Sunday, April 30, 2023

Zen, Moment Of

On The Daily Show on Comedy Central, they end each episode with a "Moment of Zen". As we have reached the end of April and the end of the A to Z Challenge, I thought it appropriate to end my A to Z posts with my own "moment of Zen", mostly because this is a Sunday, and I don't really post on Sundays, so there's nothing in the schedule for me to do. 

And here it is, your moment of Zen...

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

Saturday, April 29, 2023


You know how when people know you collect something, everyone gets you that for your birthdays and Christmases? Well, I knit, so...

Links to yarn descriptions on Ravelry: purple, orange, light blue

...I get gifted yarn. 

As a project knitter, I tend to buy yarn with specific uses in mind. Gifted yarn... Yeah, I'm not sure what I want to make with this. 

It's pretty. I love the orange one. I just don't know what I'm going to do with it. 

Any ideas?

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

Friday, April 28, 2023


Yup, I'm cheating a bit with the title. It's X day. We all cheat on X day.

Friday. It was the end of my first week in Ms. A's classes. It was snack time, and I was sitting, waiting. Dr. T walked in. 

Dr. T is one of the assistant principals, and he makes me feel really old. How old? I remember when Dr. T was a student at this school. I subbed for him when he was a teacher there. In the room where he took the history class that he then taught. 


Dr. T had a question about the state testing. Of course, I wasn't present for the state testing, Mr. P was. Which Dr. T knew. As Mr. P was covering a new long term on campus, Dr. T could go to him directly to find out the answer to his question. Which is what he did.

But then Dr. T came to find me again during fourth period. (At which point I was on the other side of campus as that was the leadership class, and they were making posters for a lunch time activity.) 

It turns out that Mr. P hadn't quite finished all the testing the eleventh graders needed to do. Rather than trying to get me up to speed by Monday, they came up with a better solution. I could exchange places with Mr. P for the classes that needed to be tested. As long as I agreed. 

Why wouldn't I agree? 

(Technically, Mr. P shouldn't be in the class as he's reached his maximum number of days, but in this instance he's proctoring a test, not teaching per se, so it's probably allowed. Just don't tell anyone, okay?) 

So, my whole plan for the following week (including a quiz on The Great Gatsby), out the window. Sigh.

On the plus side, the plans for the week just got pushed back, so that's two fewer days of lessons I have to figure out for the kiddos. 

It's the variety that I enjoy in subbing. This sort of thing is totally in my wheelhouse. Should make for an interesting week. (I'll tell you all about it next week. Probably.)

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

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Wasps Nest

Wednesday. Fourth period. Or, well, not quite fourth period as I was standing outside, greeting the students as they entered the class before the bell rang.

A boy started to tell me how he noticed a wasps nest over on the other side of campus. 

I've been subbing a long time. So, when a student tells me something, I immediately think of all the other people they should report this to. It's not usually something I can do something about. 

I started to tell him he should report this to the custodial staff. But, they don't have an "office" out of which they work. I mean, they do have a phone number, but the students don't use the on campus phones. (Sometimes an administrator or teacher will ask to talk to a student in class, but that's not common.) Those phones are the classroom phones that we use to communicate with office staff and each other. 

Then I started to say, "You could report this to your teacher..." 

Uh. Yeah, so this was my third day in a three-week assignment. Technically, I am his teacher. And technically, he was reporting this to me. 

That's when I realized that I could actually figure out who needed this information. 

While I don't have to check in daily with the secretary in charge of subs on assignments like this (I get to check out my own keys! So, I get to come and go as I please), I figure she's the best person to ask questions like, "Who do I report a wasps nest to?". 

So, I asked. 

Turns out, she could radio custodial. 

And so, a few minutes later, a custodian arrived in the room, looking for a wasps nest. 

I explained kind of where it was. But, the boy was sitting right in front of me, so I referred the custodian to him. 

The boy attempted to explain. The custodian asked if the boy could show him. I gave the boy permission to leave class. 

I mean, wasps. At school. With teenagers. That's going to get ugly in a hurry. 

During the A to Z Challenge, I keep the letters in mind during the week. So, last week I kept in the forefront of my mind V, W, and X. Because I knew whatever subbing stories appeared were going to have to fit under one of those letters. 

