It’s really easy; just look at the side

Published August 15, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I tend to ponder as I wander. (I know the rhyme thing is goofy, but I’m teaching younger kids these days and it takes me a bit to switch the brain back over.)

So much has been happening in the world at large and in my world at small that is making me wonder if I’m actually trapped in an episode of Rick and Morty.  And every day it gets harder and harder to sit down and write something that doesn’t make me want to slam my head on the nearest flat surface.

I can’t even think about the state of the union, because once I process the series of thoughts about a particular day’s insanity, something new and even more horrifying has happened, and then the whole business starts all over again.

Part of the process of teaching includes many, many, many workshops and policy briefings and rules and regulations and a whole alphabet soup of procedures that all boil down to mean, “KEEP THE KIDS SAFE,” The second thing we learn is, “Teach them something important.”

I have to say that I did panic a bit at the overwhelming amount of information, mainly because I have not always worked in/for institutions that felt this way.

As I processed all of that and then the madness in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend. (If you have been in a cave on Mars, with your fingers in your ears, on Saturday, August 13, James Alex Fields, Jr, drove into a crowd of protestors, murdering Heather Heyer.   Heyer was among people demonstrating against a white supremacy rally.

It makes me a little bonkers to have that in my head while my primary objective is to KEEP THE KIDS SAFE.

I think what I will do for the second part is teach them to be kind.

That’s important.

And then maybe I can teach some Reading, Spelling and the rest of that.

Out,Standing in the field.

Published August 5, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I had an interesting conversation with my father a few days ago. We tend to meander from topic to topic, but since we both enjoy documentaries and have similar opinions, (We once had an entire conversation conducted with eye rolling.) we sometimes come to rather astute conclusions.

In an earlier blog I wrote about the fallout of a Facebook post. In the post, I took no sides, just simply mentioned that I found an article thought provoking. As my father and I discussed this, particularly the fact that both sides of the mud-sling were missing the whole point, I had a revelation that I shared.

I told him that I thought Z nation, The Walking Dead, and the other dystopian shows, movies and teen series were taking up the allegorical baton, metaphorically speaking. (I like to use multisyllabic words so my dad can feel like the investment in my education was worth it.)

The point that the sayers of nay (No, I’m not insulting the horses) on the political front, and majority of the cast of the shows, series, etc is that the arguing over minutiae is masking the bigger picture.

The survivors are spending time fighting each other for power when they should be focusing on the fact that the undead are a constant, consistent threat. Because it’s in all of us.

Now in the real world, you know the one where we all wake up hoping that a little bird isn’t going to tell us that we are officially at war with everyone, the various loud politicos and their supporters are busy insulting each other and we miss the bigger picture.

There are monsters out there.

Because it’s in all of us.

What side is this?

Published August 2, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

About a million years ago, back when I was in the middle of my other career, I attended Graduate school for a M.A. in Performing Arts. (I was still young and had hope.)

I wrote a paper in support of my proposal for my final project.  I could not get my graduate committee (The three faculty members who were like some kind of three headed hydra.) to tell me what format my paper needed to take, so I just free formed it.

The paper was subsequently rejected and I was directed to a variety of academic papers written to support modern dance projects. (I, too, was surprised that such a thing existed.) I read the papers and noticed that they were written in the traditional MLA format.

I rewrote  the paper using the format and was commended on the amount of scholarship I had demonstrated.  I wanted to snort with the laughter and direct the Hydra to my undergraduate transcript which stated I was a McFadden Scholar.  I have no idea why people are so shocked and amazed to find out that I do have a fine mind nestled snugly under the crazy.

Anyway, they accepted the paper and approved the project.  After I put  200 plus hours into the project, including written and photographic documentation, the Hydra said they were not going to approve my project because, “We don’t do that here.” They didn’t want to align their Drama department with a public service theatre project that brought together Developmentally Disabled adults and At-Risk youth. Both groups met weekly to design puppets and develop a script that was then performed for school age children throughout the city.

I can’t expect a State University to get behind that. I don’t know how I could be so foolish.

I told them I needed some time to regroup, so after a full blown tantrum conducted at a high speed ride home and face down on the floor at home. I debated and discussed with everyone and finally asked the universe for a sign. (At this point I only lacked a final project to win the race and get my MA) In the meantime, I still had grants to write for my ongoing programs.

One of my friends from the ARC, the organization that worked with my kids in the hood, was a McDonald’s employee. At the time there was a supply grant available through the company, but you needed an employee’s endorsement. I helped my friend, Michael, write the letter and I asked him what he wanted to use for his closing signature. I explained that when I finished an official letter, I signed it, OutReach Director.  I asked him what title he wanted.

