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All posts for the month December, 2013

Almost there

Published December 31, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I have heard it said that the way you spend New Year’s Eve is how you will spend the rest of the year. Last year I went to see  EH’s band play at a fancy restaurant. I was driving myself, so I didn’t  drink,opting instead for a fancy coffee and a yummy dessert. Every member of the band greeted me pleasantly. EH kissed me at midnight.

I found out mere weeks later that it was all an EVENING OF LIES! (maniacal cackle. It adds humor and lessens the sting.)

This year I am spending New Year’s Eve with friends who are having a board game party with/for their kids. I suspect this will not be an evening of lies and that positive energy will be a nice boost for the new year.

I do hate to reflect, but I feel that I must. I actually don’t remember if I had any resolutions or specific goals. It all kind of washes away when I think about the the things that actually happened.  The recent of events of my life have made me fearless.

There were some great things; I got to go on many adventures with my mother, and I got to see Actor Boy finish his program and NYCDA. When I finish the current story for the client, I will have written 150,000 words of short story. ( I am the Proust of Erotic Romance.)  I never thought I was capable.  I have lost two lbs in 6 months. For someone with a history of yo-you dieting and the metabolism of a hibernating bear, this is kind of spectacular. Many of my achievements this year involved me NOT doing things, like not punching people in the face when they so desperately needed it. Not screaming, “Bitch Cat! Son of a Whore” whenever I felt like it.  Applying for a job on the average of three per week, and hearing nothing for three months and choosing NOT to lie in the street to wait for the next ridiculous thing to happen.

I have mostly been surviving, which is a pretty big achievement.

If you have done the same, reach around and give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back. Drink a toast to yourself.  Eat a cookie and enjoy every bite.

And then scream something that has meaning only to you.  You may use “Bitch Cat! Son of a Whore!” if you like.

It’s a refreshing way to ring in the new year.

 

 

Maybe I’m just going through a phrase

Published December 27, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I have said, I am an infrequent Catholic. It has been so long since I have attended Mass that a change in a key part of the Mass completely befuddled me.

I went to Catholic school and over that 12 years the Mass made an indelible groove in my brain. The change sounds like God’s lawyer got a hold of the text and searched for ways to tighten up any loopholes.

The word “consubstantial” appears. I saw it.  was unaware that such a word existed, let alone expected it to be trotted out at Christmas services.  I think it’s just me. I find myself put off by the strangest things. I am having to review an online substitute teaching training program offered by the Substitute Teaching institute now known as  STEDI   The first thing I want to say is that STEDI is very close to SETI, which is the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (Don’t think I haven’t thought of the many ways these things overlap. I have and may print out Ven-Diagrams as a filler activity for one of my sub days. I suspect that once again my whimsy will go unappreciated. )

The next thing is the introduction of the training is a video  in which a very nice, normal young man guides me through the proper procedures of a school day. I was immediately put off by  the fact that he had little to no charisma, pronounced the “T” in often, and had an insincere smile.

I don’t think I was supposed to notice this.

The most valuable information was provided through video and audio clips voiced by a very stern sounding and appearing older gentleman. I feel like I should know who he is and what significance he has to the whole thing ( like is he the Charlton Heston of the Moses story in relation to the substitute teaching world and if so, shouldn’t that be made clear, in accordance to their own guidelines?)

I am so enamored with words that I keep falling all over myself

All I need is a title, (and maybe this thermos.)

Published December 26, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

There’s nothing like trying to cram two pop culture illusions that probably no one will get into one sentence.  The surfeit of cookies and other stuff yesterday is causing me to be a little slow today. I did finish one story and have two more to crank out in the next few days.

My schedule in the new year will be hurried at best and hellish at worst.  My three part time jobs will involve adjusting schedules to teach a minimum of two days a week plus 19 hours at the other regular job (I use the term “regular” to mean on other people’s schedules. I do not at all mean to imply that the job will be boring or soul robbing. The other people who work there are on the groovy side of awesome.)  The scheduled work means that I must stick to a 1,000 word a day writing schedule. (Six 5000 word stories per month =30,000 words. 30,000 words in approximately 30 days= 1,000 words a day. I will be using President’s day to work around the February differential.)

It does boggle my mind just a little more than a bit. It also makes me tired and want to curl up on the sofa and suck my thumb. I am finished with most of my writing tasks for today which involved me using metaphors for various body parts and simple actions and prosing up the basic ideas of romance. It makes me feel a little itchy.

My sis-in-law advised me to stick to a strict schedule so that I will be able to start writing and promoting things for myself and to stop throwing my words to the winds of the freelance world (I can’t stop prosing!)  She is a fairly successful fantasy and romance writer. She thinks that I should start putting more things out and creating a stronger presence in the literary world.

I would love to do that, but I don’t really know where to start.

