Friday, December 31, 2021

Science Quiz of the Year

Since it's New Year's Eve, I thought it'd be fun to do a review of the year quiz. Alas, I could only find news quizzes from the UK. 

Eventually, though, I found a science of the year quiz. And I thought, "Why not?" I took it, and I got a dismal 7/20. I bet you can do better.

Science Quiz of the Year 2021

If you have any good news quizzes for the year, let me know. I'd love to try one.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

2021 in 13 Posts

I did this last year. And I rather liked how it worked out. So, I'm going to do it again.

It is Thursday. This is a Thursday 13. I will attempt to sum up my year in 13 posts. That is, I'll find a post from each month that kind of encapsulates it, with a bonus post somewhere thrown in. So, in order, my year in blog posts: 

1. January 22: Fully Asleep

We were still doing the distance learning thing in January. I know kiddos slept in class. This time I had proof.

2. February 17: The Audio Fix

Playing videos virtually was a chore until I found the fix. Whew. I needed this trick for the rest of the distance learning time, which would last until just before April.

3. March 10: The Long Wait

Wherein I get my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Woo-hoo! (I'm currently fully vaxxed with the booster.) 

4. April 14: Long-Term Thoughts

This one was on the transition between my first and second long-term assignments of the year. (Note: I'm on my fourth long-term for this calendar year.) It's been a weird substitute teaching year. Oh, and when I wrote that the teacher was out on maternity leave, I was wrong. I found out later that she was actually out due to a health scare with her three-year-old daughter. Long story.

5. May 17: All Done

Early in the year I picked up a project that I'd been working on off and on since 2013. And this is the post wherein I announce I finished the thing. Yay! (And now it's finally cold enough for me to wear it. Double yay!)

6. May 26: The Worst Timing

At this point we were on hybrid learning. More than half the class remained at home on distance learning while a few brave souls attended class in person. So, it's nearly the end of the school year, and the computerized system (where all work was assigned and done) crashed. Naturally.

7. June 21: Dragon Complete

June. My only true summer vacation. I was able to avoid jury duty. I took my car in for its first of three services for the summer. And I knit a dragon. I do love this dragon. (The dragon still has no home, but that's neither here nor there.) 

8. July 23: Mutiny

Then July hit, and my summer vacation evaporated. I spend much of July covering an English class at the alternative education center. Here the boys refused to go out to lunch (off campus!) because their phones remained locked up. Sigh.

9. August 25: Grumble Grumble

So, I was all set to start a new school year just doing day-to-day subbing. We were back in person. And then, I go and find a vacant class. Figures.

10. September 10: Car Trouble (Yet Again)

Where Back to School night coincides with my car breaking down. Again. (But, knock on wood, my car has been working great since then.)

11. October 8: Disputed Tech Deck

The subbing shortage has been so bad, I got stuck covering an elementary class. (Fun fact: this classroom is actually steps away from the class I ended the calendar year in. Different campus, but I can see this classroom from the parking lot.) 

12. November 29: Completed

I started crocheting octopus hats for my three youngest nephews in July. I finished them in November. 

13. December 8: A Change in Plans

And from the class I'm currently in (which I'll be returning to in January), a day where our plans to eat out got cancelled. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Renovation Island

Summer 2020. There was nothing much on TV. I was caught up on my usual shows, and I had found a couple new shows to stream. And then my roommates found a little Canadian import on HGTV

Renovation Island (I believe it's titled Island of Bryan in Canada) is about a married couple that buy a rundown resort in the Bahamas and set about bringing it back to life. Bryan is a contractor. His wife Sarah does the decorating and designing. And they moved their four children down there with them. 

I'm not really a reality TV person, but I do enjoy reality decorating shows. This is more of a reality Money Pit. They planned to get the resort ready for guests in six months. Spoiler alert: they did not.

And, of course, they started all this just before Covid hit. By the time they could open, they couldn't open. But that's an issue for season 3, I think. (It was kind of hard to keep track of what was what season.) 

I found the whole thing fascinating. Who wouldn't want to see scenery from far away places when one is stuck at home during a global pandemic? 

So, while figuring out what to write about for this week, I figured this would be a good show to recommend. It's winter. They're in the Bahamas in the warmth. Sunshine and ocean views? 

I could not find a trailer to embed, but if you click on the link to the show, there's a video there to sample. From what I can find, I believe you can stream it on Discovery Plus, although it might still be available On Demand from your cable provider if you get HGTV. 

