Friday, July 30, 2021

Caught His Attention

The last class of the day is "credit recovery". I only have one student, Brandon. He's making up English 9. 

Our schools do social promotion, so even if a student fails their classes in ninth grade, they go on to tenth. But they don't graduate unless they've passed all their required courses. Credit recovery classes are available for those students who failed a course and need to retake it.

Credit recovery generally means Odyssey. At least, that's the way they do it at the continuation high school. And that's what the kiddos do at the traditional high schools for the credit recovery classes that are offered before and after school. 

After a couple days in class, it was clear that Brandon wasn't doing any work in Odyssey. He slept a lot of the time. (And he's not easy to wake. I ended up having to smash my water bottle on his desk. This was after I had tried calling his name, knocking on his desk, and shaking him by the shoulder.) And even though I offered to do the assignments with him, he spent most of his awake time watching videos online. 

Last Thursday he walked in with a book. 

He flipped through this book. He was going to get to the class work "in a minute", but he just wanted to look at the book that Mr. T had loaned him.

Well, it is an English class. I told Brandon he could get credit for reading the book that period. He read. I gave him a reading log to fill out. And he filled it out. 

Alas, the book only took him two days to finish. (It was a graphic novel about Nat Turner. Considering his reading level, a graphic novel is the sort of thing to help Brandon get into a story. And this is the sort of history he's interested in.) 

Now if only I could find something he'd enjoy reading for the last week. (By the time you read this, the summer session will be over. But, if you know of any similar books Brandon might enjoy, I'll pass along the recommendations.) 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Summer School 13, Week 2

Things have been going fairly well at the alternative education center, which means it's time for another Thursday 13.

1. As I write this on Sunday, my focus is on my car. It decided not to start yesterday. Somehow I have to get it to the mechanic and get to work tomorrow. Hopefully it's an easy fix, and by the time you read this, all is settled. 

2. I took my car in for some major repairs in June, so having to go back to the mechanic is irritating. (It proved to be fortuitous that I did the repairs in June so I can get to and from work now. At least, it had been nice.) 

3. The above picture of the classroom is now out of date. The "do not use this desk" papers were removed first. Then the partitions on the back desks. There's a new kidney table in the corner of the room. And on Friday they took out all the desks in the middle. (They're going to move in new desks on Monday.) I'll take a new picture for next week's posts, I think, since things will look a bit different.

4. I mentioned the classes in last week's post. First period now has a second student. Yorik was enrolled in the class at the beginning, but he couldn't come to school due to Covid quarantine. 

5. Last Friday I talked about how all the students refused to go out on their walking field trip because they couldn't have their phones. The principal came up with a compromise. If they would write her a paragraph stating why they should have their phones, she would allow it. All but Anson wrote the paragraph.

6. So, the past Friday we went to breakfast at Chik-fil-A. (Breakfast, because we wanted to leave early so we wouldn't be walking in the hottest part of the day.) And the whole thing went very well. I have a feeling we'll be walking out again next Friday (tomorrow). 

7. Now that the continuation high school has started their school year, we have a P.E. teacher. Coach M. works at both schools as neither school has need of a full-time P.E. teacher. But both schools do need someone to teach P.E. He knows me from the continuation high school, so it's nice to see a familiar face.

8. I have not mentioned the water fountains. With Covid protocols, they had to take them out. But, instead of removing them, they've replaced them with water bottle filling stations. 

9. Alas, the kiddos don't bring water bottles. (They're not allowed to bring non factory sealed drinks onto campus.) So, the office has been providing them with plastic cups so they can get water.

10. Ronan's been at war with the school over the non-sealed drink rule. He had opened his water bottle on the way to school one day. Another day, his father had gotten him a soft drink from some fast food place (which was "sealed" when it was bought, but it wasn't actually sealed). Finally, Ronan brought an empty water bottle so he could use the filling station. 

11. The drink rule, like them turning in their phones and them getting wanded on entry, is a site-specific rule. The other schools don't check for those things.

