How far?

Published September 3, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

My pal Charlie Parrish (Star of Stage and Screen and all around damn fine fellow) recently posted a video Check it out here.

I thought about this and it has been resting in the back of my head while the front of my head has been teaching, living and trying to sell my house without choking on my own rage.  My answer was immediate.

I will go as far as it takes.  Over the past several weeks I have mentioned that what I have been alluding to for as long as I have been teaching may actually happen this year.  I have told students that when I finally snap, it’s going to be huge.  I think this may be the year.

I grow weary of complacency in all of its forms.  I am tired, tired, tired of waking up in the morning and checking the CNN tab to see what fresh hell awaits on this day.   It is laughably absurd.

Truly, it is, I actually laughed out loud at a faculty meeting whilst we reveiwed safety procedures.  (It was one of my famous laugh so hard I can only squeak out a Muttley like hiss because I can’t breathe.)

School safety is no laughing matter.  But the absurdity peaked when I realized that I have been in all of the scenarios outlined in that video, including the possible creepy looking clown lurking in the neighborhood scenario.

The immigration situation hasn’t gotten much better. It seems that the last Republican with compassion and sense has died and our current adminstration had to be nagged into honoring his service to our country.

Let there be no mistake. A man who honored his country by making a sacrifice few of us could or would was not memorialized as he should have been because the President was having a tantrum.  Even the petulant, sycophantic Sarah Sanders indicated that this was a mistake. This is a woman who would pretend that global warming isn’t happening whilst looking at a polar bar fanning himself in the window.  (What’s a Metaphor? Sheep!)

I am currently listening to an audiobook that I am enjoying so much that I purchased a hard copy of the book.  This cost me about $15 dollars, or a tenth of my monthly consumables budget. (Consumables include, food, gas, cat food and toilet paper.)  The book is Vox by Christina Dalcher. I have been listening to it in bits and pieces and I know I will reread it because it is so good.

Vox is set in a dystopian world where women are only allowed to speak 100 words a day. Shocking (no pun or spoiler intended) to say the very least.  As the story unfolds in my ears, I cringe in horror and shock and fear. Because, like the Handmaid’s tale, it happens in the after. But unlike the Handmaids tale, it takes place only a year after.  The bits and pieces of how this happened are truly frightening.

They are frightening because the events are very, very close to what is happening right now.

Right now.

It started, in the book, with an administration who wanted to return to basic values. The figureheads spew rhetoric that is so absurd that people ignore it because surely they won’t be elected because some voice of sanity will break through.

It makes me think back to what my pal Charlie said,”How far are you willing to go?”

As far as it takes, my friend, as far as it takes.

 

Do you remember?

Published July 30, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I don’t often write about my brother.  This is because his alchoholism has made his behavior and demeanor unbearable and his open disrespect of our parents (when he is newly sober or drinking) intolerable.  I have limited my exposure to my brother because to be honest, I don’t need the Tsuris.

Today my brother was rushed to the hospital  because he had three seizures.  He is sober this morning (I know, not much to be proud of at 9 AM on a Monday) so we’re not sure where the seizures came from.

The Mom gave me the narrative.  Apparently one of the paramedics was less than polite.  Now I don’t know his life or if he, too, has an alcholic in his life who has made him tense and intolerant.  After asking if my brother was homeless,which, given his current, unshaven two days out of a three day drunk appearance, I can understand, when the other paramedic asked if the drawing up of my brother’s right arm was related to the seizure, the first paramedic said, “No, he’s just acting-(immitation of left arm flapping against chest.) At this point The Mom mentioned that my brother has cerebal palsy and that it shows on his right side.

Guess which part bothered me about that?

Here’s a hint:

It’s not ok to mock the handicap. Ever.

Ever.

But when our president, does it, the misinformed, intolerant and just plain crazy (world’s worst improv troupe.) think it’s ok.

BatBeard wishes I wouldn’t pay attention to the news.

But this is old news and verified by the good people at Snopes.

And when I googled “Donald Trump mocks” to find the link, five other stories popped up.

FIVE, so I had to get specific.

It’s upsetting to say the least.

For those of you keeping track-

Trump’s America has come the Gays.

They have come for the Muslims

They have come for the Mexicans

They have come for the children.

They have come for the poor.

They have come for the press.

Stop it. While you still can.

Brain-a- festo

Published July 27, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Today is Brain Day.  It is the fifteenth anniversary of that time my head blew up (For those of you who are new to the game, I had a hemorrhagic stroke while perfoming the two-woman show, Parallel Lives with my pal, Merritt C Glover.  You can read all about it here)

For those of you new to medical studies, this type of stroke has a fatality rate in the high 90th percentile.  For those of you who are familiar with medical studies, you know that the further out you get from the initial incident, the higher your risk of death grows.  That percentage is about 86%. I see that as a 14% chance for me to ROCK!

