Friday, August 15, 2008

What Rose Kennedy Did Not Do

Friends, today the Matron was lucky enough to Robert Kennedy's heroic and heartbreaking announcement that Martin Luther King had been assassinated. It's worth the click.

She heard this while on her daily run, lost in a world of head phones, strong sun, sweat and the success of other people's children. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy must have done a thing or two right. Her son was stellar.

That village -- grandparents and mother--who raised Barack Obama? Why, the Matron is liking that end product too!

How about Mary Gates? Her fine hand not only produced the man who created Microsoft (and pretty much everything the Matron is currently touching!), but a man who is now spending most of his time giving money away!!

The Matron was lucky enough to hear Robert Kennedy on the radio because she had fled her house. She escaped into an extra long run and a world of NPR. (yes! she listens to talk radio while jogging AND she listens to the pledge days, too, every single one because she very well may be psychotic after all)

After getting all verklempt over Kennedy, she started down the path of The Success of Other People's Children. This was a long and torturous journey, bumping self-esteem, ego, reality, detachment, and various identities and senses of self (righteous and weary) up and down and back again. The Matron visited the parents of the following people and asked: how great does it feel, how amazing, to have produced a J.K. Rowling, Madam Curie, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Shelley, Tiger Woods, or Michael Phelps?

Why, the Matronly mind even visited the homes of people she knows in real life, and said, "Hot Damn, your kid is genuinely impressive." She thinks she'd feel GOOD.

Then she returned home to Simpsonathon, Day 5. It's become a family event. The only reason Merrick isn't on the couch is that she paid someone to take that child somewhere else, to save him. She hears that he is kicking and screaming to come back.

There have been two overnight events during the Simpsonathon and another planned for tonight. Boys have been in and out of this house like flies. The Matron has ordered pizzas, bought fresh bakery donuts and made one refill run to the grocery store.

Cards, balls, and various weaponry have also appeared to sustain them. Yesterday, during Season 7, Stryker brought out the Rokenbok goodies that John scored for a song at a garage sale.

Lest anyone flirt with delusion (because that's her special job), despite the appearance of this apparatus, touted as THE brain toy for children, Stryker has not been honing his mechanical, creative, or technical skills in anyway.

Indeed--of course---other people's children have been playing with the Rokenbok set.

Because Stryker?

He's watching the Simpsons AND online. Here's what he said to the Matron.

Stryker: "Mom! Can I buy a sword? A Japanese sword called a Katana? I think once the Simpsonathon is over I'll be a ninja. Actually, that might be kind of hard so I'll probably just collect ninja stuff and pretend I did it. Can I have $25?"

Now, that's ambition.

She pauses to consider the person who will find the gene or secure the cure for Parkinson's or Huntingson's Disease, pauses to consider the parent of the man or woman who will be President in 2038. Is there a Simpsonathon taking place in that house?

Season 8.6. One and a half seasons and one movie, to go.

That's just to make her day real special.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things the Matron Cannot Reconcile

Beach volleyball as an Olympic event

Opening Ceremonies for Olympic Beach Volleyball which have distinctly different tone than the OTHER opening ceremonies the whole world saw

Mortality. She doesn't have a picture for that one.

The 2000 Presidential elections. And 2004. Here he is with some of those Olympian beach volleyball players. Can't they hit a ball wearing a one piece?

The Simpsonathon, Day 4. Don't 12 year old boys need sunshine? Two seasons to go, tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wherein the Matron Drowns in a Pool of Her Own Drool

Oh my! The Matron blushes while she wipes her chin (it's that time again -- technological drool, sweeties). Sweet, sharp Angie over at Are We There Yet sent her this!

The award is for writers who"...inspire others with their creativity and their talents, and for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium." To the unskilled Matronly eye, it appears the award originated here and the recipient is to pass on the award to five others.

Now, the Matron deserves an award for getting the above image to her blog!

She was under the initial understanding that such transfers happened Samantha-style, via nose wiggle or star dust sprinkle! But it turns out that Google Images is not the only place where right clicking works. She learned to right click and 'save this image' on just about any old thing, about two days ago, after nearly one year of blogging.

Several weeks ago, seduced by the sleek Typepad and encouraged by Witchypoo, the Matron opened a Typepad account. Yes! The Matron can blog on Typepad. If she were actually capable of using it. RSS feed? Um. . . she found its possibility in her Google gadget toolbox but, damn, if she doesn't need a Handy Man to show her how to drill that bit.

Digg it? She doesn't!

BlogHer sent the Matron a message, asking her to insert some new code. Jenny? Are you reading? She tried but didn't make it past the second step! One look at the labels on this blog -- everything with Mary Blethic or Mary Politics instead of a self-contained Blethic or Politics -- shows you how hopeless it is! She can't even label her own posts, Jenny, let alone comprehend BlogHer's new code. Help!