12. This is so much different than last school year when I covered this class. Having the kiddos in person makes a big difference. Some actually do work whereas last year on distance, they pretty much didn't.

13. My birthday is Saturday. I've been on this Earth for half a century now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021


On Monday of last week, Vincent arrived sans hair. He used to have shoulder length, thick brown hair. The difference in his look was startling. 

When asked about the sudden change, Vincent replied, "I did it to prove a point." The point being that he could and would, I suppose. 

I had been warned that he's the sort that'll dig in his heels and refuse to cooperate when it doesn't suit him. So, when he wasn't following along with the book we're reading, I wasn't terribly surprised that he informed me that he didn't like it (after giving it a whole page to catch his attention), and he wouldn't be reading it with us. 

I asked him how he was going to complete the assignments associated with the book, and he said he'd Google the answers. Well, we'll see how that goes.

So, I was rather relieved that he wasn't in school on Wednesday. 

It was morning, and I was at the gate with the aide that checks them in. She was doing a head count and wondered who was missing. 

"Vincent's not here," I said. 

She gave me an odd look.

That's when I realized that I had actually said "Vincent" and not his actual name. I use aliases on the blog. And usually I have no trouble with this. But I'm not usually in a situation where I'm only dealing with five students and writing about them at the same time. 

I'm gong to have to be more careful. 

Now I'm worried I might just call one of them their blog name to their faces. 

Vincent was also absent on Thursday. Apparently, he had a bit of a reaction to the Covid vaccine. He was present for Friday's walking field trip.

Tuesday, July 27, 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 you requested assistance, but the person you asked just flat out refused to help you at all? (I'm not going to specify a situation, but assume that what you asked was reasonable, and the person you asked should have been able to assist.) 

Okay, so last week I had a student *cough* Vincent *cough* inform me that he wasn't going to do any of the reading I assigned, and when I inquired about how he was going to do the assignments without doing the reading, he said he'd Google the answers. Grrr.

Monday, July 26, 2021

First of the Season

Someone decided to start on her Christmas projects... 

I mean, it's not like I have anything else to work on. Not really. I have ideas for things, but I haven't really planned out anything as of yet. And I like to have a couple projects going at the same time so I can switch between them if one is annoying me. 

And no, I'm not going to explain what this is yet. I'll talk more about it when it looks like something.

Friday, July 23, 2021


As a reward for good behavior, on Fridays the kiddos get to go out to lunch. Or, at least they did before Covid shutdowns. But as things are moving towards normal, the school reinstituted the practice. 

The permission slips were passed out on Tuesday. The kiddos returned them Wednesday and Thursday. And Friday we were all set to walk the not-quite-a-mile to the In-N-Out

The kiddos lined up, waiting for their phones... 

(Upon entering the school, all students are required to leave their phones. The phones are locked up for the day. They can do this due to the nature of the school and the fact that there are so few students.) 

Then the students were told they weren't going to get to have their phones for the journey. 

Oh, they were not happy. They were all like, if we can't have our phones, we're not going. They stalked off and sat on the lunch benches in the middle of the school. 

Mr. G, the math teacher, and Mrs. E, the principal, both went to talk to the kiddos. Nope, they weren't going to budge. 

Fine, then. They could stay in school. Brandon still wanted to go, and he was fine with not having his two (!!) phones. (Anson wanted to go, but he was peer pressured into staying.) 

So, Mrs. E and Brandon and I walked to In-N-Out. We had a rather nice lunch. 

After school I heard about how the other students who remained started to regret their stance. We'll see if they're more willing to go next Friday. 

(And Mrs. E has to look into the phone thing. She wasn't principal the last time they could do this, and legalities and things have to be considered.)

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Summer School 13

It's the first full week of summer school at the alternative education center, so I should have loads of good student stories, right? Nope. 

I mean, that's actually good news. This is the school where the misbehaving kiddos get sent, so a boring (blog-wise) week means I got to do my job with minimal disruptions. But this is the blog. 

