Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Zilch


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 you lost the memory of one year of your life (but not the last year, like you suddenly forgot 1998)?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Monday, April 29, 2019

Yarn Boxes

This week, in my continuing Projects that Fell by the Wayside theme from this month, I had planned to show off a second finished walking purse. (I don't know what I was going to title this to make it fit for Y, but I figured something would come to me.)

And then I had to start the purse over. 

I'll eventually write a post all about it, so I'll save the frog and restart details for then. For today, I'm going to answer a question from last week's yarn-y post
How do you store the projects that you aren't working on? In some type of bag so they don't pick up dust or lint or whatever?
I keep them in boxes.

For example, here's that walking purse that I'm currently working on...


I keep the yarn, needles, pattern, and all the other miscellaneous stuff that a project in progress tends to collect. It's a mess and a bit bulky, but it works for me.

I have both of the scarves together...


The projects are linked. And I have a tendency to create one box for all my current projects, so sometimes it takes a while for them to get a whole box to themselves.

Things that I pick up occasionally, like the jellyfish or the unicorn...


...are more likely to have a dedicated box. (The jellyfish box is buried, so all I have a picture of for today is the unicorn gift card holder box.)

And here's a little project that I started in late 2018 and have barely touched since...


I'll explain it when I have enough done for a post about it to make sense.

(Since I finished up all my Tuesday What If? posts back in March, I am officially done with my A to Z posts. Woo-hoo!)

How do you store your projects in progress? If you're doing A to Z, did you finish all your posts early, or did you write them as we went? Can you believe how fast April went?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Saturday, April 27, 2019

X: Wanted

Just a little something from the math class of Key Battle... 


Did your math teacher(s) have a weird sense of humor? What did you use for your X post?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Friday, April 26, 2019

Wiped


It was the Friday before spring break (two weeks ago). And it was a minimum day.

Weirdly, the best class of the day was sixth period. Usually, I have to fight with sixth period. They're done with the day, and they can't be bothered to work. But not this group.

I had had them for a week. It was one of those days (multiplied by five) where my biggest issue was finding a way to stay awake. Because there's something pretty boring about watching classes do their assignments.

By sixth period, I had finished reading blogs, reading a magazine, writing blog posts, and taking care of all my usual keep-Liz-awake activities I bring along just in case I have an easy day like this.

I was wiped.

When they arrived on Friday, I held up the handout. I asked each row if they needed it. No one did.

This did not surprise me, however. Earlier in the week, the students had come up to get the next assignment and the next. I informed them that they were getting ahead. But I have no issue with them getting ahead, especially if the teacher has left those assignments for them.

But by Friday, I let them know how far their teacher had expected them to be. And most of them were well beyond it.

So, there was a whole lot of not-work going on that day. I was fine with this.

First, they did this nothing quietly. Second, they had been working all week. And third, it was the last hour before they were technically on spring break.

I bet they were a bit wiped, too.

If you had a computer (or your smartphone) and less than an hour to kill, what would you find yourself doing? Did you do anything fun for spring break this year? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Vocabulary Day


Spanish 1 for Spanish speakers. Period one. Monday.

It was an extra period for me, so we got in the room late, and I scrambled to get up to speed.

The lesson plan said they should get their notebooks and take down the week's vocabulary. It said they do it every week, so they knew what to do.

Easy enough. I told them to get their notebooks and get started.

No one moved.

Some classes can be belligerent. They could be talking over me and not hear my instructions. They could be oblivious. But no. This class was silent. Attentive. But not moving.

"We're not allowed in her filing cabinet."

Their notebooks were stored in her filing cabinet. Apparently she passed them out every day. But the lesson plan didn't say for me to pass out the notebooks. It said for them to go and get them.

However, they were not going to touch her filing cabinet no matter how much I said it was okay to do it with the sub.

Okay, fine. I figured out where the notebooks were, got them passed out (and somehow figured out her filing system so I could put them away correctly), but they still weren't working. What now?

Her lesson plan said to pass out the page with their vocabulary on it, but there wasn't a stack labelled "Period 1". But, there were two stacks labelled "Periods 2 & 3". It turned out that one of them was just mislabelled.

Sigh.

I swear, it took me half the period to get them set up. At least they were a cooperative group. They were silent even as I was scrambling. And then working when they had what they needed.

I think I was more stressed out than if I had been fighting them to get to work. It's funny what you get used to.

Do you have your files organized just so? Had you ever heard of a Spanish class organized for those who already speak it?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Underachievers


First period Earth science. They had a review to work on. Their test was the next day.

"Did you go to promotion last year?"

"No. Did you?"

"No. They 'requested' that I not attend the last three weeks of school."

Me: "Were you suspended?" (He was.)

Earth science is the science class they put all the ninth graders who got Ds or Fs in eighth grade science in. So, hearing several did not "promote" was unsurprising.