Have you seen Renovation Island? Are there any smaller genre-type shows you like to watch?

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Just How I Pictured It

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 it does work out the way you envisioned? (And I'm not going to specify an "it".)

Monday, December 27, 2021


So, no. I didn't do any knitting this week. But I did buy yarn...

It's gray and beige. A nice neutral for this purse that I'm thinking about. 

You might notice that it says "blanket". I almost bought the really chunky yarn, but I didn't have the right size needles (and they didn't have them in stock). I think a very chunky purse might be cute. But then again might be too much. 

Or maybe I'll just find a different yarn online and use this to make a throw blanket.

Sigh. The planning and thinking part just seems to take forever sometimes.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Ultimate Christmas Trivia Quiz

It's Friday. And it's Christmas Eve. So, Christmas quiz...

The 30 Question Ultimate Christmas Trivia Quiz

Some of the questions were easy; some not so much. I got 25/30. 

It doesn't tell you how you did as you answer the questions. At the end there's an ad. Once you can "skip", the quiz will post your results. Then you can scroll back and it'll tell you what you got right and wrong. (Green is correct.) 


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Random 13 on a Thursday

1. I've really got nothing today. I'm on vacation, and I've spent it thus far doing as little as possible. So, today I'm doing a list of random for Thursday 13. 

2. I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas? Rain is forecast for Saturday. That can be hit or miss, though. When rain is forecast, it may happen, or it may just kind of threaten all day. 

3. I managed to get all my Christmas presents wrapped. I'm actually all done, and that's kind of amazing as many years I don't get all the gifts out until March. Of course, this year I started early. Will I repeat this next year? Not likely.

4. I did go to the yarn store on Monday, so I have yarn for my next projected project: a purse for me. I can't get my head in the game, though. I should pull out needles and figure out stitch patterns, but I just stare at the yarn and think, "I want to create a phone pocket," and "I should make an outside pocket for sunglasses". At this rate I won't start the thing for months. 

5. I also bought replacement windshield wipers for my car. For the projected rain. I should get on switching those out. Eventually.

6. I had such plans for this vacation. There are projects I want to complete. I should go through my closet and weed out the clothes I don't wear. But I can't quite get myself to care right now. Maybe next week.

7. It was in this mood of not wanting to start anything new that I went and signed up for Paramount Plus. How's that not starting anything new? They have new seasons of Evil and The Good Fight and Star Trek: Discovery. (I had it when it was CBS All Access last year.) So, I get new seasons of shows I already know. That seemed to be where I was at.

8. But this week I finally succumbed and started a couple shows that I've been collecting on my DVR. I think sitting in front of the TV and not knitting is where I'm at mentally right now.

9. Well, TV and games on my phone. I went back to playing Candy Crush again. I hadn't touched it in months. I found Words with Friends last year, and that supplanted Candy Crush. 

10. See, Candy Crush pissed me off. They started this thing where you're in "competition" with some other random people to complete a set of 15 levels first. And I don't like that sort of competition. And I can't opt out. So, I play sporadically now. Only when I have a chance of winning. Which limits the time I play to times when I'm not working.

11. The best part of Christmas for me is the giving of gifts. I rarely get anything I really want. I think I gave up enjoying what I got decades ago. So, I look forward to how those I'm gifting to react. This year is a bit weird as I went and got things that I'm not quite sure about. I'll have to see how it all goes over.

12. I have such memories of December 23rd at the evil toy store (now defunct). One year, after we closed, we found a bra hanging on the electronic display case on aisle one. We just couldn't... Because the store had been packed the entire time we were there. (The place was so trashed we didn't get to go home until after 4 AM. The store closed at midnight.) How does one take off one's bra in a packed store? I mean, just... 

13. I wish blogging had been a thing when I worked at the evil toy store (now defunct). I have me some stories. Most of which I've forgotten now. Perhaps one day I'll tell the tale of Pearl. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas

It's winter break for me, so the blog has shifted to the "summer schedule" (which doesn't even last for much of the summer anymore). Subbing stories to resume upon the return of school in January.

I recommended Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist back in April 2020. Alas, it has now been cancelled. 

But, before it was cancelled, it had two lovely seasons. And just in time for Christmas, they released a final one-hour forty-minute Christmas special. It finishes off the series nicely. 

