Thursday, February 3, 2011


Flu has hit the Matron's household. One c child out of school for the entire week, and two more down today. The Matron? Also captive of the virus. She'll be back tomorrow --and thanks everyone for still checking in! Wit and narrative coming up soon!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Friends, the Matron has restrained from doing so until this point. Moralizing that is. Each to him or herself or indeterminate gendered self, right? That's all groovy with her. Beyond do unto others, establishing a moral code is pretty rough.

Except for ONE THING. The bane of her existence -- 'tone of voice.' Let's just straddle that phrase: bane of her existence. And she's moralizing.

He Who Cannot Be Named: "Why can't I go to the batting cage right now instead of waiting for you to make dinner?" Key? This is not a query but a battle call, freighted with annoyance at -- of all things-- being inconvenienced by dinner.

Scarlett: "Why can't I have a peanut butter sandwich in my lunch instead of turkey?" Key? Now, this could be a very benign question. Consider how one orders food in a restaurant.

Patron to waiter: "May I please have a peanut butter sandwich and forgo the turkey?"

Waiter: "Of course!"

Instead, at the Matron's house. . . .

"Why can't I have a peanut butter sandwich instead of turkey?"

Matron: "Why are you yelling at me as if I'm the indentured servant on a ship in the 18th century?"

Yes, she says things like that to her children. She likes to think they'll thank her for that someday.

Merrick: "Whewe awe my gween pants!!!!!"

Now, this question more or less sounds like someone announcing nuclear death for the entire planet -- with rage.

Matron, over and over and over and over again: "Can you say that in a polite or neutral tone of voice?" Now, she doesn't pull out this line when her children are genuinely emotional or upset -- a disappointment, denial, fear, uncertainty, etc. Just when there's, well, a demand.

HWCBN: "You and tone of voice. I'll remember that until the day I die."

Matron: "Pardon me? Can you say that in the same tone of voice you'd use for a teacher?"

Because, dear reader? You and the Matron know that we're the primary teachers.

Monday, January 31, 2011

On Being a Good Buddhist

Or not.

Several years ago, the Matron went to the very fine Kripalu Center to study yoga and, well, get all Zen and down -- as in calm down, be in touch, centered and all those goodies.

She sat through several lovely dharma talks. She stood on her head (really!), flexed muscles and meditated. There was nothing but loving-kindness and nonviolence, twenty-four hours a day for four days. Considering she then had a 4 and 2 year old at home, this was a much needed respite, even with a roommate, a lovely woman with a good decade on the Matron, a much better head of hair and a sense of humor.

One of the dharma talks that touched her most was on nonviolence: try not to step on ants, people. The value of life --- from a bug to a plant to a human being -- was emphasized. It was inspirational. It was the kind of talk that makes one leave the room infused with the desire --and drive -- to be a better human being.

That speech and inspiration came rather late one evening after a long day of downward dogs and deep breathing. Friends, she's here to tell you that deep breathing is more work than the phrase would imply. So she was tired, spent, at the end of the evening. She and her roommate discussed their desires to be better people for their time spent at the retreat. They shared a couple of stories, dreams, and retired.

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

That would be the sound of the fly in their small room, zipping around with zeal from the roommate's face to the Matron's, in between the nun-like beds and then back to settle in for a potential feast or new home on someone's hair.

Still, silence except for the fly prevailed as the roommate and the Matron both continued their deep breathing, nonviolence, loving kindness stance. For about 15 minutes.

Buzz, buzz, buzz.

Roommate: "Mary?"

Matron: "Yes?"

Roommate: "Let's kill that sucker."

And so, after a day of reflecting on all things harmonious with the world and aligning themselves to be better people, the Matron and her roommate found themselves magazines and rolled up newspapers and spent half an hour stalking down the fly . . . climbing on chairs, hoisting themselves up walls, tumbling over beds.

Until they killed it.

But at least they made it 15 minutes.