The Matron, via her real name, is also chummy with one million others just like her on Facebook and MySpace, Linkedln and more. . . you should see her stumbling in, without one clue how to send a message. People invite her and she just clicks on the link. Beyond that, she is Lost In Space. . .

Yesterday, as part of her scramble -- okay, drooling crawl -- into the 21st Century, the Matron thought it might be helpful to have an actual web site, not on Blogger, but a real independent bona fide web site, called . . . drum roll, please!!: Minnesota Matron! To that end, she knocked on Google's door and asked if she could, pretty please, purchase

Only to be told, in no uncertain terms, that this name was already taken!! Slam!

Huff! She strongly objected!! Could there be another?!

The Matron immediately typed into her thingie where you type those things to see who in the world -- probably her own state! -- had the audacity to assume her assumed identity, only to be taken to the owner's page of!

Owner's page?

After spending about four Simpsons episodes (because that's how they are measuring time here, lately) trying every possible combination of user name and password known to mankind, she GOT IN! The web site, which appears to actually be alive, winked and beeped: "Hello Mary."

Then, she jumped into that great black vat called the Memory of a Fortysomething Mother of Three with Full-Time Job and No Housecleaner and swum around that cesspool for a good long while until she finally remembered!

She bought that domain name about nine months ago! Yes! Saved! She IS the Minnesota Matron. Thank Heavens, because she is attached to her fine alias self. Please, please: no holding your breath, waiting for said web sites to actually appear. That's a lot of technology for the woman who asks her children to turn on the TV!!

You see, the Matronly brain is nonlinear. Indeed, when the idea for this blog post 'came to her' it blasted into her brain to this tune!

Here's the story
of the lovely Matron
who is lost inside her own sweet head
she cannot understand her own computer
let alone the internet

Now, drop that brain into HTML and it goes crazy, bumping up against all those rules and widgits and < > \ ? / . That brain simply squawks, sputters and dies! Sigh. Ever the optimist, she's signed up for every possible high tech opportunity at her new job, where They promise even she can Photoshop and Excel!

Till then, she remains your intrepid, limited blogger, just one more mama following her wacky brain where it leads her. . . and a fellow professor mama gave the Matron this!

Kalynne has NINE children! And she's still standing, even though some of them drive automobiles.

And here here's the Matron tossing out that first award to these five blogs. Go visit!

Heathen Family Revival, Surely You Nest, Omighty Crisis, Where Karma . . . Meets Camera, and One of Three for various arbitrary reasons!

Hiccup! That would be the Matron, choking on all that drool. . . .

'08 Ass Project: 26 pages of the novel, revised!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Other People's Stuff

Dear Fellow Mortal, Stumbling Through,

Last week, when the Matron left her 20 minute meeting at College XX (where she will soon have an actual bona fide office!! her first!!), and looked for her van, she was stymied. You see, she depends upon those two big bold Peace signs, a neon flash of goodwill on each door, to guide her. Only when squinting into theMazda and checking the plates (she is SO trusting that way!) did she realize -- you stole her Peace signs!

Fellow Mortal, the Matron's first impulse was to rip you from limb to limb. Those were HER Peace signs! And for Heaven's sake: steal a peace sign? So she rode that rage all the way home where she found the parent of one of Stryker's friends. He's a minister. Oh boy, she didn't waste a minute, complaining about you.

The minister? He laughed -- a very happy non-ironic laugh which initially annoyed the Matron - and said: "Whoever stole those needs them much much more than you do. May he benefit."

Well, hot damn, that sort of sunk in and saved your sorry ass, Fellow Mortal.

The Matron wonders now, where do you keep her peace signs? How do you feel when you see them? Maybe you still snicker over how incredibly clever you are ("poor sucker who lost her peace signs! I'll show him peace") or maybe, you feel guilty. Maybe you gave them to your girl/boyfriend or brother or sister. Do they know you're a thief? How do you define peace?

She has new magnetic Peace signs on her van and they are just as big and bright and beautiful. Sometimes when they catch her eye, she thinks about her old ones and wonders: how are you doing? She hopes --indeed, even visualizes -- her peace signs serving you, moving you forward, into a better place.

Yours truly,

The Matron

Dear (different) Fellow Mortal, Stumbling Through,

The Matron doesn't know you very well even though you lived on her block! Indeed, just a few doors down. When your old dog died last year, she noticed, though, and she noticed (with approval!) when the new dog arrived.

She wondered if something was amiss when you talked about buying the new dog on an installment plan, tiny payment by tiny payment.

Some time passed and the "For Sale" sign appeared in your yard. Fellow Mortal, she felt badly for you as the desperate "No down payment!" and "Cash Back at Closings!" signs followed. When all your stuff started appearing on the boulevard under "FREE. MOVING" she imagined just how worried you were, how scared.