The show is about a computer programmer who works in San Francisco who through a mishap that only happens in fiction accidentally downloaded all the music to her brain while she was having an MRI. Following this, she gets to see her friends, family, coworkers, and random strangers break out into song. (The show is a musical.) She uses the knowledge of their "heart songs" to help them when she can. 

It aired on NBC, and it appears to still be on Peacock right now. But the finale movie was made for the Roku Channel exclusively, so it can be streamed there. And I just checked, the whole series is on the Roku Channel as well. (If you stream via a Roku device, you have access to the Roku Channel. I imagine if not, you should be able to access the app. Maybe?) 

Here's the trailer for the movie. 

Did you ever get a chance to catch the show? Are you binging interesting shows right now? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021


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 there was a pill that would take all of your fear(s) away?

Monday, December 20, 2021

Ghosts of Purses Past

Last week was a just-get-through-the-week kind of week. I haven't touched anything yarn-related. So, no new pictures. 

I have been sort of contemplating what I want to do next. But I can't seem to focus on it. A new purse. It's time. 

So many decisions to make. What shape? What color? What yarn to use? What pattern? 

I thought I'd explore my previous purses. That might help me narrow some things down. 

This is the purse I'll be replacing. It's not as bright and shiny as it was then, but it still does the job. I like the size and I like how it fits me crossbody. I do not like how the corners of the flap curl. My next purse flap should be more rounded, I think. 

This was the purse before. I discovered from this one that cables aren't a good idea, especially if I plan to line the purse (which I do). Cables draw in, and while that's great for a garment that you want to fit a little tight, for a purse that you want to be one size, it's not. 

I also was not a fan of this yarn. But the size was good. I didn't carry it for very long before knitting my current purse. 

This one never made it into heavy rotation for me. It's a bit too big. And awkward. I loved how the colorwork looked in the pattern, but I'm not a fan of colorwork, and it didn't come out all that great. I'd be willing to try something similar again, but I'd shape it differently. 

I did love making this one, but the shape, again, didn't quite work for me. I think the strap ended up being too long here. And with felting, it was hard to know how big the final purse was going to be. I think I have this somewhere still. I should find it and see if I could maybe make it work for me now.

This isn't the purse I carried. I made this one to sell. But it's the same pattern as one I carried 20-ish years ago. It was a good size for me at the time, but I have since found that the under the armpit length of strap isn't great for me in my day-to-day. 

This one was an experiment. I never did get a good picture of it. It turned out to be way too big and a bit too orange. That strap was way too long, too. I still have it somewhere. I don't think I successfully ever wore it out (as a purse, not as in "worn out"). 

And this one I still use. It's my "car purse". I carry my wallet in my school bag. If I go to the grocery store (or other errands) after school, I don't want to carry my school bag, so I pull my wallet out and put it in this purse. And it's the right size for that. Alas, it is too small for days when I carry a purse out. 

I don't think I want to felt a purse again, though. I like the t-shirt yarn I used for my current purse. 

Ah, choices. One choice limits the other choices, though, so by deciding I'm not felting a new purse, that eliminates some stitch patterns. (This is a good thing. Too many choices mean I'll be deciding on what to do for way too long.) 

Designing takes time. Right now I have some time.

Friday, December 17, 2021

No Wrong Way

The class has a program that has monthly lessons on it. As I planned out December, I noticed that one of the lessons had an art project that went along with it. I showed it to the IAs. They thought it would work nicely. We set about getting the materials we would need for it.

Then came the day of the project. 

They were making tissue paper candle holders, much like the ones like this (see link). Instead of getting glass jars, I found little plastic ones at Dollar Tree. And our instructions were for them to use LED tea lights like these

I projected the instructions on our screen. We passed out materials. And we set them loose. 

And every student glued the tissue paper differently. 

Some alternated the colors and did it lightly. Some attached the tissue paper in thick layers. Some put all one color together. 

And I didn't say a word about it. 

The IAs made comments. I pointed out that it was an art project, and that there wasn't really a wrong way to do it. However their candle holders came out was going to be just fine.

They made a bit of a mess, but I think they had fun with it. 

I wish I had taken pictures. Everyone's came out great. And each looked so different from one another. I didn't even contemplate how many ways they could make the project their own.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Choose Your Fighter

The school is holding a door decorating contest for the holiday season. Winter Wonderland is the theme. I asked the class, and they wanted to participate. 

