Thursday, August 6, 2009

She Wonders How Many Letters Like This They'll Get

she is wagging her lovely finger! and possibly some other assets

Last Sunday's New York Times Magazine featured Anne Heche as current leading lady, experiencing an upswing. The lovely Heche (post-Celestia for those who remember the Shakespearan Ellen-Break-up) is now starring in a new movie and HBO series Hung.

A co-creator of Hung, Colette Burson commented on how remarkable--miraculous, really --it was to secure Heche for the role on Hung.

Burson: "We auditioned a lot of people. It is incredibly difficult to find beautiful, talented, funny women over 35."

It's okay to gasp here.

Dear Colette:

The post-35 terrain? It is rugged, indeed.

Holly Hunter.

Toni Morrison

Valerie Jarett
beautiful, funny, smart AND on the cover

Arianna Huffington

poet Joan Larkin

Michelle Pfieffer

poet Joyce Sutphen

you know who

Of course the list goes on and on and on and on. The Matron could be lifting photos all night.

The most astounding thing? By the Matron's calculations, Colette Burson is herself the god-awful-eye-stopping-brain-numbing-fear-mongering age of 39.

Colette Burson

Yes indeed. Tough to find beautiful, talented and funny. The Matron wonders what dear Colette sees when she looks in the mirror.

Maybe that's why she --Colette--forgot to include smart in that equation.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kitchen Confidential

The Matron is married to a very good cook.

Notice how the Matron does not comment on her own kitchen acumen. This omission is intentional and, instructive.

When the Matron was a Youngish Miss and she first met her beloved, he invited her over to his house for dinner.

Youngish Miss: "Meatloaf? Are you kidding?"

John: "Gourmet meatloaf --with seared asparagus in a curry lime sauce and small beets, rolled in feta and then wrapped in steamed kale."

Youngish Miss: "What's kale?"

And so over the years, the Matron has feasted at her husband's hand. Life and its many demands, however, mean that frequently the Matron is the one forced to feed the family.

Matron: "Kids? Do you want some special breakfast?"

Scarlett: "Is Daddy here?"

Matron: "Pancakes?"

Stryker: "Where's Dad?"

Matron: "I'll make pancakes?"

Merrick: "I'll go get Daddy."

Then there was the time she decided to bake cookies.

Matron: "Let's make chocolate chip cookies!"

Small contemplative silence in the room.

Scarlett: "Mom, can we ask Jennifer to make them?"

Jennifer would be the Matron's next door neighbor-and a very good baker. Let her pause her and note: while hyperbole and the Matron are not strangers, that actual 'can Jennifer bake them' interaction honest to God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe took place not only with Scarlett but with Merrick and Stryker as well. This should tell you something about the Matron and her oven.

Moving onto popcorn. This would be Scarlett's favorite food. In fact, it constitutes 90% of her current diet, popped in oil on the stovetop and topped with butter and parmesan cheese. Scarlett has been known to call from the various backstages of her shows to insure that a big bowl of popcorn will be waiting for her on the kitchen table.

Matron: "Scarlett, do you want some popcorn?"

Scarlett: "Who's making it?"

Matron: "Me!"

Scarlett: "Do you have to?"

Matron: "Daddy's not home."

Scarlett: "Well then, no thank you."

So the Matron understands that she is not a particularly good cook. Indeed, this understanding is reinforced by her family at every turn and, unfortunately, but her various culinary endeavors. You cannot argue with the burnt black bricks of banana bread, raw-in-the-middle burger, crunchy pasta and rubbery halibut. She has several dishes she does well (not involving the oven) but every type of cooking involving timing and heat completely escapes her.

In case you haven't noticed, much cooking involves that tricky combination of timing and heat--especially in the northland where winter means you might actually die without steaming hot food to balance your body temperature.

Despite this knowledge--despite the Matron's fierce and brave ability to look at one's self and say: wow you suck--despite this, she cannot tolerate the following.

Here is the Matron, cooking dinner. There are pots of pasta on the stove and some green beans sauteing, there might even be a little bit of meat in the oven. It is a pleasant calm domestic scene. Mom is making dinner! What could be more reassuring?

Here is John, walking in the front door.

With a look of complete and startled (even though he has performed this triage every single time he has entered the Matronly-controlled kitchen in the past 18 years) alarm he rushes into the kitchen, turns down the heat on every pot (stirs) and opens the oven to check the meat--practically elbowing his wife (hey, wait! this is the lovely and much adored Matron!!) out of his way.

He wrestles the pan from her to flip the beans.

Thus the Conquering Hero leaves the room. Wait a minute--is that a steed he's riding? Wearing a cape?

This interaction--and its absolute unwavering predictability--triggers a toddler-like counter attack from the Matron (who is equally predictable in her own reaction). The instant he's gone, the Matron IMMEDIATELY turns the flames back to their original setting and undoes anything else she can think of.

Because SHE is cooking this meal and completely willing to sacrifice quality for control. Indeed, determined to sacrifice quality for control. Eighteen years and she can't let go of that spoon. . . . .