Promotion is "eighth grade graduation". But due to social promotion and parental pressure, these eighth graders start ninth grade the next year with their peers. They'll get their act together in high school, or they'll end up at the continuation high school.

So, knowing all this, I was expecting a crazy class. Actually, they were pretty calm. I'm sure the fact this was first thing in the morning may have been a contributing factor.

A group of them were clearly not working, so when at the end of the period one boy passed another a paper, I went to investigate. (I was worried one was going to copy.)

The paper was blank. False alarm.

But they knew what I was looking for.

A girl explained that she always used to give her homework to some boy not in that class. And, she said, he never gave it back. I suppose that did not help her grade.

This got one of the boys to thinking.

"I should date a nerd." He knew just how he'd play it, "'Babe, can you do my homework?'"

I hope the girls on this campus have better taste. Sadly, I can't be sure they do.

Did you ever do someone else's homework for them? Did you attend your eighth grade (or comparable level) promotion?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Time Travel Assassin


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. 😉

You've just narrowly survived an attack. This random person came out of nowhere with some sort of weapon. It seemed as if they wanted to kill you. But why? You've done nothing to them. There's no reason why someone would want you dead.

What if you found out that this would-be assassin traveled from the future with the intent to kill you?

Today's question was inspired by a tweet...
If you enjoy sci fi and fantasy, you might consider following. Some of those stories are quite good.

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Monday, April 22, 2019

Scarves Update

This month's knitting "theme" has been Projects that Fell by the Wayside. But I don't know if that really applies to this week's photos. I'll let you decide.

The thing that makes a big difference in how long a project takes is the weight of the yarn used. My niece's Gray Behemoth only took about a week because the yarn was huge/heavy. For these scarves, I've been using fingering weight, which is a very fine yarn. So, something scarf sized is going to take a whole lot of stitches and way more time.

I put these projects aside with all the others when I started my Christmas knitting. But they were the first ones I picked up. And they're not nearly done.

I started the turquoise one on June 4th (according to its Ravelry page). I've made quite a lot of progress on it, but it still has a ways to go...


I got the color to come out almost correctly (it's a bit darker than this). It's an infinity scarf, so I'm working it the long way around. The width is almost there. I'm using a stitch pattern called Broken Chevron...


...which is hard to see here. I'll have to block it well once it's finished.

The purple passion one I started on November 11th (it has a Ravelry page, too). It took me a while to wind the yarn and pick the stitch pattern, and then I had to rip it out and start over due to a miscalculation. But it's coming along...


It's a much more fun stitch pattern, so I find myself working on it more frequently than the other.


But since the turquoise had a five month head start, it'll probably be finished first.

I'll keep plugging away on them. And I'll post pictures once they're completely completed. Which is taking a good long while. But that's because of the fine yarn, which means they'll be lovely lightweight scarves when finished.

I mean, I'm bound to finish them eventually, right? Right?!?

Oh, I hope so...

Have you ever worked on a project that seemed to take forever? Did you finish it? Do you like infinity style scarves?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Redwoods

Nope, I didn't travel to northern California for today's post. I saw these while walking along in a local park.


Not the big one in the center. The little ones on the sides of the picture. My father tells me these are redwood trees.

I'm not so sure. Clearly, they are babies, not like the huge ones that live in the forests up north.


Apparently they're doing better than the last time my father and his wife took a walk in this park. There are leaves. There weren't any leaves before.

I'll take his word on this one. I needed an R for today.

Have you ever been to the redwood forests? Do you have a favorite tree? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Friday, April 19, 2019

Quick Fix


U.S. history. It was the week before spring break. The classes had mostly been excellent. Third period was the "bad" class, although I'd take this "bad class" over most middle school classes any day.

Martin was one of the reasons it was a "bad" class.

When Martin walked in, he was in a bit of a panic. He was not ready for his Spanish presentation.

He had mentioned the presentation two days prior. He wasn't sure how he was going to memorize it.

But this was Friday, and it appeared Friday was the day.

Martin had a solution. He'd record his speech on his phone. Then he'd go into class with his hood up and one earbud in his ear. He'd give the speech as he heard the recording.

I can see several problems with this...

I had been covering the history class for a week. They had assignments, but they weren't immediately due. I saw more than one student working on other assignments--math, science, English.

(My general policy is work is work. If I'm collecting something, I'll push for them to be on task. But if I'm not, or if they've finished, I have no problem with them catching up or getting ahead with another class' work. Working students aren't causing problems.)

I would not have prevented Martin from reading through his speech. He could have spent the period preparing.

I'm sure you'll be unsurprised to hear Martin and his two buddies did not prep his speech or his cheat. Nope.

Their conversation, after asking me if I liked specific bands (The Police, The Cure, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, etc.), revolved around their teacher's prowess as a football coach. (He's not the school's current coach, and he hasn't been for at least a couple years.)