And then a student says "wasps nest". Seriously, these stories fall into my lap (like the year that a girl right in front of me discussed how she had to have a quinceanera and a sweet sixteen on Q week). It's magic, I tell ya.

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Video Help

Back in October, when I finished four weeks of Mrs. B's success seminar class, I was done with "long term" assignments. I wanted to relish the day-to-day randomness of subbing. And it's been a nice run. 

It was about mid March when the secretary asked if I would be interested in taking over a "long term" for another sub. The teacher's out on maternity leave, and the sub was going to reach his maximum number of days in the class. 

I hemmed and hawed. Did I want a "long term"? (I keep putting it in quotes as it's only for three weeks. The previous sub has been in the class since January. So, not a day assignment, but not a month, either, which is more what I think of when I hear "long term".)

Ultimately, I decided, why not? It wasn't really going to be that long, and it'd be a nice break from day-to-day. 

Mr. P (who I have mentioned before on this blog in a very similar context) gave me the rundown of where he was in Ms. A's lesson plans. (She left lesson plans for the semester.) We had a "transition day" the day we got back from spring break. 

The eleventh grade English class was reading The Great Gatsby. They had read chapters one and two. But, then they had state testing. And spring break. 

Immediately, I assume that there's no way the kiddos are going to remember what they had read. 

But what to do? I don't want to reread chapters that they have read already. 

Luckily, that class that I took over from Mr. P two years ago was also an eleventh grade English class at roughly the same time of year. Guess what we were reading? 

While we were on distance learning, I couldn't be sure the kiddos were following along with the story, so I found some YouTube videos to help. Finding them again was a simple search. 

My first day with them, I asked them what chapters one and two were about. And they couldn't tell me. Time for a video summary...

And then I gave them questions to do. *insert evil laugh here*

I leaned heavily on the videos during distance learning. Now, I don't need to do that. But now they know about the videos, so if they're needing the extra help, they can find the videos on their own. 

It's much easier to teach a novel in person.

It's an interesting set of videos. I'm posting chapter two, mostly because it has a very interesting take on Nick, the narrator. I did not show that portion to the kiddos as it wasn't germane to what they needed to know. (I only showed them the five or so minutes of "summary".)

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Under Water

What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements 😉 

Here's a sci-fi idea that I haven't seen discussed in a few decades:

What if they built a city at the bottom of the ocean? (It would be under a dome or something, so humans could inhabit it.) Would you want to live there? Would you go to visit?

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

Monday, April 24, 2023

Twins Turn Ten

Last week was just one of those weeks. Work got busy, so when I got home, I wasn't much in the mindset to do any knitting (or crocheting). 

So, I went through my picture archives on the blog. (I was looking for a specific project that apparently I never blogged about. Sigh.) And I stumbled across these. What are they? 

They'll make more sense modeled: 

So, I've mentioned that I have four nephews, right? They've gone by various names on the blog over the years, but lately they've been eldest (who's 17), middle (who's going to be 13 next week), and the twins. 

The twins turn ten... Tomorrow. Sigh. 

(Why couldn't T day fall on the 25th?)

So, anyway, I talked about the project here and I did the birth announcement (sort of) post here. Ten years ago. 

I'll spare you all a roundup of all the things I've knitted/crocheted for them over the years (mostly because I don't have the time to hunt them all down), and just leave up their baby pictures. 

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

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Sunning Turtles

The turtles like to gather along this bank when the sun is out. This day they were joined by a Canadian goose. They'll sit there for hours with their heads pointed up towards the sun.

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

Friday, April 21, 2023

Reviewing the Lesson Plan

Last week was spring break. As is my custom, I saved the posts from the week before the break until now when we're back in school. I will post about this week's events next week.

I managed to catch a full week assignment the week before spring break.  

As luck would have it, I was across the way from the class the Friday before, so I had a chance to touch base with the teacher, and she gave me a heads up on what the assignments for the week would be.


The U.S. history classes would be watching Selma. Ms. M gave me the link to the movie in the lesson plan, so I was testing it out. I wanted to make sure everything would work so I didn't have to scramble first thing Monday morning.

And... It turned out that I couldn't access the movie. 

I texted Ms. M. Told her the issue. I tried what she said got it to work for her. No dice. 

We reasoned that perhaps it worked at school on school Wi-Fi, and because I was at home, that's why I couldn't access the movie. 

