Thursday, April 23, 2015

On my way to 200: #120-134


I love Geocaching.

As the school year winds down, State and local year end testing is being completed, everyone in my classroom, adults and students, are suffering from "I am DONE with the school year"!

To wrap up the school year, and possibly 21 years of teaching, I have been sharing Geocaching with my students.  We are doing a whole-group project to share Geocaching with families of our school.

In all this Geocaching over load, I have decided that I want to reach 200 finds by the "end of summer" (August).  

I still love knitting, but getting out, moving around, getting fresh air, has really been good for the soul.  I love that, now with smart phone apps, this is a hobby that one can do FREE.  You need an account at Geocaching.com.  For about $30 a year, you can get a premium account with Geocaching.com, which allows you access to more caches, but you can do it free.  If you geocache in urban settings (good cell coverage), all you really need is a geocaching App - though a GPS unit will give you more accurate readings, a smart phone and App works fine.  I have been having issues with my GPS, so I've been stuck to phone geocaching and it has served me well.  Before my husband and I hit the trails, we will need a GPS as we often find ourselves in areas with no cell coverage.

So, here we go:

Had to take a day off to take my mom to a doctor's appointment - then I drug her along for some parking lot geocaching:
#120  "Threading The Needle" -- a "nano" which is the smallest cache you will find.
#121 "Isn't she Beautiful" hanging behind the sign of a flag
#121 -can you see it now?
#122 "ER Rocks" -- a fake rock in a field of rocks!  This one was pretty tough!
While shopping, I encouraged my husband to do some parking lot finds (not his favorite type of geocaching).

#126 "Sam's Clubbin" - another fake rock, nestled up against a large boulder.
#126 from the bottom
#127 "Something of a Twist" - under a lamp pole skirt.  Several film canisters, with notes stating "not here" and "try again".  Actual cache (which contains a log to sign) was attached to skirt with magnets.
#127 - the actual cache which contained the log
Some caching after work with a coworker who has nicknamed me "Geo-Pig":

#132 - "Back Light" - This cache is one that is, well, it is in violation of a couple of proper geocaching etiquette rules.  



First it was hidden by a newbie (with less than 20 finds).  A Cache Owner (one who hides a cache) is responsible for taking care of the cache.  When it gets several DNF's (did not find) to go check on it state it is there, or replacing it.  It is recommended by geocaching.com that one refrain from hiding a cache until one has had about 100 finds.  

The other violation is that, when a cache gets DNF's someone doesn't assume it is gone and replace it with a "throw-down".  This cache was "replaced" (throw-down) by another newbie with a mere 7 finds.  Spring must be the season for newbies to get excited by this hobby.  They are quick to say a cache is gone when they couldn't find it. 
#133 "Doctor's Orders" a small little "bison" hanging an a pine tree
#134 "Wasilla Station" - another nano, hanging out on something red.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Life in Alaska

We have had a very dry (brown) winter with very little snow this year.

Thursday, March 5th, was our last day with students before our "Spring Break".  I took our students on a walking field trip to find a geocache.  It was warm, sunny, and I had to work on keeping them out of mud puddles!

Saturday, March 7th was the Ceremonial start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Anchorage - extremely warm temperatures had caused the race organizers to move the official start from Willow, to Fairbanks.  I had visions of walks outside during my time off and maybe find a geocache or two.

On Monday, the first "real" day off?

COLD!  Bone chilling, the whole week and into the weekend, some days temperatures were below zero!

I could live with that.  After all, I live in Alaska and it is still, for us, winter.

But, Mother Nature can be cruel.

Now that we are back in school?

Warm and sunny, with temps above freezing!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Quick Knitting and Life Update

The wingspan is done, but I am on Spring Break and "too busy" to take pictures!  That's really it on the knitting front.

On the teaching/employment front?  Lots of changes.

I don't recall if I shared or not, but after 2 1/2 years working with the current principal, and having positive evaluations, and never a negative word to me, I received a less than positive evaluation from him.

My husband recommended I just "walk away" and stated he knows I will not go back to teaching after my Leave of Absence.

me:  But I might......

him:  No you won't, and you know it!

Yes, I know it.  There are more things wrong with my job than the principal. After teaching in a state that was in the top 10% in the nation, and coming here, that is rated bottom 10% in the nation for education, I have struggled.  I am forced to use curriculum that would have gotten me laughed out of my school in the lower 48!

I wrote a rebuttal about negative comments made on my evaluation, had the union look at it, was told it was well written and one of the best rebuttals he had read.  I stuck to the facts, and was very professional.  My claim was that up until November 24, the principal acted in a manner that led me to believe he was satisfied with my job performance, and that changed after I called in the union to protect my rights.

