Friday, July 23, 2010

Woman, 20 and 21st Century

Today, the Matron cleaned her closet.

She tugged on a pair of 20 year old jeans --- and panicked that they were tight in the waist (okay, and in other places).

The rational brain? Wow. Twenty years of good laundering! Twenty years and the pants still fit! Snug, but comfortable. We're all good here.

The Madonna-Lady Gaga-Kelly Ripa-Star Body of the Moment part of her brain? Very bad news.

She would like to say the rational brain rules, but -- well.

This is a cultural and personal battle she still fights daily. Yes, yes, she's aware of all the older ladies wearing purple hats and tossing aside expectation.s, celebrating wisdom and age.

But - she's not there yet.

Newly attuned to the cat-call and whistle. Okay, waiting anxiously for both . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blethic and Boys

For new readers, Blethic is 'blog ethic.'

This is the quirky Matronly combination that addresses both readers and the real life subjects of the Matron's ruminations.

For the first, she feels an obligation for five days a week of posts. Let's just say the Matron should be a politician: establish any kind of relationship, constituents or readers, and she is compelled to be the over-achiever and worries about what the 'people' need. Imagine if all politicians felt this way. This brings up the past two silent days: sorry! There's a story behind that and it's coming.

Regarding the second, the Matron is of the belief that she can tell her own story, but not someone else's (without permission). The tricky part is where those two meet. Scarlett's theater life or Merrick's struggle with school are their stories, but also the Matron's. So she tries to do the high wire juggling act on these.

There's the sum of Blethic. Honestly? She thinks she should copyright that word.

Tuesday, yours truly skipped blogging because she ran an all-day technology retreat at her college and then went tripping the light fantastic with a friend: the perfect combination of work and play, but with no time in between.

Yesterday, she had the best intentions of a pithy post. But.
At 8:30 a.m., a good friend of John's--who owns his own construction/landscaping/handyman business--showed up and said: "I'm here to rebuild your retaining wall." Out of the goodness of his heart. The said retaining wall is no small task --this would be the very pretty brick wall that encases their entire front yard and is currently a dangerous, crumbling mess. If you're a small child and you stand on this?


Now, the Matron and her husband had elaborate work plans and child-monitoring and driving established for the entire day. They tossed those plans. John put on work clothes and toiled beside his friend for the day, in 90 degrees and blazing sun (remember, this is Minnesota so we're really at our best at freezing level and in snow).

John and his friend did hard, long, difficult labor. They destroyed and rebuilt a wall, hauling bricks and shifting dirt. They dug, stacked, and hauled while wiping sweat out of their eyes. They spent 9 hours digging and building, eventually covered in dirt, brick dust and bugs.

The Matron made sure she wore a clean pretty apron and stayed within the safety of the kitchen. where she could watch the blood, sweat and tears ensuing outside and say: "oh my!"

In a completely uncharacteristic move, she spent the day serving the men. In the spirit of the clean pretty apron, she set out iced lemon water and frosted glasses (and yes, someone had to FROST those glasses and that would have been her). There were cherries, grapes and apples for grazing. She ran in and out of the house, making sure the men were thoroughly fed and hydrated.

Lunch? Shrimp, broccoli and pasta in a peanut sauce -- plus a green salad and cool beverage, all artfully constructed in a shady area in the backyard. She even spread a lovely table cloth and secured a vase of flowers.

And as the men -- big guys, both -- were digging into their food and clearly enjoying their drinks, the shade, the respite and dare she say it? The service from a not entirely unattractive woman wearing a skirt and clean pretty apron and saying: "what can I get you?" --

Please forgive the complete disregard for punctuation in the above paragraph.

While all this was happening, yours truly was transported to the many, many times she served boys -- Stryker, Merrick and all their friends -- the lunches, snacks, service. She looked at these two big, aging (nearing fifty!) men devouring an enormous lunch that she created (and which took a long time) who happily said "yes, thank you" to a woman adding more food to a plate and realized that even these big reliable men remained, at some level, boys being fed by a woman.

In a good way.

She was happy to do it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

This Little Light of Mine

Remember that song?

This will kill you, it's that bad and lovely. Check out the little guy in the striped shirt, front row. The one who doesn't follow any instruction? Who rubs his nose or eyes every ten seconds?

Let's just admit that this group is better.

The Matron was thinking about this song over the weekend, as her domicile fairly radiated lights and love and all organic, authentic, human goodness.

He Who Cannot be Named Turned 14. Look how adorable yet introspective and intelligent he is at six, above. His birthday, Saturday, otherwise known as the ONE PERFECT DAY SHE RECEIVED AS A PARENT THUS FAR was a superior astrological event.


The day had as much to do with Merrick as HWCBN. Merrick participated in a city-wide tennis tournament and guess what? He won!! That child lobbed balls and served for four hours to emerge the victor --and a young one, at that.

He goes onto some other tournament this Friday.

The Matron's two favorite parts?

First, HWCBN spent the bulk of his birthday watching his brother play tennis. Here's the report.

HWCBN: "This is the best day ever. I was SO nervous for Merrick and I'm SO proud of him!" The Matron thinks perhaps HWCBN is confusing himself as a parent; he was that invested.

Best part number two? After every match, this is what Merrick said:

"Is the game ovew? Who won?"

John: "Merrick, you won."

Merrick: "Oh no! Who's talking to the othew guy? Is he okay? I can do wowse."

Could it get better? Earlier, Scarlett sang a haunting duet in rehearsal for her upcoming show (proud mom got to watch) and was hailed by all. Merrick nailed the tournament at seven. Stryker was more excited about his brother's success than about Windows 7 or his own birthday.

Those little lights that she helped create? Shining.

But the, just to make sure she cried a little, Merrick won the award for 'best sportsmanship' of the tournament, for making honest calls and for a generous spirit -- out of 300 players.

Everything quickly turned ugly later (insomniac 11 year old, computer game battles, fight over who looks in what direction while in the car or otherwise pokes someone, distrust of authority, etc), but for a few hours?


Knowing that's a fleeting, arbitrary state makes it sweeter.