Time for a Thursday 13, then...

1. At the moment, the school has nine students. This is the school they get sent to when they're expelled from their home school, so low enrollment is good. Besides, since the schools weren't on campus for most of the last school year, no one got expelled.

2. Of those nine, I have five students. One has been absent entirely thus far, and a second only showed up for the first two days, so I effectively have three students. (The first absent student is out for reasons the school is aware of. The second the school has been attempting to contact to find out where he is.) 

3. The schedule is four periods. First and second periods are two hours long. I have one student first, two students second, my prep is third, and I have one student fourth. He is also in my second period class. (One of the absent students is in first and one is in second, so that would up those totals if they ever show.)

4. Anson is in my first period class. He's a bright kid. 

5. I have Brandon and Vincent in my second period class. Vincent has missed a couple days. Brandon hasn't. So, there've been a couple days where I just had Brandon. 

6. I have Brandon only in my fourth period class. Brandon is pretty sick of the sight of me, I imagine. 

7. I had intended to keep the classes on the same schedule, but on Monday another teacher pulled both Brandon and Vincent from class for counseling, so that class is now a day behind. (Brandon does something else in fourth period.) 

8. As I mentioned last week, I chose The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as their work. I found audio online, so we listen to the book, and then they get an assignment that goes along with what we read. 

9. I had attempted to keep the assignments light and fun, but Vincent and Brandon have stopped paying attention. So, now they get comprehension questions. At least for now.

10. Because of the nature of the school, when they arrive in the morning, they have to give up their phones and they get wanded down (metal detector). They are clearly used to this as no one makes a fuss. They wait until the last minute to come onto campus. They busily try to get all their messages attended to before giving up their phones.

11. At the end of the day when they get their phones back, they're all engrossed in them. We adults laugh at this. (Of course, we adults don't have to give up our phones during the day, but I know I'm barely on mine while I'm working.) 

12. The aide who wands them down and collects phones is also in charge of passing out the school breakfasts and lunches. The students complain about the food. Rightly so. The lunches are terrible and insufficient. But the food is provided from the district, so we at the school have no control over it. (The principal has been officially complaining.) 

13. Although, Vincent hasn't complained as loudly. See, he has a crush on that aide. (She's young and cute, so it's not surprising, really.) It was completely obvious to everyone but the aide. The principal gave her a heads-up, though.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Wrong Answer

First period. I have one student. (Well, I have two on the roster, but the second student hasn't yet shown up to school.) 

For the second hour of class, I have Anson working on the computer program Odyssey. The continuation high school has been using it for years, so I'm familiar with many of the issues the kiddos can run into. 

Anson finished an assignment, but it was telling him he got a zero. He informed me that the program wasn't working.

I had him pull up the assignment. The section he was on was about writing a report. The particular assignment gave him a topic, and then he had to choose whether the topic was more suitable for a report or an essay. 

(Like, for example, "the history of the railroad", or "my matchbook collection".)

We looked at his first answer. He had answered "essay". The topic was "history of the railroad". His reasoning was something about the length. I explained that reports were factual while essays were more of a personal explanation for things. 

So, it turned out that Anson got a zero because he got every single question wrong. All he had to do was reverse every single answer, and he got 100%. (He gets three tries on the assignment, so he was able to try again.)

Clearly Anson got the idea, he just had the words reversed. That's an easy enough fix.

Tuesday, July 20, 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 your workplace was haunted? 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Out of Focus

I've been knitting away on the Calash... 

...but I've only made a little progress on it. I haven't been doing a lot of knitting this past week. 

It's not due to the weather. It's partly because I've been tired at night and not really in a knitting mood, but mostly it's been due to not being able to see very well.

Some idiot *ahem* accidentally switched her contact lenses around and is having trouble seeing things clearly. 

