guiding thoughts for 2022

Alternatively titled: things learned in 2021

  • trust my note to self from a while back (see thoughts i found in my notes app while cleaning it out pt 2): “I have to consider the possibility that I have not done something wrong up to this point”
    • perhaps i need to approach this year differently than past years: I am not trying to fix all my mistakes from the year before and break all my “bad habits”. I am not trying to reset and have this finally be the year where I get everything together.
    • I don’t want to reset. I am happy where I am.
  • processing things takes time. its messy and chaotic but when the dust clears, things will feel better.
  • sharing thoughts with people i care about helps me feel closer to them. who would have guessed.
  • allow myself to rest. I need more rest than I think I do, and that’s okay.

a mathematician crochets

As I have learned to crochet, my first thought is (as it is for all people, I assume): what is the mathematics involved in this beautiful fidget medium. Here are some questions I have asked so far (with answers, if I have found them):

Side note: Nothing would make me happier than other people engaging with these questions/trying to find answers/asking their own questions…. (:

  1. how do you tell how many yards of yarn there are in a ball, without just measuring it all?
  2. how do you tell how many yards of yarn a project will take, without just making it?
  3. knot theory things… (this is probably about a million questions, I know approximately nothing about knot theory, and am fascinated)
  4. weight vs. volume? Potential formula???
  5. making regular polygons?
    1. found this beauty: https://www.revedreams.com/crochet/yarncrochet/single-crochet-shaping-3-polygons/
    1. making platonic solids? I need to do it. There are only 5, after all. I can do that.
  6. mathematics of winding patterns for various yarn ball things…skeins, cakes, big ol’ knot, etc…
  7. mow does tightness of balling/density effect the ratio of final yarn length to weight (or some other measure)?
  8. how does material effect all of this? (density?) (Which size hook to use?)
    1. how does the size hook effect the final area of the piece?
      1. does that match with sizing? If so, US, UK, or metric? (side note: Why are there 3 different systems (according to the conversion chart that came with my hooks))
  9. How do types of stitches play into all this (single crochet, double crochet, half-double crochet (side note: terrible name. better name would be 1.5 crochet maybe?)

things i learned in costuming my first show

This was my first show as the lead costume person. It was the fall production at the school I teach at. I had worked in the costume shop at my college but costuming a 30 person show was quite the learning curve from being responsible for a handful of pieces.


