Friday, April 29, 2022

YouTube Music

It was Thursday. We were watching CNN 10. They did a story on the sun's eleven year solar cycle (as we're reaching a busy time, solar-wise). 

And suddenly I thought of a song. 

I'm sure you know that you can find just about any song on YouTube. The students like to play their favorite songs when they have free computer time. I've discussed this before

As the story played out for the students to watch, I started humming this song to myself. And I realized that I just had to play it for them. I just had to. 

After we finished the day's video, we discussed what we saw. Mostly that's me asking, "What did they talk about?" and the students repeating something like, "The sun". 

(I'd welcome longer conversations, and with the news lately, I do go a bit more in depth on things. But they don't really understand nuances, so things stay fairly surface, and we can't really get into deep discussions.) 

So, this time, instead of talking too much about the sun, I pulled up the song and played it for them. 

I enjoyed it more than they did. But I enjoyed it a whole lot. (Jennifer was not amused.)

Thursday, April 28, 2022

X-ed Out

When Natalie gets computer time, she goes from video to video on YouTube. She has not figured out how to exit. She just opens new tabs. 

At the end of a day, her browser looks like this: 

Just in case you were wondering if you have too many tabs open... 

So, every day, I go through and exit all of the tabs for her. Because she doesn't go back to them ever. 

Computer time is what Natalie wants, so computer time can be weaponized when she isn't listening. 

Last Thursday, Natalie snuck into the classroom during snack time. (Well, ambled in while we were busy.) When I followed to bring her back outside, I found her again on Penelope's iPad, attempting to get to YouTube. Or something. 

(Penelope's iPad is always open to her communication app. She can toggle through and indicate what she needs. Penelope can speak, but she doesn't say much, and it's hard to understand her due to her cerebral palsy.) 

The last time Natalie did that I took away computer time. This time, I gave the same consequence. 

Alas, it was more a punishment for me.

I gave Natalie a task. (They have "task boxes". The one I gave her had her sorting different colored Legos into little compartments.) She refused to do it. I told her if she completed the task, I would allow her back on her computer. She still refused to do it.

Her refusal wasn't verbal. She sat at her desk for a while. Then she got up and ambled around the room. She came up to the teacher's desk. So, I put away my computer. (At this point I had hidden Natalie's computer away as well as Penelope's iPad.) 

I put Natalie back at her desk. She sat for a while. Then she got up and ambled towards the front again. 

They had delivered the food for lunch. Natalie went to investigate. 

I moved her back to her seat. 

Natalie got up to go outside. Since Domingo stays outside, Earl blocked her way. They talked for a bit. (Earl did most of the talking.) Then Earl urged her inside. 

Then Natalie got up and ambled towards the front... 

This repeated for an hour and a half. 

Finally (once I finished the task I was working on), I sat with her for the last ten or so minutes before lunchtime. 

Natalie is exhausting when she loses computer time. But she can't be using other students' devices. I just hope one of these days she figures out that the shiny electronic device that isn't hers is not hers to touch. 

I don't hold out much hope of this happening.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Winding Down the Year

Last week was the first week back from spring break. And we're all feeling the end of the school year's approach. 

I don't normally do a countdown. I'm too busy going from assignment to assignment to pay attention. But this year, I actually sat down and counted. 30 days. 

So, on Wednesday, I found a spot on the board and wrote "days left". 

At the beginning of the day, two of the students take care of changing the dates on the board. We have a little calendar with velcro numbers. Jennifer puts up the number for the current day. And then the date is written out by Jonas. 

Jonas has trouble writing up the date. We point out where Jennifer placed the correct day. We'll tell him to add one to the previous day. But it's always a bit of a struggle for him. 

Because I'm lazy Because Jonas needs the practice, I've decided that the countdown is now part of his responsibilities. I assigned it to him on Friday. 

I explained that he would need to change the number down one. I asked him what one less than nine was. (He could leave the tens-place two up. That's a whole other discussion on how hard it is to get him to grasp that concept.) But he got to eight pretty quickly. Success. 

We'll see how Jonas does with the countdown. (Obviously, he doesn't do this alone.) It'll be good practice for him.

(When you read this post, our countdown should read 25 more days left of school. Woo-hoo!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Virtually Real

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 all of this (*gestures to the world at large*) is just a simulation? (No, really, physicists think it might be.) 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Updating the Plan

I have new yarn incoming. 