It's a long story, so suffice it to say that even though I've been wearing contact lenses for over 35 years (so I know how to keep my left and right contacts straight), I managed to mix them up somehow. And this is only a big deal as I am now doing the monovision thing (which I've only been doing since January), so it's going to take a minute for my brain to compensate. (It took about a month to get accustomed to this the first time. I'm hoping the mix up--which it took me three days to catch--won't take that long to settle again.)

Considering what I do for a living, the contact mix-up made for an interesting week.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Fashion Icons

On Friday, I was talking to the principal and Mr. T (he teaches social studies and the electives) as the students were leaving for the day. They noticed that Brandon's pants were sagging, and reminded each other that they needed to remind him of the dress code the next time they saw him. 

I remarked that I thought the whole sagging thing had gone out of style. (It used to be that we'd have to remind the kiddos to pull up their pants multiple times a day. It's been a few years since that was a major issue.) 

The principal explained that yes, that was out of style generally. However, Brandon might have been emulating the look of those just out of jail. Apparently, when they are released, they are frequently given clothes that don't fit, so when the pants are too small, they ride low.

The education I receive when I go to these schools. I learn so much about segments of society I would not normally interact with.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Yay Books

Last year at this time I accepted a summer school-type class at the alternative education center (read: the kiddos who were expelled from the other schools). But things were different last year. Firstly, I had a couple weeks warning to prepare. This time, I got called the morning of their first day of school. 

Last year, it was all virtual. This year, we're all back on campus. 

So, I've got two-hour blocks to fill with kiddos in the classroom with me. 

For the first day, the principal set them up with online work. (It's a program that I'm familiar with via the continuation high school. They've been using it for years.) And while that was great for the first day, I knew that would get old, quick. 

English class. Summer session (18 days). There was a bookcase in the classroom with many books. Why not read a book? 

And guess what was in that bookcase? The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Since they're not going to like the book I assign, I'm going to like it. And, I know quite a bit about it. Score! 

I ran the plan by another teacher and the principal, and they both agreed it sounded like a good plan.

Now I just have to figure out things to assign to go with it. Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Early Morning Wake Up Call

Last Wednesday, 7 AM, my phone rang. There's only one person who calls me at that time of the morning... 

Yup, sure enough, it was the sub caller. In July. I debated picking up the phone. I had stayed up late (2 AM-ish) reading. But maybe she wasn't calling for that day? 

Could I work that day?, she asked. And perhaps the rest of the month? 

Okay, so you know how last week I said I was bored? But am I truly that bored? I mean, I have projects I should be doing. I get out for walks daily. And there might be some fun summer stuff that I'd want to do during the week. Maybe? 

These were the thoughts running through my head as I lay in bed talking to the sub caller. 

I asked when school started for the day. 8:30. It would be tight (as I had to get up and get dressed), but I could get there. Did I want to? 

There is only one school open now. The alternative education center. I know this because last year at this time I accepted a gig there for the vacant English class. Guess what gig I was being offered. But this year we're back on campus. 

In the end, I decided that I was truly that bored and that I'd regret not taking the gig, so I accepted. 

They have air conditioning, and it gets me out of the house. So, guess which blog is going to have subbing stories again? I know, crazy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

A Portal?

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 found a locked gate with no fencing on either side? (Assume the area feels weird, like "off" or like there's some strange energy.)

Monday, July 12, 2021

Curiosity Sated

A few years ago, I saw a thing about cutting up plastic bags to make "yarn" and then make a bag out of that. I stored that idea away. 

Recently, I cleaned out my car, and I had a bunch of shopping bags that I had collected. (Back in March and April of 2020, stores were all like, "don't bring outside bags in", so I didn't. Once that panic wore off, I went back to reusing bags.) I thought, why not try the bag thing?

Cutting the bags into strips turned out to be easy. Crocheting with those strips was a bit awkward, but doable. 

I decided to do the windmill pattern. And that's where I made my mistake.

The last time I tried it, the bag came out way too huge. This time? I went in the complete opposite direction. 

