Wednesday, March 7, 2012

There's Something About Martha

About twice a year, I indulge in a little secret and guilty pleasure. I buy a Martha StewartLivingmagazine. That means twice a year I actually have the desire to own an ice cream machine and make my own stationary. I grew up dreaming of the days when I would host dinner parties with my matching Royal Dalton fine-bone china. The courses would be numerous, the crystal would be Waterford, and the pearls would be better than June’s. I really, really liked the idea of hosting parties. I do not know now if it is something that came with the focus my family and religion put on my being a wife and mother--but I REALLY got into the "hostess" aspect of my expected future--everything else seemed a little too daunting to wrap my brain around (like the actual marriage and motherhood parts).
When I read Martha Stewart, I get carried away to a land of what might have been—still could be. I dream of a place where children are well-behaved and have perfectly curly hair--and they run through fields of daisies with you, hold your hand, and then tell you all their secrets. I dream of a place where my husband (one of which I do not have) would wear a salmon colored tie on Easter because it went with my dress and he likes to match. I dream of the ideals of what I grew up wanting. I've never been able to actually face the realities. Perhaps that is why Martha's monthly publication still holds power over me. It represents something I could never fully embrace, even though I was taught to, even though part of me wants to, even though it sounds more than divine.

Why, in this issue alone I had all of the following thoughts:

1. I want to weave my own picnic mat and then learn how to tie it together with beautiful twine—take it to the beach and eat freshly made custard, berry tarts with little sprigs of mint on them.

2. I want to create a pattern for my very own utensil holders for each place sitting. I will make them out of cute plaid material made of out woven hemp (durable for years to come!).

3. I would like a butterfly stencil. I will use this to cut out various colors of butterflies and attach them to a white table cloth to create a harmonious look for my summer party. There will be butterfly shaped place cards with names written in my perfect calligraphy. I will even make butterfly shaped ice cubes to put in the Wonderful Watermelon coolers I will have juiced myself that afternoon.

4. I will have a lazy afternoon brunch that consists of chive omelets with chanterelles, cornmeal-fried trout (I caught myself), tomato-sorrel-basil panzanella, and fried squash blossoms. Note to self—what is a chanterelle?

5. I will get good at croquet. I will. I promise--in a sundress, with a headband, and a perfect tan.

6. I will grow and pick currants and raspberries and make them into jams and chutneys.

7. I will make fresh lemonade daily.

8. I will learn how to fertilize my peonies…I will first learn how to grow peonies.

9. I really want to tidy up my non-existent potting shed by “sprucing” up the paint and shelving.

10. I really want my sheets to match my nightgown (which is diaphanous).

And while it is hard to write these things without sounding like I’m mocking them (and her)—part of me still wants this life. Part of me wants to make homemade sorbet instead of buying it from my local neighborhood grocer. Part of me wants to make scalloped edged, delicate notes in dreamy handwriting instead of sending e-cards. Part of me wants those perfectly coiffed children and husband in a pink tie. And part of me wonders if it will only ever come true (and rightly so, as I am so perfectly content in life right now that I can't imagine having the energy for the ten things listed above, let alone babies and husbands) in my daydreams. I'm sort of ok with that. Actually, I'm MORE than ok with that.

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