Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A Time Traveler's House

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. 😉

The clock in my bathroom is running slow. When I went from there into my bedroom, I lost two minutes I thought I had. (This is a huge deal for me first thing in the morning when I'm scrambling to leave on time.) And it got me to thinking...

What if every room in your house existed in a different time with respect to the outside? (Going from one room to another doesn't seem different, but each room could exist in a time bubble minutes, days, or years apart.)

(I know, I've sort of done this question before. But it was four and a half years ago, and today's iteration is slightly different.)

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Walking Purse, Beta Version

I finally have a finished object to show off.

There's no new news on the bedroom front. We're still waiting on the contractors to fix the hole in the ceiling. I've been in my bedroom for almost two weeks now, although most of my stuff is still sitting in the dining room. Sigh. It's good to be somewhat settled.

I present the walking purse...

In the first blog post where I mentioned it, I was asked "what's a walking purse?", so I felt I should explain.

My father and his wife go for walks pretty much every morning. (Well, barring illness or injury.) They walk for an hour or more.

Several years ago, my father's wife requested a small purse for these excursions. She wanted something big enough to hold her phone and a couple other odds and ends. She wanted it small so she wouldn't be tempted to put anything else in there. And the strap needed to be long enough so that she could wear it across her body.

I made that purse several years ago. It's gotten a lot of wear. Now it's time to replace it. (I know I wrote about it on this blog at the time, but I can't find the post.)

So, I put on my designing hat and got to work. I wanted something a bit more durable. I knew what yarn I wanted to use (and it helpfully went on sale just in time for the project). I ran a few ideas by her. I got most of the pieces done.

And then water poured out of my ceiling, and my projects all kind of stalled.

As things got put back together in my room, I got more work on my projects done. And this week I finished the purse.

It was nice to have three hours to sit in front of the TV and just assemble things. Because I lined the purse (that took a bit of time) as well as attaching the purse strap and button and such.

There are a few changes I'd make to my next attempt. I already outlined those in another post. And the question is whether the phone will go in and out of this purse easily as I stitched up the top just a bit. (There was an issue of stuff slipping out on a previous purse.)

But for now, it's done. That's one more Christmas present finally finished. Only four more to go...

(This is better than last year. I still have two gifts outstanding from 2017. Yup, two gifts over a year late.)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Sex in Scrabble

Seventh grade ELD (English language development, read: English language learners).

The teacher was out on jury duty (first day--I don't know if she got selected for a jury as I worked elsewhere the next day). The lesson plan was a bit of a scramble. This group was to play Scrabble.

If you think about it, it's an excellent way to have them doing something in English. And due to limited boards, the students played in pairs as teams, which meant they were conferring on proper English words.

Things went fairly well. I mean, they got a little loud, but that was to be expected.

Then one group called me over. They were talking as I approached.

"It means gender."

They needed a ruling. Was it okay to play the word "sex"?

Sigh. For that age... But they weren't giggling. It was an actual, reasoned debate. The team that wanted to play it rightly pointed out it had a valid definition that was classroom appropriate.

Considering the tenor of the conversation, I allowed it. They weren't being silly. They were treating it as a word. I appreciated that.

Besides, using X was going to give them issues anyway.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Missed It

It was one of those lovely days that I don't write about. Ceramics. The kiddos were pretty much on task, and my biggest concern was staying awake.

At the end of the period, they went to the sinks to wash the clay off their hands. I was seated next to one. I happened to look over as one boy was washing his hands...

I've been subbing a while. I knew this boy. I'd had him in class several times in the past. He's never made the blog before. He does his work, mostly. He's never been rude to me. He's like 75% of the students I encounter. (Yes, mostly the kiddos are pretty good.)

Anyway, I looked over and noticed... The boy had no thumb on one of his hands. (I think it was the right hand, but at this point I don't recall precisely.)

And all I could think was: how had I never noticed this before?

This boy's a senior. I've probably had him in classes for five years, if not six. I've passed him as I do class walk arounds. I've passed papers to him and had him pass papers back to me. I've called his name on the roll (or asked his name as I did a reverse roll call).

And I never noticed?

Wow. I really need to be paying better attention.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Group Work Fail

Eighth grade math. They had an interesting group assignment:

Each group got a copy of that instruction sheet. Enough info, right? (I mean, even at this size it looks pretty detailed. If you want to see it better, just click on the image and it should get bigger.)