He said, “Your Friend.”

It took me a moment to recover and process and when I did, it became clear that this was my sign.  I didn’t want to be on the side of a group of people who would deny credit for hard work because it didn’t jibe with their perception of art.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately because I recently had a similar crisis of conscience when dealing with the problems at my previous job.  I did what I knew was right.

Because when it’s all over, and our current world/political situation indicates it will be soon, I know where I will stand.

Because I’m Michael’s friend.

 

Sorry, Mr. Manilow

Published July 27, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I woke up this morning singing, “It’s brain day! If you wanna believe ,you can have brain break, and struggle to breathe, I said it’s brain day, even if you have to sneeze it can be brain day and I can walk on my knees, yes it’s brain day and I know I can smiiiilllee out of both sides of my head!!!!.”

The cats were not entertained, but Actor Boy sang his song where he rhymed “crazy” with “hazy.”

It’s not every day that you can celebrate potentially fatal brain damage with an interactive musical

Fourteen years ago, while performing Parallel Lives with my co-star Merritt Glover, I had a hemorrhagic stroke caused by a burst aneurysm. Read more here.    After I had recovered enough to be released back into the wild, I was told that at the five year mark, I would likely reach the top end of my brain rehabilitation growth curve, and that it was highly improbable for me to pass a standardized, timed, test.  (I defied within a year by passing both levels of the New Mexico Teacher’s Assessments. The room was filled with the most irritating group of people ever assembled.)

At the ten year mark, I was dealing with the defection of EH and was having a serious life upheaval.  I celebrated with Actor Boy, and immediate family. When I left the house to go the restaurant,I heard that a local actor, the fantastic Ryan Roach, had suffered a stroke. Ryan and I were in a show together years ago and he was a kind, generous human being.  My heart was filled with prayers and good wishes for Ryan.

By the time I got home, Ryan had died.

Here I am at 14 years.  I have a neurologist appointment on Monday.  At my last visit I asked what the protocol for this stage of recovery. I was told that there IS no protocol. There are so few survivors of this kind of stroke, and many stroke survivors succumb to other maladies, so I’m kind of in a group of my own.

I am very grateful for my miracle. Actor Boy made me a pop tart and fetched me a big cold soda. I will be joining my family for dinner and then we are off to Karaoke. Lots of fun and excitement! But no Batman (:()  He is still buckling the swash and will be for a few more weeks.

I am grateful for my world. Even if it’s covered in cat hair.

 

Perspecticus

Published July 25, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

This is the time of the year when I catch up on, well, everything.  I’m falling behind on my housekeeping, mostly because I don’t give a teeny tiny little rats behind, but I can still see the floor and find the cats fairly easily, so I’m ok.

I had breakfast with my dad (to celebrate my birthday, which was a month ago but the time, it do fly.) Our conversation drifted to the current state of affairs. (In the country, not in my life, and now that I mention it, why the hell is every third person so damn interested in my ability to trap Batman?)   We discussed the incredibly stream of stupid that exploded when I simply shared an article about the mania that is Trump’s America.   This lead us to the discussion that as a whole, we (society, not me, my dad and Batman-World’s Worst YA novel.) are missing the damn point of dystopia TV.

As the wise rabbi in World War Z says, most of the time, Zombies, doesn’t mean Zombies. (He also went on to say that sometimes it actually does mean Zombies, but that doesn’t serve my point. You see how quotes can be manipulated? Hmm?)  The point I was making with to my dad is that the point of The Walking Dead, at least by my extrapolation, is that in the face pandemic disaster, our politics are going to matter very little. If human kind is to survive we have to stop arguing about the collective stupidity that makes up current bi partisan politics.  Life is far too short to fight amongst ourselves, especially since it looks like the problem is going to be bigger than  Zombies.

To pursue that rabbit down another hole,  (What’s a metaphor? Sheep!)   I recall yet another episode of  The Walking Dead, (Let’s agree that I watch entirely too much television.) One of the denizens of one of the more advanced sub-societies of the post-Apocalyptic future/alternate universe, remarked that he listened to some music when he gets bored. One of the our protagonist group replies, “I can’t remember the last time I felt safe enough to be bored”

I know it seems a long way to go to get the point, but it’s all a matter of perspective.  Perspective is a word that gets bandied about a lot these days, as is mindfulness.   Mindfulness means fine tuning your perspective so that you are hyper aware of the moment to moment-ness of you life. Kind of like when your world is full of Zombies.

And we’re back.

