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...

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Crafty Pop-Up

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.

So I was in the mall (see last Friday's post), and while we were eating lunch, I noticed an empty store. And there was a sign on it about leasing it for a pop-up store. And it got me thinking...

What if there were craft fair-type shops in the mall? What if someone rented one of those spaces and got their fellow crafters together to sell handcrafted goods to mall shoppers? 

Monday, November 15, 2021

Bag Buster

The octopus has been my go-to project for a while now. (My only project, actually.) But it's gotten so big, it doesn't fit into my project bag real well any longer: 

Although, tentacles coming out of a TARDIS seems rather fitting, don't you think? 

*Insert joke about being bigger on the inside here*

It's still not quite done: 

The curled tentacles are finished. The one on the right is half done. And then there are the three remaining.

Decent progress. It's getting there.

Friday, November 12, 2021


One of the goals of the adult transition center is to make the students more independent. They try to teach them things that they'll need to take care of themselves in the future. Like, they teach them how to go into stores and make purchases.

In practice that means that last Friday we went to the mall. 

The class of nine was broken up into three groups of three (a group each for me and the two instructional assistants). The students chose where they wanted to go. I got the group going to the farther mall. 

Why that mall? Sydney wanted to go to Steak Escape for lunch. 

I was warned by one of the IAs that the last time she took them there, the group didn't go into any stores. So, I was prepared to do a lot of walking and perhaps some of my own shopping. 

Surprisingly, as soon as we got into the mall, Eddy found a store he wanted to look in. And then another. And then another. 

Cool. We got there at nearly 11 AM, and we weren't due back to school until 2 PM. We had oodles of time. And neither Syd nor Flash had any desire to shop. 

(Flash is so nicknamed here because all he wanted to do was walk as fast as possible wherever he was going. I told him he could walk up and back outside the store while Eddy was inside.) 

And then Eddy found another store that he wanted to go in. And I just... 

It was Amazon Books.

Of course, I went in with him. I had to see this place. 

It's a bookstore. I gaped at it, looking at books and games and journals and Amazon devices. 

After we left, I vented to Syd. It was hard to express what I was feeling. I was feeling all sorts of feelings. Part of me thought it was cool. Part of me was amazed at the chutzpah of Amazon. Part of me felt like things had come full circle. 

There are other emotions. I haven't unpacked them all. 

Amazon Books. Am I the only one who's just *shakes head*?

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Dance Party

Pretty much the first thing in the morning, the class exercises. One day is yoga. Another is weights. And a third day they can choose to dance. (Walking is the other option on these days.) 

So, it was dancing day, and half the class chose to go walking instead. The IAs both preferred walking, so I got to stay with the students who wanted to dance.

Oh, they were excited. They logged into YouTube and had the speakers and projector on before I had a chance to blink.

I let them each pick a song. (Well, I picked a couple, too.) I had to. Pizza was just so excited about this one song that he had to share with me and the class. 

I was dubious. Pizza has some interesting taste. It turns out I needn't have worried. Well, I didn't need to worry the song was school-appropriate. 

I did need to worry about one thing, though. I really couldn't laugh at Pizza's song. Luckily, masks hide all sorts of facial expressions at the right times.

The song: 

The other students' choices were ordinary by comparison.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Call and Response

On Friday of the prior week, I emailed the sub caller about assignments for the coming week. She offered me the class next door... as a long-term assignment. Sigh. 

Ms. S just retired. (If you're wondering about the timing, the district now requires all staff to either be vaccinated or to test once a week. Ms. S chose option number three.) So, while they're looking to hire someone for the position, they need someone to cover the class. 

This group is much easier than the class next door. 

I'm continuing Ms. S's schedule (why would I start from scratch?), and the class keeps pretty busy. I fear I won't have very many blog-worthy stories to share. 

It'll take me some time to catch onto all the intricacies of the group, but one thing I have figured out pretty quickly. Two students have a call and response game going. 

Student 1 (out of nowhere): Pizza.

Student 2 (in reply): Sushi. 

On my day two in class, we went out bowling and then to pizza after. So, I was puzzled by student 1's repeated "pizza". I mean, we were having pizza. He didn't need to go on and on about it. And then student 2 chimed in with "sushi". Somehow, I got clued in. Now it's just a game I get to watch. 

We'll see how long it takes to drive me up a wall. 

Because I rarely use real names on the blog, I am going to accept the gift they gave me. From now on, their names here are Pizza and Sushi. 

Tuesday, November 9, 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 (an ordinary, everyday individual) found out that the "big bad" (someone important and not very nice) knows who you are? 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Missed my Deadline

Last week: 

I imagined that I would have completed octopus #3 by today. Back when I started the whole project, the first week of November was my goal completion date.

I failed to meet that deadline.

Where I am at the moment: 

Last week I was on the fourth tentacle with suckers. This week I'm on the eighth. 

I mean, it's not bad. And since these are Christmas presents, my very early self-deadline passing isn't terrible. 

I'm just a little disappointed in my myself. A very little. 

(I was not expecting that long-term gig I fell into in September, nor the one I just fell into. Things have just been taking longer than expected. Sigh. It happens.) 

