Friday, December 4, 2009

Eight Years of War

Here's Mason Jennings, crooning the tune, lyrics printed below. The Matron knows this is not a popular perspective but she does not support the war in Afghanistan. Or really anywhere. She mourns the many losses those 30,000 men and women (doesn't troop sound less painful than woman or man?) headed to Afghanistan will suffer.

She's pretty much on the same page with Elie Wiesel when he says "I cannot say I am for war. War means suffering. War means widows, orphans." Wiesel's piece is long but click on #8 for his explanation of what makes a war just and how our current situation just isn't cutting it.

Change? Sorta seems like more of the same old, same old - tragically.

"The Field"

Every step I take takes me farther from you
Every move I make reminds me that I'll always love you
Since you were a child we built our lives around you
How am I supposed to live in this world we made without you?

Sometimes late at night I go the field
Is that where you are? Are you a shooting star?
Can you say my name? Darling can you hear me?
Tell me where's your heart now that it stopped beating?
It's right here, it's right here, it's right here

When you joined the war we were so proud of you
You seemed so grown up, living life the way we taught you
Then your first letter came, it sounded nothing like you
It took all my strength to keep myself from running to you

Sometimes late at night I go the field
Is that where you are? Are you a shooting star?
Can you say my name? Darling can you hear me?
Tell me where's your heart now that it stopped beating?
It's right here, it's right here, it's right here

And it will always be until the sun dries the ocean
And you will always be my little one

If I was the President, if I was that man
I would walk out with those kids, out across the sand
If I was the President, if I was that brave
I would take a shovel then dig each child their grave
If I was the President and my world turned black
I would want no victory, I'd just want you back

I don't want no victory, I just want you back

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Putting It In Perspective

Dear Sainted Husband,

Yes, your wife understands that -- of the pair - you are more psychologically grounded. Where you are sane enough to soothe children after midnight, the Matron generally frightens them into submission. You are able to stand before a pecan pie and not contemplate eating the entire thing, starting with the crust and working your way through to the gooey middle, letting those sugary pecans melt in your mouth slowly. Not that she's ever done this. If money feels tight, you simply spend less; if money feels tight, your wife gets a little "why the $$(% not just spend it all then" and engages in, well, Unwise Shopping. Yes, this is probably why she has six pairs of black boots.

Indeed, the Matron shall put this lament -- is it a lament? a complaint? a whine or desire? -- into even GREATER perspective, remembering the couple she met long long ago at a (your glasses haven't fallen into your coffee - you're reading this correctly) Macrobiotic Potluck Dinner. Let's just stop here and say macrobiotic potlucks are, in a sweeping generalization sort of way, truly bad ideas. Returning to said misguided social event, the Matron met a woman who was a therapist but recently gave that all up to work in commerce. The ex-therapist had been living with breast cancer for 5 years and her husband with Parkinson's disease for 10; they had two young teen children.

Ex-Therapist: "Good God. Here I am with a husband with Parkinson's, cancer myself, two terrified kids and I had to sit in that chair and listen to people complain about how their husbands chews on the side of his mouth or why the wife wasn't cleaning the stairs better. I couldn't stand it anymore."

This is the perspective into which she is putting the following piece of advice to her dear sainted husband:

When you leave the house? Lock the door. This is a reverse way of saying do not pull the door shut and shout: "LOCK THE DOOR."

Here is the Matron, in a bathrobe and clay mask, halfway downstairs to the shower when she hears "LOCK THE DOOR" floating behind her. Here is the Matron, upstairs battling clothes in Scarlett's room when she hears "LOCK THE DOOR" from below. Here is the Matron, sitting with soup and tea in the kitchen, five feet from the door after saying good-bye, watching her husband shut the door and say to her "lock the door." Here is the Matron, stirring pasta while monitoring chicken in the oven while navigating Merrick and Satan's Familiar who are wont to wrestle on the kitchen floor pre-dinner, gladiator style when she hears "lock the door!"


Who shut the door? Who is actually STANDING RIGHT AT THE DOOR and doesn't need to put down the clothes or hide the clay mask from the window (neighbors!) or walk downstairs or leave the simmering pots to move to the door and do someone else's legitimate job?


