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All posts for the month May, 2016

OOK OOK

Published May 30, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Today I will be refraining from anxiously drawing parallels between Donald Trump’s rise and the madness that happened in 1939.  (Except, of course, that I am terrified and wonder how many people would be and will be willing to step out of their way to help their fellow man from the madness that tyrants have wrought, especially when they won’t get the sweaty hell out of the way to let someone get a lid for their icy cold soda.)

So, while I do have moments of cold, biting fear, I have many, many more moments that are made up of large bursts of silly.

I was conversing with Batman yesterday and I asked him what his favorite Unsolved Mystery is. He stated that he didn’t really have one and while I was giving him a quick rundown of the famous unsolved I interrupted myself and stated that quite a few of the mysteries that are considered unsolved, have actually been retired.

Like Amelia Earhart. Batman hadn’t heard the theory that has Amelia’s disappearance resolved.  I told him that her navigator, Fred Noonan was known to have a drinking problem. (What I actually said was, “He was a big ol’ drunk.”) and it is generally assumed that the plane crashed. I further informed him that theory has it that Amelia and Fred’s remains were eaten and scattered by Coconut Crabs.  (These  beasts should not be confused with Coconut Shrimp which are a big rip-off because they are more coconut then shrimp, and not as delicious as they could be.  I do not know what the coconut to crab ratio is, but I do know that those crabs enjoy chomping on bones and have been known to scatter their preys remains.) So that theory states that Fred and Amelia were either dead or incapacitated and subsequently eaten and scattered.

The whole time I was relaying this theory, Batman was giving me the look that I often get from people who don’t know me well. The look also includes a quick glance around the room to make sure that are no sharp or weighty instruments at the ready, just in case I lose the run of myself and stop talking about Giant Crabs and commence to running amok.  I asked him if he was looking at me because of the Giant Crabs or because I just happened to have this information available at the ready in my compendium of fun facts.

He said, “Both.”

I was relaying this story to my Amanda Friend and somehow we got on the topic of how we, (Amanda Friend and me) are more fun than a barrel of monkeys, but considerably more pleasant.  I remarked that we rarely fling poo. Amanda Friend noted that I left a loop hole for the possible occasion that me might need to fling poo. I got the giggles, picturing the two of us driving through the Great Southwest in convertible, a vat of manure between us as we flung ice cream scoops full of poo at anyone who might need it.

I realize that this does not really do anything to improve my image as a rational human being.

I have fun.

Oook Oook.

I guess that’s something

Published May 24, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So much weirdo crazy bizarre ( I realize that there are no nouns in that phrase, but that’s the only way I can describe it.) happens in my world, that it’s actually kind of difficult to remember what the strange part is.

For example, I finally stopped choking on my Trump-induced rage (and I am by no means finished tirading on that topic.) long enough to actually think about other things, so I thought I could start entertaining some new and interesting thoughts. (I try not to provoke my thoughts. That never turns out well. )

What I usually do is mull over the last few days and summarize with some fun quotes and pithy side remarks.  I had a terrible time coming up with anything note worthy.

Except yesterday there was a live bird in my house, just flying around.  I immediately thought of something my brother said years ago. He said that I would eventually completely lose my mind and wind up with a house full of cats and birds flying loose in the house.   I only have one cat that lives in the house, but yesterday there were three cats lounging in the driveway waiting for me to feed them.

The house cat of record, Samantha, was just hanging out on the couch, not alerting or even looking uncomfortable. I heard some clanking around and some bird-like noises.  It thought it was coming from outside. (There are some relentlessly cheerful birds near my house, so it is entirely possible that there could be a loud bird by the back door.)

The noises were coming from inside the house.

There was a small bird, I thought it was a female cardinal, it could have been a finch, who knows. I wasn’t about to look up the Audubon society’s hotline and get an emergency ID team over to my filthy house, hopping around on a ladder that EH left here. The ladder actually belongs to Steffin Ratliff, so if he wants to come get it, here it is.  So I saw the bird. The bird saw me and flew up to the trees that are in my living room. (I don’t even want to talk about that.)

The bird did eventually go outside. Samantha could not possibly have cared less.

I have no idea how the bird got in.

There are so many questions involved in this story. The most important one for me is how did I forget that this happened? Is my life so strange that I can casually dismiss an Avian breaking and entering? And did this particular tweet-heart (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) drug my cat so that she could do a reconn mission without detection?

The answers are I’m fluff headed, yes and possibly.

 

Away from the norm

Published May 19, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I rarely engage in political conversation, but I feel the time has come for me to be specific.

I am Mexican American. I am third generation and have many, many more opportunities than my ancestors had.  I have much more education and encouragement than many other third generation Americans, of any nationality or race.

I had a teacher, probably Sister Collette or Mr. Maschino, both of whom were fine teachers who had more than a little touch of eccentricity, who told me that with education comes responsibility. (This was before the Spiderman movie, so they didn’t cadge that phrase from there.)

They meant that knowledge of something means an individual has an obligation to act, or not (the lack of making a decision IS a decision.)

That is a lesson I have always taken to heart even thought in my pre-brain damage stage caused me to act impulsively in defense of the small and downtrodden, mostly students who I felt were getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop because of their ethnicity or economic status.  (Seriously, I had several students who were just trying to get in front of their past mistakes and make a good life for themselves, but were constantly judged for their appearance.)

Now that I am older (and properly medicated) I am choosing my words and actions more carefully.

I said all of that because I am having a hard time choosing my words. Not because I am unsure, but because I am horrified.

I am also terrified. My fear is exponentially related to the rise of Donald Trump.

