All posts for the month December, 2017

Well, here’s the proof.

Published December 22, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Many years ago, 26 to be exact, I was hired as part of anti-gang program using theatre as a means of conflict resolution. (I know, I know, but I was young and I had hope and it paid well.)  This job turned into the first stage of my career as an arts educator. I spent over a decade teaching theatre at Inner City schools. It was worthy work, but low paid and very stressful. At the time I would often remark that I was the pawn between Good and Evil.

I meant it as a joke and a means to colorfully describe the fun found when teaching third graders to write fairy tale plays and the shock of discovering that top students had been expelled for gang violence.  Although my life is a little more evened out, there are days when I am reminded that I am probably still the pawn or at least the comic relief for the cosmos.

I got a lot of sleep last night so I thought I would get a jump on some things for next semester. (My class is presenting Mass again on January 12, and I wanted to get an idea of what the readings look like so I can at least be slightly prepared when the music teacher passive aggressives me the week before.)

Guess what the reading for that day is? It’s from the book of Samuel, who apparently used his words to complain about Saul for several grim passages. Now, this particular passage I find problematic because after a very wordy intro, it goes on to this:

“He will use your daughters as ointment makers, as cooks, and as bakers.
He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves,
and give them to his officials.
He will tithe your crops and your vineyards,
and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.
He will take your male and female servants,
as well as your best oxen and your asses,
and use them to do his work.
He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When this takes place,
you will complain against the king whom you have chosen,
but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”


My students are 9 and even my best readers would fall all over themselves laughing at saying  oxen and asses. I don’t even want to think about how I would explain what a eunuch is and why there is a place for them on this list.  Did I mention that my best readers include two ESL students, one of whom has a slight lisp.  (Guffaw all you want, I think I would find it funny if it wasn’t me.)

All of this gave me a headache, so I took a nap, and then headed out for my adventure.

One of my more challenging students gave me a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble, and I have a coupon and wasn’t up to facing the wrath of Samuel, so I headed out.

As I entered I headed to the cafe for an Iced Coffee (It’s 75 degrees here and I can’t be expected to peruse books without caffeine.) I went to order and the Barista asked if he could get a name for the cup. I told him I had no idea what the cup wanted to be called, but that my name is Lynda. He wrote “Lynda’s friend” on the cup.

I did find a great book, had my coffee and have money left on my card.    So weird stuff and good stuff all in the same short space of my day is reasonable proof of my place in the universe.

That and I couldn’t find my car so at least three people followed me as I aimlessly looked for my car.   (Tee Hee)

I know, it’s because I want things to make sense

Published December 21, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

My brain is a little flustered today. I have a million things to do and some of them are not  important, some of them are. The fluster comes from trying to figure it out.

As per BatBeard’s recommendation, I’m trying to remain calm, particularly about the news. I have been trying to stay away from it all but the best I can do is try to distract myself by finding the weird little side points in the stories.

For example, on CNN’s page today there is a story about a FSU Fraternity pledge, Andrew Coffey, died due to alcohol poisoning. Unfortunately this is not an uncommon event. I am saddened by the time, money and brain cells that are being sacrificed in the name of Greek Life.

Now, I don’t wish to take away from the sadness of this horrific affair but I really must ask why CNN’s staff writers found it necessary to refer to preface the meat of the article with:

“On November 2, Coffey was attending Big Brother Night, a party to celebrate pledges joining a mentorship with a “big brother.” The members, pledges and two hired strippers attended the party at an off-campus home, according to the presentment.”full article here

Now, was it really necessary to point out that the strippers were hired? Are there a number of strippers wandering around Florida hoping a gig will just appear. I know this isn’t the point of the article, but really?

And now, It appears that Ivanka Trump dropped in at a High School in Connecticut to promote STEM programs. Some parents are upset because they did not have the option to keep their child out of school that day.  I have no idea how I feel about that.  Now if Ivanka showed up at my school, which would be interesting because the socio-economic world in which I work is so far below the Trump radar, and I would probably choke to death so as to appear gracious and not point out the many, many areas where extra funding could be used, except of course ,we are not eligible for public school funding, and even though we are a private school, the kind of vouchers that the Secretary of Education touts will in no way help or effect the kind of students my school serves and I would have to press on my miraculous medal in hopes that hand of God will reach down and Deus ex Machina me right out of there and now I’m freaking out about something that didn’t even happen to me or is likely to ever happen to me.

And that’s why I need to spend most of time watching videos of kittens sleeping. In the background I’m listening to Lorelai Gilmore complain about the kind of proposal she just got from Max Medina. (I have been rewatching the first season of the Gilmore Girls, and I’m starting to wonder if Lorelai is a narcissist, and why it’s so important to me.)