She will soon know if he is reading this blog because she will probably be flushing the toilet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What She's Worried About

Worried about global warming?

You and five million other people, including the non-believers who want to bop the supposedly lefties and all serious scientists on their warped heads and hang on for The Rapture. That's actually why we're heating up. That Rapture is serious heat.

Most people worry about the obvious. Global warming (is she or isn't she?). Or the war in Afghanistan, peace in the Middle East, domestic violence or Jon versus Kate (nobody seems to be much concerned about the 8).

The more eclectic among us? The Matron is worrying for you, sensitive friend.

Here's what's keeping her up at night.

The U.S Prison System. Things are not good, folks. Keep up this pace and many many low income men and men (and increasingly women) of color will be jailed instead of getting whatever else kind of help they need. Some scholars (Eric Schlosser also wrote Fast Food Nation) and activists have labelled our current system the Prison Industrial Complex. Worry about housing millions of human beings whose main problems are that they are A) not white B) poor and C) have substance abuse problems.

Lock 'em up and toss away the key!

The second thing that keeps her up at night are DIOXINS!!! These dirty little endocrine disruptors are just around every corner, in every bottle of water or can of beans, waiting to make your X hormone pretend it's a Y or otherwise Shake Rattle and Roll the delicate balance of the hormonal system. If you're not aware of Theo Colborn's work, better go here. You'll never microwave plastic again (Dear God-Buddha-Oprah-Universe-Allah DO NOT MICROWAVE PLASTIC).

The final thing that gives the Matron stomach-clenching, sweating chills of anxiety at night? Keen shoes. These are all ablaze in popularity, especially the loopy sandal sort. People! Are you visually impaired? These shoes are ugly. As in - ugh.

Comfort be damned. These are the most god-awful footwear the Matron has laid eyes on. Puh-leeze. Find some good boots, women.

Don't even get her going on keeping up with Michelle Obama's biceps.

So for those of you who just can't jump onto the global warming band wagon or who are so war-weary you can't worry there anymore, or who don't care that Donny Osmond is the new king of dance?

The Matron's got your back.

Hadron Collider, anyone?

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Downside of Drama, Take Two (Hundred Million)

Before her third person was fully realized, the Matron mentioned a couple of times that Scarlett's theatrics occasionally extend to the home front.

This morning, the Evil Head Cold offered Scarlett a new role. She wailed. She railed. Clutched a box of Kleenex and staggered like Oliver Twist after a cracker. Tears rolled aplenty!

Scarlett: "I AM TOO SICK TO GO TO SCHOOL!!!!!!"

The Matron duly felt the forehead.

Now, the Matron and her husband both mostly work from home. She is teaching entirely online this semester (and loves it). They are big believers in staying home from school - not only if you are sick, but if you need the mental health day.

However, the Matron favors a straightforward approach to both avenues for absence: the child requests the mental health day (they get two a year) or the child is genuinely sick. Scarlett was firmly headed in the direction of Illness Avenue.

Yet . . . . so much suffering for what appeared to be a stuffy nose and some sniffles? Could she really be so sick? Was this real or . . . acting? If she's really this unwell, oh my, she should be in bed and quite possibly the HOSPITAL. . but? There were real tears but she's seen those more than once on a stage . . . what to do? what to do?!

The Matron squinted and studied her child's every move in an attempt to discern what was disease and what was drama.

Squint, squint, squint.

In the end, she finally decided to send the child to school (partly to end the screaming). So uncertain was she of her decision that she emailed Scarlett's teacher, described the situation and asked the teacher to assess: is Scarlett really sick? If so, the Matron would come and retrieve her immediately.

She will either be picking up her daughter soon or handing Scarlett the Oscar.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday, Meditation via Poetry

In Sickness and in Health

My friend whose husband
will soon succumb to cancer
loves to lie next to him at night

to smell him and feel the warm
stomach and flanks through his pajamas
the two of them are glad

he can still walk the streets of New York
still get tickets to the Philharmonic on impulse
they never fight any more

Alicia Suskin Ostriker