That was almost a month ago and I've heard nothing.

Last Friday was a Work Day for end of the grading period and the day before Spring Break.   I got all my Special Education paperwork up to date and handed in. Some of it was late, but, up until I called the union, I was getting planning time less than 20% of the time, and was working 6-7 days a week, 10-12 hour days to make sure all my paper work was on time and I've stopped that.  I am almost working to rule, I try to work no more than an hour over our contract day.  Whatever doesn't get done, for the most part waits until the next work day.  I have brought home a few things, like the day before an IEP meeting, I had to get some things done I could be ready.  I am finding that I'm working smarter!  I have the mentality it has to get done today, and not, "well if I don't get to it, I'll bring it home or come in over the weekend!" I brought nothing home over our spring break!

Unless I get new students between now and the end of the school year (which is possible), I am all done with Special Education paperwork, at least IEP's, and ESY determination meetings.  I'lll still have to write progress reports, and end of year reports.

Today, I am meeting with my new boss at the barn where the equine assisted therapy center is.

I have decided to spend more time on my TpT store, and am creating a packet for E/BD teachers that will include the spread sheet I use as well as how I set up my classroom (which I have been informed by our district's Behavior Health Professional is a model classroom for E/BD students).

If you need a spread sheet to document things, let me know, please, let me know!  I can create a spreadsheet that does amazing things - I am often amazed what I can get them to do!

I currently have two spreadsheets in my TpT store that track minutes read for Idita-read: odd and even years. I guess if I was really on the ball, I would have created one for this year, the "we didn't get enough snow and had to start in Fairbanks" year!

The spreadsheets calculates minutes read each week and then states what checkpoint the students have read to!

So, I am off to the barn to smell horses and see what I need to do to get that job going!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Melody Wingspan, Week 3


This weekend was my second with WingSpan.

I have 31 grams left of yarn - hoping I will get two more triangles
(if I had only weighed my skeins pre/post triangles I would know if I have enough).

My friend brought in her Wingspan to work yesterday:


She is using hand spun for her fiber guild's challenge.

This is "Tattered Wingspan"  I like it and think I'll be digging through my own hand spun and knit up a Tattered Wingspan for myself!

Friday, February 27, 2015

TGIF -Winging Along


YAY!  It is Friday!

Another week will come to a close and I will get to spend some quality time with Wingspan!

Well, Wingspan and my husband.

It is Fur Rondy time up here in Alaska and we might go to Anchorage and check things out.

Or not!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

UFO's

I am not one to have a lot of UFO's hanging around.
I guess I see them as another item on my to do list.
Another item that I can't check off.
An item that symbolizes my procrastination.
One of my character flaws.
So, most projects are knit to completion. 
These two UFO's, or resting WIP's, often mock me:

Started July 10, 2012
I began it after finishing my Helix Scarf.
The Helix was knit from my own hand spun yarn.
The yarn was knit into many things before being allowed to become Helix.
Before becoming Helix, it was a Birch Leaf Shawl, but too small.
I didn't even frog Birch Leaf Shawl, but knit Helix directly from the unraveling Birch Leaf.  
Birch Leaf Shawl will have to sit.  It is a simple pattern, but right how requires far too much concentration for my current knitting needs.
I am not sure why I am knitting a shawl as I never wear shawls.

Started May 19, 2013
Awaiting sleeves. 
I attempted to knit the sleeves like two-at-at-time socks.
I ended with a major tangled mess and, she sits in a basket, waiting for sleeves!

So, just two, that's all I have.  One day, I'll finish them.
Maybe not anytime too soon as I am craving mindless knitting.

Birch Leaf Shawl's pattern, though simple, is not mindless.

Knitting sleeves that match on Lucy -- too much stress.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Weekend Rewind


After completing my Seedling hat, I dug into my stash and pulled out two skeins of Jojoland Melody Superwash I had purchased many years ago.

A search on Ravelry led me to Wingspan.  I love that, in addition to the pattern, there are several pages on how to modify and change the original pattern: larger/smaller triangles, adding fringe, etc. Definitely worth the $6!  Right now I am going for mindless knitting, so I stuck with the basic pattern.

The yarn has such a gradual color change that, while knitting on this project Saturday, I became concerned about how my project would look when I completed my first skein and switched to my second.  Each triangle has you CO more stitches, and wanting the original CO to match the CO of each new triangle.  I started with a Long Tail CO, and it looked different to the Cable CO I did with each new triangle.  I didn't like it.

So, Sunday, I frogged all I had knit the day before, did a Cable CO, and away I went. I decided that for each triangle, I'd switch to the other ball of Melody.  I am liking my Melody Wingspan so far.