Rather than try to figure out a design, I opened it up to the class. What did they want our door to look like? We brainstormed, and they decided to have a couple snowball fighters. 

Of course, our snowball fighters would have to be the students. Eddy, who is an artist, drew bodies and hats. One of the IAs took pictures of the students. (The non-fighters got their pictures on snowflakes.) And we could easily print those pictures out. 

Which two students would be our fighters? I figured we would draw names for it. But Sydney said she didn't want to be one of the snowball fighters. So, I asked the class: who wanted to be a snowball fighter?

Leanna and Antoine raised their hands. No one else. 

That was way too easy. I repeated the question. 

Flash's hand went up. Then Logan's. Then both Sushi and Brittany wanted to be included. (Pizza was not at school that day. He had gone to Disneyland.) 

That was more like what I expected. So, we wrote down names, but them in a convenient paper bag, and we had Sydney draw two. (She had no stake in the outcome, so I figured she'd be the fairest person to pick.) 

Who did she pick? Leanna and Antoine. 

Well, okay then. 

Their pictures were printed bigger. Their heads got attached to Eddy's snowball fighter drawings. And it turned out way cuter than I expected. 

This post was written on Sunday. Edit on Wednesday night: WE WON SECOND PLACE!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Left Behind

Last Tuesday we went out to lunch at Wendy's

On the way back, we stopped at a park for a bit. The students got a chance to play on the playground. Then it was time to head back to campus. We had to get back by 2 PM because some of the students had speech. (There's a speech therapist that works with them once a week.) 

As we were leaving, Leanna fell to the ground and wouldn't get up. 

This is something she has done from time to time. The first time I worried that she was in some sort of pain. Now I know she does it for her own reasons, and so I didn't worry too much about it.

As we finally left the playground, I learned why Leanna was throwing a tantrum. She had left her wallet at the Wendy's. 

And we didn't have time to go back to the restaurant to retrieve it. 

This is not the first time Leanna has forgotten something. The prior week she left her cell phone on a table when she went to order her food. Another patron returned it. And then I hear that she has left behind things before from the instructional assistants. 

One of the IAs called the restaurant. They found Leanna's wallet. She and her mom would have to retrieve it later that evening.

Only, when they went back, the workers had no idea what they were talking about, and they didn't go in search of Leanna's wallet. (She didn't have much money in it, but it did contain her state ID.)

Two days later, the school secretary went and retrieved the wallet. (The next day we got busy, and Leanna's story changed, so it wasn't until the day after that we could get it all together to get someone to go over and get the wallet back.) 

The next day we went back out off campus for lunch. This time Leanna was more careful with her stuff. (She carried a purse. Hopefully the purse works better for her, but we'll see.) 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

A Translator

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.

This is one of those weeks where I really have nothing, so I'm stealing a tweet. A shout-out of thanks to Red for liking this tweet on Twitter, thereby allowing it to fall into my feed so I could steal it. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

An In-Between Project

My Christmas knitting crochet is all done. And I now once again find myself between projects. Sigh.

Luckily, I have a project that I started back in June. It's been sitting in my project box since I set it down sometime in July to start on the octopus hats. I pulled it out again on Saturday. 

I doubt I'll work on this long before a new bright, shiny project comes along tempting me to work on it right away. I'm already eyeing a star ornament project (Ravelry link), and I'm contemplating making myself a new purse. But until then, I have something to keep my hands busy. 

What's keeping your hands busy these days? 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Santa Gnome

On last Friday's outing we stayed closer to campus. (That is, instead of taking the bus somewhere, we walked to places within a couple miles of the school.) The students decided they wanted to go to a fast food restaurant that was close by for lunch. 

But, lunch does not take three hours, which is the amount of time we have allocated for our outings on the days we go out. We had to find other things to do. 

There's a thrift store in the path we were taking, so we stopped there. There was an outlet-type of store (in a not-nice part of town). 

In both of those places, Sydney was looking for supplies. 

Sydney is a crafter. Her current project is a gnome-looking Santa for Christmas. 

(She gifted me with one.) 

She uses a frame that she repurposes from some Dollar Tree decorations. The beard is a repurposed mop head. The Santa hat is stuffed and stuck on top. And the nose... 

The nose was the issue.

Syd was out of noses. Her mother had gotten them for her, and she had no idea where her mother had gotten them. So, we went looking. 

Hey, it wasn't as if we had anything else to do. Not really. 