Monday morning, I got into the classroom, and I immediately attempted to log in. 

Yeah, well, it didn't work. Everything that Ms. M said to do got me the exact same result as me attempting it at home. Sigh. 

Although, I had a feeling that would happen, so I took out some insurance. (I thought perhaps she had found a pirated copy somewhere and it was taken down. I was right.) I subscribed to the streaming service that had it. 

(I wouldn't normally do this. But I just had to add Showtime to my Paramount Plus subscription. The price was well worth the panic I didn't have to go through Monday morning. And I could always cancel it later.)

Ms. M has a copy of the movie on DVD. But, none of the current computers have DVD drives. I have run into this issue before, but then I had time to go searching for an alternate solution. This time I did not.

Ah well. Perhaps there's something on Showtime I can watch before I cancel. Anyone have any suggestions? (I already saw Everything Everywhere All at Once.)

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

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Quick Fix

Last week was spring break. As is my custom, I am posting the events from the week before the break this week now that we are back in school.

Tuesday. First period. 

It was the teacher I was covering's conference period, so I was sent to cover a math special ed co-teacher. The general ed teacher arrived at the warning bell, and she went to set up as I stood at the door letting the students in.

"We have a sub!"

Uh, no. It was kind of fun to watch their disappointment as they entered the room and saw that Ms. S was there.

But, as Ms. S began setting up her lesson for the day, she ran into some technical issues. (She was trying to get her computer to project, which is how she shows the examples and such, but the computer wasn't connecting to the big screen.) Luckily, the teacher next door was fairly tech savvy, so she called out to him to help.

(The bell hadn't rung to start the day quite yet. Mr. F had just arrived and was letting his students in his classroom.) 

As the "extra" in this situation, I traded places with Mr. F so he could attempt to fix Ms. S's problem. 

Mr. F handed a stack of papers to a student to pass out, and then he went to the math room while I went into his seventh grade world history classroom. 

"We have a sub!?!"

Uh, did you see that Mr. F was right there?

The bell rang. I got the students seated while that one boy passed out the assignment. It turned out to be a study guide for a test. 

I explained that Mr. F was just next door, that he'd be back in class soon, and that they should probably get started on the study guide as it likely looked like their test.

"Have you taken roll yet?"

Uh? I wasn't expecting to be in the class for longer than a few minutes. Their teacher would take roll when he returned. 

(That boy then asked me twice more if I had taken roll. I guess he wanted to surreptitiously slip to a seat next to his friend. I don't know what part of I'm-not-taking-roll-as-Mr.-F-will-when-he-returns was hanging him up, but he didn't quite get it.) 

Mr. F returned. Although, not. He needed a cable, and while he was there, he opened the Chromecart and told the students to get started as they had a test Thursday. Then he left again.

Ah, they needed computers. That explained why they weren't working. 

It was a couple more minutes. The students had all they needed, but many weren't working. But they were contained, so that was all I could do, really. 

Then Mr. F returned. For good. And I went to cover the class I had actually been sent to cover.

I joined the math lesson, already in progress. (They also had a test coming on Thursday.)

(Ms. S's computer wouldn't connect to the internet. Mr. F plugged her in to a physical internet connection. Later, the campus' tech help person stopped by and fixed the issue.) 

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Protest Fail

Last week was spring break. As is my custom, I saved my subbing posts from the week before the break to post the week we're back in school. 

Wednesday. 11:59 AM.

The bell rang to begin fourth period freshman geography. But several students were hovering in the doorway. 

It was the third day of a four day assignment, and while I had many tardies, this was unusual. What was going on?

A student showed me a post from social media. (Instagram? I didn't get a close look.) It was a graphic for a student walkout at noon.

(I hadn't heard anything about this before that moment, but I later heard about it on the evening news. Here's a website explaining the plan. And here's an article talking about how it went down elsewhere.)

Ah. That made sense. They were going to walk out. Okay, then.

But... A couple of them were unsure what to do. And I had one student wanting to be marked present even though he was planning to walk out. 

Ah, freshmen...

I had no problem with them protesting. But I wasn't marking students present who weren't in class. 

(It was the timing that sucked. If class started five minutes earlier, I would have had time to take roll. Five minutes later and they wouldn't have come to class.)