So percentages and data aside, because if I wanted to crunch data I would and possibly be more financialy stable, but much less content.

The first thing I thought of today was for a much-missed actor pal of mine, Ryan Roach. He had a stroke five years ago. I prayed and hoped and wished for him to survive. He did not.  I do have a bit of survivors guilt over that.

I have had a lot of thought on my hands lately. Possibly because the country is in such upheaval , the price of zuchinni is sky high, and I just can’t get motivated for anything except lying perfectly still and looking at cat pictures on the interwebs.  (Has anyone tried that google extension that changes the pictures of Trump to pictures of cats? Fabuolous idea. Whoever came up with that should get a Peace Prize of some kind, because I’m pretty sure those kittens have calmed a few folk down.)

So as I try to remain calm, I have been thinking about who I am and what I am trying to do with my life.

I do acknowledge the feelings that I might actually be dead and all of the slings and arrows of my daily fortunes are just my journey through purgatory.  If that is true, I am terribly sorry for dragging the rest of you along with me, although, don’t you feel a bit better knowing that the state of affairs may just be a creation of worst case scenario whipped up by the Saint of whatever weird crap I have to go through?

Simply stated (I know, too late),my biggest why can be answered with “Because I have to.”

Everything I have said and done in this last year is because I have to.  I have cut off peripheral friends and alienated family members because I have to.  I have to say that I’m not ok with separating families.  I’m not ok with the current administration hassling the clergy for protesting. I’m not ok with Immigration going mad with power and grabbing up people right and left.  I’m not ok with the openly racist remarks and actions of people across the country who think it’s suddenly ok to hate out loud because that is the example they are seeing put forth by the President of our country.

I’m not ok with the disparity of opportunity across the nation.  Yes, I have always pretty tweaked about that, but it certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time real soon.

I am having a hard time making ends meet, financially. (Everyone knows I prefer stretchy clothes.)  No one gets in to teaching for the money.

Recently someone asked me how I got started teaching.  I explained that I started teaching theatre because I truly love the craft. (I feel like a huge hoser using that phrase).  From that point I noticed that many of the student actors couldn’t access the basic informaton they needed to craft a character or scene. So, I decided I would add English Language Arts and Social Studies to my teaching certification.  That grew into adding Science and Math to the group. Now I’m teaching five subjects in a self-contained classroom to students who are not only in a  socio-economic group but either are immigrants themselves or first generation in the United States.

My take home pay is easily half that of most of my colleagues (a rant for another time). I know that I have chosen to work here. But if nothing else, this extra fifteen years has taught me that all lives are precious. As an educator I truly believe that every child deserves a teacher who is passionately interested in their education.

So while it is a choice to teach in a school where every teacher truly believes in social justice and the fundamental rights of each and every student, whether they are full tuition or not.  Every teacher is just as scared as I am for the future of these students.

I can contribute to the future of my students.

Because I have to.

 

Because I can’t even, I may as well be odd.

Published July 15, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Last night I had a nightmare. I dreamed that my kitten, Sabrina, originally belonged to somebody else and they came to claim her. Now, this is in no way possible because Sabrina is a rescue and I’ve had here for almost a month and unless someone owned her in utero (catero?) she is mine.

This is the second nightmare I have had in recent memory.  Upon waking I thought, “I want my mother.”  That gave me pause because I am forty-nine years old and because it made me think that the living nightmare that the refugee children are facing. I’m sure they all want their moms, too.

Let that issue put an icy finger of angina on your soul as I move on to the next thing.

Rodolfo Rodriguez was assaulted with a concrete brick as he walked down the street on his way to a park near Los Angeles. Because I can’t even you can check it out here.

The pictures of this poor man make me think of my grandfathers, but Senor Rodriguez looks quite a bit like my great grandfather, Refugio Aguilar.

Refugio Aguilar was a full-blood Tarascan Indian from Mexico.  He worked as a switchman for the railroad and once walked from North Fort Worth to Oklahoma for a job. He was married to  Isaura  Rodriguez.  He was her second husband.  We (my family) don’t really know what happened to her first husband because he was seperated from her and her children at the border.  (Ringing a bell with anyone out there?)  My generation doesn’t know much about this because no one will talk about it. There is one living child, my great aunt Katie, who might know something about it, but as far as I know, she won’t talk about it.   That happened three generations ago and my family is still facing emotional trauma over immigration issues.

In case you have room for another icy finger of angina, (I’m doing a kind of three finger monkey’s paw thing for those of you playing the home game.)  here’s another bit of maddening immigration news.

