Archives

All posts for the month November, 2015

DO II LOOK ANXIOUS TO YOU?!!!!

Published November 30, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So I was talking to The Mom earlier and over the course of the conversation she chided me for being a bit obsessive about minutiae.

This from the woman whose influence has led for me to stop everything I’m doing to make sure I know where my keys are.

I responded with, “Thank you, Tree, I didn’t think I had fallen that far away from you.”   She will probably pinch me later.

As our conversation continued she went on to describe a student of my brother’s (Yes, both my brother and I have transitioned from the lucrative field of Performing Arts to the even more flush-with-cash opportunity that is Education.)  She said the student sounded a lot like me except the student had severe anxiety.

I didn’t realize that it wasn’t apparent (at least not to MY parent) that I have anxiety issues.  I thought everyone on the planet had noticed that I’m a bit high strung and although my panic attacks are less frequent, they are still there. (I just don’t have them at The Gap anymore.)  I have a special emergency stash of extra anxiety pills that my neurologist prescribed after I gave him the rundown on exactly how delightful the past year had been. (What he actually said was, “Would you like something stronger for anxiety?”  I said, “Where were you in April when I was having chest pains from the stress of finishing the school year?” He said, “And you want to know why I won’t let you try out for the roller derby?” I hate it when he’s smarter than me.)

I am reminded of a dark time during my college years when a friend and I were both so depressed by recent break-ups that no one else could tolerate us so we hung out with each other.  We would laugh uproariously at each other’s grim outlook and then figure something out.  We once went out in search of a Dallas Observer so we could peruse the personal ads. I was on the last day of a juice fast (Don’t ask) so it probably wasn’t an ideal time to search for a mate (I was so hungry, I was pretty close to just bashing a cute guy over the head and dragging him, dazed, to my car. To be perfectly honest, I have had moments like that without the juice fasting.  My Amanda Friend told me that I couldn’t drop my stack of books on the cute guy at the library as an excuse to meet him.

Anyway, my friend and I took our Observer to IHOP, so I could have juice and torment myself with the smells of yumminess while we read the ads aloud to each other. At one point I was reading, “Must be intelligent and rational.” My friend was momentarily distacted and I began to shout, “DO YOU THINK I’M RATIONAL?!!” whilst bopping my friend on the head with the paper.

Everything went quiet as I realized I had just answered my own question.

At least now I’m medicated.

When did I meet Christian Slater?

Published November 28, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I sometimes wonder what my brain is up to.  Even when it’s not creating weird little implosions that cause me to screech to a halt, it’s always doing something weird.

Last night I dreamed I was pregnant with Christian Slater’s love child.

That’s not the weird part.

The weird part is that his agent told me. Yes, Christian Slater’s agent told me that I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy.   I don’t think he was in the dream. That’s also pretty weird.

I do not recall ever having any particular attraction to Christian Slater, in fact I have a friend whose striking resemblance to Slater has kept me from forming one.  (No offense to Slater; I just view Dave Karnes as a little brother type.)

I have no idea what part of my subconscious fostered that weird tidbit. I am still valiantly trying to steer my thoughts away from electric sharks and slugfish by keeping up a consistent roar of true crime reporting.  I am absorbing some interesting information.

Apparently there is an alarming number of people disappearing from state parks. Now I, for one, would never go wandering around a state park in the first place, but that’s because I prefer to view my nature from a tour bus or slow stroll  while I hold a big cup of coffee. I’m also allergic to pine trees and many kinds of insect bites.  I also have an allergy to animals that may want to eat or poison me.  There ARE a vast number of people disappearing but I think it may be due more to other people generally being jerks and not alien space craft or Bigfoot. It could be Bigfoot piloting an alien space craft. (I would love to get that rumor started.)

I’m very confused, people.  On the one hand we have Brian Levin J.D. Director, Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, California State University ,saying, “In Terror’s Wake America Must Remain Our Brother’s Keeper”and on the other there is the abject horror that things in our free world have gotten so bad we have to have an actual Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.  I am stunned into silence that Donald Trump continues to bray like a jackass and no one perceives him as an actual threat.  (I think Trump has some nerve to pick on someone’s disabilty and appearance when he, himself, is a bit hard on the eyes. ( I could have said he looks like someone’s big toe in a cheap wig, but that would be too low of a blow.)