Ah, Martin. Typical.

I wonder how his presentation went.

What problems can you see arising from Martin's proposed plan? Did you take a foreign language in school? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Popping Out


First and second periods were ELD (English language development; read: English language learners). The teacher left me a page's worth of lesson plans for them.

Third through fifth periods were freshman English. Ms. B, the teacher, left me two lines of instructions:
  • You have a co-teacher, Ms. K. She will run the class.
  • Pass back papers. Update portfolios. 
I was not concerned. Ms. K knows her stuff. 

During second period, Ms. K rushed in. She needed to get the computer set up for the rest of the day, but she only had a short time as she was on her way out to see her son get an award at his school. 

Second period was her prep. She intended to get back in time for third period. 

Of course, there was a technical glitch and Ms. K couldn't find the program she needed on Ms. B's computer. As I am in many different classrooms, I have learned to find most of the commonly used programs in several different computer configurations. I told Ms. K I'd find it so she could go. (It took me less than five minutes after she left to get that set up. My second period was working quietly, so I had the time.)

I was a little concerned. If Ms. K wasn't back for third, I was kind of screwed. I had no idea what they were working on. The lesson plan was rather cryptic.

I put it out of my head. If Ms. K thought she'd be back in time...

She was. For once, the estimated time was correct. Ms. K's son's teacher told Ms. K they'd be done by 9:30. Ms. K told me later that at 9:30 she was going through a Starbucks drive thru. (Second period ended at 9:40. Then there's a snack break before third period.)

As it turns out, the lesson plan was accurate. They passed back a stack of papers to all the students. The kiddos put them in order in their portfolios. And then we collected the updated portfolios back.

But where the papers were, the order those assignments needed to be in, and having the classes do this quietly were things that Ms. K definitely needed to be there for.

Do you leave back up plans, just in case? Can you solve minor technical issues?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Offered for Sale


"Would you like to buy my AirPods?"

Tuesday. Period four. World history (sophomores). It was day two of a week-long assignment.

Alan only asked me about the AirPods (and gave me the hard sell) when I questioned why he wasn't in his seat. He explained that he had to sell them. He was looking for a buyer.

Alan gave me a sob story about needing money to contribute to his mom for *mumble mumble mumble*. While this may be true, the whole scenario played out less like a needing-the-money and more like a game Alan played.

In a middle school class, this would have been chaos. But the older kiddos have learned (mostly) to not be distracted by such silliness.

Alan showed off his ware to a friend. He demonstrated its features. The friend looked at it, but decided against. He tried a couple other of his classmates.

At one point, Alan even went over to a girl on the other side of the room when she expressed interest. He returned, his AirPods still in his possession.

Did he do any work that period? (The assignment was a Cold War Webquest.) Doubtful. (To be fair, it was day two of the assignment. He could have finished it the prior day.)

Do you have need of a used set of AirPods? They may be broken as I heard him drop them on Thursday. They may be counterfeit. And we have no guarantee that they work. (He was still "selling them" on Friday.)

Do you believe his story? If you needed quick cash, what item of yours would you sell? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Not My Fault


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 you were being blackmailed about something your spouse (or sibling or child) did?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Monday, April 15, 2019

Masked

I wanted to make an orange version of the crocheted mask that I made for my sister-in-law (for her birthday) for me for Halloween of last year. I never finished it. Until now...


So... there are some issues. For one thing, it's huge. This is what happens when patterns don't include gauge. Grrrr.

(Gauge is a little thing that says X number of stitches measures Y inches or centimeters. Sometimes I meet gauge, but most times I don't. However, when I don't, I know how to tweak things so that I don't get a finished project that's way off size-wise.)

Although, my last attempt wasn't this big. So, my stitches have loosened? It's possible.

Ah well. At least now it's finished. Another project that fell by the wayside is done. And just in time for M day.

What do you think of my mask? Did you ever attempt to make something and it didn't come out as expected?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Lanterns in Trees

On last Saturday's walk with my father, we were on the lookout for Ls.

We parked next to a small park in a neighborhood. Then we did about a half hour (read: 20 minutes) stroll through the various culs de sac. My father mentioned leaves. I had thought about a picture of someone's legs. But nothing really struck me.

We got back into the car, and I looked back out at the park. And the trees. And the lanterns in the trees. And the lanterns in the trees that we had noticed before we started on our walk.

Sometimes, I really am not paying attention.

I jumped out of the car and got these shots...





The worst part... When we got out of the car before the walk, we discussed these very lanterns, and we wondered why someone had put them up. We assumed there was some sort of party.

Seriously, we discussed the lanterns, and I didn't... Anyway...

Have you ever just missed the obvious? Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you went in there? Have you ever walked into a store and forgotten why you wanted to go to that store in the first place?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Friday, April 12, 2019

Key Battle


"Could I see the answer key?"