What truly makes me flurb is that even after the mega tantrum Lorelai throws where she complains about her proposal because a proposal should have a 1000 yellow daisies. And the FOOL ACTUALLY SURPRISES HER WITH 1000 YELLOW DAISIES. That’s about 800 dollars.  And the Prep School teacher who loves her ponied up the cash for that and next day delivery.

Although I’m sure that a teacher in a prep school in Connecticut makes far more than the average 47K per year (Hint, I make no where near that, but as I said I’m in a below the radar school)  An $800 layout on a pre-posal is pretty extensive.  The ring is featured in another episode.  Which reminds me, I seem to have misplaced my engagement ring.

It’s the centerpiece of my “You can have it when you pry it off of my cold dead hands collection.”

So now I have to clean. And I will not watch the Gilmore girls.

Condolences to the Coffey family. And to the Fraternity that let this young man die, I hope you all have the life you deserve. But you probably won’t.





Sorry, Mr. Wordsworth, part one.

Published December 17, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m fully acknowledge that I sound like a snob or, heaven forfend, Ted Mosby (seriously how did those smug people put up with each other? At least The New Adventures of Old Christine acknowledged that they were terrible) but  the Words are Worth (see what I did there?) saying:

The world is too much with us. In spite of my natural tendency to flail, I can’t just wander about Higgledy Piggledy hoping to land in the right place (of course if you were to see the myriad of bruises marring my landscape you would think I was doing just that.)

BatBeard continues to warn me on a regular basis to stop reading the news because it upsets me. Well, I’m not going to stop, (So there!)

The same teacher who introduced me to Wordworth (She also introduced me to Alfred Noyes, but that’s a fish for another basket) also introduced me to the duo consisting of Knowledge and Responsibility.

I’m pretty sure she wasn’t a familiar with Spiderman or his uncle Ben(But how cool would it be if that Uncle Ben was the same person as the guy from the box of rice? These are the ideas that keep me from sleeping very deeply.)  She explained that knowledge made one responsible for choosing. One had to choose between action and inaction.

I have taken this to heart every single day. My heart and I have been full of decisions lately.  It is not new to this particular administration, because the problems have always been with us.  As Mr. Wordsworth went on to say:

“Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;”

A colleague whose opinion I truly cherish said ,”It’s worse than it’s ever been.”  So while the madness around me has been roiling for decades, or at least since 1802 when Wordsworth tossed this poem out to frame his thoughts, it appears to be getting worse.

As much as it makes my head and heart hurt to look, I can’t help it.

In a related tangent, I read the Handmaid’s Tale around the same time as I learned this poem. Since I was twelve, I didn’t quite absorb all of it’s meaning, but the gist of the story stayed with me. So, when BatBeard, the same pirate hero who has warned and cajoled me to remain calm raved about the series, I began watching the series (I in no way blame BatBeard for any of my angst, in fact, he is truly loved by the Mom, my Amanda Friend and Actor Boy for bringing my smile back from wherever it had been hiding.) I could only watch one episode at time because the words and the knowledge began to form thoughts and choice in my head.

Take care when thoughts are provoked.

Here’s the one that got me:

“It didn’t happen overnight.”

Because a girl has to try

Published December 11, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Today, while not the craziest day I have had teaching, and is not by far the most challenging, it is a rough day. It’s rough in a hurry up and wait kind of day.

Many years ago when I was in late teens I still fancied myself an actor, even though it was more nerve wracking than fun and I was far too thin skinned to last very long in the business. (In fact the thought of being in “the business” makes me roll my eyes.  You see, friends and neighbors, if you are female and more or less fit into the ingenue category (doe-eyed, more boobs than sense, and a strong endurance for the scent of Aqua Net)  You have a very small window of time to actually attain some level of success. It is a small and very narrow window.  In fact, it is so narrow that at 20 when I weighed a 138 pounds and was a size 7 on the bottom and a 10 on the top, I was STILL too fat to be considered a true ingenue. I would have to lose twenty pounds to at least be in the right shape, week and woozy it may be to audition for the “right” parts.

Anyway, around this time I was an extra in a little film called Born on the Fourth of July, staring a little actor named Tom Cruise. This movie was filmed in North Texas and one of the teachers at my college had an agent who got a whole bunch of students in on the film. Oliver Stone touched my hair and said I was pretty.  I spent a long, chilly day standing outside of the Dallas Convention Center pretending to be a young Republican.