The Mom just started her new job as DRE (Director of Religious Education) at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.   This parish is about 85% Hispanic.  One of the priests is from Mexico. He has a Green Card. He is a priest. He is in the US to serve the Catholic Community of North Fort Worth. He is not here to open up an arms dealership or anything sketchy.

The Mom told me that ICE and Homeland Security pay regular visits To The Church to hassle the Priest about his paperwork.

Apparently the sanctuary thing doesn’t apply to priests.

This situation is giving The Mom nightmares

I can remember a time when it was okay to go to church or walk around and be Mexican at the same time.

Maybe THAT was all a dream.

Where was that line?

Published July 10, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

There have been a number of blog worthy, rage inducing moments in my world. These things have been complicated by a dearth of First World Problems, like the air conditioning not working because the batteries to the thermostat died. (Surprise, I actually had the right size and number of batteries to fix the problem.) The other problems include forgetting to charge my laptop (I could feel first world guilty about my expensive, three year old Macbook, but I refuse to because I earned it by working at a soul robbing, chest pain inducing job teaching theatre to 160 students per day. I spent the whole year staying in on Saturday nights and bringing a lunch every day, just so I could walk into the Apple store and say, “Gimme one of them”) And, of course not using the time away from writing to install all of the updates necessary to making the whole shebang work more efficiently.

While I was AFK, here’s what happened:

As I feared the veil has fallen from my view of several people I have known for years and I was drawn into a Facebook rant by someone I went to college with.  She, who was also raised Catholic, posted one of those “the Democrats did it too!” videos.  I replied with my opinion, “It doesn’t matter who did it, it has to stop.”  This person responded with ” I agree, I just thought it interesting.” I mentioned that the public doesn’t really know what’s going on and that’s one thing that doesn’t change.  She actually said, “Both the government and the illegals coming in.”

Seriously, how can someone look into my little brown, albeit virtual, face and say that.  I am not illegal. My family has been in the US for three generations, but I am not entirely sure of how we actually got here. But considering that most of Texas was part of Mexico, I don’t think that really matters. In  the course of this conversation, including my having to block someone who is also made in America of Mexican parts.

I firmly stated that as a Catholic I am firm in my stance on helping anyone who is seeking refuge and peace. Someone remarked:

“While i applaud your choice to help refugees, would you put refugee children with your children or gran children? Theres a story here coming from a border patrolman regarding the hardness of these same refugee children children, a good heart is beautiful but even a good heart has to be cautious lest those you love pay for your generosity.”

And me:

“I would have no problem with putting refugee children with my child. I am blessed with a son who has a kind and giving heart. I teach in a Catholic school and my mission is to nurture and teach and protect all children.”

Him”  To each their own i suppose. All children are not innocent. To some kindness is a firm of weakness. Good luck.”

Now while I appreciate a relatively calm exchange of ideas (meaning someone didn’t try to out Catholic and out Immigrant me. And seriously, I may not be responsible for my actions if another tall, beautiful, blue eyed, white skinned person tells me I’m over reacting.)  And no one said, “Whatever, beaner, go back where you came from, which I would have to respond with, “North Fort Worth? ”  Let me point out a couple of things:

The sentiment: By all means, help the children, but don’t put them next to mine.  Not helpful.

The  hardness of the refugee children? Maybe this is PTSD caused by walking for over a month looking for safety only to be screamed at by God knows who, but probably some selfish American.

And, my favorite, “All children are not innocent.”  Well, they all start out that way.

Go out, smile at a child. Be nice.

“It’s chaos. Be kind.”-Michelle Macnamara.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This state I’m in

Published July 6, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I am on vacation. I’m in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to rest,hide from my responsibilities and, most importantly, see my sweetie. Our long distance relationship has officially survived 18 months of separation, not too bad for a couple that has only officially been together for two years. (We rule!)

The best part about being here is that I hav absolutely nothing that I have to do. No cats, family members or students (past and current) meowing for attention. (I have a very strange life. I don’t even have to take out the trash.

It may come as a surprise, but I generally handle my anxiety by detaching. I am pretty sure I know where this came from, but I kind of promised I would wait on the telling. Anyway, this detachability, Writer Chick now comes with convenient snap out feelings for your convenience, has served me well. It got me through the death of my best good friend Steve Garrett, as well as being separated from the two greatest loves of my life.

In an effort to be mindful, I am actively absorbing everything around me. BatBeard is growing weary of the reason for my current vigilance; I don’t think the First World Experiences (world’s shortest carnival ride) are going to be available for much longer. I know this is kind of a downer coming from someone who is about to celebrate the 15th year survival anniversary of That Time my Brain tried to Kill me. Things are changing, and I hear that Civil War is imminent. (Of course, that’s just coming from that boob, Alex Jones. That’s not only an insult to boobs, but I know a really cool chick named Alex Jones, and I bet she is quite bitter and resentful about the unfortunate coincidence.)

