Friday, August 8, 2008

Unsolicited Advice! Love, the Matron

1. Most important first! The Matron is frequently right smack dab on the friggin' money, so advice so dispensed is like gold bullion, baby. Because the Matron noted that Boys Will Be Boys and John Edwards just went and proved her right. Say it ain't so, oh so progressive one! Sigh. . .

So don't let you husband run for political office.

2. But do use a tongue scraper! The Matron learned about this device at a recent yoga workshop and she is a convert. People, well populated colonies grow on our tongues overnight. You can remove them and your entire life will be better, truly! Just don't look at the teeming masses you're destroying or you will faint. The exotic tongue scraper can be found by the toothbrushes in Target Boutique.

3. Skip The Happy Meal -- and all the rest. Kids meals have double the necessary calories! Not to mention contain very little actual flesh and blood food (the Matron will classify these chemical substances in fast food as Food-Like Items).

4. When your dog gets old enough (here we're talking 15.5 years) that he is so blind and unaware of his surroundings that you can take a flash picture of him and he doesn't notice? When he's that old, let him sleep anywhere he wants, even if he chooses to be here, all day, every day. Yes, this would be smack dab in the middle of her kitchen, and it is not convenient.

5. Read today's installment of The Torture Chronicles, below!

6. Have a lovely weekend!

The Matron has a steadily growing number of readers (you're a relatively quiet bunch) and she thanks you!

The Torture Chronicles, Vol. 3

To fully appreciate the extend of this child's suffering, understand that Scarlett has a wheat allergy. Or so assumes the Matron because when the doctor suggested a blood test to determine said system malfunction, Scarlett nearly threw herself out the window and the test was never done. Instead, the doctor suggested Scarlett abstain from wheat for a week.

Tummy aches? Gone!

But everyone knows how prisoners of war starve and suffer. . .


Mom, Dad & Merrick,

Last night we went camping, and we had the BEST BREAD EVER! We have to figure out how to make it! (bake bread! Ack, ack, ack went the Matron, who opens boxes for anything more
complex than a cookie)

I will you more about camp when I get home (tomorrow!) but this morning, me, Lia Allie, and (the counselor) Ellen missed like half the breakfast.

So far almost every meal has been wheat except for the potatoes and chicken.

Sunday and Monday nights I cried myself to sleep. I am looking forward to Saturday.



Here she, suffering.

Looking particularly miserable here, hmmmm?

And: he's alive!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Prisoner of War

Although the Matron was recently reassured that her daughter was having a damn fine time at Camp, Scarlett is claiming otherwise. As a supplement to her primate-like photography skills, here is text.

Sunday (most likely penned about ten minutes post-Matronly departure)

Hi Mommy & Daddy & MeatloafHead ( family pet name for Merrick and ground zero for future therapy)

Actually it is not really as fun as you said.

Today we found out that Camp Olson is doing a Olympic contest between cabins, we had to make up a team name. Ours is: "The Devilettes," our cheer is: "We have horns, we are red, go-o-o Devilettes!" (she's sure this goes over well in a YMC as in Christian A Camp)

But, as I said before, it's not that fun, and I'm almost ready looking forward to coming home.

Will you send a picture of Scruffy? (if she had her way S.F. himself would be in a box headed
in any direction)

I practically wanna come home. (seems to be the heart of the narrative)



Mom & Dad,

We aren't doing very well on the Camp Olson Olympics. I think we're almost last.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are leaving just after lunch to go sleep in a tent somewhere (gasp! the Matron just HATES that sort of thing herself! SO sorry sweet diva! but she guesses children should develop their own healthy disdain for Outdoors rather than live through their mother's, so have at it) and we leaving to hike and kayak back, like between 8 & 9 a.m.

I wanna come home. . . . bad
(Decisive return to main narrative thrust at ending)

- Scarlett

At least the Matron knows, through the Torture Chronicles, that her daughter is alive and kicking. Indeed, after mentioning her daughter's general histrionic constitution to the Camp Director, he appears to be personally following her around with a camera. The Camp web site has dozens of pictures of her frolicking, smiling, manipulative malleable thespian who is clearly currently playing dual roles. Well.

Stryker? Not a word. And, although there are about two million pictures on the web site (she knows - she's scoured every group shot), not a single photograph of her son. But, she knows she'd get a phone call if missing or dead -- probably even a refund -- so she's not worried.

More worried about what future Torture Chronicles may bring, especially post-tent experience. Her little apple, bouncing close to the maternal tree!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why the Matron Loves Women, Again

The Matron assumes most of her readers lounge and chuckle over at Derfwad Manor. If you don't, heaven have mercy, and run on over. The Matron just adores Mrs. G! She's certain if they were backyard neighbors, there would be mood-altering drink and the daily recitation of insecurities and failures and other topics close to the middle-aged female heart.