Several people I know have mentioned that a memoir/collection of essays based on my existing blogs might be a good place to begin. I’m really not sure I’m that interesting (I am afraid to say that out loud, because seriously, there is only one thing left I have to lose and I don’t need another thump on the head from the universe just because I’m funny when I’m raging.)

I do have a lot of stories to tell, some of which have been told through my blog here and on a Myspace blog. I suspect trying to retrieve the two hundred or so blogs off of Myspace will be an exciting, thrill packed story in and of itself.

I don’t know what I should call it.

Perhaps “Evidence for the Commitment Hearing”

or

“I was headed in a completely different direction and somehow wound up here.”

I did start this blog wanting to eventually veer back into something socially relevant like something happening with a Kardashian juxtaposed with the Huffington great series of essays on the American Working Poor.  I would, of course provide pithy examples of both sides, like say, the fact that Kim is planning another multi-million dollar ceremony with her egomaniacal baby daddy while there are children who are delighted to have the opportunity to dig through the discarded remnants of an evicted family’s life. (Ok, that was in an HBO Documentary, but it is related.)

I was planning on doing that, but somehow wound up here.

Maybe that’s the title.

 

Tradition: Admission or Submission?

Published December 24, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

My mom has a friend who asked her what are our Christmas traditions.

For the past few years EH and I listened to “Kyle’s Mom is Bitch” from the South Park Soundtrack  as we drove down the mountain on our way to Mass.

I will not be driving down the mountain this year because of the whole EH and his Baby-Mama and their baby making things weird for my mountain attendance.

I will be listening to the song, because why should Eric Cartman have to suffer just because my life is so screwy?

My mother and I renewed the tradition of power shopping at the last minute on Christmas Eve, then enjoying some fast food before racing around again to get ready for Mass.

I always go to Mass at Christmas (Yes, I am one of those Catholics.  When it’s someone’s birthday, you celebrate with them.)

After Mass, I will go to my father’s mother’s house where eighty zillion of my family members will be gathered with way more food than anyone can possibly eat in the two hours that everyone will be there. (I will admit that I will bare knuckle brawl with blood relatives over my Tia Rita’s homemade burritos.)  There will be so much noise and chaos that I will be able to play my favorite game, Let’s See How Much Havoc I Can Wreak. I play this by drifting around the place and making loud random comments:

Who has a Ferret?

Is that the guy from last year?

What color is that supposed to be?

Is that my ear?

I love that.

When that has wound down a bit, the little kids always sing  Happy Birthday to Jesus, complete with birthday cake. Sadly there hasn’t been a pinata since one of my cousins got pasted in the stomach with the broom handle that an overstimulated toddler carelessly swung.

Then I go home.

Which is probably better because I am terribly, terribly vexed at many of the people on the planet.

But not you guys, you guys are ok,

Have a safe and happy holiday.

 

 

More news from the front

Published December 21, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Recent events have compromised my Elfin Spirit. (That would be my 19th anniversary which is apparently the cheat on your wife and knock up somebody else anniversary, and the fact that the baby-mama will be spending the Christmas holiday with my Tennessee family while I will be hear fighting off a hefty cat who will NOT stop standing on my sternum.)

I’m not feeling the spirit of the season

As I have mentioned I recently sat through  an afternoon orientation for one of my three part-time jobs.  I stopped myself half-way through my acerbic notes because I thought the grim was too much for one blog.

Here’s some more:

We were told that one of the most frequently open jobs is the Special ED jobs that involve diapering, lifting an feeding.  One woman asked ( yes, it was the woman who had already gotten the attention from the moderator because she wasn’t brown of skin.) if one would be penalized for turning down that job (You aren’t supposed to refuse too many jobs.) because she didn’t feel comfortable doing that. I have a dent in my hand from gripping the table to keep from shrieking,

“I bet you’re not nearly as uncomfortable as some poor kid who’s hanging around in their own waste because YOU are too good to help out.”

Later on, she mentioned that she has school age children.

There is a dent in my other hand from restraining myself from the question, ” Were your kids raised by robots? I ‘m sure they needed diapering at some point, unless, of course you surrendered them to the school system where someone who is not you will change them.”

I’m sure that would make ME look like the bad guy.

I have more to shriek about, but I will tamp it back with a snack until later.

Holly Jolly Oxen Free

 

Is this the best we can do?

Published December 20, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I have an inherently bad attitude. I embrace this truth about myself. I try to keep it slammed down with caffeine and medication, but today it burbled to the forefront.  While I am eager to earn money and become gainfully employed and be self-supporting and all that crap there is a lot that has compromised my cherub like demeanor.

My eagerness has been compromised by the realization that after the first of the year I will be working at three part-time jobs and will still be short $12.50 of my minimum weekly revenue. (And because I have to behave in an ethical manner because I am now considered a public servant and I shouldn’t go around participating in bare knuckle brawls and/or amateur strip nights to make that extra $12.50.)

