Friday, June 5, 2009

That Stryker, Oprah, Allah, God, Madonna Buddha Beyonce Beat

Remember Stryker's quest to change his name to the singular:  Stryker.

Today, the Matron and her husband attended a little awards ceremony at Stryker's Junior High School -- a ceremony in which the roughly 350 seventh graders were recognized for honor roll, track, French club and All That.

When Stryker's name was called, the Matron (who was experiencing an acute cardiovascular event over the hour + wait she was experiencing without a BOOK or WORK!) there was a low rumble of approval from the assorted seventh graders --and a couple of whoops -- when the announcer (his algebra teacher)  said this:

"Next, A honor roll, excellence in Magnet Science, excellence in Advanced Algebra, excellence in Advanced English and computer club--Stryker Thompson."


"Soon to be just Stryker, we hope."

And a low growl of approval rolled through the 300 + crowd.  
The Matron thinketh her son has the advance team out, working the field.  

Speaking of which, nobody was felled by gunfire or inflammatory rhetoric at Wednesday night's game, but the astrological powers that be have decided to torture the Matron with EIGHT HOURS OF BASEBALL tomorrow.

Certainly, someone's psyche will crack.     The Matron might just be first in line.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Game Night: Don the Bullet Proof Vest

Both Stryker and Merrick participate in that time-tested American ritual called Little League baseball.  Stryker's a full-fledged leager; Merrick still hits the ball off the T.

Tonight is another game night.   The Matron wishes she were currently drinking alcohol.  Why?

Her Little League is located on the East Side of St. Paul, a neighborhood characterized by a significant population of  humanity's most elemental and uneducated, with isolated patches of sanity (like the one in which they live) nestled within.

Lest you think she's exaggerating.  . . . did you hear the one about the Little League parent who threatened to shoot down his son's coach like a dog?  That field would be the one where the Matron is headed tonight.  (the parent was found guilty, by the way, and served jail time--the coach's family moved)

Let that article and incident shed a little light on the social milieu in which the Matron will find herself tonight.  Even so, the Matron has learned to enjoy these games.  She's fond of the players and is not herself immune to the thrill of the game, the joy in seeing your guy hit that triple or field that hit.  

But.  Still.  She cannot tolerate the screaming.    The parental shrill - the nonstop whoop and rabid lather that accompany teams by the bleacher-full.  Truly, gunfire might be better.

Last week was a case in point.  The other team wore blue and--surprise!--about 20 blue-clad parents assembled in bulk upon the bleachers . . . .where upon they proceeded to SCREAM (encouragement, dissent, despair, joy, the need to urinate or burp--whatever) for the entire two hours.

The Matron drew dignity about her and left even her own little hoary  'go stryker's' at home.  She simply could not add to the din.  It was horrible!  

Then tragedy transpired.  The blue team's new pitcher slipped up in the sixth inning of what had been a tie game and Stryker's team pulled ahead.  Okay, started trampling the blue team in the painful, ten-run an inning way that nobody likes to see--not even the winner.

Here's where the blue team boosters got ugly.  Instead of cheers, there were jeers.  Why, who knew Umpires were actually bat-sucking ass-lickers!  Thanks for letting us in on that, parents!   One woman got particularly agitated.  She claimed that the game should be over because one team was ahead by ten runs - -the 'ten run rule.'   This is a rule for the Minor league which puts a mercy ending to a game when a team is ahead by ten runs.  Stryker's league is a step above and this rule doesn't apply.

Now the Matron just happened to be chatting with, B,  the parent volunteer in charge of umpires while this woman went beserk.   She started yelling at the umpire to end the game.  Yelling?  Actually, she went onto the field and grabbed his face mask -- just in case she didn't have his attention!

The umpires are about 17 years old.  This one was so intimidated he walked off the field. 

B:  "Hey!  You own this game, not her.  You're right.  You're in charge.  Get back on."

In the meantime, the children were confused.

The umpire got back behind the plate and tried again.

Undaunted, the woman was on her cell phone --ostensibly trying to identify some Little League Expert in the Sky to address this unacceptable situation.  Her next move was the concession stand, in search of a rule book allowing her end this game -- that her son's team was losing very badly.

Then she started yelling at B.  

When that didn't work?  This crazed parent went to the score board--the kind where you slap up a large magnet holding a number -- and took down the entire board!  The runs, the outs, the innings -- she removed every bit of evidence and tracking material.

And guess what!  She effectively ended the game.

And the children were confused.  

That's where the Matron is headed tonight.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pure Moralizing and Being Forewarning, Complaining Way Unfair

The Matron is on Day Seven of the Three Week (that would be 21 days each composed of 24 hours - you do the math) Cleansing Diet.  