After lunch, Syd asked if we could go to Dollar Tree on the way back. It was only slightly out of the way, but we had time, so we went. 

Sadly, Dollar Tree didn't have what she was looking for. In defeat, Syd called her mom to find out where to find the noses. Turned out that they were at Hobby Lobby (wooden balls). As the Hobby Lobby was on the other side of town, it was something that Syd would have to do after school. 

Sydney has a list of people she's making these for. As I have made things on deadline, I understand her frustration at not having the supplies she needs. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Tie Breaker

As I was perusing the calendar for December, I noticed that the last day before our winter break is a minimum day. And while there is a chance that the district could hire a teacher before the break, it's unlikely, so I've been planning things through December for the class. 

I decided that we should have a party.

On the day I mentioned this to the class, the party day was two and a half weeks out. But they're adults (young adults ages 18-21). The program is a transition program, readying the developmentally disabled for the "real world" by teaching them skills to enable them to be more independent. 

I figure having them help in the planning for said party is curricular. I mean, I could write a lesson plan justifying my choices if needed. So, I wanted to give them plenty of time to come up with things and help in the getting it all set up. 

I suggested that we should do a gift exchange. For a holiday party, the two I know of are White Elephant and Secret Santa. I left it up to them to choose which one they wanted to do. 

I explained what they were. Sydney was familiar with White Elephant, so she explained it to the group. They were kind of familiar with Secret Santa already. Then I put it to a vote. 

There are nine students in the class. We got five for Secret Santa; then we got five for White Elephant. Logan voted twice. 

We explained to Logan that he could only vote once. I took the vote again. Four for each. Logan abstained. 

I was not going to break the tie. It had to be up to them. I encouraged the class to argue their sides to Logan, but no one took me up on it. 

After a second round of explanations, Logan finally decided.

We're going to do a White Elephant exchange. It should be interesting.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Change in Plans

About 2/3rds of the students in the class I'm covering at the adult transition center are diagnosed with autism. So, I've been careful not to upset the routine too much. Things are weird enough as it is. 

But, last Tuesday, right before school, I was informed that we couldn't do our outing that day. 

(The reasons are kind of a long story involving a misunderstanding of new proof of vaccination rules in the county which turned out not to be in the county and a change in administration at the school.)

I was upset. 

It was not fun telling a room full of students who were ready to go out for the day that we weren't going out. But, in the end I was more put out about it than they were. 

There were no plans for the day. We were supposed to be out. But one of the aides suggested that we make it a day in, with us ordering pizza and watching a movie. 

So, that's what we did.

Oh, they were still disappointed. But I guess the day went okay. 

I don't like change either. And I really don't like having my whole day upended two minutes before the school day starts. Deep sigh. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

A Mistake?

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.

If you watch The Flash, you know where this one came from...

What if a time traveler from the future attempted to kill you because you are going to create some catastrophe? 

Monday, December 6, 2021

A Finished Penguin

I've been hinting at the penguin for a couple weeks now. I managed to finish him on Saturday: 

I'm not 100% satisfied, however. If it wasn't already December, I'd totally made another one, fixing the little things that I'm not quite completely happy with. 

But as of now, I can get all of the stuff together and get it mailed off this week. And basically my Christmas presents are all complete. 

The pattern is another One Dog Woof creation (and you can find the blog post with the pattern here). She's the one who designed the jellyfish and the unicorn gift card holder and the shark

When eldest nephew requested a penguin for Christmas, I went online looking for penguins. I found seven patterns I thought came out cute. I sent him the pictures. He picked this one. And it wasn't until he had picked it that I looked more closely at whose pattern it was. 

Weird coincidence? Who knows. But now it's all done but for the wrapping and mailing and gifting.

How are your holiday preparations coming along? 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Out to Lunch

The Friday before Thanksgiving break, we went off campus for lunch. We do this every Friday (and Tuesday). I've already written about things we saw and how taking the bus can get me into trouble. Considering how easy going the class can be, the more interesting things that happen in the class are when we go off campus.

What we do is curricular. The students need to be able to go out and buy things. They should be able to ask for what they need (or want). They need to be understood by the general public. They need to be able to know how much money to use, and they should be able to track their spending. 

Buying food in a fast food restaurant satisfies all of those requirements.

One thing I've noticed is that the boys get a lot to eat. 

It's their money. The whole point is that they get to choose what they want. And I don't food shame. 