This is why I make very early self-deadlines. So I can fail at them without actually failing to have things complete when they need to be. (It's a strategy I've used much of my adult life.)

Hopefully things will go more quickly this week. We'll see.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Pumpkin Donuts With Sprinkles

The previous week, we painted pumpkins. I wrote about it here

It was the week before Halloween. And the teacher had stopped by to drop things off for her students before school. She wrote them notes. She left some candy. And she left behind some small pumpkins. 

One of the instructional aides and I discussed what to do with them. And that's when I remembered something I had seen when looking up design ideas for the painted pumpkins the previous week. Pumpkin donuts

I really, really wanted to paint the pumpkins like donuts. 

So, we did. 

Day one: we painted just the top to look like frosting. Then, on day two, we added sprinkles: 

I got to do a couple (for an example to the students):

So fun. 

(The instructional aide did one more pumpkin, and I have to share that as well...)

Pumpkins that look like donuts are good for Thanksgiving, right? 

Thursday, November 4, 2021


It was Friday of week two in the class at the adult transition center. 

Two of the students remain outside due to their not wearing masks. (I'm not sure if they won't keep them on or if they can't.) I mentioned Doris last week. Domingo is the other. 

Domingo has a one-to-one aide (an instructional assistant whose only job is to shadow the student and assist in whatever they need to be assisted with), but on this day Domingo's one-to-one was out sick. He had a sub (who's worked at the school many times and knows the students well), Sadie. 

It was lunchtime, and while the students ate, two of the instructional assistants also went to take their lunch. I was outside along with Krissa (who's the primary IA for the class), watching. 

Domingo came up to me, and out of nowhere, shoved me. 

I had been warned by his usual one-to-one that Domingo did have outbursts and was known to hit others from time to time. Thus far, I had only gotten a couple pokes, but mostly smiles and moans (he doesn't really speak). 

The incident escalated. From my incident report: 

It was lunchtime. I was standing outside, near the classroom doorway, when Domingo approached. He seemed irritated. He shoved me. I attempted to get out of his way. 

He again came towards me. He grabbed my arms, digging his fingernails in, especially on my right arm (he did break the skin in a couple places, but the cuts weren't deep enough to bleed). I said, "Ow" and "Ouch". I attempted to get out of his grasp. He held on. I finally was able to extricate myself, and I headed away from him.

Domingo followed me. I ran. Krissa and Sadie managed to corral him away from where the rest of the students were. He went after them. Eventually he went into the garden, away from everyone else.

He really got Krissa. Her arm was way more scratched up than mine, and she left shortly thereafter to see a doctor as Domingo had grabbed her thumb. (I wouldn't be surprised if it was dislocated.) 

Domingo was put in the garden where he seemed to calm down. His parents picked him up a short time later. 

We have no idea what set him off. However, having all the change with a sub for his teacher and a sub for his one-to-one aide was probably a contributing factor. 

That school definitely keeps me on my toes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

A Busy Lunch

It was Tuesday of my second week in the class at the adult transition center. And it had been a bit of an off day. 

Krissa, the primary instructional assistant for the class, was out for the day. Nathan, however, was not. 

Nathan hadn't been at school for a while. He was due to start back with the class on my first day there, but it wasn't until this Tuesday of the second week that he did actually show up. 

Nathan is probably about six feet tall, easily two hundred pounds (likely more), and he has the mind of a two-year-old. 

It was lunchtime. Nathan was lying on the pavement in the sun. He removed his helmet and began banging his head into the ground. 

Apparently, this is a behavior of his (hence why he must wear a helmet). Because he was just starting back, the one-to-one aide assigned to him does not have a rapport with him yet. 

But we can't have Nathan banging his head into the concrete. He could really hurt himself that way. 

At roughly the same time, we had another Doris incident. 

Doris dumped her food in the trash, and she came to me to ask for "more". Assuming she didn't like the first thing she was served, she was given a different meal (what everyone else got that day). After finishing that, she again asked for "more". (She signs this, hence the quotes.) Alas, I had no more food to give her, and the aides had gone to lunch. 

So, Doris took the food from a different student. 

This student allowed it, saying she wasn't really that hungry, although it did bother her. (I made sure we replaced what she lost to Doris when the aides, who knew where they hid the food, returned from lunch.) 

But Doris went on to have a meltdown, throwing equipment around, banging on walls, and just generally screaming. 

We had already called Nathan's family to retrieve him. I watched Doris to see if we'd have to send her home early as well. I was reluctant to do so as I didn't want to send two students home on the same day. 

Luckily, Doris calmed down after this. 

And that's when the aides returned from lunch. Sigh. 

(We stagger the lunches for staff, but sometimes it's easier to send a couple to go at the same time when the students are out at lunch.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The Soundtrack

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 when you heard music, via the radio, in the store, or just from random passersby, it somehow predicted what was going to happen to you or around you?

Monday, November 1, 2021

One to Go

As I mentioned last week, octopus hat number three is underway: 

It's past the point I was at in week three of the blue one

So, almost there. Hopefully I'll have three completed hats to show off next week. 

And then I'll get to figure out what I'm doing for everyone else's Christmas.