I don’t know what is to become of us as species. I’m meant to be very bright and yet I have a complete and total lack of understanding how we can be in Marty McFly future and yet still can’t manage to be excellent to each other.

Maybe that’s where the Christian Slater thing came from; all of my better references are from 80’s movies

Sources say . . . .

Published November 26, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m not sure why I consider the Cracked website as a source for most of my information.

Here’s the headline array: 

6 Space Projects That Will Guarantee Aliens Will Hate Us

5 Eerily Specific Things Every Human Does Exactly the Same

The Real Reason You Wait: 6 ER Realities Not Seen On TV

5 Bad Jokes That Literally Ruined People’s Lives

How Many Martys Had to Die In Back To The Future?

6 Shockingly Outdated Problems The US Legal System Won’t Fix

And that’s just the beginning, I could spend hours spring boarding (or is that springing board?)  off of some of that information.  Without even reading any of the articles, I recall that I had a huge moment of self-awareness when I realized that EVERYONE turns over the pillow to look for the cool side.  Ever see a cat notice its own reflection? It was just like that, except with a slightly chunky third grader in a Catholic School Uniform.

I am not at all surprised that Aliens will hate us. Most of the world already hates us. Especially those parts of the world where people have to travel for miles to get clean drinking water and most of us won’t drink water unless it is chilled or in a plastic bottle that is going to loll around in a landfill until we are digging them up to create rafts to float around after the polar ice caps melt.

I’m really trying to stay off of the soap box, but I had a LOT of coffee today. My Amanda Friend enabled me.  As far as the Back to the Future thing; it’s not a new concept. It will actually make your brain ping or burp or whatever  you brain does (I don’t know you. My brain actually sends out a tiny gnome with a wee little pick axe to flail around.)

Think about it for a moment (That’s all the gnome will let me). Every single time Marty changed something, it made him a different Marty in the future. That means a Marty had to cease to exist.  (You’re welcome.) 

I had a complete and utter meltdown over the ending to Michael Chricton’s Sphere, movie and book.

IT DID NOT MAKE SENSE!  I won’t spoil the ending or anyone if they don’t already know it.  I was teaching at an alternative school when I read the book and I brought it in and sketched through the ending with some of the kids.  One by one they exclaimed, “But you can’t do that! It’s not . . . It doesn’t work out!” 

I felt vindicated and a bit cheated. 

But also grateful that I got to experience some time with a bright group of students who everyone else had given up on.

I am also grateful that I have the lucidity to be self-aware and the capacity to write and a wonderful computer on which to take my snark to dangerous new heights. 

Have a wonderful holiday, my American readers!  (Readers from other parts of the world, feel free to point and laugh at how we celebrate someone else’s generosity  by gorging ourselves at the trough of Capitalism.)

The only thing I knew how to do, was keep on keeping on

Published November 24, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Bob Dylan was right.

I have of late, but wherfore I do know, lost all my mirth. (Sorry, Hamlet, I’m a bit more self-aware than you.)

The universe has been a bit grim these days.  I am slightly disturbed by the episode of American Horror Story: Hotel where the serial killers all came to dinner (really.) I wasn’t disturbed by the content. Rather, I was distrubed because not only did I know who each and everyone of them were, but I also knew their motive and MO. (that’s Modus Operandi for those of you not inclined to learn the vernacular.) Seriously, does an educator really need to know that? A little insight into the way my mind works, I actually looked into getting my third Master’s Degree in Criminology before it occurred to me that it might be a little more practical to get my Teaching Certificate.

Speaking of teaching,I am vastly enjoying the teaching experience at the Catholic school which is allowing to remain slightly more solvent and keeping most of the panic at bay. ( Michael Bay sometimes sponsors my level of panic;I had that dream about the electric  shark and the holgrams again.) I’m actually going to be ok, financially speaking, through next month and possibly half of January.

Right now just ok is fine.

