Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Sunshine Award

JEFritz at Still Writing... gave me a little award...

...a week ago. It's been one of those weeks. Thanks. I'm so honored.

Well, anyway, I'm supposed to:
  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them. 
  • Write a post about it. 
  • Answer the questions below. 
  • Pass it on to 10 bloggers who you think really deserve it and let them know.
Points one and two done. Point three:
  1. Favorite color: Orange and purple. Yes, two. I like to wear orange. A lot of orange. It's my signature color. So, most people would be surprised to find that my living room is painted purple. 
  2. Favorite animal: Depends on the situation. I'm partial to felines (I'm a Leo. It's practically a requirement.) But I am kind of partial to this bear.
  3. Favorite number: Just one? I'm kind of obsessed with 11. Then I'm partial to 13 (Friday the 13th is such a good day for me). And, well, 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink: A chocolate shake.  
  5. Facebook or Twitter: Depends on the situation. I can take either. 
  6. My passion: Passion? I don't think I have one of those. I'd best go out and find one...  
  7. Getting or giving presents: Giving. I'm a knitter. It's all about the making of it and anticipating how well my hand knit will go over. Although, I don't knit for everyone. It has to be someone who appreciates getting a hand knit item. (Some people don't like knits, and I get that.)
  8. Favorite pattern: What kind of pattern? At the moment, I'm knitting everything using the Saxon Braid (see image below).
  9. Favorite day of the week: Tuesday.
  10. Favorite flower: I've never really been a flower person, so I'll say rose and be done with it.
Saxon Braid on an eReader Cozy
As for point four, I'm going to have to get back to you. I've been in a more keeping up with mode lately, so sometime in the next week or so I'll come up with a list and edit it here.  

I hope you're all having a lovely Saturday.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Sci Fi World

I watch a lot of TV. There's something I notice. It's so prevalent that I think we've become inured to its presence. We all have one, and now every show uses them incessantly.

The cell phone.

With the advent of smart phones and tablets, the stuff that characters on contemporary procedurals do rivals some of the gee-whiz geekery on sci fi shows of a different era. What would they make of it all?

Well, since it wasn't that long ago, we can call them up on their cell phones, text them, tweet them, or just post the question on Facebook.

Have you ever thought that we're living in a science fiction world? The things we can do now. The technology that we have access to. Access and information that at one time would have been hard to find is now at our fingertips.

I like to sit back and marvel at what's now possible. Am I the only one?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wasting Time on the Internet

Have you heard of StumbleUpon? I learned of it a while back, but lately I find I spend a lot of time there.

Basically, you set up a list of what you like. Then the site randomly picks sites in that topic for you. Don't like the site? Click the "stumble" button, and a new site pops up. (I guess you can follow various people, too, but I haven't figured that part out yet.)

I use StumbleUpon a lot more now that I've signed up for Pinterest.

Pinterest (in case you haven't heard) is a place to "pin" images you find on the Internet. There have been a lot of concerns over how the site uses these images, but they are updating their Terms of Service, so maybe that'll allay any fears. I'm not sure if Pinterest is a good idea or not, but I'll continue to play with it until I know there's a reason not to.

During one of my StumbleUpon sessions (looking for good images/links), I found a site called Wanelo. It's like Pinterest except it's specifically for items you can buy. (You can post product images on Pinterest, but you're not necessarily looking to shop when looking at those images.) Also like Pinterest, you can see the stream of recently uploaded images. That's how I happened upon some cool iPhone cases.

The Internet is such a time suck.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I've started adding websites to StumbleUpon for others to find. If you'd like, I'll add yours--your blog, your author site, or anything else you might want to promote. (I can even add stuff to Pinterest or Wanelo.) I just need to know what site and how you'd like me to classify it.

Also, I'd like to follow people who I (virtually) know on any of these sites.

Got a site you want me to add? Ever heard of Wanelo? Or StumbleUpon? Or Pinterest?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Missing Pencil

Sean brought up his textbook to show me a picture where the man looked like Bruce Willis. I laughed. Sean went back to his seat. 

Then Sean retraced his steps. He patted down his pockets. He looked under a couple desks. He accused another boy of having stolen his pencil. 

Me (without emotion): Did you steal his pencil? 

Student (to me): No. (To Sean): Racist. 

(Note: both boys were white.) 

Sean was starting to get frantic. I knew the pencil had to be somewhere. I asked if it had fallen into his backpack. Sean went to check. He scoured his desk, looked through the textbook and a notebook, and looked under his desk. Nothing.

