Friday, September 19, 2008


Here are Stryker and the Matron, trudging the three long city blocks to the school bus at 6:42 am. The Matron is carrying her son's book bag and lunch so the he's the one sullying his hands with Satan's Familiar.

Friday, School Week Three of Murray Junior High. They are tired. But they are also a tight team by this point, mastering the art of the sequential morning. Tick-tock-tick, minute-by-minute so they can squeeze out every last eye sand of sleep. The mornings don't feel half bad.

Matron: "Who did you eat lunch with today?"

Stryker: "You ask that every day, Mom."

Matron: "A pattern that might continue. And?"

Stryker: "I ate with the kid that I talk to during Spanish."

Matron: "Okay."

Stryker: "You know, I never thought about this until now, but I walk to Algebra with the same kid. Then there's one who has a locker next to mine and gym class. I do work with like a whole bunch of people. So there's people I talk to now and do stuff with."

Matron: "That's great!"

Stryker (little pause): "Hey! I have friends at school now! Those are friends!"

Just as the Matron is busy restraining herself from falling to the ground and wailing "Hallelujah" he hits her with one more.

"Mom? Could I get a Murray t-shirt?"

Better. Us, that is. And thanks for all your blog love, sweet women (and you three).


Scarlett: "Mom, are we going to the Bama meeting?"

Matron: "Bama meeting? What's a Bama?"

Scarlett: "Mama! You know! The Barackobama meeting for President!"

Matron: "Oh, the Obama rally. Uh, I hadn't planned on it."

Scarlett: "No, not the Obama, the Bama."

Matron: "No, it's O bama."

Scarlett: "Are you sure? Because I'm pretty sure his name is Baracko Bama. How would we check that somewhere?"


Merrick has spent the entire summer in camouflage pants and a dirty white t-shirt, with the leashed Satan's Familiar in one hand and a toy rifle in the other. Other five-year olds went to day camp and frolicked out doors. Hers participated in a six day Simpsonathon.

Once, in the middle of the summer, Scarlett determined that she would teach Merrick to read.

Twenty minutes later, she walks up to her mother: "He's hopeless." Merrick screamed by, buck naked, pistol in hand, singing this: "Scruffy has a butt hole, dontcha know it. Butt hole!"

Now, Merrick's particular elementary school experience is in a preK/K mixed classroom. Last year, he went half day as a preK and this year, he's got that whole letter (please don't make the Matron google the spelling, she's that bad) -- and the same teacher.

After two weeks back in school, the Matron experienced (in a full body sort of way) this conversation with his teacher.

Teacher: "Mary, how did the summer go."

Matron: "Oh fine. Same old, you know, sun and fun and all."

Teacher: "Do you remember that little letter Merrick got at the end of last year?"

Matron: "The one about reading to your child?"

Teacher: "Yes! And there was more, so much more! Like asking your child what the day is, what month it is. Having your child count and order things."

Matron: "Uh, oh, yes. Hmmmm."

Merrick conveniently screeches to their side, hair too long and clothes, well, semi-disgusting, notices the Matron.

Matron: "Hey Merrick, do you know what month it is?"

Merrick: "Chwistmas month?"

The teacher just smiles and nods, all thanks for making my point for me.

Merrick: "Are we going to the Bama meeting? And if we do, can I bwing a toy gun?"

Thanks for the additional help, sweetie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You Can Take the Girl Out of the Trailer, But . . . .

See this nice room?

The Matron has a penchant for order. She has learned to appreciate wood over paint, glass before the plastic cup. You do know that she suffers from a case of Incurable Brain Suck?

See this room? Disaster. A mess.

Her office looks like the Ivy League. And she even has an office!

Her house has decorative moments, like this one:

But friends, she was not born to beauty. She is of the low-brow breed. Her bloodline? Let's just say there's no blue in those veins. Lately, her blog has been full of posts in which the Matron does the right thing, has the light touch --all that. Appears to have arrived in the middle class from day one.

Here's the real scene.

That little junkyard would be the tool shed turned playhouse in the Matron's backyard. Please do note all that garbage - which has been there since July. Really. This is the decorative outdoor moment:

You see, the Matron has ignored the Outdoors, all summer. Why bother? Pretty soon her world will be about 40 degrees below zero and ice. Plus, she grew up in a household where a dish towel makes one mean tablecloth and people put in their teeth every morning.

Looooooow brow roots. Which are blooming in the Matron's backyard. Here's her fire pit!!