I am most disturbed about the whole refugee nonsense and I am both appalled and non-plussed that not only is my home state is one of the the states that has voted to deny refugees access to sanctuary.  It amazes me that the GOP is so pro-traditional Christianity and has forgotten Matthew 25:40; the gist of which is “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

And in education news, my home state has also decided it is not going to fact check the new text books it just approved. Because that makes sense.  I guess the state is quite familiar with not letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing, except they didn’t fact check the whole  quote (quelle surpise!) which reveals that the quote is about helping the needy.

Klunk (that was me hopping off of my soap box.)

The students I am working with seem genuinely delighted to see me. I’m not sure why. I am much better at classroom management and I do make sure they get their work completed.  I have decided to go ahead and get my generalist certifcations. This does mean I will have to review Middle School Science and Math. (it burns, it burns!). I hope it helps open some doors.

I really do want to teach, even if I don’t have all of the facts.

But I will at least look them up

 

Copious and Salient, both at the Same Time

Published November 19, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

After a considerable lull, I am back to being somewhat busy.  It’s not the crazy busy I was at this time last year, this is a more manageable-with-medication busy.  Except the medication is cold medicine and not the Dear-G0d-will-someone-take-her-down- with-tranquilizers-prescriptions.   I have been substituting a lot at one particular school (four days this week and I hear from the principal that teachers are starting to request me.) I even heard a kid woo-hoo with delight that I was going to indeed be their sub for the day.

It’s all well and good, and is keeping me solvent and able to keep Samantha and the Other Cat fed. (OC doesn’t actually live here, he just strolls by in the morning and if he sees movement in the kitchen he sits calmly on the porch and stares in at me until I take the hint and go out and put food in the dish, then he ambles by and feigns surprise that their just happens to food on offer for a cat such as he.)

I am writing a lot, mostly in longhand. As I have said, like Harold Lauder, I save the best of myself for longhand.  I have had many bursts of inspiration as I observe and supervise students. I am taking copious notes, so rest assured that I will be able to wax idiotic on several topics once I slow down a bit.

I am very good at taking notes. I’m not sure which teacher is responisble for teaching me this skill. I know note taking while reading came from Mrs. Koziol, so I’m fairly certain that my note taking setting was installed by Sister Collette Ross in the Seventh Grade (Note to self, there is a huge story in my whole seventh grade year. Revelation: this was a watershed year for me.)

I once took notes in my sleep when I was a Freshman in College. It was in American History and it was a staggering series of sentences about Thomas Jefferson taking a turkey for a walk.  I’m sure that is a window into my madness.  I honed my note taking skills in Grad school, where my scholarly attitude to class assignments during production week was the envy of all of my fellow students.  (In fact it set the bar for one particular class. Every other student had to read at least as far as I had gotten in the Dramatic Criticism and Theory text and take “salient notes”.  I was the most popular, exhausted student in the class. I vaguely remember sitting in the Green Room at Texas Woman’s Unveristy as everyone else clamored for a peek at my notes.  As we discussed them, one person said, “There is  a word I didn’t understand.” I said, ” Tenet. It means a principle or belief, as in ,Tenets of Graduate Students should include intellectual curiousity.’ “)

I may be tangential, but I am well punctuated.

So there you go

Published November 14, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As much as I love teaching, there is one definite by product that I sure could do without: the contagion of small children.  A week ago, I subbed in a third grade classroom. It was a self contained all day affair and I loved it. It was extremely tiring, but the experience was well worth it.

The cold I wound up with was an unexpected bonus.  I had a flu shot, but that doesn’t do anything about the common cold that is generally spread by small germy children and since the school board and common decency doesn’t allow us to spritz the little darlings down with disinfectant, I just had to grin and bear it. Sure the coughing, rough voice, no voice, low grade fever and generally crummy feeling has been fun, and it has been nice to have an excuse for my malaise and inability to give a teeny tiny rat’s behind about anything, but I’m getting tired of the being tired.

I had a brief outing with my Amanda Friend.  Our silly was punctuated by actual important conversation and one thing I have learned in my recent work is that I really want to be back in a classroom. I would love to teach at one of the schools for which I am subbing, but I don’t think there are any openings in the near future. Another factor in my need for working is, of course, the need to support myself.