So when BatBeard and I ventured out on the Fourth to see the fireworks display at Broadway on the Beach, I was set to absorb all details because I kind of do want to remember what happened on the Fourth of July, 2018.

It was pretty uneventful, crowds, kids and anticipation. We bought drinks at a place with a patio so we could watch the fireworks. Lots of booming and fun stuff. We had to go back around to the front entrance to return our glasses to the bar. The plan was to do this and then go out, perhaps for karaoke and adult beverages, or skee ball and ice cream. Both equally tempting. As we were turning around to leave, the manger was rushing to close the door and a woman was asking if anyone had seen her child.

Having worked in retail, I assumed this was a regular Code Adam. (Doors are shut and locked and no one leaves until the child is found.) The store across the way was also shooing people in and locking doors. The lights were going out across that whole section. Finally someone told us that it was possible that there was an active shooter and everyone needed to duck down out of sight of the windows.

Since I am school teacher I knew exactly what to do in case of an active shooter. (Think how insane that sentence sounds.)

BatBeard is considerably less malleable. He went to find out what was going on, which, in retrospect was possibly wise, because we had not heard anything official from anyone. I texted my loved ones because I know that if the Mom had heard what was happening and didn’t know if I was safe, an almighty doom would have been wreaked on the entire South Atlantic coast.

Anyway, it turned out that around the time the fireworks started, a fight broke out, someone said they saw a gun and then everyone lost their minds. They shut down everything at Broadway on the Beach and evacuated for the evening. As BatBeard and I were leaving, we saw several pairs of shoes that were evidence that people had run and panicked.

Now here’s the thing; I am in no way saying the fear isn’t real. As I mentioned, I am school teacher and the fear is definitely real. It is hard to understand and I know that everyone processes things differently. I want to know why. Why are we afraid? Why do we have to be afraid?

I’m not afraid right now.

I’m confused.

And that’s a terrible state to be in.

The Great Divide(d)

Published June 30, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

In the last week I have heard so many horror stories that I keep waiting for the walls to bleed (although, to be fair, my house is in such terrible shape, I’m kind of expecting that.) Unfortunately the horror is coming from within my own country.

I am afraid. I have very real fear, not just because the entire country seems to be roiling with varying levels of crazy (like as of July 1, it will be be legal to discriminate against homosexuals in Mississippi)

Today I participated in a march protesting the separation of families at the border.

It actually makes my brain stop (neurons slowing down, complete and total inability to interact with multiple stimuli) when I try to process this.

Our Vice-President, Mike Pence, actually said, ” “Let me be clear: The United States is the most welcoming home for immigrants in human history,” Pence told pool reporters. “We are proud of this legacy. But we are also proud to be a nation of laws and a nation with recognized and respected international borders.
Don’t risk your lives or the lives of your children by trying to come to the United States on the road run by drug smugglers and human traffickers,” Pence continued. “If you can’t come legally, don’t come at all.”

(https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/06/28/mike_pence_warns_migrants_if_you_cant_come_legally_dont_come_at_all.html)

Really? What happened to the whole reason people came to this country in the first place?

Today I saw several people peacefully marching in protest of the current situation that our country is perpetrating, the separation of families at the border of Mexico and the US.

The arguments range from the “They’re taking our jobs!” to “If they weren’t  breaking the law, they wouldn’t lose their children.”

Children are in cages. They are being detained in camps.  I know the US has a history of dividing families, Japanese Internment Camps, Slavery, Native American’s sent to boarding schools, but we also have a history of botulism and polio.  We stopped that because it was terrible.

The worst thing about this is that the divide is showing me where people stand.

For many years I have been the holder of secrets (No not in formal, here’s the tiny cedar chest, hide it in your closet, you are magic way, but wouldn’t that be cool?) For some reason, people unload their emotional baggage on me. I have never betrayed those secrets, from the very minor embarrassing middle name of a guitar player I know to a secret that I pretend I don’t know because it does make me think about that person a little differently.)  I don’t like knowing the secrets but I am finding that I like knowing who people really are a whole lot less.  I know that I am making people uncomfortable with my loud stance on the current situation (I probably shouldn’t have smacked myself on the head with the book about the US rescuing thoroughbred horses from Nazi Germany, shrieking, “What?! WE saved the damn horses before we saved children?”  The other shoppers at Sam’s didn’t appreciate it, although it didn’t even slow the kiosk people down.)

What is making me uncomfortable is knowing that I may lose people I truly love because of the divide.

Yes, I am American (third generation) but I am made of Mexican parts. I am terrified that my citizenship is not going to matter.

I’m scared.