Friday, March 20, 2009

Half of the Story

Since being first cast as Gladys in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in September, 2006, Scarlett has not gone more than a month or so without a show -- her longest stretch was one free summer (this past one).

Those youthful thespian jowls showed no sign of sagging -- until yesterday morning when Complete Psychological Collapse descended upon the entire household.  Its origins, of course, could be found in Scarlett.

The Matron had a vague recollection of a casual conversation, weeks earlier, in which she and Scarlett agreed that Scarlett could, upon ocassion, sleep in and go to school, later.    The Matron didn'tclarify what this meant to Scarlett.  

So yesterday, when she donned just two layers of clothing for her daily run (go spring!  she knows you're trying!) at 8:30 am, she assumed that Scarlett's 'sleeping in' was over.   School starts at 9:10 and to the Matronly mind, there was no way that Scarlett shouldn't be there.

Imagine the Matronly discontent to return home at 9:10 to discover Scarlett sound asleep!  Imagine further, upgraded degree of Matronly distress when Scarlett not only REFUSED to get up, she glued herself to the bed and wept - of exhaustion, malaise, disorientation, rebel tummy, migrating head pain, and a strange taste on the back of her tongue. 

Wait!  The Matron pulls out every woman's right to change her mind.  She needs to disrupt this linnear narrative to put this episode into context.  Ever since starting Ramona rehearsals on Tuesday, Scarlett has been sort of droopy.  She's commented on the enormous amount of lines and blocking.  She's pointed to the events that Ramona performances mean she will miss:  school fun fair, a birthday party, invitation for a weekend away.

Even as she's been instantly, deeply committed -- putting in contacts so she can "start living in character," pledging to be off book within a week, and bounding out of rehearsals with joy -- even in the midst of that regular attitude the Matron has come to expect (and take for granted), there's been a backdrop of unease that has troubled and surprised the Matron.

So the Matron finally got her daughter off to school and considered Scarlett's 

Tuesday-Friday:  7:30 up for school  *   9:10 school  *  3:40 end school/pick up for drive to Children's Theatre  *  4:30-9:30 rehearsal   9:30-10  car pool home  *  10-11   Cool Down for the hyper -energized  *  11 to 11:30 finally fall asleep.

Saturday:  11-8 rehearsal
Sunday      12-5 rehearsal  including Easter

This goes until April 15 when Tech Week starts and the schedule goes from 11 am - 11 pm with one two hour break at 4, for 5 days and then three days of 12 - 9 pm (more tech and Previews).  

Then Scarlett does 84 shows.  The run ends June 7.

Bring on the vitamin C, the TLC, and an invitation/suggestion from the Mama?  Let's take the summer off.


Initial comments reflected yesterday's version of this tale, which has been tailored.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

King of the Hill

The Matron understands that she must be paying some karmic debt. Frances from first grade? Yes, Wee Miss was soooo jealous of your apparently perfect life that even though she KNEW that Jason -- not you -- threw the pickle in the mashed potatoes, Wee Miss said not one word when the lunch lady made you, not Jason, stand in the corner.

As an adult, Young Miss and later the Matron has coveted yet again. Lotsa stuff.

She's sure that envy is at the root of her current Situation because every day, when she sees happy people walking their dogs--smiling, sane sorts who dangle leashes after dogs happily padding and panting--she experiences white flashes of jealously. She wants that dog!

Morever, she wants to know why God-Oprah-Allah-Buddha-Universe saddled her with this.

Let's consider today's fun with Satan's Familiar (he has a given name but it is bad luck to utter or type).

First, last night, his delicate bowel structure required night-time elimination. No, he didn't wake anyone to go outside. He eliminated in the hallway. His return to Scarlett's bed required nudging the daughter awake in order to be allowed back in UNDER the covers at her feet, where he returned.

But Scarlett now could not sleep and she called out to her mother, who tiptoed, bare of foot, into the hallway.


Be damned Oh Cloven One! Why hath thou darkened her bright door? Was it the time she sat on the swing just before Bethany Rogers got there?

In the morning, S. F. and Jekyll were given their separate bowls of food. The minute the Matronly back turned, the hench men thrust his snout in the geriatric dog's dish and started gobbling until the Matron threw him back to his own chow.

Done? Off that dog ran to find some shoes, purses, or expensive clothing to chew.

While the children were at school, the Matron thought the house oddly quiet. She went into the kitchen to find that damn dog --- calmly, happily, sitting ON the kitchen table, looking out the window. With the loaf of bread from breakfast half-eaten, at his leisurely side.

