Friday, May 18, 2012

Read All About It

Today, the Matron had the good fortune to encounter a friend she hadn't seen in a while.  Like most of her unexpected encounters, this one happened in the grocery store -- right by broccoli.  Sometimes the veggies vary but the goodwill?  Never.

Matron:   "Anything new and exciting happening in your life?"

Friend:  "Your blog is completely disappointing, as of late.  Absolutely no idea what's going on in your life.  Like hard facts.  Details.  You know -- that blog thing?"

Yes, she knows.

Friend:  "Readers need an update.  Like a news flash . . . or I might have to start calling you to find out what's happening."

This gave the Matron pause.  Call her?  As in, on the telephone?  Concern started its slow creep across her nearly unlined (ha)  forehead..  What if people -- people she would recognize on the street --- started calling to ask her 'what's up?'

Genuine human interaction makes the Matron nervous.  She swears she's a premature birth.  Her spirit was supposed to arrive around 2072 when telepathy replaces talking.

 To that end, the Matron is keeping her neighbors at bay with   . . . . an update of actual bona fide nearly-verifiable and almost reliable facts!

1.  Merrick recently discovered the highly disturbing and unanticipated fact that he is attending Summer Academy, which is exactly what it sounds like:  summer school.  Except it's at a ritzy private school and the parents are forking out big bucks for four weeks of work that they hope will rectify this type of nonlinear computing:

That, friends, is Merrick's approach to 'listing' numbers 54 through 59.   This topsy turvy approach defines all of his academic endeavors.   The Matron wants a littleless topsy and a little more trim and tuck.

 Merrick is also hobbling about on crutches after being sent to school for three days with a 'buck up boy' from his mother.  You know you're guilty of that one?  Please say it's so!  Yours truly took her first good hard look at the leg after Merrick wondered:  "is it okay to crawl at school, Mom?"   Imagine her shock at seeing the swollen, red, bruised log where his lovely ankle bone used to be.  Live and learn.  Next time she'll get Scarlett right on that.

2.  He Who Cannot Be Named (HWCBN) and the Matron recently had at it over the appropriate use and definition of the word 'hegemony.'   Dictionaries were consulted, politics called out.  Tempers flared.    All the while, the Matron's entire interior universe was singing 'my 16 year old son and I are arguing about HEGEMONY.'   Who needs drugs when you can engage in parental combat over ideas?!  And even understand them.   Actually, HWCBN turns 16 in a few short weeks, when he will join the other infants trying to kill her from behind their steering wheels.  Perhaps this is really Darwinism at its best.  On other eldest fronts, the young man is fifth in his graduating class academically; the top three are tied, which in his mother's eyes makes him third.  She should really get on with updating the principal about this mathematical error.  This honor -- second year in a row -- means various school festivities and awards, certificates and all such things occupying the Matronly time.   Beats juvenile detention, though.   Finally, the son is headed to Kentucky then Chicago this summer, where he will spend seven glorious weeks hundreds of miles away from his parents for seven weeks at a two-state debate institute.

Here is the schedule that the Matron encountered when she signed the permission forms (and wrote the check):

8:30:  Breakfast
9:00:  Library
12:00:  Lunch and free time
1:30:  Library
5:00:   Free time
6:00:   Dinner
7:00:    Library or Lab

Again, hear the universe sing:  an offspring of hers is choosing to spend six hours a day in the library all summer.   He also was awarded a national merit-based scholarship AND plays baseball and has his own small computer business.

Pause for a moment and consider:  "this woman is just bragging about her child."

Why yes she is!   This is her job as his mother.

 3.  These are not Scarlett's vocal cords but they do the trick.

Those little bumps, right above the v at the bottom?  Nodules.  Scarlett has been in a play, movie or commercial continuously since she was just 8 years old.  In retrospect, the Matron can trace the moment the vocal cord problems began, during a particularly spectacularly busy run as first Ramona Quimby and then Annie.   Wonderful roles, all, but nobody told this stage mother that the voice needed a rest.  The Matron is a big believer in rest, but her parenting book defined that as copious days off from school, nothing more.

Under strict doctor's orders -- really, a world-class voice specialist, thank goodness -- Scarlett has been cut from the stage until September.   In the interim, she is allowed to speak only in her new healing 'airy' voice, visits the physician for rehabilitation and generally tries to keep talking to a minimum.

And the daughter?  Much to the Matron's oceanic relief, she is happy.  Happy because now she knows that the problem isn't her singing voice stripped away, but a wound that needs to heal.  She is already plotting her glorious return to the stage when she starts HIGH SCHOOL (sob, sob, sob!!) at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in September.

That's right - it's like all Glee all the time.  Fame.  Rent without drugs (mostly -- but that's another blog post).

The Matron sees these teenagers roaming around downtown St. Paul, where their campus is.  Classes require dance studios, orchestra pits and stages so the students roam from artistic venue to artistic venue for 'class.'  They lunch at coffee shops and hang out in the park.

Guess who cannot wait for this much freedom.