Someone suggested that it was on the wall. So, Sean turned towards the wall and felt to see if someone had hidden it behind a paper. 

That's when I saw it. When Sean's back was turned, two girls gave each other a knowing smile. One passed something to the other, and both feigned innocence when Sean turned back around. 

I watched and waited. 

When Sean was again distracted, the pencil was passed farther along the back of the class. Sean caught on that the girls had something to do with the pencil's disappearance, but now the girls no longer had the pencil. Sean turned my way. 

I pointed towards where the pencil had been headed. 

The girl who had it at that point threw it across the room. Sean retrieved it, and then he went back to work. 

I suppose I should have been more upset. I would have been, but the class was doing the assignment. They even finished it. It was one of those mellow days where the students weren't that much trouble--at least when they weren't pranking each other. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Confusing the Cat

The continuation high school stars a half hour later than the other high schools in the district.

This morning I got called at the usual time. I was told to go to the continuation high school, but there was a caveat. There were a lot of teachers out today (really? on a Friday? sorry for the sarcasm...), and the sub caller wasn't sure if she was going to be able to cover them all, so if she couldn't, she was going to have me go somewhere else. Um, okay...

It was way too early for me to get my head around this. Normally, I'd remain in bed for another half hour, but if I got switched, I'd end up being late. So, I got up and got about halfway ready, and then I sat down and checked my email, blogs, Twitter, et cetera. Waiting and wondering.

That's when I heard the cat meowing outside my door.

She greets me every morning when I leave my room. I assume she hears me get up as she doesn't wake me on the mornings I don't get called (most of the time). She likes to dart in front of me as we descend the stairs. One of these days she's going to end up with a glass of water splashed all over her, but that's another story...

The sub caller did call me back, but only to tell me that she thought she had it all covered. I was glad she called, though. I needed to know the name of the teacher I was to cover.

It was a crazy morning for her. I was more curious than concerned.

So, I had another twenty minutes to kill before I had to move. The cat continued to complain. It was too much trouble to get up and open the door.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Herding Instinct

The continuation high school held their annual career fair today. Over the course of the morning, the students got a chance to hear presentations by various recruiters. Others set up booths where the students could learn more about options for after high school.

The fair itself was pretty much over with a half hour left in the school day. The students were obligated to stay, but it was considered their lunch.

In previous years, the students would stand around complaining about having to wait until the end of the school day. Today, however, the students had something to entertain them. One of the booths was from a local DJ school, and the DJ was playing music in the stage area outside.

A crowd gathered. Various students got up on the stage and busted out their best dance moves. The office staff got out cameras and recorded video of the proceedings. (I so wish they'd post it on YouTube. I think that it will end up on the end-of-year DVD that goes along with the yearbook.)

It was nice to not have the students complaining about having to wait around. They were having a good time.

Then two students headed for the gate. They were followed by a dozen more. And suddenly, the entire stage area emptied as the whole student body went for the gate.

I turned around and checked the clock. They still had three minutes left. That was time for another song!

They all stood there, in front of the locked gate, and waited. As soon as the final bell rang, the gate was opened, and the school grounds emptied as fast as they usually do.

I couldn't stop laughing. Who had decided that it was time to leave? And then they stood there. Waiting. Hilarious.

It's the little things that amuse me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gone Missing

Last Friday, I covered a 10th grade world history class. They were to watch the last half hour of a movie.

The teacher clipped an extra note to the lesson plan. Three students did not have permission slips from their parents, so they were not allowed to watch the movie with the rest of the class. They were to be sent to a neighboring class. Then I was to retrieve them once the movie finished.

Rather than deal with the one student who had to leave while leaving the 30+ who didn't with nothing to do, I started the movie each period, and then I went to make sure the student who needed to leave did. (The first scene seen was innocuous, and they'd only see a couple seconds of it, if that, while I got them situated.)

The student in the second group made sure to alert me right away that she needed to go. We found her alternative assignment, and she was gone within a minute or so. The student in the third group was even more vocal. I took roll after the students left, and another student in the third group called me over to make sure I didn't mark that student absent. (I wasn't going to.)

It was completely different with the first group.

I started the movie, and as I was doing so, several students asked George why he was still there. Even though my back was turned (as I made sure the DVD started and the sound was at a reasonable level), I could hear George shushing the class.