On this particular Friday, five of the students got into one group. Usually the nine students divide into three groups of three, but Sydney wasn't there (see yesterday's post), and the other three were going to their jobs first. The aide and I said if the five wanted to go together, we could certainly supervise the group together. 

We were going to the In-N-Out that's within walking distance of the school, so no bus required. 

But, Pizza wanted to go to McDonald's

The McDonald's was about the same distance from the school, just on the opposite side of the street. And we had two staff along, so the aide and I conferred. I'd take Pizza to McDonald's while she took the other four to In-N-Out. (The "other four" were Leanna (who hasn't appeared by "name" on the blog before), Eddy, Flash, and Brittany.) 

I was not shocked that Pizza ordered a 10-piece chicken nuggets or a large fries. I would have ordered the same. What surprised me was when he got the meal which came with a drink he ordered a large soda, and then he added on a large chocolate shake. 

A soda and a shake? Uh... 

I love chocolate shakes. I like to have some water to go with them. But a soda? I mean... 

I asked Pizza the question. Did he want both? He confirmed that he did. And he finished both. 

Ah, to be young and be able to burn off those calories easily. 

I need to be less judgy when we go out to eat. I didn't realize I was, but clearly I am. 

Thursday, December 2, 2021


The class I've been covering has a grand total of nine students. And most days we have full attendance. So, I notice when someone is missing.

The Monday before Thanksgiving break, Sydney was not in class.

She had sent one of the aides a text. She wasn't feeling well due to allergies. 

Syd missed Tuesday as well. On Wednesday when Syd hadn't returned, I commented to the aide about Sydney's allergies, and she got very quiet. 

Sydney's latest text was about how she was waiting on a Covid test before she could return to school.

And... I panicked. In my head. To myself. 

Because, while we do wear masks, and we're careful (and I'm vaccinated), I would consider myself in close contact with all the students in the class. 

I was not expecting to see Sydney until after the break. For a couple weeks, she'd been telling us about how she'd be leaving the Friday before Thanksgiving break to visit a relative in Utah. Why come to school for just the Thursday of that week? 

But, Syd did attend school on Thursday. And I was relieved. 

Because, Syd could not come to campus if she had a positive Covid test. She'd be on quarantine until she got a negative test (or was out for two weeks). 

She was still sniffling on Thursday. But she was looking forward to her trip. 

And as I'm eligible for a Covid booster, it was past time to get that thing scheduled. (I did. I got my third shot last Monday.) 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Finding Coverage

Because last week was a holiday week, I pushed the stories from the week before to this week. 

I think I've mentioned the sub situation, which is to say that subs are in high demand. 

I'm firmly entrenched in this long-term gig at the adult transition center. So, I haven't seen what's going on in the other schools. But going by what's been going on where I'm at, I think things are pretty dire. 

First, a brief explanation. The adult transition center has four teachers. It is on the same campus (separated by locked gates) as the alternative education center (which is the school I was at this past summer, the one with the students with behavior problems). The alternative education center has three teachers. 

And the whole school is next door to an elementary school. 

The week before Thanksgiving break, at least one other teacher was out each day. (Illness. Bereavement.) And while the teacher who was out for three days (and had put in an absence request early) got a sub, the other two teachers (who had called out the morning of the day) didn't. 

What to do? Now they're pulling a teacher from the alternative education center to cover a class at the adult transition center. Yes, a teacher who already has a class with students in it is pulled from his class to cover another class. 

And they've done this more than once. 

I don't know how they're covering the class he's leaving, though. They might just be period subbing, where he's working on his prep period. (The teachers do get paid for the extra work.) As I wasn't watching all day, they may have switched out teachers when I wasn't looking. 

But yeah, the district is way short on subs. At least I have job security at the moment...

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Amnesiac Magic

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 have been having some creepy dreams lately. They're weird, which is normal, but they also kind of give me the willies. 

So, I thought I'd share...

What if you ran across a town where clearly things have been meddled with magically, but no one in the town could recall anything being different? (You really don't want to know what it was that was different in my dream, so I'll be non-specific. Trust me, you don't want those nightmares.)

Monday, November 29, 2021


And now it's all over but for the wrapping and mailing (and gifting).

The red octopus is finished.

Which leaves me with a grand total of three octopuses for three nephews.

(I only made two of the hat holder thingies. I didn't realize that one day I'd need three.) 

