Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dooce Has Nothing on Blethic

A friend--who knew of what he spoke, having international success as a film-maker and visual artist--once asked the Matron which she would rather have, money or fame? Couldn't be both, as this was a question of the rorschach nature.

She didn't miss a beat: "Fame!"

He said: "Aha! Then you're the real artist. You want your work out there. You want readers."

Mrs. G hit this shiny nail on the head, here.

This is why the Matron blogs, too. Indeed, at this very moment, she is standing on stage, throwing you all kisses. Comments on the dexterity of her prose make her heart go pitter-patter. Knees weak and eyes roll, all that.

The rest of Mrs. G's musings -- particularly on how the popular don't play well with others -- echoes much of the Matron's own sentiments about the ins and outs of this online writing game.

Heather Armstrong does not read this blog--or yours, for that matter.

Dooce isn't the place you pull up a ratty lawn chair and kvetch about the husband. No, Heather Armstrong's blog is a corporation (one that rolls in over 40K a month!). Dooce is industrial strength stuff: codified, in the dictionary.

Now, the Matron enjoys Dooce. Much like she enjoys Vanity Fair or visits Salon. This is different than tooling through the day to day doings of Green Girl or Amy the Mom. Not better, not worse, just different. Dooce is serious business and feels, to this reader, every bit as studied and structured as the introduction of any new product on the market -- only with a blog, product happens nearly every day.

The Matron is using Dooce as an example, but there are plenty of other bloggers who are also one-way destinations. Entities unto themselves.

If thousands of people (instead of numbers stretching toward 200, at the moment) read the Matron's blog, she probably wouldn't be able to stop by and visit everyone, either. But she would want to! (and she might even try)

Perhaps the larger question (because she's an academic, she's sure there is one) is what the goals are? What success is? Why? The Matron prefers reading and writing to direct human contact, so that pretty much sums up her intentions. It's all Flow, darling.

Success is the conversation--from bouncing off Mrs. G to the comments below. Success is pumping out something creative in half an hour, nearly every day. Success is that check for $28 the Matron just got from BlogHer! Success is trying to wipe up the drool and tackling technology: if everyone under thirty lives online, why not give try?

Success? The Matron thinks that would be the codification, the dictionary-ization of her made-up word for blog ethic - blethic, the care and tutelage of one's individual blog. The moral compass, the code. Blethic!

And today's post would be a little riff on that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shhh! Don't Tell Anyone

But the Matron is not stable.

And some of her favorite blogs are to blame. First, there is an infestation at the Manor. Mrs. G, how are you? The Matron (almost) knows your pain.

Three years ago, just as the Matron was conveniently running a high profile mayoral campaign nearly to D-day (voting!), the school nurse called to inform the already hysterical Matron that her daughter had head lice. Like two.

It appeared the nurse discovered the foul creatures about one minute after they jumped ship from her friend Lia's head, into Scarlett's.

But even one louse is an infestation.

On top of managing a campaign from 5 am till 11 pm (yes it was that crazy), the Matron now had to bag stuffed animals, wash every fiber in the house, vacuum each rug by its individual thread AND spend hours upon hours upon hours combing and sifting and examining the contours of Scarlett's head.

After the two lice were decimated and the five nits removed, she thought she was home free until another LONE LIVE bug was discovered 20 days later!

Sorry, Mrs. G. And the Matron had been combing that kid's head the entire time.

This time, after all the cleaning and laundry, the Matron made her child sleep with this on her head for 22 days.

How deathly afraid of contracting lice is the Matron? Friends, she also slept with that gunk on her head and didn't even have one single bug!


So yesterday, the Matron made her poor husband (who did not know these details when they stood at the alter) check her head for lice--thoroughly, even though he had better things to do than enable.

But her head still itches!

Then, the Matron happened upon HippyHappyHay's tapeworm recitation.

The Matron could not sleep that night, she was so full of this:

It's not your fault, friends. The Matron is so unstable that her hypochondria barely needs a trigger! Her current slightly clogged sinus? Probably cancer.

Indeed. . remember her recent $6000 date with the doctors? (yes, that was the bill the insurance company picked up for that little excursion) Deep down, the Matron knew she was fine and OVER-REACTING.