So Mrs. G. has launched the '08 Ass Project, a communal call for physical self-improvement. Mrs. G is planning a diminishing hinterland and will post a picture of said buttock (clothed, Johnny) every Wednesday. Being Mrs. G, she invited everyone to photograph their own evolving look or leg, etc. The Matron being the Matron, she signed right up!

You see the Matron? She decided that she would tackle the tiniest little tube of fat that clings to her tummy. Now. . . . the Matron has eluded to a fine svelte self many times. In fact, the Matron, like many, many American women, has had 'issues' regarding food and weight. Let's just say 'ingestion,' all sort, is subject to a myriad of Matronly guidelines, restrictions and requirements, for a variety of quite legitimate health and ecological reasons and also, for a bountiful variety of wacko-superstitious and certifiable ones. Add to this psychiatric cocktail the fact that she is already an exercise addict, pounding out 4-5 miles six days a week. And practices yoga.

This past week, as the Matron -- who just had her first ever bone density test and was relieved to find out that she had any and was also warned that her BMI was a wee bit low -- launched an assault on the one pound of fat she possesses, something felt funny. A bit ridiculous, indeed, a forty-something woman in size 2 jeans and worrying about fat. Sort of reminded her of her misspent youth, actually. (that's another story that she'll probably tell some day)

So. . . . the Matron is cheering on the rest of you Derfwads as you trim down, pump up, tone!

On Wednesdays, instead of a photo of her fine ass or tubular tummy (true assessments), she will turn to the underlying impulse of Mrs. G's message, the heart of the matter-- the "will you please stop putting off this thing that is very important and will make your life better, maybe even save your life, somehow?" -- For the Matron, that isn't toning up or trimming down, but turning the novel her agent couldn't sell into the Young Adult version all the editors requested. After making a big whoopla with her New Year's Resolution, she hasn't changed more than a few pages.

Instead of a picture, she will report a page count. The commitment? Scares her. But the focus feels better than those size 2 jeans!

Now, the Matron knows Mrs. G. will be supportive, because that's not just the way Mrs. G. is, but a whole lot of women online! Indeed, the Matron's tiny corner of the internet is populated by generous, kind, and creative women. The Matron has quite the Star Trek image of the internet, all vast and threatening. Except that she -- and all the women she knows -- live in the pretty parts of Oz when online. In brilliant Disney Techno-color.

One of these generous, kind and creative types awarded the Matron this! Thanks Tootsie!

If you haven't visited Tootsie, scramble over. Not only does she have a wicked sense of humor, she isn't afraid to aim that arrow in her own direction. Plus, she has a sense of proportion, and I'm not talking curves (although that's working for her, too) here again, either. It's all about attitude.

Susan Carlin is another woman who has made her way into the Matronly milieu. After seeing this picture of Merrick on the Matron's blog,

Susan sent her an email, asking if the Matron would mind if Susan created a painting from the photo - -and if not, would the Matron send a high-quality copy?

She didn't mind and she sent the photo. Weeks later, imagine the Matron's delight when Susan sent her this lovely image via email!

The Matron so loved the painting that she inquired about cost. But, given that her husband is a realtor (it's okay, you can get off the floor now) and funds are, well . . .hey! Where did all our money go?!!

Ahem, sorry.

Even though the price was reasonable, the painting was an extra that she sadly, but safely, declined.

So imagine. . . in a world where women rock! In a world where you do incredibly kind things for total strangers! Imagine . . . . the Matron's joy when Susan sent her the painting! Just contacted her, didn't ask for a dime (wouldn't even accept postage), and sent the unsold art to the mother of the subject.

Between Mrs. G, Tootsie and Susan, the Matron thinks she could pretty much live online. Disembodied consciousness might actually solve all her problems but that's back to the pathology part of the tale.

Page Count: 17

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hysteria! It's in the Bloodline, Baby

Yesterday, the Matron announced her closet cleaning intentions. Now, that impulse extended to Scarlett's room, as well. This would be the conversation leading up to the week-long residential summer camp where she is currently residing.

Matron: "Just so you know, when you go to camp, I'm cleaning your room."

Scarlett: "I'm not going to camp."

Matron: "Yes, you are. In the meantime, go through the closet and all your drawers and pull out clothes that are too big, too small, somebody else's or don't fit your current sense of style."

Scarlett: "Nothing fits that description."

Matron: "Give it a shot anyway."

Ten minutes and steady series of sighs and groans later, Scarlett emerged from the black hole with one pair of pants and a t-shirt. "Here."

