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All posts for the month September, 2015

Interesting (But probably not popular)

Published September 28, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

If you haven’t noticed, I clearly like the parenthetical.

I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing every day and I’m having trouble finding interesting and intriguing topics.  I know I could just crank out some sort of springboard realted treacle, God knows that I have enough story starters and improv resounrces to make that happen. I just don’t want to be the kind of writer who is “well, she’s a good writer but who gives a crap.”

So I dragged myself away from Death Row Stories and thumbed around the various and sundry documentaries that have piled up on my Netflix list (I have some lined up on YouTube but I didn’t want to sign out of Netflix until I have watched my daily allotment of The Walking Dead.)

HH Holmes came up as the big winner.  It is playing in the background as I write and realize that I know more about HH Holmes than an allegedly theatre teacher should.

I did take a glance at XO Jane to see if there was any pertinient news that needed my rare brand of social commentary.

There is, and it is a bit more appealing than HH Holmes, the first documented serial killer.  (Apparently he was just fine until he changed his name from Mudgett, which we know is not nearly as aurally exciting as Holmes.)

The newsbit via XO JAne: California has started distributing condoms to it’s prisoners.(http://www.xojane.com/issues/prison-condom-distribution)  I know we all would like to pretend that sex in prison doesn’t happen. (If you’ve ever seen Sons of Anarchy, it’s REALLY hard to pretend.) Sex behind bars is illegal, but we all know it happens.  And if it’s happening, condoms should be made available to prevent disease.  I know some sayers of nay who aren’t horses may think that those behind bars deserve whatever happens to them. To those nayers (unless you are actually a horse, in which case, snaps to you for computing without thumbs!)  I say, regardless of what prisoners deserve or don’t deserve, rapidly spreading disease costs the taxpayers money. I bet everyone wants to prevent that.

Education  is  a preventative measure: People have sex. Some people are jerks and intentionally spread disease. Some just don’t know.  The concepts are uncomfortable but they are still there. Just like the drawerful of old underwear with the wongo elastic and saggy butts and leg holes (world’s worst bluegrass band.)

Because I don’t, yo!

Published September 27, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I rarely quote Kenny Fisher, (Damn! Why you wanna waste my flava?!) but sometimes he says it best.  I am unreasonably tired today. I say unreasonably because I really have done very little today (I think my fitbit is lying to me.)

I think  I’m tired because I had three different events yesterday. (I don’t think flinging wax all over the my kitchen constitutes an event.)  Surely this shouldn’t wear me out.  I should have more energy. But I don’t. (Yo!)

My brain is still going pretty fast and there are plenty of things I have to write about. Apparently as a writer, I should have a wee stockpile of short stories and articles just at the ready should an opportunity present itself.  I think that’s like expecting a horse to show up and tell you he is going to just hang out in my driveway in case a cart shows up.  Except I don’t think my stories will annoy the neighbors or poop in the street. (I’m not likely to do that either, but who knows what this week will be bring.

In a flurry of pretend productivity, I made a spreadsheet of places that might just LOOOOVVE to have some of my unsolicited blurbs should I get my act together and actually get going on said blurbs. I just printed out the submission guidlines for True Confessions.  So I guess I just need to start spouting wisdom. I’m kind of not feeling it.

I have been doing tidbits of research, including a bit on the Orphan Trains. This is particulary resonant with me because I have witnessed the dichotomy of  our society that both expects too much and too little of our children. On the one hand our childrend have to go through a dauting minefield of stressors in order to survive in a world they don’t quite understand; on the other hand, we dumb things down and warehouse our children with no expectation of responsiblity or accountability.

Wow. That’s a lot.

Orphan Trains made me think of it because the Childrens’ Aid Society decided to try and rescue children who were barely surviving in an urban setting and relocate them in an unfamiliar place. I know there are stories there. I just have to find them.

I know, I didn’t mention the class at the Adult Product Store.  I’m still trying to process the information for public consumption.

Shoot! I didn’t see if they had a Fragrance of Love Scented Candle! Sorry, Kenny.

The journey thus far (or why I don’t want you to ask about the wax in the fridge)

Published September 25, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I mentioned, my normal days are rarely, well normal. I was anticipating today’s weirdness, but, to be honest, it didn’t start getting to my level of usual until noon.

The world gave me a calm start to the day. I woke up on time and well rested and actually ready for adventure. I left for my Gynecologist (ok, wince, if you want to, but I’m a middle aged female. yikes.) appointment with time to spare but turned the wrong way, not a problem, and had to park in the parking garage which was apparently the site of the all new reality show “Urban Chicken”. I survived the take no prisoners parking and still arrived in time.