This would make a nice vase of some sort. It would probably hold a wine bottle nicely. (Alas, I don't drink, so...) 

It may be small, but it used up all the bags I had on hand, so it was basically as big as I could make it with the materials I have on hand.

Ah well. It may be a fail, but at least I learned lots of things from the attempt. I wonder if I can recycle this now.

Friday, July 9, 2021


Last week's quiz went pretty well, but the previous few outings on Random Quiz Fridays have been largely passes, so I'm going to be lazy today... 

My condo complex has lots of water, and in that water live turtles. Here are a few sunning themselves one day. 

The question for the day: What should I continue to do for Fridays? Quizzes? Random photos? Or should I switch off between the two?

Thursday, July 8, 2021

A Random 13

1. It's going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness lists today. I attempted to come up with a theme of some sort (top contender: movies I can watch over and over again), but doing that planning ended up being too much work. Perhaps I'll attempt it another week. Maybe not.

2. I've been bored. It's not like I don't have projects to work on. I pushed many of them to when I'd have time over the summer. But wide-open days make me feel anxious, so little actually gets done.

3. We've been fighting with the internet. There was an outage. But, alas, that outage knocked out our box. The guy came and replaced the box, but in the process took the company's router, which led to all sorts of issues connecting to the TV. (We had an older router too. We kept the older one.) For days it was hit or miss with the internet connecting to the TV, which sucks when you've "cut the cord" and are just streaming. It appears to be fixed now, but I'm whispering this because I don't want to have another issue.

4. I also took my car in to have some maintenance work done. It was gone for eight days. Apparently, there were issues getting parts. Well, that, and the place was super busy. And my car is rather old. 

5. It seems like I'm only watching witch shows on TV. Motherland: Fort Salem started back up as well as A Discovery of Witches. And, of course there's The Good Witch, too. I've been sort of hate-watching The Magicians on Netflix (I missed starting it when it began on SyFy.) A sense a theme.

6. Although, I am also watching Renovation Island on HGTV and Making It on NBC, so it's not all magic all the time.

7. Does anyone have a good show to recommend? It's getting to that point in the year when I'm scrambling for something to keep me entertained in the evening. 

8. I've been walking my landlady's dog, Buttercup. Buttercup does not like to take walks. Once she gets going it's okay, but getting her going... 

9. Buttercup has a nemesis. Lucky. If those two dogs get within sniffing distance, the barking starts. They want to tear each other apart. 

10. Lucky is a little white dog. Now that we (me and Lucky's owner) know the dogs hate each other, we avoid each other when we catch sight of the other while out. (The other day I got close enough to ask the dog's name. Before, I was calling him Nemesis.) 

11. Walking the dog is a bit of a challenge with Lucky, the Canadian geese (they don't like us coming anywhere near them), and the ducks. The ducks actually went after Buttercup one time. (Guarding the chicks.) Although the Canadian geese should be leaving soon, and the ducks have calmed down since the chicks are no longer chicks. 

12. I think it may be time to knit myself a new purse. 

13. If I'm really thinking ahead, it is definitely time to start my Christmas knitting. I think last year's give-everyone-a-book didn't go over too well. (Although, I may do the book thing again. It was way easy for me.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2021


Since it's IWSG day, I thought rather than reviewing a TV show, I'd review a word processing program. 

I remember hearing about Scrivener a while back, and at the time I thought that Word was doing an adequate job of allowing me to write. But those who were talking about Scrivener were raving. So, I kept it in the back of my mind for a future when I was ready to make the switch.

This spring I decided it was time. But, I knew I wasn't going to have time to learn a new program while I was busy covering classes long-term, so I figured it would be a summer project. Just after school got out, I took the plunge.

And it's so much better than I expected. 

I have an odd way of writing. I like to write in one document, including my asides to myself and just general things of "what do I want to say here?" (and seriously, I have written that more than once) along with writing actual story that goes into the novel. Then I copy the novel bits and those stay in a separate document. (It works for me.)

