Well, that’s something.

Published May 25, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I have made a career out of making lemonade when life hands me lemons. (In fact, I am no danger of having scurvy, either in this lifetime or in any other.)

I have of late, and yes, know why I have lost all my mirth (Sorry, Hamlet). I’m exhausted from the extra long school day and the extra long school year, not to mention the extra long wait for my paycheck. (Still waiting, but have been told that is arriving by midnight tonight.)  I’m a bit worn down and too emotionally tired to even make a scene anymore.

So I’m trying to look at the bright spots in today.

  1. I didn’t have to drag anyone out of a tire.
  2. I had cheez-its in my lunch
  3. I’m wearing extra comfy pants.
  4. I called someone a poopy-head and it made me feel better
  5. The student I hate the least (I can’t have favorites) made me a math swan. (An origami swan made out of his math homework.)
  6. I received a very nice email from the mother of the kid I hate the least thanking for me taking the time to “get” her kid. He has a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor and respects being talked to and not at. He’s also pretty darn smart.
  7. My sweet Samantha kitty has survived another day. I saw her stagger down the hall looking a bit like a tiny, calico drunk after a night on the town. She looked at me bleary eyed and dazed as she wandered to her food dish. I think this how I must appear to the rest of the world, especially BatCat Frances who always sproings out of bed wanting to greet the world and wind her way around my ankles. She usually waits for the Old Ladies (me and Samantha) to get to the kitchen before she tears around expectantly, peeking around the corners to see if I am really, really heading to the food dish.
  8. I had enough car change to get a great big soda to drink on the way to work.
  9. The other student I hate the least was dragging in at the same time I was and I escorted her as she glumly dragged herself up the stairs to go to Health.

So it has been an entirely bad day. We had a yodeling cowboy for our lunchtime entertainment.

It is incredibly surreal to have a cafeteria full of students who clearly do not want to be in attendance, monitored by equally surly faculty who are at least feigning excitement and tolerance for the yodeling styles of the guy in the big hat.  I had sandwich made from the heels of the bread, a delicacy I call the pre-payday special.

Number 10 on the list is that when I shared the positive email with Batman, he asked which student this was about and I told him it’s the kid who reminds me of Actor Boy, the kid who will randomly insert lines from Family Guy and, most importantly, the kid who also wants justice for Barb.

You know, Barb from Stranger Things? The one they didn’t look for until five episodes had passed?!

We both want justice for Barb.

Because we are birds of a math homework feather. mathbird

Cough drops are NOT a necessity and other reasons why I shouldn’t teach when I have a headache

Published May 24, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It is May 24th. We have exactly 11 days of school left until break. Every other school in the area wraps up today. I strongly suspect this will affect our attendance, morale and general sense of good will.

I have one of my epic headaches. I only have one of this caliber every six months. It can get so bad that I have to arrange for a pain infusion treatment. Fortunately the infusion place in the same building that houses my neurologist’s office.

Unfortunately, not only does my neurologist NOT take my insurance, he will more than likely be unavailable because of the holiday weekend. And it is entirely possible that my head might just implode like a roasting marshmallow before then (Don’t even get me started on trying to get an appointment next week- Highlights include my 10 hour long workday, lack of liquid assets, shortage of substitutes, bizarre office hours, etc.)

So here I am at the end of a school day, head just a-throbbin’ while I mull over the day’s events. So many strange, even for us, events includes general chaos because we have the state people here doing an audit, one of the Friendly Rhinos and the Meerkat avoiding the Water Buffalo, a student who had been suspended but showed up anyway hanging out in the office displaying the exact behaviors that got her suspended in the first place, and three students scrambling to present final projects while the student  with Tourette’s quizzing me about caskets (He is obsessed with funerals for some reason.)

The highlight of the madness is the twenty minutes, one third of an hour, ten minutes less than half an hour, trying to coax a screaming child out of a tire. I sent someone for an administrator but, since we only have the one and she had her hands full, I had to call the other Friendly Rhino. He and another teacher (as yet to be assigned a spirit animal.)  came out to help me so I wouldn’t have to abandon the entire herd.

The kid finally got out of the tire when I said, in my best Mom voice, “Get out of that tire and go upstairs.”