I sailed into the office, got myself weighed, I’ve lost weight, hooray for me, then went exam. Blood pressure normal, plumbing working just fine. Doctor laughed when I answered “Are you sexually active?” with “Not so’s you’d notice.”  I love my doctor.

Everything went great,so I treated myself to pancakes and coffee on the way home. I had time for a quick lie down with my cat, as I was lulled by kitty purrs into a sense of warmth and contentment, my calm was jangled by my phone.

Here’s where it all went goofy.

My brother rattled my cage and told me that our meeting to plan my dad’s 70th birthday party was about two hours earlier than I orginally thought, meaning I will have to rush across town after a previous engagment, putting me into an already manic state before I get down to the business of planning an occasion with my family.   The cat got mad  because of the volume and tension of my voice. She stomped off, leaving footprints on my kidneys.

This is par for my course, so not  a big deal yet. I set off for my next appointment,a mammogram, with plenty of time to get there. I was about halfway across town when I realized I had left my purse at home. I turned around and found myself trapped between to giant Wide Load trucks, so I couldn’t get anywhere fast nor could I turn around again. Meanwhile I’m trying to call the mammography center to tell them  I’m running late. I finally get through to them and they tell me that it’s ok so come on down.

I hate being late so I’m almost frantic by the time I get there. I valet parked, much to the horror of the valets. (My car looks as almost as fantastic as my house.) Valet parked is a euphemism for threw my keys and got my stub and dashed inside.

I didn’t have to wait long and soon I was escorted back to the changing room where I was given my weird little half cape and told to strip just above the waist, and put my shirt and bra in one of the lockers. I was also told to keep my purse with me. (I find that odd, why would I need to secure my clothes, but shlep aroudn stuff that might actually get in the way. I didn’t ask because it’s hard to have any sense of reason when you are flopping around like the world’s worst super hero)

My mammographer had a very heavy Asian accent,but was brisk and efficient, even she was hard to understand. Plus, nothing will make you feel flabby like a sleek, tiny woman forcing your meaty bits in between two glass slides.  Even that didn’t throw me off too much.

I finally got home, and realized that I was pre-grumping because I let my brother wreck my pancake buzz.

So I thought I should get  ahead on my  prep for this evening, remember my class at the Upscale Adult Prodcut store? I found out the class was sold out and the area of town is quite up and coming and generally filled with the young and lovelies of the early twenties to mid-thirties set. Now, I’m not usually intimidated by people, but I generally feel squat and stumpy when herded into a group of people who are not of hearty peasant stock. Regardless of how they feel about me, I feel better about me if I have prepared myself with enough war paint to deter any battle.

I have had the need to wax my upper lip (They never tell you when you are young and have fair skin and dark hair that once you turn 30 you will have to keep one step ahead of that to avoid sudenly turning into Yosemite Sam.) for a few days, so I thought I would do it now so I if there is any redness it would be gone before I have to get ready.

I was trying to be super efficent as I heated the wax. I punched in 3 minutes on the ol microwave and began to load the dishwasher.  I forgot that 3 minutes was usually the total time, but that I check on the heating in thirty second increments.

When I removed the wax from the microwave, it was boiling, so I turned to stick it into the fridge. As I turned, I realized that container had also melted and that I was sprinkling my already disgusting floor with hot wax. I also splashed cooling wax all over the interior of the fridge.

I did salvage enough to defuzz my visage. Now I only have to disguise the mega-zit on my chin.

And they day aint even over yet.

Psyched! (O!)

Published September 24, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

“It must be exhausting to be you.” -Emily Gilmore

It is, Miss Emily, it is.

But it’s rarely boring. To be honest,even if when it’s boring, it’s not boring, because then I start singing songs to my coffee cups and the cat.  (The cat is not a big fan of my songs, not even when I tailor the songs to suit her needs. She really hates it when I do the songs in a stylized fashion. She is equally horrified by the Ethel Merman AND Al Jolson. There is no accounting for taste.)

After several weeks of slugging around with little motivation, (The job thing, the house thing, you know all of the things.)  I think I’m out of the funk (We want the funk! Give us the funk! It’s hard to turn it off.)  I actually feel productive.

It is possible I may be semi-gainfully employed soon, I am working on show that I’m enjoying (It’s nice to only be responsible for one thing. and the director is even crazier than I am.) and I’m finally getting back into the writing thing. (I made a spreadsheet and submitted a proposal.)