Then one day, you were gone. You, your wife and her mother. Gone. She doesn't even know your real name, just the general condition she shares with you (and everybody else).

That day, John came home with booty from your boulevard, three perfect sundae cups for our children. "Look! Aren't these great! One for each kid!"

Fellow Mortal? She hopes things are better now. She will probably never know where you went or what your name is since nobody else seems to have that story. But she has no plans to use your sundae glasses. They're yours. She'll just hold onto them for you, as a memento to a life you had, once.

We will all say good-bye to our stuff, eventually. The glasses help remind her. Thank you!

Yours truly,

The Matron

The Simpsonathon Day 2

By the numbers, thus far:

  • 1.5 days
  • 5 12-year old boys
  • 1 adult neighbor
  • 2 5-year old boys
  • 1 almost 10 year old girl
  • 1 12-year old gir
  • 3 bags of varying shades of Doritos
  • 6 hours of sleep 3 of the 5 12 year old boys
  • 13 4 oz cans of soda
  • 3 pizzas
  • 7 butterscotch-covered Dairy Queen cones
  • 1 Dairy Queen Fudge bar (for the Matron!)
  • 1 Chocolate cone
  • 9 bags of BBQ sunflower seeds
  • 4 tummy aches
  • 1 child in bathroom with diarrhea (and she spelled that correctly, first shot!)
  • 4 seasons and 5 episodes, witnessed
  • 234,05 trips upstairs
  • 234,06 trips downstairs
  • 1 power outage!!!
  • 20 minute forced Simpsonathon disruption, courtesy of Xcel Energy
  • 1 panicked 12-year old who nearly wept at the base of the television for those 20 minutes
  • 1 mother who understands that someone is taking himself a wee bit too seriously . . . .
  • 1 bottle of wine
  • 16 ounces of Reeses Peanut Cups eaten by
  • 1 Satan's Familiar

Monday, August 11, 2008

More on the High-End Offspring She's Raising

Before camp started, Stryker came to the Matron with this:

"Mom. If I want to do a project that means the whole family will have to stop everything and center our lives around me -- just like we did for Scarlett and her play -- and if that project has never ever been experienced in ALL of humanity before, and it's my heart's desire -- well, can I do that project?"

Now, the Matron had to give her son credit. That was one damn fine fully loaded statement, densely packed with Freudian pitfalls and with potential maternal missteps clearly drawn at every corner. One wrong move? Not only will dreams and pioneering spirit (she loved that 'ALL of humanity' element for its humility) be squashed by her evil self, but Stryker's Theme Song "Scarlett gets everything she wants and ALL the attention and I get nothing! Nothing" could be codified.

The Matron thought it best to simply smile and nod.

Stryker: "Do you want to know what it is? My project, my heart's desire, my unique and incredibly challenging dream?"

Matron continues smiling and nodding strategy.

Stryker: "A Simpsonathon!"

Same Matronly response.

Stryker: "I'm going to take all the Simpson's episodes that we own and watch them straight until I've seen every last one. Get up early and watch Simpsons till I fall asleep. We can get junk food, in honor of Homer, and I can invite all my friends -- a drop-in sort of thing. Come over, eat crap and watch Simpsons, spend the night, whatever."

Instantly rendered Complete Idiot by relief that hazard materials (and her actual time-consuming participation) were not part of the equation, the Matron said, "Oh! Why, sure" and just as those words were out of her mouth, Reality picked up a bow and flung an arrow at the Matron, an unpleasant arrow, the kind that made her knees weak, mouth dry and head explode.

Stryker: "Oh my God. Mom! This is so awesome! I might just weep with joy!! Now I know what that means in a book, weeping with joy! I have never been happier in my entire life!!"

Here, he leaps and bounds, burning off some of that joy.

Matron: "Honey? We own a season or two of the shows, right? I mean, we're talking a day, maybe a sleepover?"

Joy, Interrupted.

Stryker (Rage? Check. Ready. On Your Mark.): "Mom!! How could you not know? We have like 10 seasons. I think it's 80 hours of shows. By watching till I fall asleep I mean DROP asleep and then wake up as EARLY as possible. This is no party. It's an endurance test! We will barely sleep and stuff our faces with cheese curds!!"

Oh, friends. Here's the stomach punch.


You know the end of this story.

The Simpsonathon began today at 10 a.m. The marathon takes place in the third floor family room, an isolated spot with a bathroom (and right by Stryker's bedroom). As she types, there are two extra children in her house, boys brave enough to endure hardship, junk food, excessive TV, minimal sleep and her son's presence. They go home in the morning and tree different boys arrive in various shifts tomorrow.

Although the Simpsons has played in the background, nonstop, there have been board games, cards, Youtube, guitar playing, and various diversions. It's a mixture of performance art, video game and mosh pit, actually.

Stryker? He has not left the room.