It was like they wanted permission to leave. I couldn't give that. I wasn't going to object, but I wasn't going to encourage it, either. (It was a protest. The whole point was them going against what they were supposed to be doing.) 

A bunch of them left. Well, not a bunch. Less than one-fourth of the class. 


I mean, it wasn't like they were truly missing anything. They were having a "workshop day" where they were completing assignments for the unit they were working on. They knew this. They had asked me the day before, and I had confirmed that was the assignment. 

Five minutes later, three students returned. Then another two a bit later. Then a bit after that, another two.

Apparently, this "protest" wasn't much of a protest. It was a bunch of students aimlessly walking around campus. The freshmen got bored and came back to class. 

Deep sigh. What a great opportunity wasted. 

(Someone should have taken the lead. They've done this sort of thing before at the school.)

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


What if? It's the basis of many stories. We ask. We ponder. We wonder.

On Tuesdays I throw one out there. What if? It may be speculative. It may stem from something I see. It may be something I pull from the news.

Make of it what you will. If a for instance is not specified, interpret that instance as you wish. And if the idea turns into a story, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements 😉 

What if you just knew you were being watched, but there was absolutely no way that you could be?

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

Monday, April 17, 2023

Notes for Next Time

I decided to use fabric for the back of the pillow cover.

Although, I'm second guessing myself now.

Not on the fabric back, but kind of on how I've measured things.

That is about how much more length I need to get the cover around the full pillow, minus a couple inches. Rather than sewing the fabric directly to the knitted portion, I'm doing a blanket stitch around the edge of the fabric. Then, I'll crochet around the fabric so that I'm sewing yarn to yarn.

It'll make more sense once I've completed the blanket stitching. (It's a similar technique to when I made myself some masks a couple years ago.) 

At this point, I know what I'd do differently were I to do this over. 

1. It takes about three skeins to cover the pillow. I had two.

(I ripped out the thing I originally bought this yarn to make, so I did have two almost complete skeins for the cover.) 

2. If I'm only going to cover half the pillow, measure better. I mean, right now I could rip back what I have so that it's only the front half of the pillow, but that just seems like too much work. 

I think the fabric is going to end up on the bottom of the pillow, but we'll see when I get that far. It's going to take a while to get the blanket stitching done, and then crocheting around the edges. I'll have a better idea of what I want to do once that part is complete.

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

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Season 5 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel started yesterday on Amazon Prime

You're not watching it? It's a period show (I believe season 1 started in the late 1950s, but the current season is in the 1960s) about a woman trying to become a stand-up comedian. It's by the people who made Gilmore Girls, so it was something that was on my radar from the beginning.

I'm excited, but I'm also sad. This is going to be the last season. 

Are you watching?

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

Friday, April 14, 2023

Lyrics for Every Letter: Mystery Album IV

It's spring break, so I'm on my "summer schedule" this week. Which means that Friday is time for a random quiz.

I went to my go-to Sporcle, and I started searching. I found this one pretty quickly. And I immediately thought "nah". But I'd give it a play.

And... I managed to figure it out. Which, considering the topic, wasn't a foregone conclusion. So, I offer it up today.

Lyrics for Every Letter: Mystery Album IV

Some warnings:

  • It's timed (10 minutes)
  • It takes a while to load (at least for my computer)
  • It'll take whatever you type in the box pretty quickly, so like "a" will get pulled even if you were typing "apple".

The album is pretty well-known. I managed to figure out the first song, and from that the artist and album, and then the second two songs were obvious as I knew the album. That's how I got 100% with 5 minutes left on the clock.

If you've got some time (and a fast computer) check it out. Let me know how you did in the comments. (No spoilers, please.)

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

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Knit Projects Roundup 13

It's spring break for me, so this week I'm on my "summer schedule". Since I'm not doing a repost, I'm doing a Thursday 13

It's K-day this lovely April 13th. And, I mean, I have to. I just have to. 

I went through the blog archives, and I found 13 old posts detailing various knit projects I've done over the years. (I have a lot of knitting posts.) I chose 13 things that I still have and still (mostly) use. As my knitting posts tend to be about what's on the needles, I have a couple posts from when a project was in process. Because some things were in process for a while (*side eyes the seven and a half years cardi*). 

I hope you enjoy my little walk through the archives.