All I can remember of this experience is that if the Film Industry is all hurry up and wait, then I was better off focusing on Theater.

Today the music teacher is staging the Christmas Musical. In the first place, none of the students is feeling particularly malleable, none of the  staff feel particularly festive and no one knows what are schedule is. So all day I have been herding kids from place to place and trying to get at least one piece of information to stick in someone’s head.

On the plus side, BatBeard is safe and I am at the point in my life that if I decide to jump back into show business I am now safely in the Ethnic Character Actress, so at least, I will get to eat.

I’m not made of puppets, so you can’t blame me for Youtube

Published December 7, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I said the other day, it’s chaos (be kind). Well certain recent events have compromised my kind nature, gentle spirit and otherwise cherublike demeanor. I will not go into it here, as it is not my own personal business.

I had the kind of day where you just want to throw yourself on the floor and roll around like a dust bunny, but you can’t because even though you only got 5 hours of sleep, you still have to corral and herd and possibly teach 9 year olds.

Highlight 1: One of my ELL’s, a sweet but intense Burmese boy who doesn’t quite have a grip on euphemisms and idioms, decided he would bust out with an Elvis impersonation to Santa Claus is Comin’ to town. Even better, this is apparently a dance that he does with his brother.

Low spot: One of my other students who has more angst than a 13 year old girl, was really down so I let his parents know because the same parents are very, very concerned. (this is not a bad thing.) However, I used half of my lunch talking to one parent, then the other parent showed up, which took the other half of my lunch.

In the conversation with the other parent, it was implied that this child did not have any interest in Social Media (re:Youtube and that vines/videos that feature Jake and/or Logan Paul) before this year because of the way last year’s teacher managed the classroom differently.

The teacher they had last year is a nun, and last year all of the kids were a year younger.

Somehow, this parent managed to imply that I am the one who is responsible for the social media that he is interested in and that I should stop any exposure the child may have to any of it.

I called The Mom to vent and she said that I should bring my puppets ( I have a full set of puppets) to do a story time. I told her, “I’m not made of puppets, Mom.” This of course made both of us stop for a minute. Then I realized that I definitely need more sleep.

And I’m not responsible for Youtube.

Update 1

Published December 4, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

So it’s not even 8:30 and it’s chaos (be kind)  I got to school and had to put my room back together because Sunday school was in here yesterday.  Then I discovered that I was supposed to have an advent wreath to bring to the lighting ceremony after the Pledge of Allegiance.  I did not have a wreath, but I could find one and print it out, because I have cardstock.

Except I forgot that the universe mocks me and the cardstock got stuck in the printer.  The school secretary helped me out by getting the paper out and letting me take the schools advent wreath to the gym. So I shlepped out to the gym and one of the candles fell off. But on the plus side the hymn we were supposed to sing, O Come O Come Emmanuel, which is my favorite. This turned out to be a good thing because I was the only one singing. Holding an advent wreath with a wonky candle. In a steaming hot gym so I was sweating.

It’s chaos (be kind.

Watch this space!

Published December 4, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Last night was night two of Holiday Related Headache. (Please note that during the school week HRH has more than one source, each exacerbated by the Ongoing Pine, and also exacerbated by fully grown adults saying “exasperated” when they mean exacerbated)    To alleviate this head pain rewatched the newest Patton Oswalt special. He mentions something his late wife, Michelle McNamara said

“It’s Chaos, be kind.”

I’m really going to try to live this today. I’m really going to try to pretend that we are more than likely on the brink of nuclear war and the word magicians in charge are trying to divert our attention with other news that’s not really news.

Here’s my day as scheduled:

7:45   Join my cherubs in the gym for morning prayers and pick-up, and try not to cringe at what new distraction someone brought to school

8:00 Take roll and lunch count while telling the same three kids to sit down and get started on their spelling assignment, remind them that we do, indeed have a test this week.

8:15 review words with students, try not to scream when they are confused by the parts of speech that we have gone over EVERY SINGLE WEEK FOR 12 WEEKS.

8:30-  Continue reading the novel Farmer Boy. Remind the two students who still haven’t finished the summary assignment from last week that they need to do this

9:00 scoop up all work and retreat to the Teacher’s Lounge for coffee and grading while the Spanish teacher takes over

9:30  Go back to class for Math class, try not to  notice that everyone seems to have been reset to default blank over the weekend.  Attempt to review long division, assign homework so parents do not bury you with queries about why their student doesn’t have homework.

10:30 If they finish Math, jump ahead to a reading comprehension article.

11:00  Lunch

This is the plan. I will let you know how it goes.

It’s chaos, be kind.