Freshman math. I had gone over their homework answers, and then I gave them a practice test to work on.

Howard had not had his homework out when I read out the answers. This should have been a red flag. But I figured checking his answers late was better than never, so I let him see the key.

(Junior-level math and sometimes sophomore-level, the teacher will leave a key the kiddos can see. Generally, they're really responsible with using it.)

Twice I passed Howard on my way around the room. Both times he was talking to his neighbor, the key forgotten on his desk.

"If you're still not checking your work when I pass the next time, I'm taking this back."

On my third time by, Howard was busily copying the key.

"Did you even do the homework?" I asked.

He hadn't. And he begged me to bring back the key.

We argued. He explained that he needed the homework points to help his grade. I pointed out that the homework was supposed to be done by him, not copied. He didn't see my point.

So much so, Howard asked again later (twice!!) if he could have the key back. I pointed out that he had time right then to actually do the assignment. (We were on two hour block periods for state testing.)

Did he do it? Of course not. He didn't even do the new assigned work.

Gee, I wonder why his grade is so low.

Did you ever copy your school work? Did you like math?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Joint Confusion


Seventh grade math. Sixth period. They did not want to come into the room. Because it smelled.

Middle school classrooms generally have an awful odor. I expect mustiness or body odor or someone passing gas. But that's not what caused the stink.

The room smelled like marijuana.

(I only recently learned what marijuana smells like. Call me naive. This sort of thing was not in my experience. But someone pointed it out--the upstairs neighbors partake--and now I realize it wasn't always a skunk in the neighborhood.)

I assumed the smell came from outside, but the neighboring classrooms weren't reeking. I got a whiff of it before fifth period started. Someone was smoking outside at lunch?

Fifth period had been difficult. I spent most of the period circulating the room. Keeping the kiddos on task didn't happen. I worked on keeping them seated.

You'd think I would have noticed someone smoking in class.

Considering the smell in sixth period, apparently not.

It was so bad, an assistant principal stopped by and walked the room.

(So, if my assignments suddenly dry up, we'll all know why.)

I swear, it wasn't me. And I have no idea how a kiddo could have hid that so well. Especially one who thinks marijuana in class is a good idea.

Is marijuana legal in your state/area? What crazy stuff did you sneak in school? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Irritable


Some days...

It was Friday, and my day up until that point had been fairly uneventful. I was asked to cover an extra period (naturally) for sixth period, and it was next door. I had a chance to talk to the teacher before she left.

Ms. M apologized for the class. There were only seventeen of them, but they had way more energy than anyone should have at the end of the day, she said.

They weren't out of the ordinary for a middle school class. They wouldn't settle to let me give instructions. There was the boy who thought he didn't have to sit in his assigned seat. Well, three boys. I had to stop the video four or five times because they were talking. And getting anyone to read the article (this was after the video)... They'd read when I insisted, but it took them forever to comply.

After taking way too long to settle them (again) for the next reader to go, I had just had it. They could answer the questions and finish the reading on their own.

They did, but they did it way too quickly.

Sigh.

Some days, I just don't have the energy for them. Stuff that should roll off my back irritates me no end. This day, I was just irritable.

They can't all be good days, I guess.

What irritates you no end? Do you have any energy at the end of the day?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

History Altered


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. 😉

Let's suppose you were perusing a book, or you were watching a video. The topic was an event in history with which you are familiar. But, something's wrong. It's not how you remember it. It's not the event you studied in school. You know that this book or video is completely wrong. So, you discuss it with neighbors and friends and family. But...

What if everyone you asked claimed that you were the one who remembered the event wrong?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


Monday, April 8, 2019

Gift Card Holders

At some point during the A to Z Challenge, someone asks about the knitted letters at the end of my posts. And since G fell on a knitting day...

Yes, I knit all the letters myself. I did it back in 2015, and I wrote a whole post about them. I won't bore you with a rehash. I have several of them listed in my Etsy shop. If you're in the market for one, let me know and I can make it with the letter and in the colors you wish.


But I couldn't just do a repost thing for the A to Z. No, I needed a newbie for this post. Although, this isn't quite a newbie.

It seems my theme for this month's projects is finish-all-the-things-that-fell-by-the-wayside. Last week I finished up a pair of slippers I had promised back in January. This week I restocked my unicorn gift card holder.


I sold the last one back on October. I intended to make another to replace it right away, but other things got in the way. Like Christmas.


But I had some time last week, and it was way past time to make another. This one is listed in my shop (here's another link to it).

(The design is by the talented One Dog Woof, and you can find the pattern here.)

Once I realized my theme for projects this month, next week's M became super obvious. Fingers crossed that I can get that finished in time as well.

Have any random projects of yours fallen by the wayside? Have you had a productive month so far? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...