Because a girl has to try

Published December 11, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Today, while not the craziest day I have had teaching, and is not by far the most challenging, it is a rough day. It’s rough in a hurry up and wait kind of day.

Many years ago when I was in late teens I still fancied myself an actor, even though it was more nerve wracking than fun and I was far too thin skinned to last very long in the business. (In fact the thought of being in “the business” makes me roll my eyes.  You see, friends and neighbors, if you are female and more or less fit into the ingenue category (doe-eyed, more boobs than sense, and a strong endurance for the scent of Aqua Net)  You have a very small window of time to actually attain some level of success. It is a small and very narrow window.  In fact, it is so narrow that at 20 when I weighed a 138 pounds and was a size 7 on the bottom and a 10 on the top, I was STILL too fat to be considered a true ingenue. I would have to lose twenty pounds to at least be in the right shape, week and woozy it may be to audition for the “right” parts.

Anyway, around this time I was an extra in a little film called Born on the Fourth of July, staring a little actor named Tom Cruise. This movie was filmed in North Texas and one of the teachers at my college had an agent who got a whole bunch of students in on the film. Oliver Stone touched my hair and said I was pretty.  I spent a long, chilly day standing outside of the Dallas Convention Center pretending to be a young Republican.

All I can remember of this experience is that if the Film Industry is all hurry up and wait, then I was better off focusing on Theater.

Today the music teacher is staging the Christmas Musical. In the first place, none of the students is feeling particularly malleable, none of the  staff feel particularly festive and no one knows what are schedule is. So all day I have been herding kids from place to place and trying to get at least one piece of information to stick in someone’s head.

On the plus side, BatBeard is safe and I am at the point in my life that if I decide to jump back into show business I am now safely in the Ethnic Character Actress, so at least, I will get to eat.

I’m not made of puppets, so you can’t blame me for Youtube

Published December 7, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I said the other day, it’s chaos (be kind). Well certain recent events have compromised my kind nature, gentle spirit and otherwise cherublike demeanor. I will not go into it here, as it is not my own personal business.

I had the kind of day where you just want to throw yourself on the floor and roll around like a dust bunny, but you can’t because even though you only got 5 hours of sleep, you still have to corral and herd and possibly teach 9 year olds.

Highlight 1: One of my ELL’s, a sweet but intense Burmese boy who doesn’t quite have a grip on euphemisms and idioms, decided he would bust out with an Elvis impersonation to Santa Claus is Comin’ to town. Even better, this is apparently a dance that he does with his brother.

Low spot: One of my other students who has more angst than a 13 year old girl, was really down so I let his parents know because the same parents are very, very concerned. (this is not a bad thing.) However, I used half of my lunch talking to one parent, then the other parent showed up, which took the other half of my lunch.

In the conversation with the other parent, it was implied that this child did not have any interest in Social Media (re:Youtube and that vines/videos that feature Jake and/or Logan Paul) before this year because of the way last year’s teacher managed the classroom differently.

The teacher they had last year is a nun, and last year all of the kids were a year younger.

Somehow, this parent managed to imply that I am the one who is responsible for the social media that he is interested in and that I should stop any exposure the child may have to any of it.

I called The Mom to vent and she said that I should bring my puppets ( I have a full set of puppets) to do a story time. I told her, “I’m not made of puppets, Mom.” This of course made both of us stop for a minute. Then I realized that I definitely need more sleep.

And I’m not responsible for Youtube.

Update 1

Published December 4, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So it’s not even 8:30 and it’s chaos (be kind)  I got to school and had to put my room back together because Sunday school was in here yesterday.  Then I discovered that I was supposed to have an advent wreath to bring to the lighting ceremony after the Pledge of Allegiance.  I did not have a wreath, but I could find one and print it out, because I have cardstock.

Except I forgot that the universe mocks me and the cardstock got stuck in the printer.  The school secretary helped me out by getting the paper out and letting me take the schools advent wreath to the gym. So I shlepped out to the gym and one of the candles fell off. But on the plus side the hymn we were supposed to sing, O Come O Come Emmanuel, which is my favorite. This turned out to be a good thing because I was the only one singing. Holding an advent wreath with a wonky candle. In a steaming hot gym so I was sweating.