  1. shopping is the last step. the first step is to assess what you already have to work with. That means going through the closet at the school as soon as possible. and that means overcoming the anxiety of having to ask someone to unlock the closet as soon as possible. And that preferably means more than 2 weeks before the show goes up.
    1. when you do go shopping, go with a List.
    2. Stick to the List.
      1. unless something really sticks out and would be so perfect for some specific thing.
    3. but otherwise stick to the List.
  2. ask for clarification when you have questions, and ask for guidance when you feel lost.
  3. start big projects early. and finish them early. There’s more to do the closer you get to the show. it grows exponentially.
  4. you can not make custom clothes for everyone. particularly if you insist on avoiding using patterns. Or just get more comfortable using patterns.
  5. Students care how their clothes fit them. they might not always say it but they care. I said this when I started but “clothing is both an important part of creating the world of the play, but also is something deeply personal. It is something that will affect how people see and perceive your body.” i agree with past me on that. 
  6. not everything has to be (and shouldn’t be) original or handmade. you need clothing that fits into the universe of the play, and with many plays taking place in a human/earth universe, good costumes are often just real clothing. wild.
  7. shared shoes need work. there needs to be a better system. the shoe buckets were my nemesis
  8. have a rack of things to be put away, a rack of general pulls, and then a rack of specific pulls with sections for people to try on. and have a done rack. so 4 racks ideally.
  9. have more organized costume closest. (and yes what could be done is i could stay after school in this off period between shows and organize it but i am trying to set boundaries and that is not my job. i need to figure out how to organize as we go or something)
  10. talk to the middle school play costumier so you don’t accidentally mess up each others stuff
  11. learned from the director: have a big vision. You will inevitably have to make cuts, but it is easier to edit.
  12. student assistants/costumiers/actors helping out are EVERYTHING.
  13. get to know as many students as possible. they have amazing ideas. and wardrobes of clothes that already fit them.
  14. you will always stay later than you think you will during tech week
  15. take pictures of finished outfits. people will forget what pieces went with who. (You are people).
  16. must have: hot glue, needle and thread, backup neutral base costume pieces, pencil, sharpie, scissors, dark socks, sticky notes, extra hangers, Safety Pins!!!!, running to-do list
  17. make a list of costume elements that are mentioned at all in the script. go to rehearsal/find out if costumes have stage directions (ex. someone’s jacket is stolen, so they need a jacket)
  18. set up regular meetings with the creative team, or make sure you have regular check-ins in some way
  19. you can make most things out of scrap/repurposed fabric. as long as you don’t need many, many of that thing that match (for example, 20 mermaid tails)
  20. i need to share my ideas. they are good ideas. even if they are too large sometimes. that does not mean they are not worth sharing (see 9)
  21. if the director doesn’t like your pick, its not a personal insult. it means that it didn’t match the universe he was envisioning. and thats okay.
  22. student assistants/costumier/actors helping out are EVERYTHING (repeated for emphasis)
  23. just because an idea wasn’t right for this show doesn’t mean its a bad idea (see 17).
  24. dilemmas about how to work with problematic source material are really hard. no real solution here other than talk it out with people until you land on a solution that everyone feels comfortable with. don’t ignore it. put it out in the open.
    1. this was made in reference to a group of people who were ~ implied ~ to be native to an island
  25. the students are so good and kind and talented and work so hard, and it is incredible to see the magic they create and their growth over the course of the show. the students will make this experience for you.
hot pick mermaid tail made from an old curtain, with glittery scales cascading from the top. The bottom is lines with dangling sparkles. The skirt is only visible from the waist down and the person wearing it sits atop a latter.
big ol’ mermaid tail that I am very proud of.

assorted thoughts from my notes app (pt. 3)

  1. Statistics for how many calls I get per day to sub for various schools, despite working full time (I stopped keeping track after 3 days)
  2. “I am better adapted to a world with technology” (most of the time)
  3. “When teaching I give away the answer too fast”
  4. A selfie from when I was feeling cute
  5. Outline for my murder mystery review activity
  6. Things to do with my mom during break
  7. “I need more structure for self care”
  8. “My body is a plane of a non Euclidean geometry”
  9. “I love looking for patterns in data”
  10. “Proofs are about seeing connections”
  11. A list of ideas of things I would love to create from writing a book to
  12. How do you be introspective without being overly self critical (edited from original longer jumbled thought)
  13. “Adapting to a genre vs conforming to it”
  14. “Bad healthcare’s effect on my relationship with my body: Its too expensive to check in, So I tune it out. I tune out the creeks and throbs, the stiffness and pressure”

assorted thoughts from my notes app (pt. 2)

  1. “I have to consider the possibility that I have not done something wrong up to this point”
  2. measurements for boards for the bottom gap in the fence
  3. “Asking questions is not questioning”
  4. “Queerness is: the rebellious joyfulness, the purposeful mismatching, the thoughtful subversion”
  5. “cookie butter”
  6. Idea about animating mathematical operations to see how other people perceive them
  7. “Thursday Dentist”
  8. “Radio Plays”
  9. Just the letter “S”
  10. “Onion powder, thyme, red pepper flakes”
  11. “I want people to know I’m queer just by looking at me. I know you can never really know but I want them to ~~~ know ~~~ ya know?”
  12. Quote from The Body is Not an Apology (Sonia Renee Taylor): “How we treat our body spills into how we treat others bodies”
  13. “Shambling” (Thats it. Thats the whole note.)
  14. Ideas for costumes for the show I’m designing: Outgrown clothes, star stuff -> bleached = touched by stardust?
  15. “Camera people filming camera people”
  16. “Real in the lie”
  17. “make things accessible for more people, and more people will come”
  18. “Implication vs passive aggressive communication”
  19. List of possible coffee shops for meeting a new friend
  20. “What is proof?” (again, that’s the whole note…)
  21. Queer book recommendations from a friend (I have not yet read any): Untamed, This is How it Always is, Keeping you a Secret
  22. “Correlation Theories”
  23. “building relationships with people who’s lives inevitably overlap mine. making sure some peoples lives continue to overlap mine”

my dog is anxious (and so am I)

