All posts tagged brain

The Process

Published December 19, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I’m hard to explain.

I have been “seeing” someone I met on Plenty of Freaks. (I mean Plenty of Fish; dating in the digital age is bizarre.) I use the term “seeing” because we have only actually gone out maybe four times since July.  There is mutual interest, but he is in Marketing and has three school age children who he as joint custody of (mostly weekends and some holidays.) I am in complete agreement that kids come first and there are very few people with whom I communicate when Actor Boy is in town.  Combine that with my schedule and the fact that we live about 40 minutes away from each other, thus the four dates in six months.

I am finding it difficult to explain the basic processes and procedures that make up a day in the life.

My life is slightly askew right now because I have a roommate, Big Kid, who is my Amanda Friend’s oldest son. He is an employed, sober fellow, (he’s already a vast improvement over my last roommate The Absence of All That is Good and Holy.) The askew is mainly because I have had to move things around my house and clean a few things, coordinate a few things and try to ignore the fact the the pipes in my house are doing their very best to summon the Hag of Beara. It is nice to have someone else in the house  so I don’t get abducted by time weasels and someone will notice if I fall and break a hip. (The Mom is afraid something like this will happen.)

The financial assistance will be great, too. I know I shouldn’t worry too much about it; after all, there is not a single thing I can do about it today, and I am actually ok. (This means my bills are paid, I have food in the house and about forty bucks in my purse and a loaded Starbucks card)

I did not realize how much of my existence is based on processes and hacks just to make things work. Explaining the bits and pieces to Big Kid, who like his mother, is mostly unflappable, made me a little more self aware.

My brain chemistry is a little off this week.

That is an extremely strange statement to make, unless, of course, you are me.  (In that case, nothing is a strange statement to make. )

My seizure medication prescription expired; I have no idea why, I have taken this medication consistently for 12 years.  I have not ever had a seizure, but since the medication also prevents migraines, and no one wants me to have  a migraine, or a seizure, for that matter, I take the medication.

This medication has to be taken daily to keep my neurons happy. When I don’t take the medication, I get dizzy and a little light headed and my brain feels like it’s shifting from side to side like a lava lamp. This is not a good feeling by any means.

I finally got the medication and am slowly getting back to the normal.  Why yes, it did just take me 500 words to explain how I get to normal.

In other news, I have a short story up in the Kindle store. Check it out ! Review it! Get ready for two new book length things: Circumstance-a novella, and The Sound of Two Thighs Clapping– a weight loss memoir

The Classic : A short story

Angst for the memories

Published August 16, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

This past week has been interesting. (Would I have any other kind?) My excellent friend Mr. S  let me know about a last minute job opening and I leapt right on it. Still haven’t heard. In other news, my temporary certification experies in ten days. I can simply apply for an extension to the tune of a mere 1000 dollars. I do have that saved up but I was planning to splurge on food and rent for me an my cat should a job not appear. Now to avoid this pricey extension, I can take the diablolical, so you think you can teach test. My certification prep program green-lit me for that a couple of weeks ago, but the state still didn’t show that I had it. I made two surprisingly stress free phone calls and discovered that I could take the next available test time and still squeak by and get my full certification. I took the test today (120 non-refundable dollars)  If I do not pass this test this go round, I have to do the extension (1000 remember?) plus another 120.  If I do pass this time, there are the fees associated with the getting the full certification including the fee to add the ELA endorsement for the second test I passed when I passed that theatre thing.

Much of this may be moot if I don’t have a job. I will, however have three new pieces of paper to keep the other credentials I have company until a job comes along.

In the midst of all of this peripheral freaking out, I also had test anxiety. I know anxiety is a very real thing to many people. My anxiety had nothign to do with the actual test. I know the material, even if the material has nothing to do with the test, it is the vernacular in which the test is handled.

My anxiety is cheifly centered around my brain’ ability to just flat decide it aint gonna do what I want it to do. And that terrifies me.  It all brings back the memories of standing on stage next to Merritt Glover, and opening my mouth to hear the character voice and then having something else entirely different come out. My look of surprise and mild concern was mirrored on her face. There was true fear in my heart because my brain was going in an entirely different direction that I couldn’t control.

After 12 years the fear is still there. It is especially right at the fore front when I am at the mercy of a diabolical test that has nothing to do with teaching but is the only thing standing between me and being a for real teacher.

After I finish ed, I went to the nearest mall and went for a long walk. On this walk I ran into one of my former student. She came up and hugged me and asked if I was going to be her teacher. I told her no, but that her new teacher, Mr. S. was great and that I would be able to find out how she was doing.  She asked if my colleague, CB was  coming back and I told her no. She hugged me and thanked me for being her teacher.

The Angst was worth the Memory.

Do you mind? Playing tricks on me?