Once everything was going, I went over to George. (Accurate seating charts are so wonderful.) George lied and tried to claim that the actual George sat one seat over. I reminded George that he had to leave. After asking how I knew, he acquiesced and left. (However, he did not mention the alternative assignment, and as I had not had the cooperative girls yet, I did not know he had one.)

After the end of the movie, I sent a student to retrieve the alternative assignment students. George was not in the room that he was supposed to be in.

(The third girl was not, either, but she did return at the end of the period with her assignment. She told me she was in a room across the way.)

Somehow, this did not surprise me. I wonder what he got up to for that period.

I suppose I should be more concerned. But this teacher is one of the stricter ones. I'm sure George now regrets whatever it was he was doing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Forgetting to Copy the Questions

7th grade life science. The assignment was a review sheet. They were to answer 21 questions from chapters 13 & 14 in preparation for a quiz the next day.

I only had a class set of the review sheet. That meant that I needed to get the questions back at the end of every period so the next class would have access to them. This happens frequently enough that the students are used to the procedure.

It turns out that the assignment was a bit longer than the class period. But I had a solution for that.

At about the last 10 minutes of class, I announced to each class that they should stop working and copy the remainder of the questions so that they could finish them up for homework. The assignment was due the next day. Too many of them didn't seem to be following my instructions, but I gave them plenty of warning, so it's not like they couldn't be expected to finish.

After all the students had left and I was packing up to go home, a student came back into the room. He explained that he hadn't copied down the questions, so he wondered if I would let him take a picture of the page so he could finish the questions at home.

On the one hand, I wanted to growl at him. I told his class to copy the questions. Why hadn't he done that?

On the other hand, he came back to class after school to fix his mistake. He wasn't in the last class either, so that meant that he took the time and trouble to return to an earlier class when he could be on his way home. That demonstrated some responsibility. At least he was thinking.

Both thoughts hit me at the same time. I debated.

Then I remembered one salient fact: he was a 7th grader. I let him take the picture.

Monday, March 19, 2012


"Girl Scout cookies! Get your Girl Scout cookies! Four dollars a box or five for twenty!"

On Sunday I supervised one of my niece's Girl Scout cookie booth shifts. Archer Girl is very motivated to sell. Last year she did a ridiculous number of boxes. I don't know what her goal was this year, but I'm sure she wants to beat last year's number.  

Two weekends ago, we had very nice weather. But at the end of last week, the temperature dropped. Saturday we had some major rain. Then Sunday the sun came out, but it remained chilly.  

It was cold for us. A forecasted 55 degree high is a very cold day around these parts.  

I broke out my heavy jacket. I've never worn this jacket before. I was glad I bought it, though.  

Our location was in the shade. And the wind blew. It was so windy that we didn't take the cookie boxes out of their cases for fear they would blow away. They might have. The wind was blowing that hard.  

Then the first of our three hours was slow. Very slow. We sold a grand total of three boxes.  

It was kind of a pathetic sight. The girls were bundled under several layers. They shivered in the cold. And Archer Girl is on crutches. (She broke her ankle.) You'd think more people would by sympathetic.  

Things picked up in the second hour. I don't think it was the girls looking pathetic, though. Girl Scout cookies are popular. It just took time for those who had not been hit up by another of the many booths that have been set up over the last couple weeks to bump into us.  

My job was to keep a tally of what was sold. At the end of the shift, I attempted to add it all up. My arithmetic skills are kind of weak, but I should be able to count hash marks, right? It was more difficult than it should have been.

Apparently, the cold makes me stupid.  

As we were driving off, Archer Girl asked me if I had seen her gloves. I hadn't. She was sure she lost them. Turns out that I put them in with our stuff without even realizing that I had done it.

We ended up, yeah, I can't recall. 60-something boxes. I was really kind of out of it at the end there.

It's supposed to warm up tomorrow. Maybe then something of my intelligence will return. Maybe?  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quiz Optional

I was at the continuation high school. Again. (I swear, sometimes I think I live there.) Today the subject was English.

They had a vocabulary quiz. 25 words. Matching. It was optional.

If the student got an A, he/she would get a half credit. Being the continuation high school, there were a number of students who didn't study and knew they wouldn't get an A, so they didn't bother. Others were at least willing to try.

Mary was gunning for the thing. She wanted to get started right away. At one point during the quiz, she commented that her palms were sweaty. She was kind of in a panic.

That half credit will be her last. As soon as the quiz is graded and the half credit is credited, she graduates.