I'm sure you know where this is going...

First period. I briefly skimmed the instructions, pausing on the line, "Facilitator, read and share this with your group before beginning." So, that meant that as a group they'd read the instructions together, right? I was to leave them to go over those directions on their own? That's what I took it to mean.

That's not what happened.

Okay, then, I need to go over the page with them. No problem. Starting with second period and continuing with all the other classes, we read it together.

Now, you'd think that taking five minutes to go over the instructions in detail should be enough. Apparently not.

Not one period followed the directions. They did the math, mostly. But they didn't complete the page the way they were supposed to.

(Group work is a large component of Common Core. And they were preparing for a quiz. The point of the group stuff was to have those students who understood the concepts--triangle stuff--help those that didn't.)

I had them read their individual roles. I explained how the tasks were to be completed again after reading through it with them on the page. As I walked the room, I repeated to the groups how they were supposed to proceed.

Not a bit of it made an impression.

The students who knew what they were doing completed the page. The students who were struggling played around. They would not confer. They did not time anything. They did not work as a group.

I don't know if they grasped what they were supposed to do. It was as if the instructions were too much for them. That, or they turned off their brains the minute they saw a substitute teacher.

Sigh. Well, I tried. I'm not sure if they did.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hearing the Future

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. 😉

I'm back in my bedroom (yay!) after the deluge. It's not quite put all back together, though. There's still a big hole in my ceiling.

The contractors should come in about a week to replaster. Until then, there's a plastic tarp over the guts of my ceiling and the bottom of the upstairs' floor.

This means no insulation and no muting of the sounds coming from the bathroom above me. Which is what inspired today's question...

What if suddenly and inexplicably you could hear everything coming from one room in your neighbor's house from tomorrow? 

(I'm specifying a day in the question, but feel free to change the timing. The point is: what you're overhearing is not happening right now. Because I rewrote this question using tomorrow, yesterday, three years ago, and two years in the future, and I couldn't decide which timing was better.)

Monday, February 11, 2019


If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen my knitting photo for this week...

Aaaaand, that's about all I got accomplished. About five rounds of the infinity scarf that I've been working on since...

*checks Ravelry*

...since June.

I pulled out my knitting. Looked at it. And didn't do a whole lot with it.

I am back in my room. There's a big hole in my ceiling that'll get patched up in the next week or so. Progress.

But my stuff is still living in the dining room until the guys come to replaster the ceiling, so I'm not wholly back in my room. It's great to sleep in my own bed. I have access to all my belongings. But I still feel a bit displaced.

That's probably why I've gotten out the ugly slippers and the walking purse but have been unable to do anything with them. They're at the sewing up stage, and all I want to do is sit and knit.

I even have new pictures of my seasonal earrings to post. I was going to get that listing ready for Etsy. I still will. It just got pushed back a bit...

Friday, February 8, 2019

Not on the Vocabulary Assignment

"What does 'prostitution' mean?"

It was a seventh grade science class. They were supposed to be working on a vocabulary assignment dealing with erosion and weathering (earth science stuff). And mostly they were.

But seventh graders can be easily distracted by random stuff. And even though they weren't supposed to be on their cell phones (I had banned them as they had abused the privilege the day before), clearly something had caught the eye of a group of three boys sitting on the right side of the classroom.

I said something about them having an assignment to complete.

So, the one boy sitting behind the other two looked down at his lap and quoted, "Violators subject to prosecution..."

Oh, so the boy just misread something. Again, not on topic. And we didn't need to go down that particular rabbit hole. I again directed them to get back to work.

But you know they didn't. One of the three had to look up on his phone the word "prostitution"...

I'd've thought they would have heard the term before. Apparently not. Because suddenly all three boys were looking around with wide eyes...

And I made a note of this for their teacher. Because, well, it was that kind of day.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Three Subs

Seventh grade math. The lesson plan warned that the classes had been difficult (this was accompanied by an apology), but I was to have a co-teacher.

Of course, not thirty seconds after reading that, the phone rang. It was the office informing me that my co-teacher was also out sick, and a sub for that co-teacher had not been ordered. I begged the secretary for help. I knew I was going to need it. She said she'd see what she could do.