I'm going to hold off mailing them until I finish eldest nephew's gift, assuming that only takes a couple more days. (I've already started it.) 

I've just about finished all of my Christmas shopping/crafting. Besides the year I made everyone scarves (and started in January), this may be the earliest I've ever finished. Maybe. Probably. Considering many years I've been sending Christmas gifts out in March, we can go with probably.

The octopuses were made using a wonderful pattern that you can find here. In case you want to try for yourself. I would consider making and selling these via request, but it appears that the going rate would turn off potential customers. (And I absolutely would charge just as much. I've now made three of these. The labor involved justifies the price.) 

How's your Christmas prep going (assuming you celebrate)? What color would you want your octopus hat to be?

Friday, November 26, 2021

Merry Quizmas

As this is a holiday week for us (my subbing stories from last week will appear next week), that makes today a Random Quiz Friday. And as this is the OG Black Friday, I thought I'd repost "a nearly impossible holiday character challenge": 

Merry Quizmas

I have posted this several times in the past, but it'll be new to newer followers. 

How it works: you click on each character and your task is to identify them. The quiz is very forgiving, though, so you can name the character, the movie/book/myth the character is from, or the actor who played them. If you're close, it gives you the point. 

It's hard, though. I would suggest doing this with a partner or a group. (And a Reddit group cobbled together the answers here if you wish to cheat check your answers when you finish.) 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Big Leap

There is no school this week (yay, vacation!), so I'll save the subbing stories from last week for next week, and this week I'll shift to the "summer schedule" (which hasn't been used much as I keep working during the summer). That makes today the day I recommend some TV show or other.

This fall season has been filled with lots of procedurals, which I have been getting away from. The only new show I've been watching is The Big Leap

On FOX, it's a fictional show about a reality dance competition where the winners are doing a version of Swan Lake. Except they're not ballet dancers. The ballet "expert" is kind of teaching them ballet, but the point is that they come from different backgrounds. Since this is not actually a reality show, the episodes focus on how the characters deal with being on a reality show.

I'm enjoying this way more than I expected. I rather like several of the characters, and then there's the dancing. It's based on a British show that is likely better (as American remakes tend to not be as good as the source material), but I'm still enjoying it. 

It looks like you can stream it on FOX's app or on Hulu. Here's a trailer that pretty much sums up the pilot episode, just to give you an idea: 

Is anyone else watching this? What do you think?

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Ghostly Dreams

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 know how hauntings are rarely an interaction between people and ghosts? How they're more like a recording on repeat? So, that got me thinking...

What if what we experience as a haunting are actually the dreams of the dead? 

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Home Stretch

Not quite finished. Again... 

All that's left at this point is to attach the eyes.

So, I'm close. 

If you recall when I was at this point last time, I had the eyes to complete the blue octopus, but somehow I had lost a second eye for this octopus. (Instead of four eyes, I had three.)

I never did find that fourth eye. But, I did remake it. I just checked. It's sitting, ready to go, whenever I finish that last little bit of this hat. So, yay me.

Ideally, by the time you read this, those eyes will be fully attached. (I'm writing this Sunday afternoon. The plan is to finish this up Sunday night.) 

But, no matter what... (Well, I should be careful with that. All sorts of unforeseen issues could crop up. Better not to tempt fate.) So, by next week, I should have this completely complete. 

And, in case you were wondering, eldest nephew put in an order for Christmas, too. This blog has a crocheted baby penguin coming soon.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Feels Like Friday

Last Thursday was Veteran's Day, a school holiday. Since it fell on Thursday, the district made Friday a "non student day". That gave us a four-day weekend. Woo-hoo!

This meant that Wednesday was our Friday. 

And, we knew it was a Wednesday. We followed Wednesday's schedule. We did not go off-campus. We did weights and machines for our exercise. We did the Wednesday rotations. 

But, when an aide arrived with paychecks, it felt more like Friday. I mean, I didn't get paid (subs get paid like teachers, once a month), but one of the aides got her paycheck (the other one is on direct deposit, like me). And the students got their paychecks. 

Yup, the students. 

A few of the students have jobs. It's just like a couple hours a week, and it's more a work experience thing, but it's an actual job, and they actually get paid for it. There's a food pantry thing. (I'm not clear on the details.) And Brittany does some cleaning up and helping out at the elementary school next door. 

