All posts for the month February, 2016

Seriously, folks

Published February 29, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

(Warning, this blog contains one tiny spoiler from last week’s The Walking Dead.)

As I have mentioned I have intermittent panic attacks. I usually have them when I am feeling overwhelmed or particularly anxious.  (One of my more memorable ones was way back in 1990 when I thought I saw an ex-boyfriend at the Gap. I began to hyperventilate and shake. My good friend Michelle bought me a frozen lemonade and made soothing sounds while I spooned bite after bite and concentrated on eating slowly enough to avoid brain freeze, which of course made me breathe slower and calm down.)

Most of my panic has been related to the bizarre dreams I have been having and most important, the upcoming Presidential elections.

Nothing sends my mind to the blank is concepts that are just too, well, stupid to ponder.  I have a former student who brought an entire class to a screeching halt when she wondered aloud if she could put a black hole in her pocket.

That is the exact same feeling I get when I think about the whole election.

I just Googled “What would happen if Donald Trump becomes president”. I full expected the ground to rumble and open up while flames shot out of my computer screen.   To be honest, I haven’t done as much research on that particular madness because it makes my fingers cold and my arms tingle and my brain sneezy.  All at the same time.   I don’t like to feel that way, and since I’m usually responsible for groups of children, I don’t need all of my parts to go kerfluey all at once.

My cousin’s child came home from school the other day upset because his Social Studies class was discussing the election (He’s in the third grade.) He was upset because “If Donald Trump gets elected, I will lose all of my friends! Jose will have to go back to Mexico, Michael will have to go back to Africa, and where will I go? Will I go to Mexico with you, Mommy, or will I go to Ireland with Daddy?”

This is madness. I have read all of the articles equating Trump’s rise to the rise of Hitler, and now the Klan is endorsing him (Trump, not Hitler, but probably him, too.) Then there’s the whole wall between the US and Mexico and the complete embarrassment this election is making of our country.

There is another chance to vote on Tuesday. I implore you to vote. I implore you to pay attention. I implore you to point the world back to things that make sense. I know this is asking a lot of a country  that gives most of its water to the Coca Cola company.  I think a Trump presidency will be a mistake of cataclysmic proportions.

As for the Walking Dead,  I have no true opinion on the new Richonne match-up other than to say there are just some butts I could have a rich full life without seeing and I can’t conceive of the mindset that makes it ok to bone in the face of the Apocalypse.

But I might feel different if there is a Trump presidency.

Strange and true

Published February 26, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

The most productive portion of my day was the hour I spent in bed with the blankets pulled over my head.

I have today off, and as always, I had grand plans to clean and write and read. I swept the floor, and am listening to an audio book. I also updated the schedule for my classes for the next two weeks.

I’m feeling odd because I can actually breathe through both nostrils at the same time. This is a big event, and it is overwhelming me with oxygen.  I don’t really know what to do with this.  (I know, just breathe.) My to do list is actually pretty short today, yet I still feel a bit antsy.  I know I need to update my web page and do some writing and editing for myself.

I am still have the pre-stages of panic because of my financial situation. This is all a first-world problem, and I do not mean to imply that I am on the verge of the abyss that is poverty.  I am lucky; I have a home with Wi-Fi and working utilities. I have a reliable source of transportation. I even have a full tank of gas. I’m not complaining; I know that I am lucky.

I had to dip into my savings to pay some bills. Now my accounts are lower than my comfort level.

I should be getting paid within the next few days. Subbing and Side Gigging can help me eke by, I do have to wait awhile for checks to process. I’m ok. And I know I will be okay for the near future. So now I have plenty of room and time to prepare for the two future panic events of my life: How will I make it through the summer/Will I have a contract for the next year and is Donald Trump really,really, going to get the Republic Nomination? And, most important of all, isn’t this a named sign of the impending apocalypse.

I know I band they word about like I’m looking forward to wading through piles of the undead to sit down on a counter and gorge on cheetos, because, really if it is, indeed, the dawn of the dead, who cares about how may smart points are in snack foods: and BTW, maybe a light coating of orange tinted MSG might help me survive.

I’m really concerned about this people. Not in a fury will be unleashed upon the world in waves of flame and gore, but in a wash of indifference and mass idiocy  that will cause all of our future generations to vacillate between vacuous expression to unbridled rage that they try to stave off with handfuls of multi-colored pills or illicit drugs until they go on spree kills or self-destruct

Oh wait. I think that parts happening.

I worried.

How do I tell if this panic is abject?

Published February 22, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

The weirdness of my conscious brain is only out crazied by my unconscious brain. (Suspend, for a moment, my general understanding that my post-coma brain still can’t determine whether or not I’m in an agreed upon reality or perhaps dead and am I trying to get myself out of purgatory.

When I’m asleep, my brain decides to go all “Eye of the Tiger” and find some weird crap to haunt my waking hours.

The other night I dreamed that my dearly departed friend Steve handed me a fish to give to Anderson Cooper.  We were at a party in a house that often appears in my dreams. The house is an amalgam of I house I lived in when I was first married and of the house I grew up in, spliced together with a house owned by my Aguilar relatives for many years, and the large front room of Steve’s house.

We were hosting a party and for some reason their were many fish, some cooked, some in a display and some just hanging around in a tub full of ice. Steve handed me a fish (raw with head) to take to Anderson Cooper who was upstairs milling around in the parlor.

I have no idea where that came from and as I pondered this I discovered that Harper Lee had passed away.

Now Steve and I often likened our friendship to that of Harper (Nell) Lee and Truman Capote.

It would not at all surprise me if these three got together and gave my brains a gentle poke to influence my dream. I think Faulkner had a hand in that as a fish played a large part in my favorite work of his. In it the fish symbolized death.