She took her time on the thing. She wasn't the last one done, but she wasn't near the front of the pack either. When she handed me her quiz, she wondered if I could grade it. I didn't have a key, but I am familiar with all of the words, so I looked it over. I think she got 100%. (I didn't see a wrong one.)

I told her it looks good. And so it looks like she will graduate tomorrow. I'm so happy for her.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Getting It Right

A while ago, I showed off my cell phone cozy...

Smart Phone Cable Cozy (pattern can be found here)

...and I expressed my dissatisfaction with it. I figured out my issue. It wasn't orange.  

I made my nook cozy with orange yarn.  

eReader Cabled Cozy (pattern can be found here)

I wasn't looking for a matching set. I just wanted a color I like. While the red is nice, it doesn't speak to me like the orange did.  

Unfortunately, the yarn company has discontinued this orange. The closest thing they have to an orange is more pink/coral than orange.  

eReader Cozy in Honeysuckle (for sale here)

Close, but not quite it.

I guess orange has fallen from favor. I found a couple nice yellows, more blues than I'll ever need, the basic whites, beige/browns, and blacks, and some obnoxious purples. (I like purple, but these shades were pretty bad.)  

But then last week I went on a search through my yarn stash. (Purse project. I'll post pictures when it's finished.) And I found a couple small balls of the orange. Hooray!  

Would it be enough?  

There is a way to check. I weighed my red cozy. I weighed the yarn I had. Since the only difference was the color, when I found that I had 1.5 oz of the orange and the red cozy was 1 oz, I knew I could do it.  

I finished the cozy over the weekend. (I am officially out of the orange yarn.)  

This just makes me smile.

I like. What do you think?  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Attitude

This was originally posted June 4, 2007. 

I passed out a test to 5th period. I asked them all to put away everything but something to write with, so when I got to this boy's desk and his stuff was still out, I asked him to put his stuff away. I waited until he did, I said "thank you", and then I gave him his test. As I walked away, he loudly complained that I had not said "please" when I asked him to put his stuff away.

6th period, different class. One boy had his cell phone out (something they're not supposed to do). I said, "Please put your cell phone away". When he argued, I asked him to do it a bit more forcefully. (Him: "I'm updating my calendar". Me: "You can do that after school".) He then accused me of having an "attitude" and he asked to be excused from class to see his case carrier (special ed class).

Sigh. Apparently I have an "attitude". Funny how I only get accused of this when I enforce the school rules.

Monday, March 12, 2012

From My Archives

I've been going through my knitting library and doing a little organizing...

My Knitting Library, currently organized
The magazines used to be all over the place, but now I've condensed them into one bookcase. I can see what I have. I've been collecting magazines for several years now, and as I went through and put like magazines with like, I found a few magazines from the '80s.

I couldn't resist. I had to share...

Feb 1989 cover. Sweater designed by Stitchworx. Photo by Ron Lynch.
I scanned the cover so that I could add it to my Ravelry library. (If you're a knitter or crocheter and don't know about Ravelry, I highly recommend following the link and doing a little exploring. You'll be glad you did.)  

It's been fun to look through these old patterns. In this particular magazine, I had a bookmark still in there after all these years. I think that meant that I wanted to make this...  

Diagonal Knit Sweater. Designed by Sandy Janik. Photo by Ron Lynch.
It's not bad. If I got rid of the ribbing at the bottom, made it a little longer, and changed up the color scheme (I'm not into wearing blue), I think it could work.  

But then again, I'm in the middle of a few other projects that I kind of want to finish. This may just end up in the never-to-be-knit file.  

I've got a few magazines from the '80s. A few from the early '90s. (I started subscribing around 1997.) And I have a couple things I inherited from my great-grandmother (we're talking '60s and '70s, and they are interesting/scary).  

What do you think? Should I continue to share?  

Friday, March 9, 2012

In the Appendix

It was a fairly uneventful day at the continuation high school. Fridays are kind of like that. The only students who attend are the ones who were absent or tardy during the week.

The teacher left them an extra credit assignment. It was a list of different literary terms. They were to look them up in their textbook and then write out the definitions in their own words.

I've seen this assignment before. I explained it to the students.

"Look up the terms in the appendix in your textbook."

Student: "You mean the index?"

"No, appendix."

Student: "Isn't an appendix something that's in your body?"

I attempted to explain that some books may have an appendix as well, but at that point the student found the section with the literary terms, and the point was moot.