I’m not panicking or anything, the universe and my savings are gracing me with the gift of patience. (Meaning I’m not running around in tight little circles visibly freaking out.) I have enough funds secured to get me through the next two months.

There is the other revelation unearthed by my Amanda-Chat: I have got to get out of this house.  Today I made my first mortgage payment. As per my divorce decree, EH paid the mortgage for the first full calendar year after our divorce. It’s been a year, so now I have to actually pay for the roof over my head. Now said  roof  is officially in my name. (Whee)  And I have come to the conclusion that I do not want to live here for the rest of my life.  To be honest, I don’t particular want to live here for the rest of the year, but I can’t do anything about that.

I could embark on a litany of all the things I would have to do to get the house sold, or even to just get all of my stuff out of it. (Here’s a hint, it has taken me almost four months to get the pre-sort piles together.  Each pile has been assigned a room. The sock project is almost complete.)  It’s in furiating, but I think acknowledging that I do want to get out from under the constantly shifting foundation of the albatross in which I live (What’s a metaphor? Sheep!)  is a strong first step.

Facing reality puts the Groan in Grown-Up

You may now roll your eyes.

Time to stop playing pretend

Published November 1, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

There is a lot going on in the world today, and by that I mean in general and in specific. I am surrounded by clean socks and other laundry. I have celebrated the first day of NaNoWriMo by revising the first chapter of my novel. It has been posted on my webpage if you are just dying to read it.

http://www.ellesview.com/circumstance.html

I have also set out three new ensembles for work so that I am better prepared to spring into action when/if I am called to work in the wee hours of the morning. (Not so wee if you actually get up at  normal time and havent’t been moving along at plankton speed for almost six months.)

So my laundry is taking care of,in its own higgledy piggledy way.   I am employed by three different schools as a substitute. I would love to work full time at any of these schools and I’m hoping that there is potential for advancement at any of these schools.

Something that is a very real concern to teachers and partents alike, is safety. It is safety that is keeping me from applying for a few jobs that I am certain I would get. I selfishly want to be assured that no student will tackle me when I take their phone. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/26/student-arrested-after-bo_n_6547746.html). Yes, in that case students intervened, but I have taught difficult classes where I’m pretty sure I would be at the mercy of one or two who might get carried away before help arrived.

A scared teacher is in no position to teach children.

Then there is the situation which inspired me to write today’s blog.

School lockdown drills. It is a damn shame that this is now part of every classroom teacher’s training. I have been in drills and in one lockdown that wasn’t a drill. What told me that something might actually be going down is that not only was it the last day of school, it was also lunchtime. The lunch schedule for that particular school was fiendish in its intricacies, and trust me nothing shall disturb the lunch pattern.

Then there was the feeling I get when something truly horrible is about to happen. I detach. I think I know where this coping mechanism came from, and it has served me well. When faced with danger, my brain refuses to let me process any extreme emotion that would put my safety at risk.  This is a good thing in that kind of situation.

My newest concerrn involving student safety comes from an article by Launa Hall.  She is an early education teacher. You can read her article here. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/rehearsing-for-death-a-pre-k-teacher-on-the-trouble-with-lockdown-drills/2014/10/28/4ab456ea-5eb2-11e4-9f3a-7e28799e0549_story.html)

I’m not an EC teacher but I am subbing in classes with small children. I can’t imagine how on earth I would explain to child what was going on as we lockdown. Fortunately for me and the kids, the schools where I am working have seperate wings of the school where the small children are educated. Be design an intruder would have to go past at least three levels of secruity to get to them.

Thanks to the events in the Newtown, Connecticut, we are all aware that no student is truly safe. From my expereince as an avid reader and crime drama enthusiast, I know that it is damn near impossible to profile a school shooter. This is because each one has a different motive and they all fall under the “crap you can’t explain” category.

As a teacher I am required to keep my students in a safe, nuturing enviornment so that they may learn, and maybe, just maybe, feel safe enough to survive childhood.

It is a daunting task and a mission of Tolkein-anic proportions. And we need more than Elves and Dwarves to help us. I don’t know if a better mental health system is the solution or if better school security is or maybe the whole gun control thing may solve it.

I just time we stopped pretending the problem is  going to solve itself.