Today is the twin nephews' birthday. They're turning nine. They opted for birthday money, so no knitting for them. 

Their elder brother, middle nephew, has a birthday in about a week and a half (May 4th). He'll be twelve. He also opted for birthday money, so no knitting for him. 

(Eldest nephew--who turned sixteen--had his birthday back in December.) 

That leaves niece. She turns twenty-one in June. 

Since my yarny plans were wide open, I texted her to find out what she wants for her birthday. She opted for another top. She gave me a couple options, and we agreed I'd make her this one

I ordered the yarn. It should be here soon. (Today. Tomorrow. This week for sure.) 

So, the Calash that I've been working on will be put on hold. (This should surprise no one.) Currently it's at: 

But while ordering the yarn for niece, I just happened to peruse the yarn website a bit more, and I found that t-shirt yarn I wanted to knit myself a new purse with. The last time I looked, it was out of stock. But it was there now. So, I ordered it. 

I'm not sure what this purse will look like yet, other than it'll be a shade of brown. But choosing yarn forces other design choices, so it'll get easier from this. I might just actually start that new purse that I've been talking about starting

Which means the Calash will be waiting longer to get completed. 

We'll see how things go. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Scorching Hot & Soaking Wet

The day before spring break (which was two Fridays ago) was forecasted to be hot. 90-something degree hot. On the day, we actually got up to 101F (38C). 

On the Wednesday, instructional assistant Keyla informed me that she wanted to do "water play" that day. See, we called it "water play" in the note that went home to the parents (so the students would have towels and extra clothes to change into) rather than telling the parents we planned to have a water balloon fight. 

When the time came (it was well into the 90s before noon), the aides filled a couple buckets of water, filled up some balloons, and pulled out the water shooter/squirter thingies

Earl turned on the hose and sprayed Keyla with it. Keyla took the water shooter and got him back. Alas, in that exchange, I was collateral damage. 

Jennifer and Jonas went after each other and the other students outside. Keyla showed Doris how the water balloons worked, and Doris proceeded to douse herself with them for the duration. (She kept breaking them on herself.) 

One of the other classes was out on a break. They watched the fun. Many of them got hit by random splashes, although they didn't seem to mind much. 

Not everyone really wanted in on the action. We coaxed Natalie out, but she stayed out of the way until she was able to convince someone to let her back into the classroom and onto her computer. Sigh. 

Penelope and a couple of our other lower functioning students were given bowls and buckets of water with toys to play in. 

They were probably at it a half hour. They were soaked when the balloons had finally been exhausted. 

We finished up the day in the classroom with pizza and a movie. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022


So, um, we did it. Natalie has now learned how to log in to her computer. 

I started this story three weeks ago. I decided to teach Natalie how to type out her username. I recited it to her, and she typed. She had the whole thing memorized in a day.

If I stood over her while she typed it, it would work. But I would hear her sometimes recite her username when I wasn't standing over her. It wouldn't be long before she would come up to the teacher's desk to request, "Help, please". 

(One of the things we work on with the students is for them to request help when they need it. They don't always.) 

I tried to get her to not log out as often as she does. (She isn't good at exiting things, but she knows how to restart the computer. And this leads to having to log in again. A lot.) 

Because I stood over her while she was logging in so much, I spied the big problem she was having. She always hesitated over the period key. 

So, the week before spring break, I asked Natalie if I could put a sticker on the period key so she could locate it. She agreed. 

And after that, she hasn't called me to help her log in. 

Did she suddenly stop logging out? Nope. I hear her reciting her username periodically. 

But now, I see that it actually works for her.

Stubborn Natalie can learn something through repetition. Now, if I could only leverage that to teach her something useful. Because stubborn, she will fight me on doing anything she doesn't want to do.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Questions Answered

When a substitute teacher needs a day off, we just make ourselves unavailable that day. When we're doing day-to-day subbing, it's really easy to just turn down an assignment. (Of course, if we don't work, we don't get paid.) 

But when we're on a long-term assignment...

Now, I've subbed for a sub before. I have covered a long-term sub who had to take a day off. But I have never before been the long-term sub in question. 

Last week I posted about my dentist appointment to deal with my cracked tooth. I took that day off work. It was a good thing, as I was in the dentist's chair for three and a half hours. 

And it had been something that was going to have to happen. 