This is diet is a Matron-Special Mix, designed by yours truly:  vegan, no wheat, no sugar, no caffeine,  no alcohol.  

Every day at about 4 pm, the Matron would like to main-line espresso and dive into a vat of  milk chocolate.  But so far, she does not.   

The act of abstaining -- from the gooey food, the cocktail, the brownie, the Old Dutch cheese popcorn, the Sun Chips --has made her consider just how of our food and lifestyles operate in direct opposition to good health.

Lest the Matron sound all holier than thou, cleansing and observing and all, just know that for a good decade--when the Matron was Young Miss -- her lifestyle not only operated in opposition to good health, it was sort of paving the path to the grave.  That's a story she hasn't told here yet.  So she considers herself one of the struggling masses, the current three week experiment aside.

Today she heard on Minnesota Public Radio that 1/3 of cancer cases are caused by smoking and nearly another third by other lifestyle choices:   lack of exercise, diet, and alcohol.

As she was listening to this, the Matron sort of balanced the scales.  How do you see that cheesecake at Grandma's Sunday dinner, then?  Fifteen minutes of life is the cost per slice?  Because she might just trade those 15 minutes for a particularly rich and creamy cheesecake with chocolate crumble crust.  

It's the cummulative effect that's problematic.    Those 15 minute pieces of cheesecake, add up.

She's also been thinking about other research on longevity showing that the surest way to a long life is calorie restriction.    That's right.  NO cheesecake or hardly ever.  Eat less than your body craves and you'll live longer.  

Here she imagines herself--all of us -- caught in the grip of desire:  for life, as much as possible!  for the chocolate torte!  grilled steak!   eggs benedict!

Maybe it's age.    Maybe it's the clarity of a martini free week night (okay, she hasn't had a martini in two decades but doesn't that sound hip?).   But lately she's thinking it's better to tip the scales in the direction of Life.  Sure, chip off 15 minutes here and there with that lasagna or heart-stopping bacon and eggs breakfast.   Once in awhile.

But for the balance?  Saying no to one set of goodies allows you to be awake -- and alive-- for a whole set of others.    But it's HARD.  It is not easy to set aside what's pleasant, available and easy in consideration  (not even a guarantee!) of a much later, less tangible, good.

That's just the purity of Day Seven calling.  Let's see how she fares on that final lap. . . . 

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is 80s Rock Even Legal Anymore?

Old enough to remember Bonnie Tyler and Total Eclipse of the Heart?   If you're wearing Depends, you will wet them.  This is a spoof from her 1984 performance at the Grammy's.  

Sound Advice for the Dental Hygenist, the Community College Teacher, the Receptionist, the Middle-Manager, the Director of a Not For Profit?

The Matron thinketh this the height of blindness to the reality of most women, who don't have the luxury to 'just say no' to work.    The Salon interview hints at such blinders,  but treads softly where the Matron would stomp and scream:  OMIGOD you are so lucky you have no idea what it means to worry about the mortgage!

Please, don't misunderstand her.  The Matron longs for and heartily approves of a culture in which nobody is required to work 60 hours a week -- she's of the more leisurely European bent of substantial summer vacation or the reduced work week, for all.  But in the current system and climate, the idea that the afore-linked book will actually help the majority of working women in this country?  Puh-leeze.

But she understands the anxieties pulling the authors to their conclusions:  women not only want more time with their children and extended families, they need more time because -- progress marches on but  is not winning any races, folks -- most women still do more work on the homefront than men.

The Matron thinks that Historiann offers a better, more realistic solution -- the whole get a wife thing.  And the nice part of this piece is that after the pithy punch line, hooking up wifely and all that, comes a real description of what sharing the Mother Lode (traditional female work) might look like.

The Matron, typing this post at a coffee shop while Scarlett is at yet another Theatrical Endeavor, was pleased to see that some - not allr -- that some elements of her marriage strongly resemble Historiann's vision.    At this very moment, John will be returning home from the elementary school with Merrick where he will  check in with Stryker about homework, and facilitate dinner.  

But guess who still sends out all the birthday cards, knows where the dog leash is at all times, and thought to bring Scarlett jewelry-making wire just before she ran out?   You know what she means here.    

Here's where the Matron will go out on a limb.  She thinks women who are wives/partners and mothers in heterosexual relationships downplay or diminish how much more domestic work they do than their partners  precisely because men now do so much more than they ever have historically.  And that's terrific.   Everyone's relationship is all groundbreaking and celebratory in that regard, looking back.  But looking forward?  The Matron isn't satisfied, at least in her sample cohort of --- oh, all current sociological studies and her own critical mass of women folk.  Most women shoulder the heavier domestic burden, even if their work/professional situation would warrant a lighter load and more equitable distribution.

Marching forward, friends.  Marching forward.