I’m not leading up to something hilarious because the time for humor is rapidly passing.

I have recently been made aware of an incident in South  Boston.

In August of last year, two brothers, Scott and Steven Leader beat and urinated on a homeless Mexican man.

Before anyone can leap to say, maybe it was a youthful error, the Leaders are both in their thirties, and I know kindergarteners who behave better than that.

These two grown men pleaded guilty to the assault, saying “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

Except the man who was assaulted, Guillermo Rodriguez, is a permanent resident.

“I have heard that they did this because of political rhetoric,” Rodriguez said. “I came to this country many years ago and worked hard in the farm fields to provide produce to people here. I actually became a permanent resident of this country years ago although if I had been undocumented, I still would not have deserved to have been beaten in this way.”

(https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/05/16/brothers-plead-guilty-beating-homeless-immigrant/jpbvoo23yr2sntgKwtQ6KI/story.html)

I have been processing this for a day or two and as a Mexican American and thinking human being, I have to say that this is starting to look a lot like Germany, 1938.

For those of you who are not history buffs, I am referring to Kristallnacht. You know, that time in history when a madman’s hate speech led to the rioting and terrorizing of a specific ethnic group?

I didn’t think the world would need reminding that it is so easy for sheer madness to spread and destroy.

Apparently it does.

And I can’t know what I know and think what I think and not say anything.

Especially since I don’t know where this particular flavor of madness is leading.

And now you know.

And you are responsible to act or not.

It’s your choice.

I hope it’s not the last.

What it is, part 2

Published May 17, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I have said on a number of occasions, one of my special skills is recognizing a pattern in data or behaviors. This is a by product of my Ed Research degree.  I prefer to use this power for good, instead of evil even though I could be pulling down a salary in the upper five figures by evaluating standardized test scores.  (I would have to wear grown-up clothes and shoes, and there are just some values I won’t compromise.)

In Ed Research we call the recognition of a pattern as becoming emergent.  Kind of like when you can see those Magic Eye posters. (I can’t see them. It’s because I think the Emperor is still naked.)

My crazy, slightly dinged brain has been working on the definition of love. What is true love and what is real love.  In it’s purest form, love makes you feel. As I stated previously, I am slowly allowing myself to feel all of the feels and it’s through the direct influence of several family members and friends.  It is also from the students I teach.

I truly love to teach.  I think it’s because I love knowledge and I love distributing the knowledge like so many scratch and sniff stickers.

It’s because I love teaching that I want to stay away from Standardized Testing. That is something I know without being able to recognize patterns.

What I am discovering is that my love involves a certain amount of defensive love.  I tend to be overprotective of the ones I love.  I’m not nearly as crazed as I used to be.  But the defense is still there.

I woke up this morning actually shaking. I know it is because I felt the need to swoop down like an Archangel (or a harpy.  Hey, I know who I am.) and protect those who are need.  I know one reason I feel this way, but I suspect there is an underlying layer from the performance my elementary students are presenting this evening.  The audience will be families and friends and this particular school’s atmosphere.  is extremely supportive and there is no where near the level of judgement and angst that I had during the last time I directed a show in an educational environment.

I know there won’t be a Stage Mother who will tell the principal that we should cancel the show because she didn’t think the students were ready.

When a parent did this last year, I immediately went on the defensive. Not for myself, but for my kids.  Because how dare she doubt the talents and abilities of my kids?

So I know part of love is wanting to protect the ones you care about from everything, even though most of what we are holding at bay is repugnant, yet inevitable .

Like Standardized Testing.

And we’re back.

What it is (part 1)

Published May 14, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I haven’t had a lot of time to write or think or clean or eat well lately.  I’ve been subbing and side gigging a lot so that I may survive this summer on my meager savings, good will and the kindness of strangers. (I did promise Actor Boy that I wouldn’t trade snuggles for home repairs.

But I have had time to make a few lists with some salient points on topics that have been broiling in my head lately (although steaming is a better choice, as it has been so humid I can actually hear my hair frizz.) One of the topics is defining Love.

Today is marks the six year anniversary of the death of my friend Steven Scott Garrett. He died at 2:44 PM on May the 14, 2010. He was declared dead at 3:07 and his body was picked up by the funeral home at 7:00 PM.

Why yes, that does mean I sat in a room with Steve’s corpse for almost four hours.  The funeral home less than five miles away from his home.  I realize now how ghastly this was and that Steve probably would have been perfectly all right with me trying to wheel the bed down the frontage road to the establishment.  In fact, I think that might have been in his will if he had thought of it first.

It has been six years and I am just now letting go of the shell of numb that I created to get me through the sheer horror and panic I felt at losing him and the slow revelation that certain parts of my life would ever be the same.

I don’t want to reveal everything, but suffice it to say there are certain people who are opportunistic rat fiends (perhaps with little rat faces) and will think nothing of using someone’s grief as an excuse to wedge themselves into a place they do not belong.

One of the big things that changed is that I no longer had someone who said “I love you.” to me every day.

That was incredibly heart wrenching, especially since I was still married at the time.

In retrospect that should have told me something, but I was so numb for so long that all I could do was stare straight ahead. I missed a lot.

Why, you may ask, would I put myself through the stress and the strain of being 100 percent emotionally available while also attempting to work and coax my kid on his way to college?

Love.

A big part of love is availability and a willingness to be around for the icky parts.

Like death.

And waiting six years to feel again.

Because that’s all a big part of it.

I don’t know if I’m finally facing how much I loved my good friend. It is more than I can possibly describe and is exponentially related to how much I miss him.