One thing the Matron considered when sticking to her 'yes': that part about no actual significant Matronly involvement. Caught! Guilty, guilty, guilty sings the Matron.

The thing she did not consider? Her other two children. Merrick has barely left that room, either. He's all about being Stryker.

Officially letting her five-year old run with scissors. . . . .


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stage Mother

Scarlett has theater friends. Some of these are normal children, most are not. No small number of these dear children resemble Scarlett in one way: life = theater. Now, that is advanced math (and she means that, because that equation gets pretty darn complex).

So yesterday, one of the most adorable of these types, a 10 year old boy - a tiny, wee sprite of a specimen who can belt out a tune like nobody's business and is a SLAVE to the stage, already - called yesterday, inquiring after Scarlett. Actually, he called approximately 3 million times.

Finally, the Matron pressed further.

Matron: "Honey? She's still on her way home from camp. Is there something I can help you with?"

Sprite: "Okay, because my mom actually says I need to run this by you first."

Matron: "Run away!"

Sprite: "I'm going to put on a show called Rent and I want to know if Scarlett can be in it. She would get a really good part and I don't know if you've seen it but there is a TON of singing and dancing. . . . and, um, lots and lots of what my mother says is very inappropriate material that we'll cut out for our version."

Matron: "Inappropriate material is just fine. I'll have her call you the minute she gets home."

Sprite: "Oh My God! Thank you so much!!" (screams, away from receiver) "MOM! All those good songs might get to stay in after all!" (back to telephone) "And Mary? I'm going to find a real theater for us to use so if you see one, let me know."

Oh, how the Matron loves these children!

Now, before the Matron could fill Scarlett in on this latest and most exciting development, she had to snatch that child from the jaws of death, that torture chamber called Camp. Luckily, all this meant for her was driving across town at 4 pm, arms full of flowers to thank the friend's parents who hauled all four children back to St. Paul.

On the car ride home, Scarlett began a minute-by-minute narration of camp, starting with our departure. "And Mom? After I saw your back walking away? My nose itched and then Lia asked me if we should go to our cabin. Then we did, while we tried not to step on cracks and break your back -- and Cela's. Once we got to the cabin, I opened my brown bag first and then by yellow backpack. . . . . ." The monologue continues, today. We're on, oh, Tuesday evening.

Excuse her? She has to pause her blogging.

"Scarlett! I know that you love your counselor Caroline and she has a blue hairbrush, two dogs -- just like us! -- and a 9th grade brother. So hang on with that info and I'll be with you in a few. . ."

So here is the Matron in the van yesterday, interrupting her wind-up doll:

Matron: "Stop! It sounds like fun! Will you go back next year?"

Scarlett: "YES!"

Stryker: "NO!"

Matron: "What? Stryker, why not?"

Stryker: "I hated that car ride home. Three and a half hours with nothing to do! Why didn't you get to the house faster? Where's my book? We had the second worst cabin in the whole camp. Mom, I had to walk like one mile just to eat!! Then, our tent fell down, twice. You didn't send candy! Everyone got food in their care packages except us because YOU had to go follow the rules. My bathing suit got all muddy and the back-up suit is terrible! And look, look, look!!!"

Here, the hysteria rises to near tears as he pulls up his pant legs to reveal two knees that look like somebody took a cheese grater to them.

"I fell! I am injured! I am in pain!"

Matron: "When was the last time you had food?"

Scarlett: "We ate the whole way home!"

Stryker: "IT'S NOT FOOD. IT'S CAMP."

Matron: "What time did you go to bed last night?"

Stryker: "It's not that, either. But okay, we went to sleep about an hour after midnight and then turned on our alarm for 2:15 so we could go pranking. But then we just talked about pranking and reset the alarm for 3:15. When that one went off, some of us went outside but it was too dark to really do anything. But then we went back to bed and got up to fishing an hour later. BUT IT'S NOT THAT."

Hmmmmmmmm. . . . .

Lat night, a good night's sleep was had by all and today, camp appears a repeat on everybody's summer schedule. The Matron will be requesting that Scarlett NOT write home.

Of course, the very first thing Scarlett had to do ("or I will just die!") was coerce one of her shell-shocked parents (oh things had been quiet and clean!) to take her to the video store to get this:

Now, Scarlett viewed this film and the upcoming (somebody else's thank god) Backyard Theater as if she were preparing for her Broadway debut. She is that hooked. The instant the movie ended, she called Sprite, telling him she was all over the project and -- what was the role?

Sprite: "Maureen. The girl who kisses the other girl and who does those great big shows."

Scarlett: "GOODIE!"

There are also upcoming auditions for a real theater doing The Sound of Music. Scarlett turned to her mother and said: "If only I can be Maureen AND Gretel!"



Sigmund? Are you channeling anywhere close by? The mother of a method-actor could use a session. . . .