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All posts for the month July, 2017

Sorry, Mr. Manilow

Published July 27, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I woke up this morning singing, “It’s brain day! If you wanna believe ,you can have brain break, and struggle to breathe, I said it’s brain day, even if you have to sneeze it can be brain day and I can walk on my knees, yes it’s brain day and I know I can smiiiilllee out of both sides of my head!!!!.”

The cats were not entertained, but Actor Boy sang his song where he rhymed “crazy” with “hazy.”

It’s not every day that you can celebrate potentially fatal brain damage with an interactive musical

Fourteen years ago, while performing Parallel Lives with my co-star Merritt Glover, I had a hemorrhagic stroke caused by a burst aneurysm. Read more here.    After I had recovered enough to be released back into the wild, I was told that at the five year mark, I would likely reach the top end of my brain rehabilitation growth curve, and that it was highly improbable for me to pass a standardized, timed, test.  (I defied within a year by passing both levels of the New Mexico Teacher’s Assessments. The room was filled with the most irritating group of people ever assembled.)

At the ten year mark, I was dealing with the defection of EH and was having a serious life upheaval.  I celebrated with Actor Boy, and immediate family. When I left the house to go the restaurant,I heard that a local actor, the fantastic Ryan Roach, had suffered a stroke. Ryan and I were in a show together years ago and he was a kind, generous human being.  My heart was filled with prayers and good wishes for Ryan.

By the time I got home, Ryan had died.

Here I am at 14 years.  I have a neurologist appointment on Monday.  At my last visit I asked what the protocol for this stage of recovery. I was told that there IS no protocol. There are so few survivors of this kind of stroke, and many stroke survivors succumb to other maladies, so I’m kind of in a group of my own.

I am very grateful for my miracle. Actor Boy made me a pop tart and fetched me a big cold soda. I will be joining my family for dinner and then we are off to Karaoke. Lots of fun and excitement! But no Batman (:()  He is still buckling the swash and will be for a few more weeks.

I am grateful for my world. Even if it’s covered in cat hair.

 

Perspecticus

Published July 25, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

This is the time of the year when I catch up on, well, everything.  I’m falling behind on my housekeeping, mostly because I don’t give a teeny tiny little rats behind, but I can still see the floor and find the cats fairly easily, so I’m ok.

I had breakfast with my dad (to celebrate my birthday, which was a month ago but the time, it do fly.) Our conversation drifted to the current state of affairs. (In the country, not in my life, and now that I mention it, why the hell is every third person so damn interested in my ability to trap Batman?)   We discussed the incredibly stream of stupid that exploded when I simply shared an article about the mania that is Trump’s America.   This lead us to the discussion that as a whole, we (society, not me, my dad and Batman-World’s Worst YA novel.) are missing the damn point of dystopia TV.

As the wise rabbi in World War Z says, most of the time, Zombies, doesn’t mean Zombies. (He also went on to say that sometimes it actually does mean Zombies, but that doesn’t serve my point. You see how quotes can be manipulated? Hmm?)  The point I was making with to my dad is that the point of The Walking Dead, at least by my extrapolation, is that in the face pandemic disaster, our politics are going to matter very little. If human kind is to survive we have to stop arguing about the collective stupidity that makes up current bi partisan politics.  Life is far too short to fight amongst ourselves, especially since it looks like the problem is going to be bigger than  Zombies.

To pursue that rabbit down another hole,  (What’s a metaphor? Sheep!)   I recall yet another episode of  The Walking Dead, (Let’s agree that I watch entirely too much television.) One of the denizens of one of the more advanced sub-societies of the post-Apocalyptic future/alternate universe, remarked that he listened to some music when he gets bored. One of the our protagonist group replies, “I can’t remember the last time I felt safe enough to be bored”

I know it seems a long way to go to get the point, but it’s all a matter of perspective.  Perspective is a word that gets bandied about a lot these days, as is mindfulness.   Mindfulness means fine tuning your perspective so that you are hyper aware of the moment to moment-ness of you life. Kind of like when your world is full of Zombies.

And we’re back.

 

Maybe we’re just terrible people.

Published July 21, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m dragging my feet through the last few days of my summer break, trying to cram in all of the things I meant to do in June, except I  worked most of June and am still trying to catch up on my rest, so I’m way behind on the to do list.

Batbeard got me hooked on Apple TV. (I started to say, “Hooked up” but realized that I watch entirely too much television and it’s JUST SO DAMN EASY to link my Apple devices and, you know the first hit is free and then suddenly you’re watching a marathon of Disappeared and I sure hope I wake up in time to switch over to Dr.Phil on my iPad and now it’s a serious addiction.)