It’s chaos (be kind.

Watch this space!

Published December 4, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Last night was night two of Holiday Related Headache. (Please note that during the school week HRH has more than one source, each exacerbated by the Ongoing Pine, and also exacerbated by fully grown adults saying “exasperated” when they mean exacerbated)    To alleviate this head pain rewatched the newest Patton Oswalt special. He mentions something his late wife, Michelle McNamara said

“It’s Chaos, be kind.”

I’m really going to try to live this today. I’m really going to try to pretend that we are more than likely on the brink of nuclear war and the word magicians in charge are trying to divert our attention with other news that’s not really news.

Here’s my day as scheduled:

7:45   Join my cherubs in the gym for morning prayers and pick-up, and try not to cringe at what new distraction someone brought to school

8:00 Take roll and lunch count while telling the same three kids to sit down and get started on their spelling assignment, remind them that we do, indeed have a test this week.

8:15 review words with students, try not to scream when they are confused by the parts of speech that we have gone over EVERY SINGLE WEEK FOR 12 WEEKS.

8:30-  Continue reading the novel Farmer Boy. Remind the two students who still haven’t finished the summary assignment from last week that they need to do this

9:00 scoop up all work and retreat to the Teacher’s Lounge for coffee and grading while the Spanish teacher takes over

9:30  Go back to class for Math class, try not to  notice that everyone seems to have been reset to default blank over the weekend.  Attempt to review long division, assign homework so parents do not bury you with queries about why their student doesn’t have homework.

10:30 If they finish Math, jump ahead to a reading comprehension article.

11:00  Lunch

This is the plan. I will let you know how it goes.

It’s chaos, be kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t help it, the bats got bored

Published December 3, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

It’s that time of the year again. It’s really hard for me to be holly and/or jolly when it is a balmy 70ish degrees outside and the odor of all natural pine so pervades the air that I have a constant headache located in my sinus cavity. (I’m allergic to Christmas trees)

But Batbeard, and my Tia and my Mom and small children on the street and I think the stray cat outside all told me to get out of the house and get myself a treat.  So I did my lesson plans, read my school email and tried not to flurb (I will tell that story later) at the requests for next week and then took myself out and went to Barnes and Noble to buy a new full price book I don’t need and maybe something else.  (The something else turned out to be Godiva Cherry Cordials.)

I have a hard time finding things to read. I don’t like to invest huge amounts of money into new books when I’m not sure if I will like it. I’m still very disappointed by the bait and switch of The Shack. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is a good book. It has everything I like in it, except what I felt was a flimsy ending.   I feel like I was lured into a rabbit hole with the promise of a thrilling crime novel, only to be pushed into a corner by religion. I am okay with the religion aspect of the book, but I didn’t appreciate being gunny sacked by it. I understand the point of the book is not the protagonists anger, but his struggle to forgive and move on.  Still a heads up would have been nice.

I read really fast and I also listen to audiobooks and podcasts so I get a little confused trying to remember what I have and have not read/heard/had spoiled for me.  I also don’t think James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks need my money and I hate, hate, hate the Great Gatsby.  This means there were whole aisles I couldn’t go down.

I was really twitchy as I wended my way through the store.  Especially since I am attired in my usual at home wear of sweatpants and t-shirt.  My hair is combed and I’m wearing shoes so it’s not too bad, but for some reason when I am so attired, people can’t see me. This allows me eavesdrop and make snap judgements about people I will never see again.  I was trying to decide if I wanted to spend the money on David Wong’s new book What the Hell did I just read?, because while I enjoy his writing, I don’t know if I want to make the commitment to a hardback book, when I heard the clomp of feet that are not used to high heels followed by the calm voice of a bookstore employ at Christmas time when the phone is ringing non-stop (this also contributed to the twitchiness). I turned and saw the baby giraffe like limbs of a Taylor Swiftian teen and her, I assume, boyfriend. They were looking for a book of poems. (I did not crane my neck to see what book this was, I kind of zoned out when I saw the brown knee length boots worn with white gauzy skirt.) After some debate, they decided they were going to try and get the book online. The girl said, “Ok, lets go, I don’t want to just hang here.”