(I was just going to tweet this, but I couldn't figure out how to do it in 140 characters and have it make sense.)

I sense a migraine coming. I have new pills. Hopefully they'll help. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I've been watching Through the Wormhole again. I probably shouldn't do this. And while the episode had to do with whether or not we have a finite universe, my mind went in an entirely different direction.

What if we created this universe? And by "we" I mean all of us. Collectively.

That's all I've got. Got any good questions?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crazy Kids

I've had a really good run of classes lately. While this is a good thing, it makes the blog boring. This post is from October 18, 2006, and it was not a very good day...

8th graders may be evil, but 7th graders are crazy. At least, the group I had today was crazy.

There was this one boy and one girl who were just sniping at each other across the room. Just when I'd get him settled, she would shoot at him with some insult (she kept calling him Pinocchio), and then he'd have to respond. (He called her a witch.)

You'd think with the whole room between them they would find someone nearer to fixate on, but no. It was continuous.

I wanted to tell him to just ask her out and get it over with. I didn't. I've done that sort of thing before. But in the end I get more arguments, and I was having enough of those today.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Short Assignment

The lesson plan wasn't very specific. I was to assign some work from the end of a gases chapter. Um, okay... 

From this clue and others in the lesson plan, I was fairly certain that the teacher had some sort of unexpected event, and he didn't have a textbook at home from which to choose problems. I know enough chemistry to wing it, so I found the first gases chapter and looked up the problems. 

But how many to assign? The teacher didn't specify. I looked over the problems. Fourteen seemed a reasonable number. I figured I could finish them in the time allotted. 

Then again, this is my subject. (Well, physics, not chemistry, but the problem solving skills are similar.) Was I overestimating their skills? How many problems would the teacher assign? What would be considered reasonable? 

It's easier when I can just tell a class that the teacher gave them the work, and if they have any complaints to direct them to him. I planned to bluff and let them think that the assignment came directly from their teacher. 

I wrote the assignment on the board. The class said it was a bit long. I relented and took away half the problems. 

They finished in 20 minutes. 

Sigh. I should have gone with my first instinct. 

At least they were the kind of students who pulled out other work when they finished their chemistry assignment. It could have been worse. And then for the physics classes (the teacher had both chemistry and physics periods), I made sure to go with my first instinct for number of problems.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Do Not Evacuate

It was more than halfway through 5th period yesterday. Our video was interrupted by a flashing light and a blaring alarm.

The fire alarm.

I paused the video. And I waited. The rest of the class remained in their seats.

We did not have a fire drill scheduled. At any other school, I would have scrambled to find the class roster. Then I would have started to shoo the kids towards the door. I've been through enough fire drills and actual evacuations (they make us evacuate when we have an earthquake) to know vaguely where to go when this sort of thing happens. (The trick: follow the crowd.)

But not at this school.

The alarm blared for less than 20 seconds, and then it cut out. 30 seconds later we heard the announcement: "Please disregard the fire alarm." I started the video back up.

This sort of thing happens with some regularity. From snippets of conversation and questions I've asked of the office staff, I've gleaned that there is some sort of short or glitch in the fire alarm. It has something to do with the phone system. Anyway, from time to time, nothing in particular triggers the thing, and we're all startled by the flashing light and blaring alarm.

The students have learned to ignore it.

It doesn't happen every day. It doesn't happen as frequently as it used to. But if we evacuated every time the thing went off, we'd be out of class a lot.

If there were an actual fire, the office staff would have to tell us all to evacuate. But then again, when we have an actual evacuation (for earthquakes), we get a confirmation announcement anyway.

Ten minutes later, the fire alarm blared again. This time, I didn't even bother to stop the video.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


"Is there a test today?" 

Most days students ask the same questions over and over. They tend to get stuck on the same problems. By the end of the day, I'm an expert on these. 

There was no test today. There was a video. They have a test tomorrow. It was written on the board. 

I've had days when there was a test scheduled, but due to the teacher's unexpected absence, the test was delayed. I've also had days when the test went on as scheduled. This decision is up to the teacher and is detailed in the lesson plan. 

"Were you supposed to have a test today?" 

Every class answered no. A little too quickly? Perhaps. 

It's not like they needed to lie. I wasn't about to deviate from the lesson plan. 

I had no access to this test. I was only curious. When I know a test has been postponed, I announce this at the start of class: "Guess what? You get an extra day to study." 

Then again, they might have gotten their days mixed up. But every period all day? 

Ah well. Whatever.