First period I wasn't to have a co-teacher. I muddled through, but it was as bad as advertised. Second period was the teacher's prep (and I went elsewhere to cover an extra period). Third period I returned, expecting more of what I had had in first period.

The bell rang, and I fought for attention. That's when another sub showed up.

She was so helpful. I went over what they were to do, and Ms. F clamped down on them.

The kiddos were working. They were even nearly silent. All was well. Until the phone rang...

On the way over, Ms. F had fallen, and she was a little sore. (It was raining out. It's slippery. And she had come from across the campus.) This had been reported to the office, so they called to have her come to the office to fill out an incident report.

I found this all out later. While Ms. F was on the phone, another teacher walked in. She had been called to cover, but finding two subs in the room...

It was a bit chaotic. Once I realized that Ms. F was leaving, I assured Ms. E that I did need her help. It didn't appear so as the kiddos were quietly working, but considering how much effort was needed to get them there, I didn't want to risk losing the help.

Third period was totally lovely. (Well, not totally. They got a little crazy at clean up time. Par for the course with seventh graders.) But Ms. E had her own class to get back to, so I was left alone for period four.

Alas, no more subs arrived for the rest of the classes. I was alone. And things didn't go well. Not at all.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

All the Drama

Iris seemed fine as she entered class. She wore a t-shirt with "Baby Girl" emblazoned on the front. And she was talking and joking with her classmates.

The class: seventh grade science. I did my intro and got the class started. Then someone asked to use the restroom.

When that girl came back, she didn't go right back to her desk. She hovered at Iris'. (Iris' desk was next to the door.) When I went to shoo her back, she informed me that Iris was crying.

Whenever I'm crying, the last thing I want is "sympathy"...

(I'm not heartless. I offered to let Iris go see her counselor or even just to sit outside. She said no and left her head on her desk.)

Another girl from across the room when to "help" Iris. I overheard something about a boy and "finding out on [her] own". I shooed girl two away.

Not five minutes later, Iris and the girl seated next her her are happily sharing a set of earbuds and discussing the music on one of their phones...

Okay, fine. If she's no longer sad, she can get to work, right? I made sure she had what she needed, and she did indeed get started.

But, she hadn't made much progress by the end of the period, when the assignment was due.

Seventh graders... Typical.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Not Quite the Fountain of Youth

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. 😉

I'm stealing this week's question from another blog post. (She posted an interesting question. I'm only modifying it somewhat.)

What if you discovered a formula for immortality, but you could only freeze your aging? That is, what if you would never get any older than you are now, but you'll also never get any younger?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Trying It Again

I didn't do a whole lot of knitting last week. I know, I say this a lot, but this last week I had an excellent excuse. I'm still out of my bedroom.

I'm hoping it'll be about another week until things have been repaired. But considering how the clean up has gone, I'm not going to hold my breath.

(It's gone well, considering. But, just when I think something is going to happen, a contractor cancels. Or, one contractor tells me that I'll have access to my stuff, and then the guys who are doing the work on Saturday morning inform me just as they're about to start that I won't have any access until Tuesday late afternoon. And I have 20 minutes to grab everything I might need until then.)

So, yeah, it's been interesting...

And just as I'm contemplating finishing my father's wife's walking purse...

...I realize that I don't like what I've knit.

(Apologies for the pics. My normal background fabric is in my sealed off room--there was mold--and my lights need charging--someone brought out the lights but not the charging cables.)

The one on the left is the first attempt. I knew I could get it not to curl, hence the second attempt on the right. (This is the flap for over the purse.)

Once I reknit the flap, I figured I could reknit the purse...

In an attempt to prevent that curl (the top), I decreased the stitches (the bottom), and found that it didn't make much of a difference. Sigh.

Next time (if there is a next time), I'll crochet an edging on it. It'll be much easier, and I can probably fix that curl better. I hope.

Friday, February 1, 2019

How Many Books?

So, it's been a week...

Last week ended up being very boring, subbing wise. And then with the deluge in my room, well, it's time for a quiz.

This week's quiz is more of a reading test. How many books can you read in a year?

According to the test, I can do 34 books. If I read a half hour every night...

A half hour a night... 

Yeah, most nights I'm lucky if I can pry the book out of my hands prior to 2 AM. Half hour... 

(Although, this week I haven't been doing much reading. So, I guess it balances out in the end.)