their attention. And remember, these are middle schoolers, which makes the job that much harder. Yikes!

Well, at least it's Friday. And I'm getting paid today. And it's a three-day weekend. (Can I go home now?)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Checking In

You know the feeling you get when you walk into a room and all conversation stops?

Today I was covering a photography class. (Yes, they still have them. They still shoot in black and white. And they still use film.) This room had the traditional darkroom setup. The teacher had broken them up into four groups. One group was processing film, the second group was printing pictures, the third group was out of the room taking pictures, and the fourth group was in the classroom doing bookwork.

I played a superficial supervisory role. I had to walk around and make sure that they weren't doing anything stupid. So, I'd go into the room where they were printing pictures. It took time for my eyes to adjust, so I pretty much stood there for a minute and watched them. And then I'd go into the room where they were processing film.

Processing film is a rather dull business. In total darkness, one must transfer the film to a small canister. Then chemicals are put into this canister. At this point the lights can be on. So, one must sit while the first chemical does its job. Then one pours that chemical out and replaces it with another (this process repeats a couple times). This takes most of a class period.

Basically, the students were sitting in a room, waiting for the moment when they had to do something. So, the teenagers spent the period in various conversations. I'm pretty sure.

See, when I'd open the door, they'd all stop talking and look at me. I'd come back ten minutes later, and they'd all be in the same spots, and the room would echo with cut off words. It's not like I was eavesdropping. I just needed to make sure that they weren't trying to burn the room down (not likely, but I had to be sure).

The looks I got! You'd think I was trying to get them into trouble or something.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Blame It on the Migraine

Today I had a middle school computer class. At five minutes before the bell, I reminded each class to "save", "print", and "log off". Well, all but one.

School ends at the same time each day. This time is tattooed on our brains. 2:33. So, why did I think that at 2:33 I was to call for clean up?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought that we were getting out at 2:38. I don't know why. The dismissal time hasn't changed in years. So, I was waiting for 2:33 to call for clean up. Then, at about 2:30 I realized my mistake.

I have no good excuse. I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I zoned out or something.

Though, I wasn't feeling too hot yesterday. I had one of my migraines. And I'm not right immediately afterwards. It usually takes me about three days to get back to normal.

So, that's it. It's not my fault. It's the migraine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shameless Plug

Things have been dead, subbing wise. It's the time of the year. They all just got back from two weeks off, and so the teachers are all working. Either that or the sub caller doesn't like me, and since that would be a very bad thing, I choose to believe that nearly no one has been out.

So, I've been working on other things. I have a little etsy shop:

That's about it for my shameless plug. Please check out the shop. I appreciate your business.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Chocolate Ice Cream

Yeah, it's winter. This is not the time to be talking about ice cream. But I'm going to anyway. I haven't been working, so it's this or nothing.

I'm not a big fan of Food Network, but I do like the show Good Eats (and I was happy to hear that Alton Brown's contract has been renewed for another 3 years). Occasionally I try some of the recipes, and they usually turn out pretty well. And so when he did his premium ice cream episode, I was drooling. I had to try it.

My first attempt was a fiasco.

So, I dreamed of another ice cream freezer. I found one that I liked, and I asked for it for Christmas. And I got it.

I made the recipe on Saturday. I put it into the freezer on Sunday. And the freezer worked like a dream. It was supposed to take 20-30 minutes, but it only took 10.

I've been enjoying the ice cream for a couple days now. It is so smooth. It is so chocolaty. It's so nice when things work like they should.

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Past Rainy Day

I'm sitting here at the computer keeping an eye on my potatoes. I don't want them to boil over. So, while I'm here anyway...

I was thinking about a previous January 4th. I don't remember which year it was, but it had to be nearly 15 years ago. While today the rain was only threatened, on this January 4th the rain was coming down in torrents.

What I remember most is driving in that mess. I had spent the day over at my father's. But come dusk I had to leave and go to my retail job. I suppose I could have just called in sick--I was having a massive migraine--but I was being responsible and I went in anyway. And a drive that should have taken no longer than a half hour took me nearly twice as long.

To keep myself entertained I renamed all the streets. The rain was so bad that they were no longer streets. They were lakes. So, that's what I called them--Lake Brookhurst or Lake Harbor (streets in Anaheim, CA, in case you're interested). And I had to be careful to stay on the dry parts of the street. I was afraid that I'd get stuck in the flood waters.

All of this turned out to be a pointless waste of time. There was no one in the store that night. More than half the employees called in "sick", and we had maybe three customers. Oh wait--I was one of those sales. That makes it two customers. Not enough to merit even having the lights on, I'd expect.

I'm no longer in that job or even in that city. And it looks like the promised rain has finally started up. All I've got planned is to finish dinner and to start on my next knitting project. But this time of year I often think of that January 4th. This time, I get to watch the rain and not be in it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Early Morning Fright

Oh my! I saw the skunk!

There is a skunk in the neighborhood. The distinctive odor of eau de skunk permeates the air every so often. But honestly, when I don't smell the skunk, I don't think of the skunk.

So, this morning after returning home from my New Year's Eve out, I went out to retrieve the mail as usual. I noticed the scampering creature but didn't really see it at first. By the time it registered to me that it was a skunk, I was viewing its back end as it was scurrying away from me.

It was black with the very distinctive white markings. Its tail was in the air--a black tail framed in white. I saw all of this as the skunk jumped off the sidewalk and into the gutter. Then it disappeared under the sidewalk into a storm drain.

Very carefully I continued on my way to the mailbox, traversing the sidewalk right above where the skunk had disappeared moments earlier. Then I practically ran to the mailbox and returned to my home just as quickly. My heart was racing, but luckily the neighborhood stink bomb did not return.

I'm sure glad Pepe Le Peu picked flight over fight. I don't even want to think about how I would have gotten rid of skunk stench in the wee hours of New Year's Day.