The Matronly panic over all things physical ebbs and flows. Frequently, she's fine. But under pressure (just ten more research papers and a couple of clashes over final grades ahead!), that hypochondria likes to give the Matron some bling.

Now, the Matron has the unusual privilege of having antibodies for not one, but two endocrine autoimmune diseases - Graves Disease and Hashimotos. When her grading is finished, she'll explain how to tape your eyes shut at night when they stop closing naturally.

Got your attention, hmmm?

She doesn't have to do that anymore. But! Her Judas-body also housed a rare endocrine cancer in its appendix. While she was being treated for that unpleasant condition, her oncologist DIED after heart surgery. It's unfortunate enough to have an oncologist, but doubly so when the person in charge of preventing your death capitulates to that condition himself.

Don't worry. There's a .000000000000000000000000000000000000000009% chance of that cancer coming back.

Still, if anyone has street creds in the Unpleasant Illness Department, it is the Matron.

Today, just after she talked herself down from the cliff of the sinus cancer, a student handed her this research paper: "Bladder Cancer: What You Don't Know Can Kill You."

And the Matron immediately had to pee. All day long. With burning sensation. She assumes this malady will cease when those grades are finally entered . . . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Satan's Familiar Makes Friends

Even though John prompted for the sake of instant documentation, this activity takes place whenever Satan's Familiar is not running away or pooping on the Matron's t-shirt.

The other dog is Jekyll. He's 15. Deaf, mostly blind. And even though he's utterly taxed by the youngster, he's also dropped about 5 years.

Oh! Bonus information! Just as the Matron was writing this post, Scarlett sauntered in to inform her mother that Satan's Familiar now digs himself out of the back yard.

Sure enough, there are three big holes under the fence.

Monday, May 12, 2008


The Matron has a neighbor who routinely uses the term "hissy fit" whenever her daughters make a fuss. The Matron likes the neighbor but does not much care for the phrase.

But today she considering having one.

Stryker is a middling baseball player. For the past couple of years, his Little League coaches have dutifully rotated the line-up and given each player equal field time. By the end of the season, our guy is usually more solid than not. He learns. These coaches have yelled: "Good eye, Stryker" and "You ca do it!" When he struck out, they slapped him kindly on the back and said that he looked sharp anyway.

This season, when Stryker hasn't cooled his heels on the bench, he's played right field. Exclusively. And when he missed two balls tonight, the coach pulled him aside and sneered: "What? They grease those balls now?"

Maybe he meant to be light-hearted, jovial, cheery in the face of failure?

But that's not how the words fell.

So the Matron would like to stomp her feet and scream at this meanie!

Because she's on the Parkway Little League Board, she would like to talk to her friend--The Board President - and complain. She would like to tell that coach to treat her child better.

She is doing none of the above.

Instead, she is helping her son deal with his disappointment---with his coach and his own performance. Because one day the unfair person? Might be a professor or employer or even, parent.

But now she understands the sensibility of the 'hissy fit' a wee bit better. And knows she is not the type to throw one.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Matron Will Take What She Can Get

Even though Mother's Day has been thoroughly stripped of its original anti-war message and been recast as an utterly Hallmark Holiday, the Matron will stake her claim on the day.

Considering yesterday.

First, she taught the last 8:30 class. Of course, Omar if the infamous email message was his usual two hours late for the three hour class! He let the Matron understand that she inconvenienced him by ending the class early, because he had intended to print out all of his assignments during the 15 minute break (which is just about when he usually arrives).

Since there was no break, the Matron waited for Omar to print and organize his work after class. And, she kept calling him Omar instead of his actual name! Slippage!

The children were under Stryker's fine care, which meant much mayhem and screaming. She received no less than 5 phone calls to complain about Stryker;s babysitting skills during her 15 minute drive home.

Upon her arrival, Merrick had a complete psychological collapse. The very presence of the Matron caused him to fall to the floor screaming: "I want Daddy! Are YOU going to take care of me!?? I want Daddy!!!"

She took that as "Happy Mother's Day, in advance."

The messy house was just more gifting.