I can not begin to describe how much I wanted to scream, “No, you wouldn’t want to actually pick up a book and read it.”

It was at that moment that I realized that I probably should just pick something and get out of the store.

What I picked: Baby Doll by Hollie Overton.

 

 

 

In the name of all that is good and terrible.

Published November 24, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I am about to leave the house. I’m hoping that the Black Friday crowds have gone home. I just want to take a heap of magazines and exchange them for a terrible paperback.  I know that seems terribly specific for someone who tends to gambol about from place to place and only occasionally remembering why they are out in the first place, but I do have quite of few current, gently read magazines that are taking up valuable real estate and my favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder, wants to add a book club component. The book they have chosen is V.C. Andrews’ My Sweet Audrina.  

Of course I have read this book before. I have read most of Ms. Andrew’s books. You see, my friends, not all of us grew up in a time when there was quality Young Adult or advanced Tween books available.  (I did, however, manage to get my hands on a copy of of Shelly, also known as Shirley, the autobiography of Shelly Winters. Did you know that Shelly taught Marilyn Monroe the open mouthed smile? I also read The Handmaid’s Tale.  I read both of these when I was in the 7th grade. I also read the novelization of the TV Show Dallas, but that’s a good and terrible story for another time.)

All of us in the advanced reader group, armed with intellectual curiosity and a library card discovered, then devoured V.C. Andrew’s books. If you are wondering where you’ve heard of her before, she is the author of the Flowers in the Attic Series as well as a whole boatload of books, including several new series. Not a bad career considering that she’s been dead for thirty years, shortly after the release of My Sweet Audrina.

Even if you didn’t read any of her books, if you grew up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, you probably remember the book covers. They were black and had a window feature that gave you a glimpse of an eerie sketch of a main character. You had to open the cover to actually see the whole picture.  (I suddenly want new headshots  that are done in this style.)

All of these books were good and terrible. Even the ones I know were written by ghostwriters. (The bulk of her oeuvre. I like big words and I can not lie.)   It has something to do with my love of terrible  Made for TV movies. I just found out that there is a not only a terrible movie version of My Sweet Audrina, it was produced by Lifetime!

I have to race to the bookstore before finding out where I can stream this treasure.

Toodle- oo.

So there’s that

Published November 23, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I truly meant to commit to my 500 words a day no matter what, or what I told my AmandaFriend was the “craptacular series.” But that didn’t happen. My brain has been so a fuzzled that I can’t even tell if I punctuated the previous sentence correctly. I know there are only two people who would care about that, and I’m pretty sure one doesn’t read my blog.

Still and all I am grateful for my exhausting sometimes highly confusing job. I truly love my students and I know all of my colleagues really want to be there. Money is tight, but when was it ever not?  (I’m not sure about the grammar on that one either.)  It is Thanksgiving day and I know people all around me are having to make huge, life altering decisions. (I will fill the public in the specific one I am talking about soon).  I am very happy that the only decisions I have to make today will be related to food and when  should put gas in my car and what kind of pie I’m going to have.  (Okay, my phone, which is sitting next to me, just called me on my computer and other device. That was weird. I wonder what I wanted.)  It’s probably pie.

And now the list:

Things I am grateful for:

My job, where I’m pretty sure I get to use my miracle every day.

My family, they are all completely nuts, my mother is fantastic and a great maker of pies, my dad is awesome, I’m nigh on to 50 and he still calls me “Baby”  My extended family tree is full of nuts and fruits and other tidbits of crazy.

BatBeard, my boyfriend who makes me feel like a princess even though he is a thousands of miles away buckling swash.

My Amanda Friend who after all these years still answers the phone when I call to vent.

And I’m sure will be adding to the list throughout the day.