We both:

  • are sensitive to loud sounds
  • need alone time
  • fundamentally want to be friends with people but don’t know quite how to do that
  • use medication to manage our anxiety
  • just want to protect the beings we love
  • are misunderstood and threatened by people in power
  • want to take a damn nap
  • are snuggly, if slightly awkward about it
  • sometimes are little over the top
  • get overwhelmed by new situations
  • need help re-centering ourselves
  • reduce our anxiety using exercise
  • want to be included and liked very very badly
  • feel the need to try to control stressful situations
  • have someone who we lean on when things get hard
  • lean on each other when things get hard

notes from new teacher orientation:

Alternatively titled: I am feeling hopeful and optimistic that I have found a school and people that are a good fit for me, and I am excited to help this school and this faculty and these students grow, and to grow alongside them (:

  1. “we will be better for your presence”
  2. Note to self: I don’t need to change myself to be a good teacher
  3. sitting in a circle = no one’s a satellite
  4. the bond of picking up a conversation where you left off without any hesitation
  5. day 1: working together creatively, playfully, cleverly
  6. action item: get a watch?
  7. middle school = ‘the land of the misdemeanor”
  8. teaching = balancing “the deliberate and the organic”
  9. just breathe
  10. lean into my natural
  11. “What questions are students asking”
  12. lanyard – crochet?
  13. non-stagnant goals
  14. “removing myself as the holder of the answers”
  15. What does it mean for student to have access to a classroom?
  16. “we are responsible for the cultures we create”
  17. reactive vs reflective
  18. noticing without judgement
  19. my teacher was mandated to report what i shared with him, and he did not.
  20. acknowledge what we see, particularly if its not okay
  21. rhythms and rituals
  22. Note to self: Show up. Be open.
  23. Note to self: I want people to know me. That means I have to show myself.
  24. Its about the starting. And the continuing.
  25. “helping students see that you see them”

assorted thoughts from my notes app

  1. “I don’t need to define what I’m doing in order to do it”
  2. “Name: Poppleton”
  3. “I feel too zoomed in on tiny pieces of myself to see the whole picture”
  4. Notes from a vet appointment
  5. Notes of things to tell my therapist about
  6. Grocery list from last march
  7. “I wanna try pottery throwing”
  8. list of possible names when we were adopting our first dog: “zeke, eric, Derrick, balsamic, icarus, jack, apple jack, corckie”
  9. Lots of random numbers, no idea what any of them refer to
  10. A list of adventures my fiancé and I have gone on, last updated 3 years ago
  11. Quote from a friend: “This is the time: Shoulder to shoulder, Knee to knee, Squishy to squishy”
  12. “The witch industry”
  13. “Looking from the inside out or outside in”
  14. Wedding ideas: “butter sculpture of cayden, clip lights, dog officiant, butter sculpture of dogs”
  15. A broken link to a google spreadsheet
  16. “I will be a teacher for the one trans kid”
  17. To do lists
  18. List of what our dream house looks like
  19. The number razor various people like their hair cut
  20. “I want having kids to not be so medical”
  21. “ “I’m unapologetic” wow I’m so apologetic. I should change that”
  22. “It’s not cheating, it’s trusting the work of people who came before me”
  23. “I love pop culture because it is communal. We experience it together”
  24. “Note to self: take more selfies”
  25. “Draw the part of myself that wants to be part of the crowd and draw the part that doesn’t feel safe”
  26. “Making art together is intimate. Thinking creatively and drawing together is intimate”
  27. Many poems (not all finished)

Note: I don’t remember what most of these quotes were in reference to, but they mean something different to me now. Its interesting how our brains do this