Substitutes have a limit as to how many days they can cover a class. Before, it had been 30 days (or 20 days in a special ed class). But this year of our pandemic, the state passed a law extending that time to 60 days (and then extended it again to 120 days for non-special ed classes). (This was one way of dealing with the substitute teacher and full time teacher shortage.) 

When I started covering Ms. L's class, the sub caller and I counted. From the day I started to the last day of school: 61 days. (The class is special ed, so I'm still bound by the 60 day max rule.) 

By taking a day off for the dentist, I can cover this class until the last day of school. 

So, I made lesson plans. I told the instructional aides and the students I'd be out. I let the office know. I cleared it with the sub caller. I was good to go. 

So, how did the class do with a sub for a sub? 

I'll never know. They didn't cover me. 

Yeah, you know that sub shortage? One of the other teachers on campus was out sick that day, too. The campus only got one sub. 


Ah well. I did what I could. And it was only one day. (Everybody was very happy to see me the next day.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Pen Deluge

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 every pen you've ever lost suddenly reappeared (like, at your desk, or on a counter in your home)?

Monday, April 18, 2022

Output for the Week

Short post today. My computer is being an absolute pill, taking over an hour just to get to the point where I can do a blog post. 

(It does this to me every time it updates. I want to throw it through a window right now. But hopefully the update is complete, so the issues won't crop up again until the next time.) 

I have made progress on the Calash

(For comparison, the last time I posted a picture:)

So, progress. Finally. (Last week was spring break. I had some time and the mental energy to do some knitting.) 

I'm about six inches away from the half way point. So, yay. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Molar, Cracked

I broke another tooth. 

The last broken tooth. I did not get a picture of this one.

I think it was Wednesday, but it might have been Tuesday. It was evening. I was sitting in front of the TV, snacking on ice cream. It felt like one of the chocolate chips (more a shard, really) was stuck between my teeth. But by the time I brushed my teeth later that night, I realized that it wasn't a chocolate chip I felt. 

Nope, what I was feeling was the tooth. A small piece of it had been shorn off. 

After last year's incident, I figured that the best way forward would be to take a day off work to deal with it. I cleared it with the sub caller and I made the appointment. 

I made the right choice. I was in the dentist chair for three and a half hours. 

The dentist took a look. Numbed me up. I wasn't sure if I was numb enough, so he gave me more. He pulled off the shard that had formed (which you couldn't see until I moved it as it fit in my tooth like a puzzle piece). Only then did I realize I had been numb enough as my tongue (which I didn't think was numb) didn't feel the hole that was left once the shard was removed. (The tip of my tongue felt it, but not the side next to the hole.) 

Ah well. Better to be too numb than not numb enough. 

The dentist drilled the tooth so that he could fit a crown over it. He fitted me for the crown. And then I left with a temp crown in place until my permanent crown could be fabricated. (You're reading this on a Friday. My appointment to put the permanent crown on was for yesterday.) 

Buy on Zazzle

These things go much easier (mentally) when I've been through them before. I knew what to expect. And that tooth has been giving me issues long enough that I knew this was coming, sooner or later.

So, now I have two fake molars, both on the bottom of my jaw. One on the right side (last year), one on the left (this one). Balance has been restored. (Yes, they are exact opposites.)

Thursday, April 14, 2022


We have a water issue at the place where I live. Have had for years. Whenever something goes wrong, water to the whole complex is turned off. Sigh. 

Two Sundays ago, at roughly 11 PM, we got word that the water to the whole complex was being turned off due to an "unexpected plumbing issue". I didn't think much of it and went to bed.

But, the water had not been turned back on by the time I had to leave for work. (This made for an awkward morning.) And it had not been turned back on by the time I got home from work. We did get an update: 

The plumbing vendor is on site working on the leak, and we don't yet know when the water will be able to be turned back on. It is a complex situation which includes the pipes from the laundry facilities and the City is also involved. Our property manager worked past midnight last night coordinating resources to mitigate the excessive damage caused by the leak, and is continuing to work to get it resolved as soon as possible.
Scuttlebutt was that maybe by 9 PM we'd have water. Maybe. 

So, I wimped out. I got a hotel room for the night.

I mean, if I have time to prepare for no water, I make contingencies. I have things set up to "survive" the duration. But with no warning...

We got an email after 8 PM that the situation was resolved and the water was back on. By then I was already set up in said hotel room, showered and ready for bed. So, we did have the water back by 9 PM. But only barely. 