Matron: "That's it? You know I'm cleaning you're room while you're at camp. Be prepared. I'm going through drawers. Deep-tissue level, okay? We could do it now, together?"

Scarlett: "No. And I'm not going to camp."

Well, she did, kicking and screaming.

But friends! Yesterday, after the Matron wrote her lovely blog post and purged her own well-ordered room, she decided to tackle Scarlett's. She entered at 11:00 a.m. Within ten minutes, it was the Matron who was kicking and screaming. Literally.

She pulled a pile, four feet high, from that child's closet.

There was even odor. The Matron had to go out in the hallway and let the rage wash away. Yogic breathing.

Friends, that room was so disgusting and so full of junk, in every corner! The Matron realized how little she had entered, as of late. Here's a short list of surprise finds:

  • one calcified bagel
  • one rotten banana, two apple cores
  • nine glasses
  • seven forks
  • every piece of paper Scarlett has touched in the past two years
  • twelve American Girl magazines
  • the three library books currently incurring fines
  • two feather boas, seven pirate eye patches, 22 copies of Peter Pan script
  • one piece of bone-dry poop, supplied by Satan's Familiar
The Matron nearly burst a gasket! Photos don't do justice, as the Matron was too busy tossing, organizing and scrubbing to document the muck in every drawer and on every surface.

There was even food inside of drawers! Scarlett sheds junk like skin cells and now the Matron knows where it all lands.

Whereas Scarlett could identify one pair of pants and a t-shirt with toss-away potential, her mother pulled out THREE bags!

The Matron emerged from her journey at 6 pm -- seven hours later. She hasn't seen that blanket in 2.7 years.

In the meantime, while the Matron cursed and scrubbed (really, she was in a tizzy - -she must get this child to clean at least a little!), she simultaneously worried about her daughter, whose farewell to her mother, was this:

"I'm definitely going to die here, so you should get a good look at me while you can."

Indeed, as Scarlett composed her Last Will and Testament the night before deaprture, the Matron sent an email message with this subject line, to the camp director: Hysteria, Heading Your Way.

And -- after seven hours of slaving in that adorable, complicated little slob's room -- she got this email message from the director:

"Dear Mary: We have an entirely different child at camp! We have the first day under our belts and Scarlett has certainly settled in! Her counselors said she led the songs in the cabin last night and fell asleep, just fine. I've seen her several times today and she's talking excitedly with her counselors, interacting with new friends and often, emerging as a leader. There's discussion of staging a play!"

He sent photos, just to prove what an effective little scam artist her child is. Look how alone and lonely Scarlett appears.

Now, that looks like a good idea, Scarlett. The Matron nearly wishes she had one to turn on herself after finding two pairs of her own shoes, one bracelet and a missing hair brush in your room.

When Scarlett comes home and sees this, the psychological collapse will be immediate and complete.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Matron is Cleaning Her Closet

Lately, the Matron has been dusting off her dreams. Trying again, all that. The novel, the book deal, the last ring of belly fat. You got it.

The Matron was just a year or so younger than this child when she won all those gold medals in 1976! Oh, my. Young Miss wanted nothing more than to be Nadia Comaneci!

Yesterday, the Matron saw a picture of Nadia in the New York Times Magazine. This photo allowed the Matron further insight into how little she has matured over the years. She still wants to be Nadia Comaneci!

Of course, she would need implants.

And a better wardrobe (not to mention a sense of balance and poise).

Nadia even has an adorable husband and baby! (okay, the Matron thinks her husband is hotter than Bart so that part doesn't need to change. she might trade one of the children, however)

With the big kids at camp (yes, details are coming) and Merrick in day camp all day (see the Matron doing a little happy dance! if you do, you fully appreciate how little she has in common with Nadia, in reality) the Matron is embarking upon a week-long whirlwind grand tour of Self-Improvement.

She is getting rid of all of these!

Yes, yes, the Matron is ashamed to admit that she has saved a wide variety of unflattering and dated fare. Now, was she thinking that this might actually become the great fashion wave for the forty-something maternal set?

Then there are the unfortunate purchases. Because this makes the Matron look like, oh, five-years old. She can't even take herself seriously in something like this.

She is eliminating everything in this line.

The prom dresses? Going!

How do you think she'll look in this? Just about right for the office?

In sum, everything that makes the Matron look like a child, grandmother -- or even matron! -- is history. All clothes must meet the new Nadia standard. Or this one!

School starts (for the Matron) on August 18th. It's the deep tissue, drawer-cleaning, closet-vacuuming week for her household. Yes. She is strapping on the gas mask and suit and doing Scarlett's room, too.

Pray that her new, fashionable self will emerge unharmed.