I’m trying to pace myself by having a safe mix of TV, cleaning and gathering school supplies. I’m trying to mix up my TV watching with some fun stuff, new stuff and, of course, crime drama.  With that in mind, I decided to watch something that the Netflix said might enjoy.

I watched Friends from College.   I was trepidatious. I’m not a big fan of  Cobie Smulders. (It’s not her fault. I tend to make snap judgements about beautiful people who make an ass load of money largely in part because they are beautiful people.Seriously. I’m sure she’s charming)  But I am fan of Fred Savage and truly love Billy Eichner. There is not enough Billy and Fred in this show. I was not familiar with the rest of the cast but now that I’ve seen a diminutive Asian female play Stanley Kowalski, I’m not sure I want to see the character played any other way.

I almost divorced the show after the first episode, because (This will not spoil anything) one of the major conflicts in the show is the affair that two of the main characters have been carrying on for twenty years despite being married to other people.  The one friend in the know remarks that the affair has been going on for longer than their marriages.

Maybe it’s just me, but I am not amused by casual infidelity and matter-of-fact lying.   The female half of this liar-team, Sam, played by Annie Parisse made me tense. Mostly because I felt a little sorry for her because she seemed legitimately tense about her lies.   The male half of the team, played by Keegan Michael Key, made me want to punch something. I gave the show another watch while I was cleaning toilets.

This seemed a fitting metaphor for what I understand was a grim one in human history. The fleeting news clips that I caught indicated that the one John McCain, possibly the last sane Republican, has brain cancer, and our President doesn’t know if he’s wants to apologize for his recent trashing of McCain’s military career.  Anytime the President opens his mouth the entire country winces.

A Bazillion years ago when I first started teaching, I defined the word “culture” as “what is left behind to represent a society at a given time.” This was to give my students some perspective on words, word choice and art as a whole.

I wonder what the future will think of us, what with our Friends from College and President of Today.

Could we be terrible people?

 

Well, there you go, Part I

Published July 17, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

When I was in high school, the Drill Team had a chant they would do with the Cheerleaders. It was called “Gigolo.” (Yes, the perfect thing for spirit girls from a Catholic school to be chanting about.) It went like this, “Gig-o-looo. Hands up high, feet down low, that’s the way we Gigolo.”

I was in the band and even then I didn’t suffer fools gladly. I remember thinking as I shifted uncomfortably in my oh so flattering band uniform,  (White jeans and oversized polyester top designed to look like a pirate tunic. God knows why. We were the Vikings. They actually measured us for the uniforms but could only afford the tops, so they ordered everyone’s two sizes too big so they could be used in perpetuity. )  “Is there any other way to order one’s hands and feet?

If everyone has their hands above their feet, shouldn’t they know where to go? One would think.

Except I’m not dead sure if anyone is really thinking anymore.  I hear a lot of reacting, but not a lot of thinking.

Last week, on Facebook,  I reposted an article by Leonard Pitts, JR. The article originally appeared in the Miami Herald. You can read the article here. It’s a commentary on we, the people, six months into the Trump presidency.

It’s a thought provoking article. Give it a read. I posted the article, but only prefaced it with, “That’s a great question.”  I didn’t say anything else for two reasons: I wanted to see what response the re-post would get. I am a teacher and I know better than to post actual opinion in a public forum.

This re-post blew up with comments, mostly from people I don’t know. All foisting their own agenda on the public.  One comment said that the article used  highly flawed broad generalizations. Another comment said that if “Someone” made statements about Obama, they would be considered racist, or if “Someone” made statements about Hilary, they would be considered sexist.

First of all, who  is “Someone?” Mr. Pitts, Jr. makes it very clear that he is author of the statements within the article, and nowhere does he say anything that has not been documented.   His article is not a court document.

His article assembles words to make the reader think. Some people chose to react, without thinking.  All I said in my repost was, “That’s a great question? ”

Another great question is, “Why do we have to be told which way to go?”   Our hands are above our feet. Shouldn’t we know which way to go?

Well, there you go, part II

Published July 17, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Before anyone goes ber-bonkers looking for part I, I won’t be posting that until tomorrow. But the follow up is fresh in my crowded head so I’m going to put that one up first.  I can explain my process if you want, but I don’t think it’s very interesting.

Today I was meandering through my errands because it’s beastly hot and I didn’t really want to get anything done. As I walked from one place to the next, a woman called out to me and said, “Did you teach at Metro?”