4.  The Matron herself?   Continuing her reign as Online Teaching Goddess, she is teaching literature and Gender Studies at her computer over the summer.   By fall, her very own individual professional "Writer" web site should be up and running, thanks to some astounding generosity of spirit on the part of another overly busy mama.    Mostly, though, she continues to use the word 'contemplative' to describe her life situation.  Her friend and neighbor is still on the long pull toward death.  Every morning, the Matron wakes up and her second or third thought is:  "what nice thing can I do for xx today?"  And she does it.   But the life that is fading is one of the brightest, most beautiful the Matron has ever encountered.  An artist's life -- the kind of woman who would see the perfect photo -- a hawk devouring the captured squirrel, the monk on a street corner, a child caught just so -- and abandon her schedule to fulfill the purpose of a single photo.  She was-- is -- that exact same way about people, too.  What the Matron loves most about dear friend is that she immediately skipped over small talk to the heart of the matter --and was always led by her own.   In the face of suffering and injustice, the Matron has taken to a serious meditation practice.  It helps.

5.  John turns 50 tomorrow, Saturday May 19th.    Mostly he wants someone to compliment him on his unparalleled talents with a vacuum, and his youthful hot appearance.  The Matron will assert that the latter is, without question, true.


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

5. Happy birthday to John!
4. You amaze me. And yes, meditation and wrestling with prayer is how we deal with these kinds of injustices in life. You are a wonder.
3. Awful for Scarlett's vocal cords, but glad to know that she appreciates the need for rest. And wow, what a high school!
2. No wonder he's spending a huge chunk of his summer at a debate institute! (And I thought my 16yo was smart... no hegemony discussion at our dinner table.)
1. I suppose we can't call it summer camp? Poor Merrick... I spent 5 days with a fractured wrist in 4th grade before my parents took me to a doctor -- and only then because the PE teacher sent me to the nurse and the nurse wrote a note to my parents. (Dad thought I was just complaining over nothing.) There you go: proof that you are NOT the only parent who used the "buck up" line.

I'm glad this post was written out, because my brain would be spinning if you had used telepathy! And frankly, if you told your friend all this in the produce section, she probably forgot why she even went to the store in the first place.

Hang in there, Mary. Enjoy your fantastic family this weekend!

*m* said...

Love the update on your always-fascinating brood. Sounds like the weeks and months ahead will hold plenty of blogging fodder. Wishing you all happy days, and healing to all who need it.

Suburban Correspondent said...

The top 3 are tied? Then he is second place, isn't he?

Gail said...

Yes, Happy Birthday, John. 50 was my best birthday, even outshining my 70th in San Francisco. And your "buck up" reminds me of my then 15 yr old who actually had shingles. Couldn't believe it could hurt as much as she complained. She survived as will Merrick. Great to hear all that wonderful update.

trash said...

I had the exact same thought as SC. Definitely places him Second by my calculations.

As for the injured child - I did something similar with my boy's broken little toe last December. Having told him it was 'fine and couldn't possibly be broken' it was another three days before I got a look at it in all its bruised glory. The doctor the next day confirmed it was broken. Took my boy nearly 3 months to get back to 100% normal. Oh, I am a bad mother.

Minnesota Matron said...

Whoops -- Stryker is fifth! That's a Freudian typo! LOVE the comments, friends : -). Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Tell HWCNBN that topicality is always debatable - because really what you two are arguing about is the definition of the term hegemony.

Don't forget to throw in the idea that the meaning of words are a) fluid, b) socially constructed and c) contextual. So, you could both be right... but,

There is a reason (you'll have to fill this in on the fly) that your definition is superior... OR...

There is a negative impact (fill this in) to preferring his definition.

If all else fails, pull out the "I'm the judge" or the "I have a Ph.D. in English" -- not great arguments, but they'll do in a pinch. The second is stronger than the first because when he goes to camp and cuts topicality cards, anybody who publishes anything and has a Ph.D. is considered an expert in the field -- even if they're full of it.

good luck...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What great times in your house.

I had dinner with friends last night-whenever I do that I have to check which ones read my blog, so I know how in-depth the update should be.

Totally been there, done that on the negligent mother/broken bone scenario.

Anonymous said...


Minnesota Matron said...

Philosophy: never in a million years can I outpace Stryker, debate-style. But I'll give it a shot - -thank you, expert!

Mrs. G. said...

An update. I feel better now! Happy Birthday to John.

Anonymous said...

I got into coaching because I was married to a debater. Having the basic debate arguments at hand was a survival skill..

Becky Brown said...

Thanks for the update! And happy birthday to John!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, John!
Happy debate camp, HWMNBN!
Heal fast, Scarlett & Merrick!
Glad you posted, Matron!

MJ said...

My dh's finger was broken when he was a child when the car door slammed on it while he was at a birthday party. The nurse host (who was the birthday child's mother) put a bandaid on it, shushed him and sent my dh off to swim. He cried for the remainder of the party. The nurse's husband was a surgeon (but he didn't see the broken finger). Does that make you feel better, Matron?

Happy birthday to John!
Way to go, HWMNBN, and enjoy your summer!
Sorry to read of the nodes, Scarlett ~ may they heal fully and help you to develop new vocal skills that won't injure your voice so you may perform to your heart's content.
Merrick, you'll have a great summer! Enjoy your footie pjs while you can!