The afternoon went downhill from there. At least the kids know better than to make any sudden moves  after the look I gave one child was extremely late to class because she had to get a cough drop  because her throat felt scratchy.

I probably could have melted into a floor puddle, but my head hurts.

I really am trying to use my powers for good. I really am.

 

 

Meanwhile, back on the ranch . . . .

Published May 18, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So in addition to the muddle, muck and mire that makes up the end of the school year, I’m trying to see if I can write/create a new genre of fiction.

I have always been peripherally attracted to Southern Gothic {not in the Romantic Vein, (world’s worst adult toy shop.) Isn’t my use of internal bracketing amazing (speaking of bad adult toys)? }

I enjoy Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor; I realize that these two are more Southern Grim than Southern Gothic.  Still, both types make me think of Humidity and Bourbon (I think that’s a new drink at a Hipster bar)

At any rate, one of they key features of Southern Gothic is an element of the supernatural whilst the protagonist, antagonist and others languish in the heat and stupidity of the South.

My second novel (in process when I’m not shepherding sixth graders, apparently for the love of the game and not any fiduciary recompense. Don’t I have a great vocabulary?I’m ever so smart; still a chump, but smart.) The novel is told in bits and pieces from different, fictional secondary prose, such as police reports, recordings etc, is about the aftermath of four adult children of abusive parents wreaking their final revenge.

I’m considering turning it into Gothic via a Deus ex Machina in the guise of a Latina psychic. It’s just a thought. It’s probably transference of my hope for divine intervention to get out of my current set of trials and tribulations. (I wish I could sing the song from  Jesus Christ Superstar, but that musical gives Batman a pyschotic episode, which leads me to another tangent: Why I’m frustrated by the TV show, This is Us,

First and foremost is that fact that I have a blind spot of rage for actor Milo Ventimiglia. It’s because of his character in Gilmore Girls. He was the selfish, slightly oily, Jess, who Rory should never have picked over Dean.

I digress. (What shock!) While This is Us is a good series, it makes me flurb a bit because the whole show is all peaks; it’s all about Grand Gestures, there are precious few valleys and it’s hard to keep a pace like that. Or maybe it’s because I don’t think I will ever get a grand gesture for myself.

I’m not sure what kind of gesture that would be, exactly, but I do know that I may be at that age where most of the people I am close to are just exhausted by life and the grand gestures they performed have kind of fizzled away.

Unless, of course, BatCat, Frances in all of her relentless affection may wander in here to my classroom and throw herself at me; all of her ginger catly glory forcing me to the ground.

Of course how could a cat get 20 miles south, without a car or drivers license, not to mention open three sets of doors. Those are just details.

But wouldn’t it be grand?

It’s not ok, Bradley Cooper!

Published May 17, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

And, by the way, I don’t really have much sympathy for Tim Allen.

Yes, I understand that he was blindsided by the cancellation of his hit show. I know that must be a buzz kill.  He also was arrested for trying to sell cocaine. I am also aware that he did that in 1978 before his other hit show was on the air.

What I also know in his career as a performer he has had TWO hit shows both in syndication and his provided the vocal talent for three hit movies.

As the girlfriend of one professional actor, the amazing S. Lamar Wilson and the mother of another the equally talented Dustin Kane Nolen, I know what a struggle it is to find paid acting gigs. It is also a major crapshoot just to get cast in a pilot episode, not to mention the huge gamble involved with the series getting picked up by a studio, and surviving past one season.

Getting two series that survive to syndication is amazing. Tim Allen got two bites at that apple and now I’m supposed to feel outrage at his show’s sudden cancellation?   I’m sorry Mr. Allen, I’m too busy choking on my own rage about something else.

I stopped my rant about education in mid-stream.  This is because there are things going on in my real life that are even scarier than Midnight Meat Train (starring Bradley Cooper and not really scary, although Batman would have preferred I not bray like a donkey while he was trying to watch it.)

I’m just going to lay it out as I have to both my Financial Adviser and a colleague of his.

In regards to my current employment situation.

This is the  current situation at Kauffman Leadership Academy as of yesterday, May 16.