Yes, fire pit (okay, cook stone stove the neighbor didn't want anymore) and rusting comfy chair. Then there's the classy weather vane:

So whenever the Matron sounds, well, 'together,' remember she grew up with a mother who once said this: "Mary? This organic wool handmade sweater you gave me for Christmas is pretty, but I only wear polyester."

The Matron's going to pop out her teeth, chew some tobacco by the fire pit and head to the mattress.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dear Stryker

Your mother apologizes for this morning's crabby bad start. This 6 am wake-up call is new for her, too. She's not yet accustomed to this new kind of morning -- still dark, nobody else awake, just the two of you whispering through a sleeping house.

Every morning at 6:10 am, she puts on her running gear. Walking downstairs, she can hear you eating breakfast, alone. The spoon and bowl click. You slurp a little, sweetie. The sounds amplify in the dim house, just like that crisp click click of dog toenails.

She sees that solo morning breakfast as a metaphor for your current journey -- off into the great morass of junior high, attending a school where you have ZERO friends to see you through. Not only are you alone there, you haven't caught many other breaks, what with living across town and being the first one on the bus and last one off to log in a 50 minute ride. Then there's algebra! And all the new parental focus on homework, the crackdown on screen time, the near elimination of games.

You are all full of want: laptop, new speakers, Wi, X Box, private television and a media room to put said desired equipment. You know that none of those things are in your immediate future, but still, you hope. To that end, you have requested gainful employment -- a job. But when you're 12, not only are jobs hard to come by, but largely illegal.

You have a permanent 5 o'clock shadow on your upper lip.

You're not quite at home, anywhere. Not in your imperfect bedroom, with all its pedestrian technological bent; not in the school of 700 where you recognize only 3 kids by name; not on the bus for an hour--no friends there (yet) either. And certainly not in your body and mind, both in transition between being a kid and being a teen. That media room you need tomorrow? Well, that's probably something to aim for in your first house, post-college (um. . medical school?).

Comparing your situation--stark, in your view--to your sister's recent success and buoyant mood doesn't help, she knows. She wishes you didn't have to listen to inappropriate Rent songs about sex, either. Did you notice this? When someone asks the Matron how her "little star is doing" she says, "Why Stryker's doing great" and then goes into explanation. She skips the other one.

She's SO proud of you for not complaining. Sure, you describe your current situation and even unhappiness, but do so like an adult, facing the facts. She's proud of your dedication to homework and the ease with which you took on new challenges.

It really doesn't matter that you couldn't find the Stephen King book today. The Stand was one of your mother's favorite books as a Young Miss, and she's tickled pink you're taking it on at twelve. She's sorry she was angry that you weren't 100% prepared--like you have been every day so far.

So she scolded you and then rolled her eyes and nearly imploded when she realized you had forgotten your lunch too! Now, she knew she had packed it and left it on the counter, but suddenly, everything was all your fault.

Later, when she found The Stand on the table by the parental bed, she remembered why it was there. Blue and lonely on Saturday night, you'd asked to sleep with your parents. Just once, again.

Sometimes she forgets, sweetie, that even though you're nearly as tall as she is, in the scheme of things--you're still not just her baby, but a baby. And 12 was raw and vulnerable when she stood in those shoes. The world seemed endless and utterly unknowable.

So she's sorry she was crabby. In her heart, you're new again. She's kissing each perfect finger, smelling those sweat soapy toes. Loving you just like she did back then, when every last thing you did was adorable, perfect--even when you aren't (and she isn't) now. That's how she's going to approach 12.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Warning! Pure Politics and They Swing Dem

Tootsie once titled a post: The Drive By Post.

Some days are just like that. With a nod to brevity and release from obligation for wit via word, here are some links that friends have sent the past week.

Hint! If you're a Sarah Palin fan (and the Matron is not -- but yes, she recognizes the sexist slant the critique is already taking and won't throw that stone at a woman putting career over family) you might want to just skip this one and love her another way.

Or change your mind? Because this is the mainstream press speaking, not the far left (oh, she has those and they're as reliable as Fox). Anyone who thinks the media has a liberal bias has not conducted one wit of reliable research into that matter or read the latest peer-reviewed study on slant.

So put on your Obama button and enjoy!

McCain Ad Accuracy critique by mainstream media

That Minority Thing

What some Alaskan women think about Palin

Wicked Daily Show Humor

McCain gets grilled on The View (no Whoopi does not seem to be a Fan)

Who do you want flying the airplane?

McCain Strategy: Keep lying. It works. (the Matron will add: do you remember those weapons of mass destruction, folks?"

What the neighbor says