Tomorrow I am having an adventure that I’m hoping to get something cool out of.   It is a profile of life as a newly single mid forties female.

I have a gynecologist appointment (yearly lube and oil change)

I have a mammogram (for pressing matters)

I will be attending a class at the Velvet Box, an upscale adult product store. (There will be cocktails and gift bags. )

It’s going to be interesting.

I’m psyched!

I think we’re running out of hands.

Published September 23, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Does any one remembe The Weekly World News? I had a subscription so I was always on the cutting edge of current events and was prepared to run, or crawl for my life as the giant earthworm that was hoovering up my hometown from the bottom up. (This really happened. The story, that is. I have no idea if the earthworm is still on the loose.)

One of the columns that I particularly enjoyed was penned by a writer who went by the pseudonym Ed Anger. (You can check out the archives here http://weeklyworldnews.com/opinion/ed-anger/)

One particular Bon Mot that I enjoyed via Msr. Anger is ‘Pig-Biting Mad.’

This morning I ran across two stories that didn’t quite make me Pig-Biting Mad, because, after all, it’s not the pig’s fault that people are stupid.

One the one hand we have the story about the elderly man who was punched in the face by a young man over Nutella samples (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-costco-shopper-78-punched-in-fight-over-free-nutella-waffle-sample-20150921-story.html)  I don’t even know where to begin with this story.  Except this is exactly why we aren’t at the top of the intellgent life search list that the aliens may be creating.

One the other hand, we have the very real possibilty that we will have another goverment soon (Shutdown 2, Electric Boogalu? ) This shutdown will cause millions of people to lose access to their food stamps.(http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/09/23/3704692/government-shutdown-food-stamps-usda/)

Put hand one and hand two together. We live in a country where a wide range of people can afford to pay an annual fee for the chance to buy mass quantitites of food, including chocolate frosting that is masquerading as a nut butter.  In this same country, a group of congress folk can not agree on an issue in a timely fashion, so one side is going to have a tantrum and shut the whole place down, which means that some people don’t get to eat.

I need another hand to thunk myself in the head before I go on a pig biting spree.

This is my time, right here

Published September 22, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I have heard from many, many people that I am too hard on myself. It is my understanding that I have always been this way. Until reminded by The Mom, I was on Ritalin after seeing a counselor because of my third grade math induced panic attacks.

Really. I was eight years old and having full on meltdowns because I was afraid I couldn’t do math. (I still can’t, but I don’t take it so hard these days.)

I remember my third grade teacher, Mrs. Craven, taking me onto her lap (You could do that in the 70’s at a Catholic school.) and reassuring me that everything was going to be ok.   It eventually was, it was the right then and there I was having a hard time with.

I’m still mostly unemployed and trying not to panic about that, because, really, I can only panic about one thing at a time.  And I have bigger fish to panic about. A friend of mine suggested I take some me time. As opposed to all of the other time where I do nothing, I should do something that is specific to me and inside my owisn head. So I have been walking while listening to an audio book.  I have run across some great stories this way. Somehow the rhythm of the walking helps to lull me into the beat of the story.  It is quite peaceful and some great ideas become emergent.

The book I am experiencing right now Saving Lucas Biggs by Maria de los Santos and David Teague, presents the idea of time travel in a way that I find reassuring (In general. I have no intention of Quantum Leaping all over the place.)

Things are as much not here as they are here.     It’s a balance. A shirt is as much on the plane of existence as there are not.

It’s kind of a “what happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?” kind of  situation.

As Brain Wringing as it seems, I am taking are comfort  in the fact that my problems are just as gone as they are here.

That’s fine with me.

It all depends

Published September 19, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Almost all of my days are interesting. I say “almost” because levels of interest vary. I rarely jump out of bed and state my willingness to be extraordinary, and I certaninly never go out seeking dragons to slay or windmills at which to tilt.

Weird crap just happens to me.

This morning the universe expected a lot of me. For some reason everyone on my street picked the exact same time to back out of their driveways, which was kind of neat looking, but very inconvenient. After conquering my street, I headed off to Starbucks for my giant iced coffee. The neighborhood Starbucks would win a prize for worst parking lot design. The exit is often used as an entrance for people to zip through the drive through. No one has taken my suggestions that road spikes be installed, because some of, us actually follow the rules and resent when two cars in a row take advantage of one’s good nature and kindness towards her fellow man, especially when one has yet to have one’s coffee.