The dates for Payroll are the 10th and the 25th.  Our April 25th paychecks were issued on on May the 7th. At the faculty meeting earlier that week, we were told that the hold up was due to an error at TEA regarding the payment in TRS. (Apparently the Superintendent of our school did not pay TRS.)

We were also told that May payroll would be honored and on time.

May 10th came and went with the excuse that there was no money to pay us and that if funds were  not available prior to the May 25th payroll, we would receive a check equal to the entire amount.   To my knowledge no effort on the part of the administration or the board has been made to get the teachers paid.

I am starting to feel like a chump because I’m allowing myself to be treated this way. I don’t like feeling like a chump. I’m talking about this now because I have made it very clear, and in a public forum, to the administration of my school how I feel.

Here is the statement I made at our faculty meeting:

This has been a very trying year. Some of it due to a new school’s growing pains, some due to a lack of communication on the part of the administration. I do take partial ownership in this because I have not always spoken freely.

That is due to the fact that the time I met with you speaking in full honesty about the perception of misdoing in the school I was met with what I felt was a defensive, dismissive tone.

From that point, I have seen a deterioration  of morale amongst the faculty and some of the students. I am watching our students grow gradually more disrespectful and have felt powerless to stop them because there are no clear cut consequences.

I have tried to stay hopeful. All of my efforts have failed and hope has abandoned me after five late paychecks this school year; the latest one the third in a row.

I am currently out of money. It is very hard to find the motivation to drive to work and teach my students. I feel as if I am being taken advantage of because I do not want to abandon my colleagues or my students.

I do not believe that I will receive partial or full payment on May 25th and I will not be able to sit with parents at the conference on the 26th and pretend that everything is fine and business as usual.

I am actively seeking other employment . Because I do not believe KLA will be able to pay me through the summer, since I’m not being paid now, I need to seek part-time employment for the summer. The problem with this is that most summer jobs begin on June 5.  We are still in school until the 9th.

I propose that you consider ending school on the 25th and use the conferences on the 26th to have the final meeting with the parents.  This way the teachers can return after Memorial Day to clean their classrooms and fully wrap up the school year.

The response I was given is that to be paid throughout the summer as per my contract, the school must stay in session until June 9 as it is in our charter with TEA (Texas Education Association). At this meeting the entire faculty was told that we would receive a full paycheck on May the 25th, June 25th, July 25th and August 25th.

And if I don’t get paid on the 25th?

That will not be ok, Bradley Cooper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now’s a good time, I guess

Published May 16, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I haven’t written anything lately because I haven’t wanted to commit to words while I feel brain dead.

Then I realized that I’m going to sound like a loon no matter what I do; my brain is a dark place and it’s mostly full of bats.

So I’m going to list the things that have crossed my mind that are potentially word worthy:

Teachers and children first

Why I am afraid of Biker Chicks

Can I create a new genre?

Did John Proctor have a point.

What if the windmill I’m tilting at is not full of cinnamon, as I once thought?

Is taco seasoning REALLY the secret to excellent brownies?

Why can’t I find anything I really want to read?

And, of course, am I ever going to be financially solvent?

My playwriting instructor, Connie Whitt-Lambert, once advised me to not be precious with my words.  I have also heard that to stay sharp, a writer should commit to 500 words a day, even if the configuration of those words turn out to be a steaming pile of senseless prose. (Hey, 50 shades of Gray was a bestseller.)

No where does it say when I should write these words.  Right now, I have a few moments because my students are listening to Anne Hathaway read the Wizard of Oz. This is the final novel for the semester. And I don’t care how, but we are finishing this thing by the end of the week.

I spent the spare moments of the last period catching up on grades. I discovered that some of my students consider my instructions optional and that I must set assignments to amuse myself and that their charm and native intelligence will be enough for me to move them along to the Seventh Grade.

What a shock to them to discover that they will not receive grades for work they didn’t do.

As far as my personal life goes, Batman is still in Myrtle Beach. My cat Samantha is dwindling in size and is starting to look like Star Jones did when she first lost the weight (Big  Head, skinny body, except Samantha has fur. I don’t know about Star Jones’ landscaping.)