 

Maybe we’re just terrible people.

Published July 21, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m dragging my feet through the last few days of my summer break, trying to cram in all of the things I meant to do in June, except I  worked most of June and am still trying to catch up on my rest, so I’m way behind on the to do list.

Batbeard got me hooked on Apple TV. (I started to say, “Hooked up” but realized that I watch entirely too much television and it’s JUST SO DAMN EASY to link my Apple devices and, you know the first hit is free and then suddenly you’re watching a marathon of Disappeared and I sure hope I wake up in time to switch over to Dr.Phil on my iPad and now it’s a serious addiction.)

I’m trying to pace myself by having a safe mix of TV, cleaning and gathering school supplies. I’m trying to mix up my TV watching with some fun stuff, new stuff and, of course, crime drama.  With that in mind, I decided to watch something that the Netflix said might enjoy.

I watched Friends from College.   I was trepidatious. I’m not a big fan of  Cobie Smulders. (It’s not her fault. I tend to make snap judgements about beautiful people who make an ass load of money largely in part because they are beautiful people.Seriously. I’m sure she’s charming)  But I am fan of Fred Savage and truly love Billy Eichner. There is not enough Billy and Fred in this show. I was not familiar with the rest of the cast but now that I’ve seen a diminutive Asian female play Stanley Kowalski, I’m not sure I want to see the character played any other way.

I almost divorced the show after the first episode, because (This will not spoil anything) one of the major conflicts in the show is the affair that two of the main characters have been carrying on for twenty years despite being married to other people.  The one friend in the know remarks that the affair has been going on for longer than their marriages.

Maybe it’s just me, but I am not amused by casual infidelity and matter-of-fact lying.   The female half of this liar-team, Sam, played by Annie Parisse made me tense. Mostly because I felt a little sorry for her because she seemed legitimately tense about her lies.   The male half of the team, played by Keegan Michael Key, made me want to punch something. I gave the show another watch while I was cleaning toilets.

This seemed a fitting metaphor for what I understand was a grim one in human history. The fleeting news clips that I caught indicated that the one John McCain, possibly the last sane Republican, has brain cancer, and our President doesn’t know if he’s wants to apologize for his recent trashing of McCain’s military career.  Anytime the President opens his mouth the entire country winces.

A Bazillion years ago when I first started teaching, I defined the word “culture” as “what is left behind to represent a society at a given time.” This was to give my students some perspective on words, word choice and art as a whole.

I wonder what the future will think of us, what with our Friends from College and President of Today.

Could we be terrible people?

 

Well, there you go, Part I

Published July 17, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

When I was in high school, the Drill Team had a chant they would do with the Cheerleaders. It was called “Gigolo.” (Yes, the perfect thing for spirit girls from a Catholic school to be chanting about.) It went like this, “Gig-o-looo. Hands up high, feet down low, that’s the way we Gigolo.”

I was in the band and even then I didn’t suffer fools gladly. I remember thinking as I shifted uncomfortably in my oh so flattering band uniform,  (White jeans and oversized polyester top designed to look like a pirate tunic. God knows why. We were the Vikings. They actually measured us for the uniforms but could only afford the tops, so they ordered everyone’s two sizes too big so they could be used in perpetuity. )  “Is there any other way to order one’s hands and feet?

If everyone has their hands above their feet, shouldn’t they know where to go? One would think.

Except I’m not dead sure if anyone is really thinking anymore.  I hear a lot of reacting, but not a lot of thinking.

Last week, on Facebook,  I reposted an article by Leonard Pitts, JR. The article originally appeared in the Miami Herald. You can read the article here. It’s a commentary on we, the people, six months into the Trump presidency.

It’s a thought provoking article. Give it a read. I posted the article, but only prefaced it with, “That’s a great question.”  I didn’t say anything else for two reasons: I wanted to see what response the re-post would get. I am a teacher and I know better than to post actual opinion in a public forum.

This re-post blew up with comments, mostly from people I don’t know. All foisting their own agenda on the public.  One comment said that the article used  highly flawed broad generalizations. Another comment said that if “Someone” made statements about Obama, they would be considered racist, or if “Someone” made statements about Hilary, they would be considered sexist.

First of all, who  is “Someone?” Mr. Pitts, Jr. makes it very clear that he is author of the statements within the article, and nowhere does he say anything that has not been documented.   His article is not a court document.

His article assembles words to make the reader think. Some people chose to react, without thinking.  All I said in my repost was, “That’s a great question? ”

Another great question is, “Why do we have to be told which way to go?”   Our hands are above our feet. Shouldn’t we know which way to go?