My first teaching gig was teaching a theatre class at an alternative high school. I wasn’t a classroom teacher, but I was part of the curriculum for a psychology/health class. I taught basic acting and playwriting.  My students ranged from an emancipated sixteen year old who was trying to graduate as quickly as possible to go to college to a lesbian couple who was bullied out of their high school. Some students were former gang members and/or returning after dropping out.  Many of my students used the class as a way to process the bizarre events of their lives.

The woman who called out to me was a student of mine about twenty years ago.  We talked for awhile; she has raised four kids, three of her own, one adopted from a family member. She has finished court reporting school and is working and investing in her future.

She told me a little about her kids and the things she tells them about education. As I listened to her, I realized that I had heard some of things before; they were things I recall saying to different classes.

I told her I remember every student I have ever taught.  (I do, I’m just terrible with names.) I do remember her. I remember wondering how she would turn out and if she would survive high school.

She did. She graduated from high school and faced some challenges and is working very hard to instill the value of education in her children.

So there you go.

I don’t know where to start or where to begin, man.

Published July 12, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Strange days indeed.  One the one hand, we have the Donald, Jr. possibly raking for muck with the Russians, and, really, are we Red Scaring again? Really?  Isn’t it time we just hang our heads and decide that half the country laid back and let the other half run amok. As Dr. Phil says, “You can’t change if you don’t acknowledge it.”

I watch entirely too much television. I acknowledge that

A Gimongus chunk of Iceberg, somewhere around the size of Delaware, snapped off of Antarctica and is floating loose in the Weddell Sea. Before you say,”Don’t freak out WriterChick, Delaware is not that big, this is how large that is: 2,200 square-mile, trillion metric-ton.   And I do  realize that in relation to the the rest of the universe that’s just a tiny bit.  It is, but it’s a tiny bit of ice that broke off of a huge piece. And that huge piece has been there for a long time, so when pieces break off and begin to float loose, that is, perhaps a cause for concern.

Imagine you are enjoying a tasty beverage with ice.  During the course of your consumption, the ice shifts and gloms together (Glom is a the term for ice wadding. I learned this in Grad School) Now your drink is coming to the end and you would like to enjoy the delicious droplets off of ice. Now it’s not a huge clump of ice, and you should be able to accomplish this task without too much danger.  You lightly tap the glass en route to your mouth,  an ice piece breaks off and nails you right in the face.

Not a big piece, no, but it did some damage.

Now what?

With so much talk about ice and Russians, I think I need a Vodka Cocktail.

That will give me someplace to start.

 

 

 

 

 

I had no idea they were interchangeable.

Published July 11, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I got an email saying that my Glow in the Dark T-Rex was out of stock.  The email was very apologetic, as I guess one would have to be when stating the obvious, after all, the actual T-Rex is permanently out of stock (although to be honest, I would not at all be surprised to see one totally dominating the Starbucks drive-thru.)  I was offered the option of waiting for it’s eventual return, or selecting another creature in exchange.

I think waiting for the return of the T-Rex is too spot on a metaphor for most of my life, so I selected a Blue Kangaroo (How could you not? It just sounds delightful)

Before someone alerts the nut-wagon to come and shake me out of my tree, I am referring to a prize that I won playing Total Trivia. Yes, yes, I did get bored enough to click on a Facebook link (an enterprise akin to picking up a bottle that says, ” Drink Me.” and taking a big glug.) and have subsequently played. To date, I have won a bracelet, a necklace, a laptop sleeve, two tote bags and the aforementioned T-Rex.

Why?  Well, I have jewelry, I have tote bags, but I don’t have a glow in the dark creature. I don’t need anymore of the above, but my new classroom will definitely be enhanced by a blue kangaroo.  It will fit right in with atmosphere of acceptance and  creativity.

As I prepare myself for a complete shift in methodology, (I’m ever so smart!) as I will be teaching a fourth grade in  self-contained environment, I am reading and researching a lot. I know my weakest area is Classroom Management and I am most comfortable teaching three of the four core subjects. I want to be effective in all areas so I do have a lot of prep work to do. (This will also be the first time in 26 years that I haven’t taught Theatre.)

Something I have run across is that the first impression to students and parents is what they will carry through for the rest of the year.  I know I need to appear professional and pulled together, especially since I’m don’t look my age. (I have actually had more than one person look at my resume (Twenty plus years teaching, five endorsements on my certificate, two Master’s Degrees, etc.) and say, “I thought you would be an older teacher.”  I AM an older teacher.  The polite thing is not to mention it. At least no one has said to me what they said to Laurie Notaro, “I thought you would be prettier.”

So what impression will a Blue Kangaroo make?  Maybe I should get him a coat and tie for the first day of school.