Published July 29, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

And on to the next bit about the madness in my head.

In addition to the random weird crap that happens to me because, well, it’s me,  (a elephant once patted my car’s roof while I waited at a stop light.)  there’s a whole bunch of new and improved stuff going on there in the grey wrinklies.

Post brain trauma recovery and therapy is focused on two stages; 1) to get you out of critical care and back on your feet unncumberd by an IV wheelie or plastic wear attached to your plumbing and 2) get you as close back to the who you were befrore the brain fairy whonked you with her wand and excellent sense of timing.

Both of these things involve therapy and coaching by teams oddly humurless people.  Because there is a whole play about that process, I won’t bore you with those specifics. Physical therapy left me with better balance than I’ve ever had. My range of vision is better than most people on the road.

Now here’s where the story gets fun: All of the brain games I played; the diabolical monkey version of the tower of Hanoi (I wish I was kidding about that), the word scrambles, the processing speed exercises, all of those were required to get my synapses firing and perhaps rebuild some of the pathways that were destroyed when that three centimeter bleed wiped out approximately nine centimeters of brain matter.

With all of that work going on in my head, I have a difficult time sleeping. Plus I also have anxiety issues. (I was pretty high strung to begin with.)  The combination of those things creates some neuroses on their own.  My brain sometimes tells me things that are hard to ignore.

Anyone who has survived middle school knows to what cruel taunts I am referring. Hard to ignore, but not impossible.

And then there’s the other stuff. Like just plain being sad, like we all get, and a good cry usually helps, except I can’t. When I do cry like I want to (World’s worst sixties song.) I get a terrible headache and any brain trauma survivor knows that headaches will freak you out more than anything  Wes Craven can create.

Much of this brain power is created by evolution.

From the good people at Wikipedia:

Pareidolia (/pærɨˈdliə/ parr-i-doh-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists.

Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, the “man in the moon“, the “moon rabbit“, and hidden messages within recorded music played in reverse or at higher- or lower-than-normal speeds.

Pareidolia is the visual or auditory form of apophenia, which is the perception of patterns within random data. Combined with apophenia and hierophany (manifestation of the sacred), pareidolia may have helped ancient societies organize chaos and make the world intelligible.[1][2]

So it stands to reason that my brain is changing with all of the challenges I present to it. It’s concerning.

That’s why I’m medicated.

More to the story tomorrow.

Just the cheese, not my mind

Published August 3, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I did not completely lose the cheese last week, nor did I lose my mind.  It was a close call on both accounts.

Brain day passed by uneventfully, but considering it was the 11 th anniversary of a huge unplanned event , that’s probably better.  I did want a birthday do over, but the current financial and job situation didn’t lend the itself to the carousing. I sufficed with cinnamon rolls for breakfast and hamburgers and ice cream for lunch.

I had two job interviews and went to one job fair.  I don’t think it’s right to call something a “fair” unless there’s corndogs and maybe some trained animals .  (I think a roomful of jobless teachers deserve some distraction. They didn’t even have coffee.)

I still don’t have a job. I’m not going to officially panic until August the 14th. Why that day, you may ask? A representative from one school district said that they will be hiring up until that date.  Their teachers go back to school on the 18th.  I wonder if anyone else is as disturbed by that as I am.

What I learned this week:

I get a little punchy if  I arrive at a interview too early (who knew there was such a thing?) and the interviewer arrives late.  ( I didn’t say anything unfortunate, unlike that time at my UT interview. )

If I am tired, my left arm aches. I don’t know if it is because my brain is trying to keep it from clutching my shirt, or if it is an actual ache in the arm. (My left side suffered the most damage from the brain incident. I had left neglect for awhile and ever since then, my left arm will drift up and out of the way when I get extremely tired.  This rarely happens now.)

My filter has indeed come back. I spent so much time working from home that I got into the habit of blurting out expletives for punctuation and spice.  At one of interviews, I slammed the part of my hand I burned while making the cinnamon rolls. I did NOT scream “Bitch Cat. Son of a Whore!”. I am grateful for the return of the filter (World’s worse Sci-Fi story.)

If you are short, make friends with a tall person the moment you arrive at the job fair.  I couldn’t see a thing and had to rely on the kindness of strangers.  Since I teach an elective, I was not perceived as a threat and many people offered to help.

I am only a little frightened about the state of education. Apparently THIS particular state has at least 300 adults who have such a huge desire to teach that they altered their career paths and learned some new tricks and are willing to stand shoulder to elbow with strangers in order to smile and shake hands and not scream expletives with the district representative squeezes their hand right on the burny spot.

Good teachers are out there, people. Let’s give them jobs. And maybe a corndog.

have to save brain from decay and I can’t find the brush

Published September 11, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Right now I’m ghosting a series of romantic short stories. (Something about that phraseology seems off, but I’m really tired so I’m not going to worry about it.)