Because Satan's Familiar's eating disorder means that he has gone from 14 lbs to 100 during his two years of Matronly torture, she took him with her on her four mile run. This meant he would stop, dead and without warning, directly in front of her for no reason whatsoever about ONE MILLION times to test her hurdle skills. When the gymnastics bored him, he ran through the weeds and came out, cowering, in an equal number of burs.

Which the Matron had to pause - for a very long time- her run to remove, one by one.

If the Matron wasn't sick of Satan by now, this evening, Merrick decided to put the dog in the lovely nylon and canvas portable kennel that the Matron bought for Grandma Mary.

Satan's Familiar ate his way out. Oh, he's a keeper. He didn't just chew one exit hole, but ripped the thing apart at its seams in three different places.

Doesn't he look sweet?

Right now, he's snuggled at Stryker's feet, deep under the covers. The children, souls long sold, have a bitter, competitive rotation, in which each will bribe, bargain and beg for one extra night with Satan.

Who will undoubtedly demand night time elimination, after eating four bowls of food the neighbors left on their porch for the feral cats. Check in about 3 am for the fetid update.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Which the Matronly Ecosystem is Once Again Deeply Disrupted


Searching for Stryker's iPod, the Matron made the mistake of reaching under and between cushions on both living room and family room couches.

Now she knows where the moles must go for snacks.

She can STILL feel the crumbs, coins, screws and toys two hours later. Ghost pain.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The BEST High School Musical, Ever

Well, not in the way you're thinking. Yesterday, the Matron took in Performance that was Fine, indeed. Near-professional quality. She was impressed.

Friday, the Matron took her eldest and Scarlett to see Stryker's junior high school's production of Little Shop of Horrors. Stryker, kicking and screaming (do you think that's metaphoric? you don't have a 12 1/2 year old) because he hates theater, as General Protest over Scarlett's career and, well, at times, general existance.

To say this Junior High show had some, uh, General Deficit, would be an understatement. But of course, the endeavor was entirely adorable, even in the inaudible Song and Line. But there were millions of onstage smiles and enthusiasm!

So the audience is there, in spirit if not for the show -- for the children -- until the plant sings! The plant can sing! And not just like regular singing. The plant is as good as anything you hear on the radio or in concert or on professional stage. The plant's voice overpowers the entire play and the Matron was staggered along with everyone else.

Whisperings ensued!

Scarlett: "Mom! That is the BEST singing I have ever heard in my whole life!"

Stryker: "He's famous in school. He's a really good guitar player too."

Matron: "Wow. Do you know him?"

Stryker: "Yes -- he's in two of my classes. He's smart, too. He's probably the most popular kid in school"

The Matron could not wait until the curtain call to lay her increasingly cloudy and saggy eyes on this kid. When she did? She nearly wept.

Last fall at Junior High Orientation, the Matron spotted a boy. He was wearing skin tight jeans, a purple-beaded shirt and had half his hair dyed pink. His ear lobes sported dangling earrings. The Matron thought to herself that he pretty much had "I am so gay that I already know it" plastered all over his forehead. He wasn't white, either, in a state not yet the bastion of racial diversity. Her heart hurt a minute for that child, tossed into the psychological and social Cesspool that is Junior High.

That boy was the plant!

The most popular kid in school. There is hope for humanity, at least in one Junior High School. Friday will live forever as the best high school musical the Matron will ever see, regardless!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

True Story (aren't they all?)

Today, the Matron took Scarlett and Merrick to see a teenage family friend perform in Northfield High School's incredibly FINE Rock and Roll Revival -- two hours of uber-talented teens belting out song with bona fide professional band accompiament.   Amazing.

This event is about an hour away from their Twin Cities home base.  Still. 

During intermission at today's event, an adorable little girl--about Scarlett's own age--approached her and said:  "Aren't you Helen Keller?"  The whole family circled, in need of Auotograph.  Which Scarlett happily gave.

About two minutes later, a wizened couple approached her daughter and said:  "Weren't you in The Sound of Music this fall?" and raved.

Just as they were entering the auditorium for Act II,  another preteen approached Scarlett:  "Are you Helen Keller?"  

The Matron, married to a realtor in a down economy, wished she could parlay this into cash.    For her, not Scarlett. 

Really good post tomorrow, she promises.    Today, the easy way out offered its hand and and she took it.