I asked the Barista, who is probably younger than most of my furniture, if it would be possible to request a nice spray of saliva in the rule breakers coffee. She looked at me like she thought I was going to pull her out through the window and give her a jostle. I gave her a smile to show her I was kidding (I wasn’t.)

I had a fairly uneventful morning. I joined my father and brother for breakfast at a place that is so homestyle that they tell you what you will be having. You are allowed to chose your beverage. Coffee or Tea.  The food was really good, and my caffeine level was improving my outlook on the human race.

My kind nature and gentle spirit were again compromised as I headed home.  It rained for about ten minutes, and since it’s Texas,everyone lost their minds and their ability to drive.  I decided to bypass the freeway and just drive through town. This was mostly ok, except it was starting to get hot and the humidity level was inflating my hair to the point that it was hard to see out of my review mirror, but ok.  I forgot that TCU had a home game today.  My path home was directly through campus. Again, not a big deal, except TCU was playing SMU. Now I am a TCU alum and I by no means intend to tar every student with the same brush. However, it did seem that some genetics experiment in creating the perfect sorority girl had gone either horribly wrong or incredibly right, depending on your perspective.

Gaggles of long limbed, mini dresse clad, western boot shod blondes walked carelessly across campus, stopping only to brush their long strands of hair from their eyes before they walked right into the fender of my car.

Once again the universe is depending on my kind nature, gentle spirit and cherub like demeanor.

I didn’t bash into anyone.

So far nothing truly weird has happened. I’m not leaving the house again, just in case.

Ouch! That button is hot!

Published September 18, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I meant to post this on Wednesday which was the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, but my internet was down and of course, this didn’t keep me from writing the draft, instead it just gave me an excuse to sloth a bit longer. (I know, I shouldn’t blame the sloths, they did not come into my house and sit on me, thereby denying me access to pen and paper or keyboard and screen. My cat, however, did.)

Immigration is not a new issue about which to dance and sing. In fact, the first time I ever voluntarily spoke up about something in elementary school way back in 1979 was during a heated (for Fifth Grade) discussion about Illegal Immigrants. Ok, so it was during Sister Marilyn’s current events round-up (world’s worst speciality rodeo) in  class of about 20, two thirds of whom were Hispanic, so the discussion was largely skewed. I even remember my actual comment, “I think most illegal immigrants would take the legal route, but everything is so slow.” (meaning the process of becoming a legal citizen.) My classmates gave a general consensus of agreement.

So here we are oh-good-God-thirty-six-years later and it is still a popular issue of debate.  I’m not going to give that idiot Donald Trump more press,because we all know how he feels about Mexican Immigrants. It is not surprising that so many other politicos feel the same way. Hell, it’s not even a big shock that all over the world, in the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis, that human beings are being treated like rabid animals or other unwelcomes.

I’m not going to recite the poor, huddled masses chant that so many others are voicing. I’m actually going to use this to talk about something fabulous that I stumbled upon at Thrift Town.

Capstone Press publishes this awesome series of books called Interactive History Adventures. This series is so awesome that I sure wish I had thought of it. Each book explores a period of history/historical topic. The reader chooses a path to take based on the experience of their choosing. For example, in the Mexican American Immigrants in America book, you can choose to experience life as a migrant worker in the 1970’s, a domestic worker in the early 21st century or a worker in a modern-day meatpacking plant.

Along the way you are given many choices to make as you make your way through your path.

I have to say I went all Blind Dog in a Meat locker over this whole series. This type of thing makes me very happy because that is exactly the way I teach; I want students to see the world as inhabited by people (I know, I’m one of those radicals.)

What resonated with me about this particular book is that no matter which path you choose, your primary motivation is to seek a better life for you and your family.  A life that guarantees a roof over your head and food with some regularity and maybe access to clean water, and maybe, just maybe the kind of safety that affords you a good night’s sleep.

That last paragraph basically describes the foundation of every episode of The Walking Dead.

Too bad we can’t get everyone to stay as rivited to The Fleeing Immigrant.

Tom Petty was right

Published September 17, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

How did it feel?

I get that question a lot in reference to my head blowing up. ( Suffice it to say that anyone who says you can’t actually feel something that happens in the gray wrinklies, no offense intended to the elephants, is a big liar. I felt the whole impact of the blood vessel exploding

The AATGH asked me to remember what it felt like habing a tube shoved up my nose so he could ask me about it later.  This may seem benign, but he asked at the moment it was happening, approximately ten minutes after I was officially admitted into the hospital. (It was cold and a bit icky, but then so was AATGH)

I imagine that no one experiences things in the same way.  I try to keep my emotions on an even level so that I don’t have another incident, as The Mom calls it.  And I have heard that concentrating on a random point can help you calm down, like placing you fingertips on your arm and focus on the feel of your fingers on your arm and then the feel of your arm under your fingers. (I know, even my calm down sequence is complicated.