It was with this attitude I slapped a smile on my face that either said I was having another stroke or I was about to attend a four hour mandatory orientation to substitute teacher. It amazes me that they always hold these workshop things in windowless rooms lit by soul robbing fluorescent lighting.  This particular event was conducted by a guy I have known for thirty-eight years. It sure made me feel like I have done absolutely nothing with my diplomas, degrees and credentials then it occurred to me the only thing more boring than a substitute teacher workshop is GIVING a substitute teacher workshop. ( I wanted to weep for him when he told us that he had to record the voice instructions for all of the Substitute jobs in the entire system. Considering that our district operates with an at least 200 teacher deficit, that’s a  lot of  descriptions.)

The first thing that rolled all over me like onion breath on a crowded elevator was that the assistant/greeter guy did not have a firm grip on the usage of grammar in spoken English (to be fair, a good percentage of the subs didn’t either.) The second thing that I found offensive was how he fell all over the only Caucasian female in the room.

Way to go, my brother in the struggle.

We started late because a handful of folks came in a good ten minutes late. I thought this was huge inconvenience to those of us who showed up fifteen to thirty minutes early AS WAS SUGGESTED BY ALL OF THE INFORMATION WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN.

At that point my surl-ometer (that thing that controls my level of snark) was turned up to eleven.

A few things that were pointed out to us as a group

* We are not allowed to accept bribes

* I can not commit any felonies while I am employed by the school district.

*If I feel I am being sexually harassed, I am to make it clear to the harasser that I am uncomfortable with their behavior and request that they never do it again. I must then document the process and if I do not do so I may not have a case should the harassment become unbearable. (My first step intervention is a karate chop to the throat. While that would cut down on the paperwork, I suspect that would make ME the bad guy.)

* The Fraud, Waste and Abuse hotline is NOT to be used to air grievances. (We were not given the number for that one.)

And what I find most disturbing of all:

If the substitute calling system can not find anyone to accept a job in a high needs area, such as Special Ed classes that require diapering, feeding and lifting or Bilingual Education, it will start calling anyone and everyone in the system until the job is filled.

So, you see, the students that are in the most need will be taught/assisted/interacting with just anyone.

If the mere thought of that doesn’t disturb you to your very core, the next time you are in a large group of people, take a glance around. How many of them would you want teaching your child?

It was not my intention to fill everyone’s head fill with silent screams.

But now you know.

Title and entitlement

Published December 17, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m having a hard time keeping my whine button turned off. I’m seriously bummed out (lots and lots of reasons if I start mentioning them I won’t be able to stop and there’s cupcakes and wine in the house so all kinds of damage could ensue.)

There is a lot going on in my head.

I got to see my wonderful nieces and my sister’s in law all of whom I love more than I ever realized. I’m trying not to get to fraught up by that (I just coined that phrase, you know the rules, you use it, you refer to web page .)  I half thought I would be upset by that on the flight back. I was not because I was otherwise occupied by the troupe of teenage dancers and their mothers and their straight haired, Starbucks carrying, UGG boot wearing selves as they tried to board with bags that were too large to meet the carry on requirement. The incredibly exhausted gate agents did not punch them. (I would have.)  Once these women, I called them Gazellions boarded the plane, they proceeded to elbow other passengers in an effort to bogart all of the overhead space. I was whonked in the head by one of these people who blinked at me with huge blue eyes and chirped a half hearted apology. I simply stowed my stuff and tried not to mangle her. When I had to get out of my seat to let someone into my row, the blue eyed tiny dancer stepped out of her row to adjust something and tromped on my foot, true, she only weighed 50 lbs,but still, there was the same wide-eyed look and the murmured apology.

After an uneventful flight I was getting my stuff down to leave and guess what? She had stuff she had to move and apparently my face was in her eyes. This time I locked eyes with her while she squeaked out her apology. I think I creeped her out when I said, “You are not.” She left the plane and didn’t look back.

True, I didn’t really need to be that surly to a total stranger. I was just fed up and sick of the level of entitlement that so many people have . I am even more disgusted with the parents that raise them.

One of the highly embarrassing stories to come out of Texas and the US is the story of Ethan Couch and his Affluenza affect defense. The short story is, the 16 year old drove with a 2.4 alcohol content in his blood and killed four people.

He was sentenced to 10 years of probation because his privileged upbringing did not allow him to develop a sense of consequence. He is being sent to a rehab facility that costs 450K per year.

Yeah, that’ll teach him

If you want to check it out you can go here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/11/ethan-couch-sentenced_n_4426722.html

I directed Ethan Couch in two shows. He had minor roles but knew his lines and put forth some effort. I do not recall meeting his parents at all during this process.

Now these stories of how two kids who had very different levels of parental involvement wound up in similar places; they do not feel they have to follow other people’s rules, like common decency and legitimate apologies.

Oh, and the title part of well, the title: My worst thing as a writer is coming up with a good title for something. I am also not great at writing a conclusion.

So there. I am sincerely sorry word. You are entitled to better. I will work on it.