I'm not sure if I made the right choice, but it made for a less stressful evening anyway. It was like a mini vacation right before spring break. 

(As you read this, I am on spring break.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


I am on spring break. So, I am holding all of my subbing posts until next week when I'll be working. Normally, I then make this week a "summer schedule" week. 

However, as I was sitting in the dentist's chair (see Friday's post), I realized what would totally fit for K day. But that meant instead of doing a random quiz on Friday, I'd have to do it on Wednesday. But the reason for the dentist visit totally works for M day, and how I spent the morning and evening before the dentist would fit for L. 

So, not summer schedule. But this is more filler for spring break anyway. 

Kennection #4

I had no idea that they had revamped this, so it's different than the last time I posted one of these. Instead of being interactive, you have to go to the next screen to see if your guesses are right. 

It's five questions. Once you have those answers, you have to guess what they have in common. I failed on this one. Perhaps you'll have better luck than me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Jewelry with a Purpose

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 could wear your earphones/airpods/earbuds like earrings?

Monday, April 11, 2022


I have only added a few new rows to the scarf...

...since this photo was taken (there's now a yellow/green stripe), so it's not really worth talking about. 

What I am doing, though, is thinking. What do I want to knit (or crochet) next? 

Now's the time to be thinking about it. Now's the time to start new projects. Once upon a time, I had three or more projects going at a time, so I could switch between them. But lately I only have one. That becomes a problem when I finish the one, as the starting of a project and the working of a project take different types of mental energy. 

When I finish a project, my working-a-project mental energy is still going strong. So, it's nice to have another already-started project to pick up. 

But what to do? 

I still have the square I did back in January

I can finish that yarn up by making more of those and turn it into a pillow. Maybe. 

I'm also toying with the idea to either improve upon this or make something similar with the same yarn: 

It was made for holding my phone while I walk, but it bounced around so much that I went and bought a fanny pack for walking. So this piece is hiding away someplace, not being used. 

But neither of those ideas is generating much of an itch in me. 

I just don't know what to start next. I have a while before it'll become a big issue, but I'd kind of like to have some more things started before then.

Anyone have any ideas? 

Friday, April 8, 2022


The students like music. Jonas especially. His favorite band is Big Time Rush

Penelope likes One Direction. (Although, I introduced her to BTS, and she seems to like them now, too.) 

Keyla mentioned to the class that we  should do a "dance party", so first thing the next morning I plugged the computer into the classroom speakers, and I let each of the students choose a song. (Natalie chose "Skip to my Lou".) 

Jonas really enjoyed this. (There's a reason I'm choosing Jonas as his blog alias.) He likes to sing along to music on his computer when he has free time. 

Monday. It was raining, and the forecast was for rain all day. 

As soon as the day officially started (they came in early as they have no place to wait that would have been dry), I decided to put on a song that I think about whenever it rains... 

They weren't impressed. 

Ah well. At least I got on a song I liked.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Flying Over the Fence

It was Thursday, I think. (The week has completely blended together as I write this over the weekend.) Snack time. So, we were all outside. 

The school is very small. We're tucked into a back far corner. Our snack area is a patio that backs onto a lawn area. Beyond the lawn area, separated by a fence, are backyards to people's houses. 

On this (likely) Thursday, a couple of the students had gone out to the lawn area and were kicking around a basketball. 

Jonas was in soccer mode. (I don't think I've mentioned Jonas before. If I have, he probably has a completely different blog alias.) He went in for a hard kick, and the ball sailed upwards and over the fence into someone's backyard. 


And the chickens kicked up a ruckus. 

That particular house has chickens in the backyard. We hear them clucking on occasion. Not too often. 

From where the ball likely landed (as I saw it sailing over the fence from where I was seated), it sounded as if it landed on top of the chickens. 

The staff and I were concerned that a ball of that weight and velocity might have hurt one or more of those chickens. 

Double ooof. 

See, this sort of thing doesn't generally happen. I've been at this school for more than half the year, and this is the first time this has come up. 

Most of the time, the students throw the basketballs into the hoop that's set up on the patio. Although, more often than not, they're focused on their devices. (While many have more of a kid mentality, they are all chronologically adults.) 

There was nothing for it. Someone had to go to the house to apologize. Of course Jonas would go, but someone on staff would go with him. Keyla got roped into it. 