At noon, while (1) trying to arrange play dates for the child who didn't want to be with her, (2) realizing that she was on her own for the cleaning and cooking involved with tonight's long-planned get together with her in-laws, who would be arriving in 4 short hours, and (3) making lunch for the older two who had a 12:30 stage call, she received this phone call:

Teddy: "Uh, is this Stryker and Scarlett's Mom?"

Matron: "Yes? Who's this?"

Teddy: "This is Teddy, from the play. Uh, my Mom and Dad went to the Mall of America and left me home alone. They thought maybe you could bring me."

This required a long Matronly pause as she considered what possible sign she could be giving, what neon hat she is wearing, that gave this child's parents -- who she barely met in passing during the ins-and-outs of the rehearsals and whose names she cannot even remember--the idea that she was utterly at their last minute service?

But this was not Teddy's fault.

Matron: "Sure, Teddy, I can pick you up. What's your address?"

Of course, this pushed up the entire schedule and now she was in a hurry. Just as the Matron wrangled the three children, the snacks, the scripts, and the umbrellas into the car, she had the most inconvenient thought: "Has anyone seen Scruffy in the past hour?"

Satan's Familiar was missing!

The Matron pushed her luck with time and drove throughout the neighborhood with the children leaning out the windows: "Scruffy! Treat! Kitty! Scruffy!" They looked as long as they possibly could and then made a bee-line to Teddy's house.

Scarlett cried the whole way: "Someone will take him!"

The Matron is just not that lucky.

As the Matron was considering who would watch Merrick and his friend (coming at 1:30) while she searched the streets for Satan's Familiar, the skies opened. Pouring rain. Great. Now she could get soaking wet while searching for S.F. when she should be home, preparing to single-handedly feed 11 people (who probably would like to use clean bathrooms) coconut curry chicken. In between transporting children, of course. Including someone else's.

Friends? For the first time in her life, the Matron understood the value of the manical laugh.

Merrick: "You're laughing! You hate him!"

Scarlett: "Scruffy's getting weeeeeeeeet!"

When they roll up to Teddy's house he gets in and says: "Can we stop at a store?"

The Matron wonders just what planet this child is being raised on.

Matron: "No! You have to be at the theater in ten minutes."

Then, she had a somber realization. "Teddy, are you hungry?"

When it was clear that deft parenting had also failed to feed that child, the Matron handed over Stryker and Scarlett's snacks. And she was steaming.

Once home, who was (thankfully? miraculously! tragically?) sitting safely on the front porch, out of the pouring rain, but Satan's Familiar! Of course, he was not one bit wet. He is magic.

The Matron started in on the cleaning and cooking while Merrick wailed at her feet for a friend, Daddy, Stryker, Scarlett--anyone other than her sorry self. And when the beloved Lachlan finally arrived, both boys instantly back pedaled.

"I want to play at my house."

"No, my house."

"My house. I want to play with Scruffy.

"My house!"

"Scruffy! My house!"

Because the Matron needed to get a chicken in the oven, she did not have time for this conversation, no matter how fascinating.

Then the spirit of the Lord came down to save the Matron, sweeping into Lachlan's unsuspecting body and pouring this sweet magic out of his mouth: "Can Merrick and Scruffy go to my house?"

And they did!

Lachlan's mother took Satan's Familiar to her house to poop for awhile! (which of course, he did not, because he is saving all his love for his mommy)

After the Matron went to the theater to retrieve the children (everyone's!), she went home and quickly assembled a very fine meal and wiped pee off of every toilet. A very nice evening was had by all!

But the exhausted, frazzled Matron went to bed feeling like some entertaining combination of Lucille Ball, Erma Bombeck and The Little Red Hen. This really is her life!

So today, she is participating in the continuing bastardization of this holiday's initial impulse: she is celebrating Mother's Day with some good old fashioned self-indulgence. Spending some money, you know, to help the economy.

This morning, she drove alone to Bread and Chocolate where she had a caramel roll, large coffee AND a muffin top. Now, that's living large. After a late lunch with her family at The Tea House, she had a Juut pedicure! Now, she and Scarlett are heading to the theater, catching one of Scarlett's Home Place colleagues now performing at the Jungle Theater. She's lifted nary a finger all day.

If you're a mama, she hopes you didn't, either.