1. Alligator Scarf Finished (June 5, 2010)

This picture was on my old Flickr account. Luckily, I could still access it. The actual scarf I got to pull out this winter, although I haven't worn it in a while. I never did name him. But I do love having this scarf. 

2. A Finished Cardigan (March 28, 2011)

This sweater's only 12 years old? I thought I had it longer. It's gotten a lot of wear this winter, way more than I usually get to wear it. It's pretty warm, so it's been great to have on the chillier days.

3. The Unending Purse Project (April 9, 2012)

I still use this on the regular. It's my "car purse". I don't carry a purse to school when I'm working. I keep my wallet in my school bag. But if I run errands after school, I'm not going to carry my whole school bag with me, so I pull out my wallet and put it in this purse. It's held up well all this time.

4. Not Fixing Mistakes (August 18, 2013)

I believe this is the first time I reference the seven (and a half) years cardi on the blog. This is the swatch from before I started the project. Little did I know then what a journey it would be to complete the thing.

5. Some Little Things (October 8, 2014)

If you've been following my A to Z posts, you may have noticed my knitted alphabet. This was the post where I explain the idea behind it. (It took me a while to get the whole alphabet knitted, and after I did, I gave away a few of these during the 2015 A to Z Challenge.)

6. Victory Lap (August 29, 2016)

This is still my purse. I still use it. I've been meaning to make another purse as it's time to switch this one out, but I haven't gotten around to doing it yet. Maybe this summer.

7. For Pretty Part 2 (February 13, 2017)

I bring a water bottle with me to work every day. I have two covers for it now. I alternate between using this one and the orange one. But I still have one with me every school day.

8. Famous Last Words (March 13, 2017)

This is the post where I show off how I fixed a major mistake in the knitting of the seven (and a half) years cardi. Notice how big it is. Notice the date. Yup, it'd been about four years since I started knitting it.

9. Porcupine Stitch Torture (March 5, 2018)

I kind of hated this stitch. I was gifted yarn for Christmas, and I decided I'd make myself an infinity scarf. 

10. Harvest Porcupine Infinity Scarf (May 14, 2018)

It didn't take me that long to finish the scarf. I've gotten a lot of wear out of it this winter. I think I've worn it about once a week since January. I really do love this finished project. It's just the right amount of warmth on chillier days.

11. Finally Done (September 9, 2019)

This bag turned out way too big, so I put it in my car, and now it collects my grocery bags in one place. 

12. Old Projects (January 18, 2021)

When I picked up the seven (and a half) years cardi (again).

13. Jabbering On (April 12, 2021)

I wasn't finished with the seven (and a half) years cardi at the writing of this post, but it was A to Z month, and that kind of brings this all full circle. (It appears the images have disappeared from the post. I'll have to track those down. Maybe.)

I would finish the cardi a month later. And I've worn it a couple times a week since January. 

A lot of my knits are gifted. Some are disasters that vanish somewhere. But these projects are still with me. Amazingly. 

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Jargon of the Educated

It is spring break for me, so last week's stories will appear next week. For this week, I'm on my "summer schedule". However, finding a TV show that starts with J that I like that you may not have heard of turned out to be impossible, so I'm pulling a story from March that did not quite make the cut the week it happened. 

Thursday. Eleventh grade English.

"These words aren't real."

The students were doing a crossword puzzle. (Well, two actually, if I want to be precise.) It was prep for their "final" the next day. 

A sampling of the "fake" words on the crossword: permeate, elicit, wheedle, hiatus, umbrage, corpulent, nebulous, unwieldy, contrive, and vapid. 

While this was the first time I've subbed for Ms. J this school year, I've subbed for her many times in the past. So, I understood where these words had come from.

Every day, she gives them five new vocabulary words. She gives them the words and definitions. They then match the words to one of five sentences she has also given them. The words are good. The sentences are clever. 

Their "final" (for the last day of the third quarter) was just a vocabulary test on two weeks' worth of words. (They were being tested on 40 words.) 

To the boy who made the statement, I assured him that the words were real. I knew the words. I use some of the words on the regular. 

I asked him if he was planning to go to college. He said he was. I told him it was good to build his vocabulary for college, and he might find that some of those words were useful.

He saw my point, actually. (The classes were pretty good.) And then he went back to work.

It was a long assignment. But they had all the tools they needed to complete it. I hope they all did well on that test.

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