We heard when they arrived, for they were in the backyard. Jonas is very soft spoken and hard to understand most of the time, but Keyla's voice was audible. 

They returned basketball-less. Apparently, we had sent them to the wrong house. At least no chickens had been injured in the incident. 

Except, the next day, the basketball was returned. From that house. Somehow, it had blended in with the backyard, and even though Keyla and the homeowner had gone out there, no one saw it. 

I think the school is still on good terms with that neighbor. I hope. Jonas has been forbidden to play at being a soccer player any longer. Well, at least for now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Escape the Classroom

Wednesday. It was sometime after 2:30 PM, the portion of the day where things really wind down. The students leave at 3:15 PM, and that last 45 minutes is partially clean up time and partially them on their computers watching whatever their favorite thing is. 

A hummingbird flew into the room. 

It flew towards the lights in the ceiling. It fluttered about the room from front to back to front again. Those suckers are fast, so it didn't remain in one spot long. 

The instructional aides were startled. 

Then it became a thing of how to get the bird out of the classroom. I turned out the lights hoping that the creature would go towards the outside light. No luck. 

The bird remained near the ceiling, so it wasn't getting low enough to see the door, let alone go through it. 

The aides didn't want to use a broom, because they didn't want to inadvertently maim the hummingbird. Various options were tried to shoo it, but the aides are short, and the ceiling is high. Earl was called in to assist (as he's tall), but he didn't have any luck, either. 

Vera looked up hummingbirds on her phone, and she thought making it some sugar water might tempt it to land lower. Sugar was found. We have a sink, so water was easy. And there's a microwave in the classroom. 

This also failed.

Then the suggestion was to call the main office. So, I did. I asked the clerk if anyone had any ideas on how to remove a hummingbird from a classroom. The clerk said she'd send the principal.

No, I did not think the principal needed to get involved in this. But the principal came. And left. Nope, she couldn't figure it out either. 

In the end (as it was nearing time for the class to be dismissed), we left the classroom door open, and the custodian would be informed of the issue. 

The next day, I arrived to a classroom still wide open. (I generally lock the door before leaving. I had hoped to find the classroom locked up tight.) But, it turned out that a couple of the instructional assistants had arrived before me and had opened the room. They searched the room for bird or remains of bird, but found nothing. 

So, I asked. The school secretary asked around, and she learned that the custodian did, in fact, remove the hummingbird from the classroom. 

It took him a half hour. 

Well, at least we don't now have a pet hummingbird. I mean, I wouldn't mind, just as long as it lived outside. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Deal with the Devil

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 the only person you could go to for help would expect a very high price in return? 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Calash Roundup

It's April, and so it's time for the A to Z Challenge. Which I am not officially doing. But when I did do it, I just matched my usual posts to the letter of the day. 

This year, like last year and the year before, I am unofficially participating. All that means is that on the days I post, I will attempt to match the letter of the day. 

Mondays are my yarn-y days. And I did nothing yarn-related all last week. Sigh.

But, luckily, my current WIP's name is perfect for today. Calash

I started it back in July

I made a bit of progress over the next two weeks.

And then I forgot about it for five months (while I worked on the octopus hats for the nephews). 

I worked on it a couple more times before dropping it again in favor of the Surprise Scarf, which I finished about two weeks ago, and then last week I again picked up Calash.

And this is where I am currently. 

How long will I work on this before dropping it again in favor of another project? Well, I do have nephew birthdays coming up (as well as niece's), and I have ideas for other projects. Will this be the new seven (and a half) year cardi? It totally could be.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Apple Thief

Friday. Beginning of the school day. The students arrived.

The students are all brought into the classroom at the start of the day by the instructional assistants, kind of in one fell whoosh. It's chaotic as they get settled. 

Domingo ambled into the room, and rather than immediately going outside, he kind of hovered. 

Vera came in with her student, got her settled, and put her stuff away in the drawer the aides use for their stuff. 

Domingo went into the drawer, moved Vera's jacket out of the way, and he snatched her apple. 

Vera was understandably upset. She brought that apple for herself. It was a variety that she looks for especially. But now that Domingo had it... 

At the end of the day, the apple had been left outside. Untouched. Domingo didn't eat the apple. He didn't even take a bite. He just held onto it. (He also holds onto books. And toys.) 

It had become his comfort apple. His apple companion.

We'll all be more careful with apples from now on. And anything else Domingo might want to snatch.