Friday, December 15, 2017

Donors Choose

So, as you may know (since it is in my profile and all), I am a Speech-Language Pathologist, and I am now working in Detroit Public Schools Community District.  I don't work directly for the district, but for EBS Healthcare as a contractor, but still...

I'm really enjoying DPSCD, for a number of reasons.  The Communications Disorders department is like a big family, and they are all very supportive.  Not only do I get great support from EBS (much more than from the contract company I worked for previously), my DPSCD supervisor is responsive to questions and concerns, and my coworkers are always willing to help when I have a question.  The department also has a materials library that we can go to once a month to borrow assessments and therapy materials so we don't have to purchase our own. 

One of my biggest complaints about my previous district (which I won't name here, but I probably have named in the past) was that we were not given sufficient direction when we were asked to do something, and supervisors were not responsive at all to questions (I mean, phone calls went unreturned and emails went unanswered for weeks, when we have timelines we have to adhere to in order to be in compliance with federal law).  That is certainly not the case in Detroit.  These folks are organized!  And I appreciate it.  And it still feels like a family, even in so large a district.

All that being said, I still like to have a bunch of my own stuff for therapy with my kids.  Working with preschool and elementary school age kids, I often like to do literacy-based therapy, especially at my Head Start.  Many of my kids don't get read to regularly, and I want to help instill a love for books and reading, as well as give them a good foundation for language growth and development, so I have quite a collection of picture books with related activities that I use a lot.  I also have my own iPad that I have purchased several speech apps for - articulation and language/concepts apps.  The kids really enjoy using the tech, and so it becomes something of a reward to have an iPad day.  I have even used some of the reinforcer games in the apps as a break when I'm testing a student - we will take a short movement break and they can play a game before moving on to another test.  The problem is, my iPad is getting old and glitchy, and since I can't update the OS any further (I'm currently running iOS 7, and most of the new apps require iOS 9 or higher) it crashes a lot.  It's getting frustrating.

Enter Donors Choose, the website mentioned in the title of this post.  Donors Choose is a website where educators can post projects with very specific requests for supplies and materials for their classrooms, and, like the name says, donors can choose which projects they will donate to.  You can see exactly what is being requested and exactly how much it will cost, and when the project is fully funded the website staff purchases the requested materials and sends it to the teacher at their school.  There are pictures of the classrooms, and when appropriate, students will write thank-you notes to donors and you get to see your donations being used by the students so you know what kind of difference you made. 

I have created a project asking for a new iPad to use with my speech students, so I can get some updated speech apps in order to engage them with technology that doesn't constantly crash on them and frustrate them when they are trying to learn.  If you want to look at my project, here is a link:  Putting the FUN in Functional Communication

If you decide to help fund me, thank you.  If you just can't right  now, I understand, but thanks for looking anyway.  Maybe you know someone who is interested and able to help. 

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

More Art in the City

A couple of years ago, I posted some pictures of murals and graffiti I drove past in the city of Detroit when I was taking my son down to a summer day camp or going down for grad school.  I love that there are so many hidden pictures in the city!

And, of course, now that I am working in Detroit Public Schools Community District, I get to see a lot more of it.  Also of course, I am usually driving, and so not prepared to snap pictures of it - so it often takes me several tries/several drive-bys before I can get a halfway decent picture of a given mural. 

That being said, I want to post these few before I forget about them:

I drove around the block an extra time to take this picture - seen from Fourteenth, just south of Warren.  I was on my way to a meeting that morning, but this was worth the few extra minutes.

This one isn't a mural, obviously, but it made me laugh when I saw it.  It took several trips down to the school this is across the street from before I got a decent picture - I wish I had a Little Free Library this cool in my neighborhood!
  This one is on Grand River south of 7 Mile - I like how someone incorporated the hole in the boarding as part of the flowerpot.  It's a great metaphor for the community working together to make something beautiful grow where there is blight and decay.  I hope they can be successful.

And I really want to get a better picture of this one, but I never seem to be prepared for it, and I always drive by too fast for a good shot.  The colors of this one make me happy.  It's on the side of a charter school right off 7 Mile, though I never see kids there, so I don't know if it is still in operation.

Lots of art in the city, lots of creative people who work to make their surroundings more beautiful.  I'll post more when I have more pictures for you. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year, New Knitting Challenge - Come to the crazy side (we have yarn)

Boy, I've been terrible about posting here this past year!  Of course, I've spent a lot less time playing on Ravelry in the past year also, so maybe that makes sense.

I  believe I mentioned in an earlier post that last year I participated in the Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon, in their group on Rav.  Of course, I didn't really start doing anything until April or May, so I didn't do as much as I might have, but I did complete a really cool blanket that looks fabulous on the couch in my living room, and is really warm!

See - here it is on my bed.  Really pretty, right?  Anyway, I had a lot of fun trying to make my knitting projects over the past year fit into the Yarnathon structure, so I'm going to do it again this year.

The theme this year is Candyland (last year it was Space), and they have a really creative artist on staff who has made some adorable graphics for the different teams, as well as for the prizes and different games, badges, and knit alongs.  And I had a lot of fun chatting with the others on my team, and sort of virtually working together to finish projects and support each other. 