I can do this in Word. I split my screen and have two documents going at the same time. 

But in Scrivener it is so much easier to do just that. 

On the left, there's access to a bunch of files. I can jump between anything and pull it up to look at it as needed. That includes my outline or any of the other random research files I keep. I don't have to minimize a window, find a file, and then open that file. It's all at my fingertips.

The program encourages titles for chapters and scenes within chapters. Also, each scene within a chapter is given its own file. The program compiles it all into one document when needed, but while writing, it's easy to jump back to a previous scene to see if I wrote something there or not.

Each scene is also given an "index card" where I can write a quick synopsis so I know what's in that scene. Then there are the "notes". Each scene has notes and metadata and comments associated with it, so I can easily make a note to myself about something I want to do later.

The functionality of Scrivener is amazing. And I'm just starting out. I've had the thing less than a month, and I'm already a fan. 

I know I'm late to the Scrivener party, but better late than never. 

Tuesday, July 6, 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.

I've got a very sci fi question for this week...

What if you found out about a group organizing a journey to another world to colonize/settle it? (Assume the world is human-friendly but unpopulated.) Would you want to go? (This is a one-way trip. But you could go with family.)

Monday, July 5, 2021


After finishing my niece's birthday present, I again found myself between projects. But then I remembered that there was another project that I could work on. 

Two years ago I saw a pattern in Knitty for a hooded scarf. It's called Calash. I rather liked the look of it, so I bought yarn, swatched it, and adjusted the pattern accordingly. 

(The purpose of swatching is to see if one's own knitting measures the same as the pattern writer's. When it doesn't, we're told to adjust needle sizes until we match. I don't do this. If my sizing is off, I adjust the pattern so I'll get the size I want.) 

But before I could cast on, something distracted me and I never started. (I have a couple guesses as to why I put off starting this, but I don't remember for sure what it was.) 

Last week I went searching for all the components. I was able to locate the yarn, my swatch, and the pattern. All I had to do was cast on. 

I haven't gotten very far yet, but I just started. How long will this take me? What will I do with it once it's done? Both good questions that I'll figure out at some point, but not today.

I may start a bunch of projects right now so I have stuff to work on. I have ideas for projects, anyway. We'll see what gets planned and started and what stays in my imagination for now.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Fun Trivia: 4th of July

Sunday is the 4th, so of course I'm going to find a 4th of July quiz...

Fun Trivia: 4th of July

It's multiple choice and untimed. You fill in the answers, and when you submit, it gets corrected and you can see how you did. I got 6/10. I think that's pretty good considering how many of them I guessed on.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

13 Blogs

Now that school is out for the summer, I find myself lacking for things to write about on the blog. To combat this, I created my "summer schedule" (which is in the "About Me" tab above). Thursdays have been #ThrowbackThursdays for a while now, but I have since found the Thursday 13 meme. 

I have done the Thursday 13 a couple times now. I may do it more frequently this summer. Or, I may repost things. We'll see what my mood is.

Today's list of 13 is bloggers I read regularly. Originally, I was going to write a bit about each blog, but I have found that I don't know what to say. They're all interesting in their own unique ways. 

But the main thing is, the last time I checked, these blogs are still posting regularly. Many blogs cut back for the summer. And several others have dropped off the blogosphere, whether for good or just for now, I can't be certain. 

This is not a complete list of who I follow, so if I missed your blog, make sure to add the link in the comments.

  1. Still Writing by J E Oneil 
  2. Songbird's Crazy World 
  3. Ramblin' with AM by bookworm
  4. Seaside Simplicity by Martha
  5. Life through the Eyes of my Scattered Brain by Pam
  6. AJ Blythe
  7. Dreaming of Elysia by Darla M. Sands
  8. BB Creations by BB
  9. Doesn't Speak Klingon by Red
  10. Time and Tide by Pradeep Nair
  11. The Contemplative Cat by Susan Kane
  12. Having Coffee with Peppy by Dora
  13. Lisa's Garden Adventure