While that is, indeed, weird I had an even stranger dream. In this one, my Amanda Friend’s husband, AOG had entrusted me to take care of his 32 foot black python.  (You may be thinking, “Freud much?” But you wouldn’t if you knew him.) Now for some reason I was in the front room of the aforementioned house and I was watching cats gambol about in the backyard. (The backyard was Steve’s)  I got so distracted by the cats that I completely forgot about the python. For days. The python did not starve to death, but did die of thirst and when AOG showed up, I had to find the dried python husk, and for some reason I thought that pouring water on it would help.  AOG was very nice about it but clearly I was at fault.

I woke up with an intense feeling of panic.

Then I read about how well Trump did in the latest caucus. I’m not trying to be funny.   I then went and told my roommate that I would get the vodka if he would find some chocolate cheesecake because apparently the end is nigh.

My parochial education tells me that no one knows the time and place of the second coming. I just want enough of a heads up to sip some Grey Goose Orange and have a rich dessert.

I somehow think too much fat and sugar is going to be the least of our concerns in the very near future.

I am Distracticus

Published February 20, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I have a lot going on for someone who isn’t employed full-time.

In the past several days, I have mused on many, many things, but then I got a subbed High School Math for two days and my close proximity to Calculus caused all of my good sense to leak out of my head.  It’s been an odd week;

Monday- Edited short story for client, went to see Neurologist, had a grim discussion about whether or not United Health Care would consider my stroke as a pre-existing condition, because I have always had a brain, and how can I get a GP to refer me to the neurologist I have been going to for over a decade, without getting into the insane story behind why I am all of sudden dealing with new insurance, because explaining about EH, and the Adulteress just may give me another stroke.

Tuesday-Called in to sub for High School Math-Calculus and Pre-Alegebra (Spent most of the day nudging kids back on task without being able to actually help them.

Wednesday- Subbed for same Math Teacher, had to rely on the kindness of strangers to get the Calculus video set up. Watched in amazements as High School students paid rapt attention to the video and took notes. Finally heard from BF (Story for another time.) who had not been abducted by Aliens. Stopped for a quick coffee and cookie to avert rage.  Taught Theatre class to wiggly Fifth and Sixth Graders. Got a possible lead on new job.

Thursday-Subbed for Seventh and Eighth Grade English Class at different school. School was on an abridged schedule so Eighth Grade can rehearse for  Easter Play.  Gave vocabulary test and generally maintained order.  Got another lead on a job.

Friday-Limp with exhaustion, moved through the day at Plankton Speed, Met BF for quick beverage and hug, tried not to be Nagatha Christie or Naggedy Ann.  Finished editing stories. Stopped working when I looked up to see if it was a thing. (It’s not.)

So here we are on Saturday and I have yet to do any productive writing for myself. I have the many things I need to do.  Priority for the weekend-Proofread edits to send to client. Update Resume for Job Lead one. Send Inquiry and Resume for Job Lead two, rough out ground plan for short play for the wiggly fifth and sixth graders, email financial advisor for advice on filing taxes.

The most important thing on my list is avoid calling the whole thing a wash and making a chocolate milkshake and a vat of popcorn to enjoy horror movies because clearly we are headed for the apocalypse.

I kind of want to see  “Tusk”, because, really, don’t we all want to turn Justin Long into a Walrus?


Almost Important

Published February 14, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

This year has been a valuable learning experience.  I have learned that I can actually live well on very little, mostly because I have time to plan meals and I have a lot of spare don’t-give-a-crap. I am also letting other people help me and I am not refusing to accept the generosity of my family and friends.  My roommate situation is working out well, thanks to my Amanda Friend and her son, Big Kid. My surly cat even has grudgingly approved of the situation.

One of the other lessons I have learned is that I really need to get back to working full-time at something.

I get a great deal of joy out of teaching, mostly because I still have the joy of learning.  Last week I had the pleasure of actually teaching  an English class. There was discomfort involved in reading aloud (that’s a long story and best suited for a blog of its own.)  I get a genuine joy and delight from teaching my tiny little group of fifth and sixth graders. (The kids are average size, the class itself is tiny.)  I love coaching them through the rough spots and am amazed at how easy it is to teach something I truly love.

Both of the teaching jobs are at two of the three schools where I sub. I will be teaching sixth grade at yet another school for a three day run at the first of next month.  To patch over the thin spots, I am doing some freelance editing and writing some specialty articles.  This is by no means difficult work and it is not in anyway lucrative, but it is good for a few extras, like the occasional pricey cookie (MMM LA Madeliene  Linzer Cookies) or my weekly coffee-pancake-Amanda Friend treat.

There are days when I am doing all three jobs (teaching two classes of different types and editing or compiling research.) Those days I feel like I’m running in circles waiting for my face to fall off. And your face falling of for no real good reason is stupid.

So I need to work full time so I can use my writing time for, well, writing.  I have had the creative energy and freedom to participate in two writing contests. My best efforts actually came out really well, if I do say so myself.  If the judges agree, I will make enough in prize money to get me through the summer.  I am not going to count on this, so I’m going to be on the scrounge very soon for a source of consistent cash for that three months. I hope to return to a classroom in the fall.

There are a few things I want to address in future blogs. These are ideas that occurred to me as I observe students and life in general.

  1. Our children are under a lot of pressures, both academic and social
  2. There are worse things than no WiFi
  3. Comfortable shoes are worth their weight in gold.
  4. Everyday someone is redefining normal
  5. Everyone’s acknowledgement of the freakshow doesn’t get you out of the circus.

And many, many other things.

Dean Koontz’s Ashley Bell was great and may have dented my brain a little.