After lunch, the students went about their usual leisure time activities. It wasn't until clean up time that it hit us. Brittany was supposed to go to work after lunch because it was Wednesday. Oops. 

I don't feel any guilt over this as I'm still getting used to their schedule. But one of the aides or Brittany should have remembered. 

It felt like Friday. I figure that's why everyone forgot. 

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Missed the Bus

We have two CBI (community based instruction) days a week. 

The day before, the students form groups and decide where they want to go. Then, based on that, the aides and I assign ourselves to chaperone a group. I again got placed with the group going the farthest away from school (to a shopping center that's like three miles from my house). 

Before we leave, the students make a travel plan. Using Google Maps on their phones, they figure out which city bus we need to catch. Because of where the shopping center is located, we had to take two buses.

As I am a novice bus rider, I let Eddy figure out what buses we were to take. Kind of. (The initial route Eddy picked went way out of the way to get there. But that route had a bus leaving way earlier than the route we chose to take.) 

Plan in place, we got to the bus stop way early. But the bus arrived when Google Maps said it would, and we were on our way. 

The shopping center is on a busy street. It has parking in the middle with the stores all around the edges, so it's a hike to get from one end to the other. And hike is what we did as we started with WalMart and ended with Barnes & Noble, which are on opposite sides from one another. 

(This is the shopping center with the closest Michael's to me, so I go there quite often. If I were to visit those stores on my own, I would have driven the distance. I mean, it's walkable, but through a parking lot, and it is quite a distance.) 

By the time we got to the bookstore, it was close to the time we had to leave if we wanted to catch the bus, according to the time Eddy had figured out. We had a little time, though.

About the time we should have left, Eddy needed to use the restroom. By the time I located him, it was past time we should have headed out. We had to cross a busy street to get to our bus stop, not to mention the distance it was from the store to the street. 

By the time we got to the street, we spied the bus. There was no way we were going to get to the bus stop before it. 

And the next bus wasn't due for an hour. 


Luckily, the group I was with didn't have to get back to campus for anything that day. 

As long as we made the next bus, we'd get back before the end of the school day. (And we had to get back before the end of the school day as some students take the school bus to get home.) We'd be late, but not too late.

It took a bit to convince the students that sitting at the bus stop was not necessary. If we kept better track of time, we could get back in time to make the next bus. (I had them time how long it took us to get to the PetSmart, and then we calculated when we had to leave based on that.) 

We made it with time to spare, and we made it back to the school. It was about forty minutes later than I would have liked, but it was twenty minutes before they would have sent out search parties. (I had my phone, so I could have called the school or the school could have called me.) 

I'm not sure if this was a good lesson for them or not. I'll definitely be more careful about bus times after this.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021


It's week two of the long-term special ed class at the adult transition center, and I'm starting to get the feel for the schedule. Since I'm basically an interim person here, I decided not to make any major changes to the way the class is run. Why start from scratch when there's a routine that's already working? 

After lunch, the class has "leisure time". This consists of a half hour of board games and a half hour of "student choice". The girls have been working on a jigsaw puzzle. 

And I stayed far away from the jigsaw puzzle. 

I love jigsaw puzzles. I can get lost in them. I don't do them much anymore as I don't have a place to really set them up, and when I have down time, I'm generally knitting (or crocheting). 

But, this puzzle was what the girls were doing, and I wasn't going to go and do it for them.

Until I was invited...

I stayed away for nearly a week. It was around Thursday that the aides informed me that the girls had been working on this particular puzzle for a very long time, and they wanted to get it finished so they could move on to another. Well, okay then... 

It was Monday of last week that I really got sucked in. I spent my off time standing over it. (While they were on some task or other, I could stand over the puzzle. While they were outside on break, I could stand over the puzzle.) 

And, as I do, I got most of a corner complete. (The puzzle was about halfway done when I started. I probably got a little under a quarter more of it done.) That's where I ran into a problem. 

There was this one piece that belonged in the spot. It fit two of the surrounding pieces. But it didn't fit the third. So, I set it aside.

I had maybe six pieces left. They belonged in that corner. But they didn't fit into the eight blank spots left. 

I walked away. 

The aides returned. Sydney returned. I showed them the problem. 

Clearly, the puzzle was not going to be completed. It was time to give it up as a lost cause. 

On Tuesday, the girls started a new puzzle.

And I am again determined not to ruin their fun by doing it for them. But then Sydney called me over...