Thursday, July 17, 2008

So What Does Thursday Have to Say for Itself?

Not much, really.

An appointment this morning, followed by an errand. Home at 11:15. Cleaned the kitchen. Will's friend Benjamin came over for a playdate around noon. At 3, we dropped Benjamin off and went to the pool. Chatted with Amy and Kathryn and watched Will go down the slide five hundred and thirty-six times. Looked over at the four-feet section to see Jack and Spencer spitting water at each other. Lovely. Home by 6:15 for dinner (leftover pasta salad).

It's the sort of day where no big chores get done, no fun projects are pursued, nothing feels accomplished. I did sort through my e-mail in-box and got some of the clutter out. During the day I keep a running list of things to sit down and do after dinner, but somehow my evenings evaporate. I've been trying to figure out how this happens for months now. Dinner's over, someone else is responsible for the dishes, you go to check your e-mail and somehow it's nine o'clock. What about those menus you were going to plan? the book you were going to read three chapters from? the letter you were going to write?

Every night at nine I'm at a loss as to what happened to my time. It's not all spent checking e-mail and blogs, I swear. It's like five minutes get chucked over there, and fifteen minutes are swept under the bed with the socks, and seven and half minutes are spent staring in the mirror wondering where all those wrinkles around my eyes came from.


Three magazines have recently crossed my threshold: the August Martha Stewart Living, the July/August Mary Jane's Farm, and the most recent Countryside & Small Stock Journal: The Magazine of Modern Homesteading. Interestingly, I find them all of apiece, just to different extremes.

We all know Martha, of course, but do you know Mary Jane? I've picked up this magazine now and again for the last few years. I don't quite know what to make of it, though I often enjoy reading it. Mary Jane Butters is an alleged farmer somewhere out in Idaho. You can go to her farm. You can pay to work on her farm. You can stay at the bed and breakfast on her farm. Can't make it to Idaho this summer? Then you can buy some of Mary Jane's genuine farm cooking products via the Internet, biscuit mixes and chili mixes and all sorts of good stuff, all of it organic.

Mary Jane is clearly the Martha of the midwest, and I don't know quite how to take her. Is she really hoping to unite all the farm girls and wannabe farm girls of the world into one organic front tilling our half-acre/hundred acre gardens and sewing up aprons on our machines? Or is she a marketing genius who has figured out how to make lots of money off of would-be back-to-the-landers such as myself? Without a doubt, she knows what buttons to push--yer basic "nostalgic for the farm we never had" button, for one thing.

If she weren't trying to make so much money off of me, I'd think that at heart she means what she's out there saying. But it's hard not to be suspicious of cowboy boot-wearing women in aprons and braids who keep telling you how smart and good and womanly and organic you are while they're reaching into your purse to get your paycheck ...

The editors of Countryside Journal could take Mary Jane's cowboy boots, run 'em through a grinder, and serve them as sausage the next day for breakfast. These are people who make Pa Ingalls look like a city slicker. I got kind of anxious reading Countryside Journal until I reminded myself that no one was going to make me put a "Nature's Head" composting toilet in my backyard, despite the fact that it is compact yet has exceptional holding capacity. My plans are for a bigger vegetable garden, not neighborly relations with the Unabomber.

Once I got past that "just because other people are doing it and I think it's really cool doesn't mean I have to do it, too" feeling, I enjoyed Countryside Journal a lot. You can tell the readers, who write really, really long letters to the editor, are cranky iconoclasts who are pretty fed up with us electricity-using types. God love 'em.


So what will Friday bring? Another play date here for Will, another trip to the pool. Spencer is coming over for dinner and some Wii. Will I finish sewing the curtains for my study that it took me two months to get cut out? Will I plan my menus for next week so that I can go to the farmer's market on Saturday morning with a shopping list in hand? Will I finally, finally put away the suitcase that's been sitting almost empty by my bed ever since we got back from the beach? All I have to do is put that one last pair of underwear back into the drawer. That's all it will take to get 'er done, boys.

But the question is: Will I get 'er done? The suspense is killing you, I know. Yeah, me too.


Victoria said...

There's a podcast interview with the Mary Jane on Craftcast - I am looking forward to listening to it this week! I don't think we have to equivelant over here!
p.s. I get mildly depressed in summer too, though not winter.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Thanks for letting me know about the podcast; let me know what you think after you hear her. If you're interested, I'll send you a copy of the magazine if you can't find it there.