And I think I may be slightly insane, because they are doing another blanket knit along, and I'm gonna knit another crazy blanket!  At least I'm not doing the fingering weight version, although it is absolutely gorgeous.  I'm making the worsted weight version, and I think I might have an actual chance to finish it, because I'm starting in January, and taking it s-l-o-w!  (We'll see how that works - probably I'll finish it, because I'm knitting along with a bunch of other people, and there are prizes and stuff for certain finishing milestones.  Unlike the sock yarn mitered square blanket I started for myself YEARS ago, and have only got about 12-18" of the queen-sized blanket done!)

Anyway, the blanket is called Persian Dreams, and it is lovely!   Here is a link to the version of the pattern I am doing (it's a Ravelry link).  Come join the insanity - it's a lot of fun on the crazy side!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Knitting Along

Oh, so long since I posted!  But this month, I participated in a knit-along in the Eat.Sleep.Knit group on Ravelry, and I had a lot of fun!  I don't think I've ever participated in a KAL before, and having the deadline really pushed me to finish my socks on time. 

Of course, the fact that Eat.Sleep.Knit has a year-long yarnathon, with teams and prizes for milestones (yardage knit, etc.) doesn't hurt.  When I join in the Tour de Fleece or the Ravelympics/Ravellenic Games, I'm just knitting and spinning along for the fun of it and to challenge myself - there is no one else who benefits from my participation.  But with the yarnathon, in addition to individual prizes, the winning team all gets a prize, so we all benefit. 

Which means that I'm planning a few more knitted and crocheted birthday and holiday gifts this year to go along with yarnathon challenges (as well as a few gifts for me! Like these socks).  And, as much as I like to support local yarn shops whenever possible, I still shop online occasionally, so I don't feel too bad about it.  They have some nice yarns that I can't always get locally, and they ship really fast, and there is always the shopping at midnight benefit - can't do that with a LYS! 

For now, the Tour de Fleece starts in a few days, and the Olympics start in Rio in about a month, so I have some planning to do for those.  And in the meantime, I have a few more KAL's to join!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

New Pattern - Finally!

I showed a glimpse of these fingerless mitts in my previous post - the first prototype is what I had on the needles last August when we went to the lake, and is what you can see in the picture there. 

I've been working on these off and on for about 3 years, and since my last post, I have finished both the prototype and the written pattern, the pattern has been test-knit, and it is available on Ravelry.  I'm so excited!  This is the first pattern that I decided to charge for from the start (I recently decided to charge a nominal amount for my previously free Mayday Wrist Distaff pattern on Rav as well - it's only $1, so I don't think it will break anyone's bank). 

I call them Lakeshore Fingerless Mitts (Ravelry link - the pattern is also available in my Etsy shop, Mandarella Knits).  I feel like a new parent.

Take a look:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Tail End of Summer

Well, here it is, almost the last weekend of summer, almost the end of August, and only a week until Labor Day and time for the Boy to go back to school.  Kids in the district where I work come back to school this Monday, so the Boy gets a week more vacation than I do.

For the last 5 or 6 years (approximately), our family has spent this weekend at a YMCA camp in Lexington, Michigan with other families from our synagogue.  It's a nice way to wind down the summer and reconnect with friends we don't get to spend a lot of time with the rest of the year, mostly because of kids' schedules and other commitments.

The cabins are pretty rustic, but the location is beautiful - right on Lake Huron.  I get to spend a lot of time knitting and reading, and I usually bring a drop spindle as well, which always draws some attention and questions from adults and kids alike.

This afternoon I'm sitting on the deck of the dining hall, taking advantage of the camp's wifi, drinking mediocre coffee, and working on a fingerless glove pattern inspired by our time here.  I'll post more pics and a pattern link when it's ready, but for now, you can enjoy the same view I get to enjoy:

Doesn't that look tropical?  Michigan in the summer.  Happy end of summer to you all!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Where the Wild Things Are

So, for the past 3 weeks, I've been driving the Boy down to Wayne State for a summer day camp program through the Engineering department.  He seems to have enjoyed it, but the back-and-forth has been exhausting me.  I'm spending about 3 hours a day in the car, and I've had lots of time to listen to music (found some new artists that I'm enjoying) and looking at the graffiti.  And Detroit has, in addition to the typical tags on seemingly every other building, some very nice public artwork.

The ones that inspired the title of this post were the ones that got me started really looking:
 This one is on Woodward Avenue, just north of the Davison, and he feels to me like he is kind of guarding the neighborhood.  This area is really struggling, all the buildings along this stretch of road are burned out and falling down, but this creature looks pretty happy and ready to take on the world.

This one is on the side of the building that houses the Russell Bazaar, on the east side of the I-75 service drive.  Someone put a lot of time and love into this beast, and I think he is pretty spectacular.  Can't call him graffiti - he is definitely a mural.  My son really loves him.

 Here is a closer view.

And a few more murals that I always enjoy seeing when I go into the city:

 It's hard to take pictures while I'm driving, so I had the Boy take some of these - he didn't do too badly! 

There are lots more examples in the city - these are just a few that caught my eye.  I love these expressions of the beauty that lies just beneath the surface of the city.  There is some truly lovely architechture in Detroit, but these are ordinary buildings that are elevated to art by someone's vision and effort.

I'll post more as I find them.  But here is one more that the Boy took on our way north out of town on our last day - this place looks really intriguing: 

It's not the best picture, but this is a chiropractic/alternate therapy clinic and vegetarian cafe.  I might need to stop in some time!  Their website is here.