Friday, February 13, 2009

Give this to Your Beloved, Tomorrow

Valentine poetry for the mortality-minded, existentially angst-ed among her readers! This one's got it all.


When your face
appeared over my crumpled life
at first I understood
only the poverty of what I have.
Then its particular light
on woods, on rivers, on the sea,
became my beginning in the coloured world
in which I had not yet had my beginning.
I am so frightened, I am so frightened,
of the unexpected sunrise finishing,
of revelations
and tears and the excitement finishing.
I don't fight it, my love is this fear,
I nourish it who can nourish nothing,
love's slipshod watchman.
Fear hems me in.
I am conscious that these minutes are short
and that the colours in my eyes will vanish
when your face sets.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko translated from Russian by Robin Milner-Gulland and Peter Levi

Recommended Reading

Why the Matron will not be friending her students on Facebook AND why she visits the pages of 13 year old boys (Stryker and his friends) with some trepidation. Speaking of all things online, she wants to take a moment to thank her readers! She hit the 200 mark this week and wishes she had more time to spend reading and writing like this, which she has come to prefer over actual human contact. Just ask her family.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You're Welcome, Stryker

Being Scarlett's sibling has not been easy for Stryker-- he is quite comfortable in the epicenter of the family orbit (she's allowed to mix geography with astronomy because this is her unique world anyway) and hates all the hoopla surrounding his sister.

Stryker:  "You never do anything for me."

Matron (oh she was ready!):  "Remember when you decided to get serious about the yo-yo?  Who found a national yo-yo champion for you to study with?  When we found out about the tournament the day before, who dropped everything and spent the whole day at the Mall of America so you could win first place?  Remember when you were seven and an uncannily proficient reader?  Who started "The Boys Book Club" and then got that on the front page of the local paper?  Shall we continue?"

That Matron.  It's a good thing she had three children because imagine if that light hot Maternal Energy were focused just on one!

Stryker:  "Yeah but remember the day I had a terrible fever and was sick on the couch and you guys left me home alone?"  And he wells up.  Sigh

As both Truth and Counter to Scarlett, much ballyhoo has been made around Stryker's homework.  He's in the Science and Math Magnet and they put these 7th graders on that AP college track.  His teachers have nothing but praise.  His homework?  Comes first.  For the family.

Sunday night, Stryker mapped out plans for a huge History project, a 10 minute Power Point presentation on Nostrodamus that is half the trimester's grade.  If he did just so many minutes a night, he could finish the project on Thursday evening.  It's due Friday.  But the way he scheduled the work there was not ONE evening for error.

With that, he pushed save and was faced with a strange-looking Power Point file that he could open, but not edit.  Try as he might - and that child did -- he couldn't figure out how to continue. Did she mention that neither Stryker nor the Matron had ever even ventured into Power Point before this evening?  Day One and the schedule tottered, in peril.

Matron:  "Don't worry, honey.  I'll figure it out tomorrow while you're at school.  When you get home it will be ready to roll. Promise."

Stryker;  "Mom I am so worried."

She can hear you wringing your hands for her.

She emailed the file to Stryker's computer teacher, her work computer, and three technologically-inclined friends.    Then, just to be safe she sent it to the IT guy at her college.  Not that she's into overkill.

The next morning, she put a strained Stryker on the bus and found that her friends were at a loss.   Stryker managed to do something wrong enough that the file was unrecognizable.   The technologically inclined friends tried all kinds of magic to no avail.  The word 'loss' was bandied about.  

The computer teacher emailed:  "Rough break.  The history teacher is a hard-liner."

This problem consumed much of the Matron's morning.    And, the morning of a few IT state employees, two software junkies, and the guy down her office hallway.  The Matron herself went through several stages of denial, despair and desperation.  

With her final ounce of energy, she dragged her doomed self into the office of a  biologist, who, upon hearing dreadful dilemma said:  "Did you try opening Power Point and then clicking on "Open" in the upper left hand corner, re-opening the file WITH Power Point and then saving it?"

She did!  The file was saved!  The Matron wept at her colleague's feet and offered up the very firstborn whose psyche she was trying to save:  thank you!!

Even though barely a paper was graded and emails sat, unanswered and she had called in a BIG bunch of favors in order to occupy other people with her child's problem -- she did it!  Saved the day!  The minute she knew Stryker was on the bus, in a dramatic and detailed text message, she told him of her amazing feat.  Not to worry!   File saved!  Figured it out!  Mother swoops in!

Life's short.  Why not bask in the glow while you wait for the grateful, ardent reply?

Here's what she got.

"K.  Thanks."

At least he spelled one word out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Symptom!

To fully appreciate this, do explore The Tummy Ache, an entity that has not so much come and gone, but shaped Scarlett's entire existence and indeed, much of the family terrain.

Last night -- at bedtime, as usual--Terrible Headache joined Tummy Ache so neither would be lonely.

Scarlett, as her hand wildly tracks pain's progress: "Right here in my tummy. . .now, here! Over there! Oh! Worse in the middle!"

The Matron would have none of it. Fed up, all that. So as she was walking out, Scarlett reached into the recesses of her creative spirit and wailed: "Mama! It's actually The Cold Sweat! I have The Cold Sweat and that's worse than the others!"

Turns out, The Cold Sweat initiates copious weeping, as well.

Much tempted toward wry comment on the fact that The Cold Sweat was also invisible and intangible, the Matron held her tongue. Because earlier, she flat out said that--in her maternal opinion -- Scarlett wasn't actually sick (she stayed home from school because of The Tummy Ache), a statement that the Matron was forced to retract in a million different ways and manners in order for normal life to resume.

Well, as normal as it gets around here.

Beware. It's The Cold Sweat season. Be careful out there.

Monday, February 9, 2009


The Matron just removed today's wickedly funny blog post, which may have been too wicked. Update on this issue later tonight (she's just so SURE she's so important you've noticed).