Right now I am trying to keep from having a panic attack, which used to feel like an extreme amount of worry, kind of like how you might feel if you knew one of the popular kids was going to pants you, but you didn’t know where or when, just that it was, indeed, going to happen.

As I have matured, so it seems, has my panic. Right now it’s the close of business on a Thursday. I’m trying not to freak out because I still have no steady source of income, although I am officially an employee of one school as a substitute, and I have a few follow up calls to make in the morning and I know there are a few freelance jobs I could scrounge, yet my panic is beginning a slow, whumpy crawl across my chestal region.  It kind of feels like your entire sweater has suddenly turned into a slightly snug turtleneck, it’s not a dangerous amount of pressure and I do recognize what it is. I can take an anti-freak out pill, but I kind of want to wait it out, especially when I have a lovely series of tiny itchy bites on my left arm, just under my fitbit. Something wee with sharp teeth bit me at rehearsal the other night.

So if I’m feeling the bites, what is the wee beast feeling? I think it’s probably ok, because I wasn’t loaded with anti anxiety drugs at the time.

Now I’m thinking about a mosquito wracked with stress and strife looking for some poor soul leaving the pharmacy with a new prescription.

Oddly empowering

Published September 15, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m still jobless,a little too warm in the living room, but I’m in fairly good spirits. Last night I made my first appearance on a local stage in about 12 years. I wasn’t freaked out;  I was reading two of my short stories as part of a  Community Mic night.

One thing I discovered is that while I am a bit squirrely and left of center, I do not take myself too seriously. I also discovered that I’m not the only performer that gets yanked around by time weasels.  (It’s not much,but it’s comforting.)

I am on the substitute lists for at least three different schools right now so I may have some cash flow assistance soon.

Something I had to do before I could get on the list at two of the schools was attend a safe enviornments class. I have had to take similar classes at almost every stage of my teacher prep.  I took notes because I’m a nerd like that.   One major point is that everything in the class was the kind of thing we should already know by ways of being human and having common decency. (I know, I know, I live to dream.)  A casting mistake that so many of these video based classes make is that the predators shouldn’t look like predators. I may be the only one that thought so, but then, I’m always a bit wary of most new grown-ups who hove into my field of vision.  The Mom says that always been that way and that’s the reason one of my relatives is not a big fan of me; I can see right through her.

Anyway, one of the pitfalls that we were warned against and a sign of strange doings a foot are an adult’s preferntial treatment of a student or students.  As I  mentioned in my football rant, I attended Middle School and High School with a group of the same people.  In our Parochial school, we had a deacon teaching our religion class.  He clearly showed preferential treatment to one of the boys in our class. One day he told one of the girls not to be a DA (meaning Dumb Ass, which she was, but the polite thing is not to mention it. ) Well of course this got back to her parents and her father was the size of a small mountain and while I don’t think there was any actual avalanching, the Deacon didn’t return to teach us.

The Deacon showed up in our High School, but now he was a priest. None of us from the middle school were in his classes, which I don’t think was a scheduling coincidence.  My observation showed that he continued to go out of his way to show favor to the student from our Middle School.  I didn’t think much of this; I had more pressing things to concern myself with, like was Rebecca S laughing at my lipgloss, and how goofy did I actually look in my band uniform.

Junior year was the big “Making Moral Decisions ” class, this of, course was the big Catholic School Sex Ed class. Well, surprises all around, it as taught by The Deacon.  I think he was less thrilled than I was to be in the same classroom. In addition to the twisty irony of a priest teaching this class, there was the growing discomfort of being in a room with a teacher who clearly disliked me and a few other of the misfit toys from the Band/Theatre/Debate group. He much preferred communicating with the In crowd. All in all, the class wasn’t bad; we spent a lot of time watching The Breakfast Club.  (Probably why I can’t stand to watch this movie today.)

Years later, I found out that The Deacon had files charged against him for inappropriate contact with a student. The settlement was huge. I recently found out who exactly blew the whistle.   Looking back at what I know now, the signs were all there, not just in The Deacon’s behavior, but in the victim’s behavior. Had all of the teachers in my school been aware of the signs, someone could have changed the victim’s life.

Knowledge is a super power. Be a hero.