Whenever I’m writing romances I try to use my TV watching time to nourish the brain cells when they are not flabbily trying to crank out the literary equivalent to mac and cheese. (This is my opinion, maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter and twisted about the genre if my experience in the dating pool hadn’t been so fraught with algae.)  I have been watching a lot of documentaries. Some of them really angry me up, some are inspirational. Some make me  shouty. (Like I need another reason.)

Last night I watched 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr and Mrs. Kraus. I watched it on HBO GO, (Thanks Mom!) and I’m glad I did. I had no idea these people existed. Mr. and Mrs. Kraus were a wealthy American Jewish couple who, in 1939, traveled to Austria with the express purpose of rescuing 50 Jewish Children. It was amazing.

While I was watching it, I was reminded of the rage I felt and still feel about the number of  wealthy and connected people in this country who KNEW what was happening in Europe and did NOTHING about it.

It made me take a moment and think about the current state of  affairs in the world right now.  And it keeps bringing me back to the rant about Education.

We are terrible to our children. Everywhere. All The Time. Why do we do this to our children?

It is proven that our terrible economy is directly related to our terrible education system. (You give the people an inferior education and scratch your heads and wonder why we have inferior adults in our workforce. Hmm. Conundrum? )

The Conundrum was a character in the X-Files episode “Humbug”

He was played by The Enigma (born Paul Lawrence) who is a featured performer with the Jim Rose Circus.

Too tired for documentaries. Going to watch South Park.




It’s Brain Day! or thoughts left sticking to the bottom, part 1

Published July 27, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I think this is going to be a two-parter because I had something truly touching and warm to say, but then I got distracted by itunes, so I’m sure that later on I will realize that I left something out, so let’s consider this the beginning.

Ten years ago today I had a hemorrhagic stroke. This excitement added a little zest, zip and zing into what was already a truly crappy summer.  If you  are having such a rough time that  a week long coma is the best way out of it, you are not doing a good job with your life.

I have been ruminating about the events of that day and of the last ten years and while I was thinking/trying to lull myself into a nap, I was notified that an actor friend of mine, Ryan Roach, had a stroke early this morning and is not expected to recover.

Ryan and I are the same age.

It gives me a moment of Keanu “whoa”, because it makes me realize that things could easily have been very different. I want to believe that Ryan will make it.

If I had a massive stroke today, I don’t know what I would choose.  At this point, I don’t know if I’ve done enough to redeem myself for the extra bit of time that I got.

Given the choice, I’m not sure.

It’s a puzzler.

Actor Boy is hear to celebrate with me and it’s helping  me not focus on the what I don’t haves, like my husband and my best friend.  I have my Actor boy, my mom, my dad and my brother.

Thus far I trotted Actor Boy out to be stared at by the folk who usually share my Saturdays and we met my mom for an early movie.

I had a cold coffee beverage and some baked cheetos. Later on I will be meeting my parents and my brother for a lush dinner.

I have prayed for Ryan and entered a plea or two on his behalf with the universe.

I will be doing the best I can to focus on the bright side and not be a downer on the what I don’t haves.

And there will be vodka (premium, because, what am I? A savage.)

And there will probably be more writing.

Hang in there Ryan, one more year. I will if you will.

Kind of a stupid thing to say

Published July 9, 2013 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

According to Sir Arthur Helps, “Nothing succeeds like success.”

“Well,Duh.”-Marge Simpson.

I have the brain numby thing. That means my brain feels like it’s asleep and I’m waiting for the pins and needles.  I hope it doesn’t feel like a migraine.

The thing I did today that I’m afraid will haunt me for the rest of the summer:

I wrote a 5000 word short story from start to finish in 12 hours.  (Yes, I’m on deadline.)

I have to crank out another story by Wednesday. This are the stories that I have been balking about for the last month.  But I know I can write them, it’s just that it’s incredibly difficult to feel hot, romantic and flirty when your husband’s baby is due in a month.

I ran into some people I admire and like. They are the parents of one of my favorite students of all time. They are good people.  I haven’t seen the father in a few months and wasn’t sure if he was up to speed on my personal drama.  I used the phrase that sums it up best, “After 18 years of marriage, I’m getting a divorce because my husband’s girlfriend is pregnant.”

That kind of wraps it up.

When he left he said, “Good to see you, sorry about your . . . life.”

Me too. It made me laugh because that’s about the smartest thing anyone has said to me regarding any drama that has happened and will probably happen to me ever.

I should back away from the keyboard and rest the brain because I have to coax it out again tomorrow. (I just got a mental picture of brain gnomes and time weasels walking around the cave that my brain lives in, I guess that would be my skull, trying to get my brain to come out  by teasing it with treats. )