BatCat Frances is relentlessly affectionate and will actually try tackle me so that I will stop what I’m doing to pet her. The cats have gotten used to each other and Frances is sweet to Samantha. Samantha hasn’t tried to trap Frances in the closet lately.

It’s a very strange world.  I’m running interference with our SPED student. He has Tourette’s and its hard enough to keep him focused on an ordinary day. Today is not an ordinary day. We have a ribbon cutting ceremony for the school this afternoon. (Yes, we have been in session since August 11, but things move slowly on this side of the planet.) Also two key members of our staff, including our SPED teacher, resigned over the weekend.

This has thrown all of us off. Especially our SPED student because he needs routine.

It makes me tired.

And XOJane has apparently stopped publishing new content.

So now I’m sad.

I’ll get back to you on the rest of that stuff.

That’s awfully formal for ice cream

Published April 21, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As you may have noticed, my brain comes up with some pretty interesting thing when left to its own devices. (Just now, as I was writing that sentence, my brain said,”What do you know about the device?”)

Another example of my brain’s chicanery, (world’s worst boutique restaurant.) happened during my most recent MRI. I am very familiar with the procedure and did not have the opportunity to sedate myself, so I tried to relax and breathe deeply.  When you are having  crazy loud MRI, you are supposed to lie still like broccoli, not rowdy like radishes. If you move, you have to start the process all over again, so one strategy I have learned is to close my eyes and recite the alphabet backwards as I breathe slowly in and out.

This worked well for a little while, that is, until my brain decided it didn’t want to do that anymore and suddenly the letter i decided to leap down the alphabet and pick poor unsuspecting z and use it to clothesline every letter in it’s path. Then a scooped up b and challenged i to a duel, z got pushed aside and q got in on the act.

Well, how am I supposed to lie still for that?

So it is with this brain that I try to function in a world where I am supposed to be a grown up. As I was reading my newsletter from The Line Up ( true crime and mysteries, because reality is too much for me most of the time.)  I read about the Ice Cream killer, who may or may not be the Zodiac, as investigated by the son he abandoned, and the fact that the killer met his baby-mama in an Ice Cream Parlor. I started thinking that contemporary society hardly ever uses the word “parlor” unless it’s preceded by “Massage” or “Tattoo” or of course “Ice Cream”.

I think our Victorian Ancestors would be scandalized by our use  of the word.

Come to think of it, “Tattoo rat-hole” or “Questionable massage strip mall” or “Ice Cream hole ” wouldn’t encourage a lot of foot traffic.

My world is interesting and rarely boring.

 

It can’t be Armageddon; I’m wearing the wrong shoes

Published April 20, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Batman says I drive myself to distraction and I tend to get myself all wrapped up around the axel. (I don’t know why I expect non-automotive metaphors.)   I am trying to reduce my anxiety.

I am! I really am! Who says I’m not?!

One of things I do to amuse myself when I get extra stressed because of my job and my elderly cat possibly dying while I’m at work and wondering if our Cheeto- in Chief is going to do away with funding, peace on earth and safety for all humanity is watch various reality suspending TV shows. I’ve been re-watching The Walking Dead from the beginning. Sometimes I root for the Zombies. (I have also noticed, not for the first time, that Lori and Andrea are just the worst, and overall, everyone would have been better off if they had made their exits earlier in the series.)  One of the major things I have noticed is that everyone on the series is wearing sturdy, and I’m assuming, comfortable shoes.  It makes me wonder if on the day they had to flee they put actual thought into what shoes they needed to wear.

Seriously, if you a had to get up and run, literally run, for your life, would you be satisfied with your choice of footwear?  Especially if you didn’t know when you would get to change shoes, and who knows if there will be the Cobbler of the Apocalypse? (World’s worst extreme dessert.)

I have actually picked out the shoes I want to be the last shoes I every own. They are $350 Frye Harness Boots in white. (I have a white boot fetish, and yes, I have done a lot of thinking about this.)

I was at school the other day and reviewed the news headlines, and, like always, I had pre-anxiety tremors thinking about how our current administration is quickly buffooning us towards doom. As I turned to put my phone away, I stepped out of the shoes I apparently bought a size too big.

I find that reassuring.

It can’t be the Apocalypse, I’m wearing the wrong shoes .